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Cornell Notes

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  1. How to: Cornell Notes This strategy is based on a strategy presented in Pauk, W. (1997). How to study in college (6th ed). Boston: Houghton Mifflin. Learning Toolbox. Steppingstone Technology Grant, James Madison University, MSC 1903, Harrisonburg, VA 22807.

  2. D ivide the paper into three sections. Draw a dark horizontal line about 5 or 6 lines from the bottom. Use a heavy magic marker to draw the line so that it is clear. Draw a dark vertical line about 2 inches from the left side of the paper from the top to the horizontal line.

  3. D ocument • Write course name, date, and topic at the top of each page.

  4. W rite notes. • The large box to the right is for writing notes. • Skip a line between ideas and topics. • Don't use complete sentences. Use abbreviations, whenever possible. Develop a shorthand of your own, such as using "&" for the word "and".

  5. Review and clarify. • Review the notes as soon as possible after class. • Pull out main ideas, key points, dates, and people, and write these in the left column.

  6. Summarize. • Write a summary of the main ideas in the bottom section.

  7. Study your notes. • Re-read your notes in the right column. • Spend most of your time studying the ideas in the left column and the summary at the bottom. These are the most important ideas and will probably include most of the information that you will be tested on.

  8. How and why to use Cornell Notes • Notes from a lecture or teaching are written in the note-taking column; notes usually consist of the main ideas of the text or lecture, and long ideas are paraphrased. • Long sentences are avoided; symbols or abbreviations are used instead. To assist with future reviews, relevant questions (which should be recorded as soon as possible so that the lecture and questions will be fresh in the student's mind) or key words are written in the key word column.

  9. How and why to use Cornell Notes • After the notes have been taken, the student writes a brief summary in the bottom five to seven lines of the page. This helps to increase understanding of the topic. When studying for either a test or quiz, the student has a concise but detailed and relevant record of previous classes.

  10. How and why to use Cornell Notes • When reviewing the material, the student can cover up the note-taking (right) column to answer the questions/keywords in the key word or cue (left) column. The student is encouraged to reflect on the material and review the notes regularly.

  11. Just for fun. • My son is under a doctor's care and should not take P.E. today. Please execute him. • Please excuse Lisa for being absent. She was sick and I had her shot. • Dear School: Please exscuse John being absent on Jan. 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, and also 33. • Please excuse Gloria from Jim today. She is administrating. • Please excuse Roland from P.E. for a few days. Yesterday he fell out of a tree and misplaced his hip. • John has been absent because he had two teeth taken out of his face.