The Cornell Note Method has been covered pretty extensively across the internet, but as your “one stop shop” for maximizing (hacking) your college experience, we’re obligated to cover it. Since adopting Cornell notes this semester, processing and reviewing my lecture notes has become a systematized and painless task.

Developped in the 1950’s by Walter Pauk, author of How to Study in College, the Cornell Note Method splits an ordinary piece of paper into 3 sections; notes, main points and summary. As you listen to the lecture, all notes are written under the notes section (duh…). If any main points can be identified right away you may write them in the main points section on the left hand side of the page. When processing your notes, additional main points are added to the main points section and finally a summary of the material covered is added to the bottom of the page.

By following this system you are forced to consider the big picture and avoid getting caught up in the finite details. When completing your weekly review, you simply review the main points section and the summary of the lecture. 

I’ve gotten plenty of odd looks and questions about the paper I use when taking notes, but those who I’ve convinced to give it a shot now swear by it. Here’s a link to a Word, Pages and PDF templates to print off for yourself. You can also purchase spiral bound Cornell notebooks here. 

Give the Cornell Method a shot in the next lecture you attend and post your thoughts in the comment section below.