Cornell Notes: 10 Examples to Inspire You

What is the Cornell note taking method?

The Cornell note taking method is one of the most popular methods for taking notes. It was developed at Cornell University in the late 1800s and has been widely used ever since. The idea behind this method is to keep your notes organized so that you can easily make connections between ideas, which will help you remember the material better. It works even better if you use color coding to highlight important information, such as main ideas and supporting details.

It involves writing down main ideas in a list, then writing down details underneath each main idea. You can also use this method to create diagrams or mind maps.

The concept of the Cornell note taking method was developed by Roland M. Cornell, a professor at Cornell University who wrote about it in his book "How To Study In College".

How to Do a Cornell Note step by step

The Cornell Note-Taking Method is a simple way to take notes that will help you remember the information you hear in class.

 the cornell note-taking method layout

2-inch column on left - for “cues”; 6.5 inch “main space” on right – to make notes; 2-inch column on bottom to summarize.

Here's how it works, you will need to write a big "I" in the center of the paper to divide your page into 4 sections:

  1. The top section is "title", where you write down the name of the course, meeting or seminar together with the date and the subject.

  2. The left portion should be around 2.5 inch wide and is called the Cue / Questions / Keyword Column. This is where you’ll put your subheadings, all of which should be written as questions.

  3. In the larger column on the right, it's around 6 inch wide, also called the "note-taking" column, write your notes in the usual manner.

  4. The bottom section is "Summary" section, it is 2 inch height, it's for you to summarize the content.

5 R’s of the Cornell note taking method

One of the most popular note-taking methods is the Cornell method, which was developed at Cornell University in the early 1900s. It's a system that relies on five "R"s:

Recall: When you take notes using this method, you're supposed to try to recall as much information as possible from what you've just heard or read.

Recognize: After recalling as much information as possible, you're supposed to write down any key terms or ideas that stand out in your mind.

Review: After writing down the key terms or ideas, review what you've written and make sure it makes sense.

Reduce: Reduce what you've written down into its simplest form by writing one idea per line and grouping related ideas together in paragraphs.

Review again: Review what you've written again before class ends to make sure it's still making sense to you.

5 examples of the Cornell note taking method

Here are 5 examples to explain how you can put the Cornell Note Method into practice.

Example 1

Cornell note taking method example 1

This is a handwriting note about Cornell note taking method. Notice how I arrange 3 sections: cues, notes, and summary.

The actual size of these sections is on the image, if you'd like to consider using it in your practice!

Let's take a look at this image:

Notice that there are three sections in the note. The first one is called cues, and it gives you an idea of what the topic is about. The second one is called notes, and it's where you write down everything you think is important about the topic. And finally, there's a summary section at the bottom where you can put all of your notes together and make sense of them.

The best way to use this method is by writing down words or phrases that relate directly to what we're learning (instead of just writing down random facts). By doing this, we're able to see connections between different ideas more clearly! If this sounds interesting but too complicated for now, don't worry—you can always come back and try again later!

Example 2

Cornell note taking method example 2

First you write down your notes using a standard pen or pencil, and then you use different colored highlighters to highlight important things that come up in your lecture or reading.

In this example, I've used light blue for cues (things that are important to know) and summary (things that are so important they can be summarized in one sentence). You can see how the cue section on the left has been highlighted in light blue, and the summary section on the right has also been highlighted in light blue—but with two shades of highlighter instead of one.

The next step is to write all five R's (restate, relate, reason, recite, review) at the bottom of each section. This helps you take notes more efficiently and makes them easier to organize later on when you're studying for a test or writing an essay about your learning experience.

Example 3

Cornell note taking method example 3

The main content is about a lecture on English commas, and I've chosen to use this method to take notes.

I start by writing "english comma" at the top of my page, which serves as a title for my notes.

Next, I use three sections: Key Ideas, Notes, and Summary.

In the Key Ideas section, I write out all the cues and questions that came up in class about when you should use a comma between adjectives or whether it's okay to have one after direct address.

In the Notes section, I write down all of the details from class that have to do with these cues and questions. For example, if there was a rule about using commas with direct address, then I'd write down what that rule was or where we could find it in our textbook or something like that.

Finally, in the Summary section at the end of my page, I write down what my understanding of what we learned today has been so far. This way if I ever forget something later on down the road when studying for an exam or whatever else might come up in life (like if someone asks me about commas), then I can always go back here.

Example 4

 Cornell note taking method example 4

This is an example of the Cornell note-taking method. The main content of this image is about the three states of matter: solids, liquids, and gases.

I use three sections to organize my notes: keywords, notes, and summary.

The keywords section is very brief—it's just a list of the words I want to remember from the lecture. In this example, it's "solids," "liquids," and "gases."

In the notes section, I write down more details about each state of matter—what they are made up of, what happens when they change state, etc. For example, in this picture I wrote down that "solids" are formed by particles packed closely together; liquids have particles that can move around freely; gases have so much space between their particles that they flow easily through containers like balloons or bags.

Finally, in my summary section I write out what I think about what we learned today (or last week). In this case it would be something like: The three states of matter are solids (particles packed closely together), liquids (particles able to move around freely), and gases (so much space between their particles that they flow easily through containers).

Using The Cornell note taking method for mind mapping

Using The Cornell note taking method for mind mapping

The Cornell note taking method is a popular note taking technique that can be combined with mind mapping.

Mind mapping is a way of visually organizing ideas and concepts in a way that helps you see connections between them. It's a great tool for studying and can be used to make notes during class, or even just to plan out your next project or activity.

The Cornell Note Taking Method involves dividing cards into three sections: main idea, supporting details, and questions or comments on the material being studied. It's easy to use this method with mind maps—just draw each section as a box on your map!

Advantages of the Cornell note taking method

The Cornell note-taking method is a way to take notes that allows you to easily organize and review them. It involves taking notes in the form of an outline, with symbols you can use to indicate different types of information.

The Cornell method works well for subjects with a lot of material, such as history or science classes. It also helps you remember what you've learned, since it forces you to think about how different topics are related.

Here are some advantages:

1) You can see all of the information at once when reviewing your notes, which makes it easier to review them later and make connections between concepts.

2) If someone asks you a question about something they read in class (or you read in class), you could use this method to quickly review what's relevant so that you can answer their question accurately.

3) It allows you to take more accurate notes because it requires that you think about how each piece of information fits into the overall picture before writing it down.

Using the Cornell note taking method for reading

The Cornell note taking method is a great way to take notes while you're reading. It's a popular method because it's simple, flexible, and effective.

It's also pretty easy to learn. Here's what you do:

  1. In the left column of your paper or notebook, write down the main idea of each paragraph in a sentence or two (it doesn't have to be perfect).

  2. In the right column, write down key details from each paragraph that support those ideas (again, don't worry about making it perfect).

  3. Use a freestyle or outline-style organization for your notes so that you can draw connections between ideas easily later on when you're ready to study them more deeply (this is where being flexible comes in handy!).

  4. When you're done reading an assignment, look over all your notes and start expanding them into longer paragraphs by adding subpoints under each main idea and more detailed information under each subpoint.


So there you have it—the Cornell note taking method. This strategy can help you approach studying easier and more effectively, as well as help you prepare to take tests and write papers.

The Cornell note taking method is a great way to get the most out of your time in school. If you're interested in using this method, but aren't sure if it's right for you, share your thoughts in the comments below!