Cornell Notes

November 21, 2009  |  Note-Taking

The Cornell note taking system is a systematic way of formating and organizing your notes, the system was initiated by an education professor at Cornell university in the late 50s.

There’s a link to an article by the Cornell University describing this system at the bottom of this page.

How does it work?

Cornell Note Taking System

Start out by dividing your paper into two columns (click on the image to enlarge). In area “A” (see picture) you fill in your notes as the teacher is speaking or while you´re reading your textbook.

When the lecture is finished you fill in your own questions concerning the notes. Comments or keywords are placed in area “B”.

You can then chose to cover section ‘A’ and ask yourself questions from the left column, this should be done regularly. Finally in section ‘C’ you write a small summary of the notes.

Further Notes

During the lecture, write in paragraphs, leaving a line between each new line of thought. Having your own shorthand mode might be a good idea. Try and stick with the general ideas rather than illustrative ones. And also try to write as legibly as you possibly can.

Helpful resources
Blue Arrow Pdf Explaining the Cornell notes system – By The Cornell University
Blue Arrow Download A Template Cornell Notes – A Microsoft Word file

Study Guide Pro

About the author

ABDERISAK ADAM is an author, blog writer and a PhD candidate in the institution of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Chalmers University of Technology. He is also the owner and webmaster of, a website dedicated to the discussion of study techniques in the context of higher education. Adam is the author of a number of publications including 'The Study Guide PRO'. You can connect with him through Google+, Linkedin or by submitting a form.


  1. Neither of your links for Cornell is working. Thank you though

  2. Those links are a bit old. Thanks for reminding me that I need to update them.


Leave a Reply