Cornell note taking method is a method which is used to take notes by following by following Cornell note taking template which increases the understanding and retention level of learners by following critical thinking and comprehension.

If we compare Cornell note taking method with ordinary method then we find one the fast and best method of taking notes. By using this method, we are able to absorb most of the information at a faster rate. This method can improve student’s studying and listening skills.

According to Wikipedia, Cornell method for taking notes was developed by Walter Pauk, a professor of Cornell University, who shared this technique in his book “How to study in college.”

The Cornell note taking method offers several advantages. It results in more organized notes. It allows students to quickly gather and identify key words and key concepts from a lecture. The notes taken in such a way can easily be used as a strong source of study material for exam preparation.

Cornell note taking format

Before you begin taking notes, you must format your page according to the Cornell note taking method, In Cornell system; page will be divided into 4 or sometimes 3 different sections. There are two columns; one area at the top of the page and one at the bottom of the page.

 A vertical line that creates a 2.5 inch margin on the left side of the page is drawn on the left side of the page called cue column. The largest part that appears on the right side of the page is main note area and area at the bottom of the page is summary section.

Main notes area

The column on the right is used for noting lecture. All actual notes from the lecture go into the main note taking column. While attending lecture, record main ideas, concepts and important details related to main ideas in this column.

Cue column

The column which is on the left side of the page is named as cue column, which provides central ideas or keywords to the notes in the main notes area. Cue column in Cornell note taking method, is for questions about the notes that can be answered when you are reviewing and preparing for exams.


A summary is a brief statement of the important ideas and details of the text in your own words. Summarizing helps you improve your understanding about what you read.

5 R’s of note taking

In Cornell note taking method, this format provides the perfect opportunity of note taking by following 5 R’s tips. 5 R’s stand for to Record, Reduce, Recite Reflect and Review.


During lecture, record meaningful facts and ideas in main column of Cornell note taking format.


After record, summarize these facts and ideas in the cue column. Summarizing makes Cornell note taking method clearer and more meaningful.


Cover the note taking area and recite the facts and ideas of the lecture in your own words, and then, verify what you have said.


Draw out opinions form your notes and relate these opinions to your other courses. Reflection is such a phenomenon that will assist you as a learner to make these ideas the permanent part of memory.


After every week, spend some time in quick review of your notes, and you will be amazed to know, what you have learned.