Do you find that your notes are useless to you in
studying for tests? Do you seem to forget major points
and remember minor details? Do you seem to have trouble
understanding what you've written down? If so, try
the five steps of the Cornell system of note taking
to help make notes clear and to aid in memorizing
the facts. If you have not yet developed an approach
to note taking, then start out right-faithfully followed,
this system CAN make a difference.
Reduce ideas after class into a few words.
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Record the lectures as fully as possible.
1. Record in class.
During the lecture,
write as many facts as you can. Use shorthand
to get the full idea. Leave spaces between ideas
so you can fill in more later.
2. Reduce after
As soon after class
as possible, summarize these ideas and facts
in as few words as possible in the Recall
Column. This helps show relationships between
points and strengthens memory. It also prepares
you for exams gradually and well ahead of time.
3. Recite from the
Now cover the main
or Record Column. Using only the words in the
Recall Column, say over the facts as fully as
you can in your own words! Then, uncover
your notes and check what you have said against
the facts. This will help transfer ideas to
your long term memory.
4. Reflect on possible
test questions and mark unclear points.
Thinking aids in
making sense out of the notes by finding relationships
and order in the material. Try to put ideas
in categories and tie old material to the new.
Also, think about which points will appear on
tests and highlight any unclear points so you
can ask questions about them before the
5. Review to improve
If you will spend
ten (10) minutes every week or so in a quick
review of these old notes, you will retain most
of what you have learned and you will relate
the facts and ideas to present lectures or readings.