Students – here’s the best way to take notes: This is The Cornell note-taking system. It was created in the 1950s by an education professor at Cornell University. It appears in the best-selling book, How to Study in College, but even though it’s from the 50s, its use has spread rapidly in the past decade. Here’s how to do it.
Start by making a small blank column on the left hand side of your paper. The remainder of the page will be where you take your notes.
Then, during the lecture or class, use the note-taking side of the paper to record the lecture using telegraphic sentences. That means a very basic sentence like: “Car is yellow” instead of “the car I saw was yellow.” That’ll help your note taking go faster.
Then, as soon after class as possible, put together questions based on the notes you took. Put the questions in the blank, left-hand column of your paper – right next to the notes the question refers to. Writing questions helps to clarify meanings, reveal the links between two ideas, establish connections, and strengthen your memory of the subject. Those questions you write are key – because they’ll probably be the questions you see on your exam.
Next, cover the note-taking part of your paper with another sheet of paper. Then, looking at the question on the left side only, say aloud, in your own words, the answers to the questions, or the ideas they refer to.
Finally: Spend at least ten minutes every week reviewing all your previous notes. If you do, you’ll retain more information, and you won’t have to cram for the exam.