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Cornell Notes 101. The Hidden Curriculum. What do you know about Cornell Notes? On a scale of 1 to 10, how often do your students use Cornell notes in your class?. Quickwrite Questions :. History of Cornell Notes. Developed in 1949 at Cornell University by Walter Pauk.

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The Hidden Curriculum

  • What do you know about Cornell Notes?
  • On a scale of 1 to 10, how often do your students use Cornell notes in your class?

Quickwrite Questions:


History of Cornell Notes

  • Developed in 1949 at Cornell University by Walter Pauk.
  • Designed in response to frustration over student test scores.
  • Meant to be easily used as a test study guide.

To help take organized notes

  • To help identify keywords and concepts from a lecture
  • To help scan notes to locate important information

Divide the paper into three sections.

  • Draw a vertical line from top to bottom that is two inches from the left margin and stops three inches from the bottom of the page.
  • Underneath this, draw a horizontal line the width of the paper.
  • Write on one side of the paper only.


  • Student name, course, and date should be at the top of each page.
  • Write a general title for the lecture or page/section title from the text.

Write Notes

  • Write all notes on the right side of the page.
  • Be sure to skip one line between ideas and several lines between topics.
  • Mark ideas that go together with an asterisk.

Review and Clarify

  • Review the notes soon after the lecture or reading the text.
  • Make sure notes are clear and that the information makes sense.

Pull out main ideas, topics, terms, places, dates, etc.

  • Use the topics and information from the right column of notes to identify the main ideas of the lecture/reading.
  • Write the main ideas in the left column, matching it with the details.

Recite & Summarize

  • Covering the NOTES section , attempt to recite an explanation of the words in the KEY POINTS section.
  • Refer to the NOTES section when you have difficulty.
  • Reciting the entries helps in the learning and synthesis of the material.
  • Write a summary at the bottom of the page.
  • Mention all the key points in the summary.


  • Review the notes on a regular basis.
  • Use all sections of Cornell notes to study for assessments.

Example #2



in College






Tips on Taking Text Notes

  • Think about the reading
    • Consider how the parts relate to the whole; how the text relates to previous ideas
    • Create questions about new words/ terms, why emphasized points are important
    • Examine what you have learned from visuals

Tips on Taking Text Notes

  • Look for the pattern in elements like chapter /subsection headings, summary points, graphics
  • Know where to find the index and glossary

Be Aware of Textbook Organization


Tips on Taking Text Notes

Use the text style to identify important points

  • Become familiar with the font, symbols, borders, graphics, colors, and layout that highlight main ideas or terms
  • Be alert to the writer's goal: highlight ideas/ references /opinions that seem significant to their point of view

Tips on Taking Text Notes

Take notes while reading

  • Include headings, key terms, & graphics
  • Take down only the important ideas: brief, but clear
  • Summarize in your own words
  • Use symbols to highlight for review
  • Use textbook reviewquestions to develop study questions

Tips on Taking Text Notes

Review textbook notes

  • Identify main ideas
  • Fill in details for better understanding
  • Identify unclear information and/or questions - collaborate for answers
  • Delete unnecessary information
  • Review note organization; add symbols or rewrite
  • Write a summary

Tips for Studying with Notes

Make use of the format

  • Cover the right side of your notes; review and answer study questions from the left using the right side as an answer key
  • Quiz yourself out loud
  • Cover the right side with blank paper; write out answers to the left column study questions

Tips for Studying with Notes


  • Write summaries of the most importantmaterial in the summary/reflection section
  • Write a quiz for others using notes; exchange and correct
  • Write anticipated test questions beyond those already in the left-hand column and write answers

Tips for Studying with Notes

  • Look over notes frequently to keep information and questions still unanswered fresh in mind
  • Recite information from notes


handy tools for cornell notes
Handy Tools for Cornell Notes
Read the material and take notes.

Ask yourself what are the main ideas.

Put the main ideas and details in your own words.