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Student Badges Guide

Brain research tells us that repetition and interaction are key ways to help us learn new information.

Cornell Notes helps us learn because we...

  • Think & Reflect
  • Organize
  • Synthesize
  • Summarize

Cornell Notes also helps us stay organized because we track...

  • Date
  • Source
  • Topic

Cornell is useful for...

  • information-gathering to answer research questions
  • breaking down a text
  • capturing information from a lecture

Cornell is only one way to take notes; however, it is widely used in schools and universities because it works. Students who get into the habit of taking Cornell notes find they learn information more easily and have a better success when studying for tests.

Whether using Cornell for research, reading, or a lecture, you set up your paper the same way.


Key Points:

1. Put your headings: Date, Source, Topic

2. Paraphrase information in the larger column

3. Note key points and important vocabulary in the narrow column

4. Summarize what is on the page before going on to another page. Ask "What is all of this basically about?" Your summary, in your own words, will help you later on when you review your information.

(Here's another good video if you didn't like the one above)

Using Cornell Notes for research:

Keep different sources on separate pages

  • On each page, put the name of the source and if that source gives you lots of information and you need more pages, re-write the source name on the top of each page and number your pages.

If you are using a book, include page numbers next to your notes so you can do the citations later (HS level)

Keep your research goals in mind

  • Consider adding your own headings within your notes to show how the new information answers your research questions. 

Template for Digital Cornell Notes HERE (forced copy)

Cornell Notes were designed for in-class use as a way to gather and organize information from lectures and presentations.

The key with "real time" notes

  • listen for the key points
  • abbreviate if you can
  • listen for "sign-post" words that will help you connect the information

Complete the large column during class. Later, write the key points or questions in the narrower column and add the summary. 

Listen for "sign-post" words that give structure to the teacher's points.

  • Conclusion words - prepare for a main idea, a summary
    • Therefore, Finally
  • Contrast words - prepare to hear the opposite view
    • However, Conversely
  • Compare words - prepare to hear supporting view
    • Similarly, In the same way, 
  • Cause and Effect words - prepare to hear a reason for something
    • When..., Because...., If / then
  • Example words - prepare to hear supporting details
    • For example, For instance, ...namely..., ....such as...., 

Use symbols and shortcuts for these structural elements. If sketching works for you, go for it!

Via EAP Foundation

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