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Academic Resource Center: Note-taking

Cornell Notes Example from James Madison University

Effective Note-Taking

  • Note-taking should be an active process to help focus on what the teacher (or textbook) is covering, and what is most important.
  • Don't mindlessly write down everything the teacher or textbook says - that's transcription, which is passive.
  • Consider taking notes by hand because research shows it's a better method for retention.

Cornell Note-taking System

  • Use a marker to divide the paper into three sections.
  • ­Label each page with class, date, and topic.
  • Use the left side for the main topics and the right side for shorthand notes.
  • Add in time to review your notes after class. Any key terms discussed should go on the left side.
  • In your own words, summarize the main issues at the bottom of the page.
  • Use your notes to study. Focus on the ideas on the left side and your summary at the bottom.

Adapted from James Madison University: College of Education.