READING AND STUDY SKILLS: NOTE TAKING THE CORNELL SYSTEM
The Cornell system for taking notes is designed to save time but yet be highly efficient. There is no rewriting or retyping of your notes. It is a "DO IT RIGHT IN THE FIRST PLACE" system.
1. First Step - PREPARATION Use a large, loose-leaf notebook. Use only one side of the paper (you then can lay your notes out to see the direction of a lecture). Draw a vertical line 2 1/2 inches from the left side of you paper. This is the recall column. Notes will be taken to the right of this margin. Later key words or phrases can be written in the recall column. 2. Second Step - DURING THE LECTURE Record notes in paragraph form. Capture general ideas, not illustrative ideas. Skip lines to show end of ideas or thoughts. Using abbreviations will save time. Write legibly. 3. Third Step - AFTER THE LECTURE Read through your notes and make it more legible if necessary. Now use the column. Jot down ideas or key words which give you the idea of the lecture. (REDUCE) You will have to reread the lecturer's ideas and reflect in your own words. Cover up the right-hand portion of your notes and recite the general ideas and concepts of the lecture. Overlap your notes showing only recall columns and you have your review.
Subject: Notetaking_____________ Main Ideas
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Date: 9/20/04_____________ Details
Can be used to provide an outline of the course, chapter, or lecture. Organized by main ideas and details. Can be as detailed as necessary. Sequential-- take notes as they are given by instructor or text in an orderly fashion. After class, write a summary of what you learned to clarify and reinforce learning and to assist retention. Can be used as study tool: 1. Define terms or explain concepts listed on the left side. 2. Identify the concept or term based on its definition on the right side. Can be used to provide a "big picture" of the course, chapter, or lecture. Organized by main ideas and sub-topics. Limited in how much detail you can represent. Simultaneous - you can use this method for instructors who jump around from topic to topic. After class, you will probably need to "translate" notes into a Cornell format. Can be used as a study tool -- to get a quick overview and to determine whether you need more information or need to concentrate your study on specific topics.
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Semantic map or web
Summary: There are a couple of ways that you can take notes. The Cornell method is best when the information is given in a sequential, orderly fashion and allows for more detail. The semantic web/map method works best for instructors who skip around from topic to topic, and provides a "big picture" when you're previewing materials or getting ready to study for a test.
WHY TAKE NOTES?
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Useful record Helps memory Helps understanding Helps writing Helps revision ---
Provided your notes are user friendly!
WHAT MAKES A GOOD SET OF NOTES?
To be user friendly, notes should be:
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Clear and easy to read Easy to understand and follow Not too wordy Key points stand out Visually appealing Well structured Well organized and easy to access
NOTE TAKING IN LECTURES
Follow that lecture!
Think ahead – what is the lecture likely to be about? What do you already know about it? Do you have any questions or concerns? Read or skim a book on the subject beforehand. Look for themes, issues, topics and headings. Look up any unfamiliar technical words. Glance through any notes from the previous lecture. Write down questions you want answered – leave space to answer them in the lecture. Arrive in good time to catch introduction and any advance handouts. Listen for clues as to structure, main themes. Do not try and write down everything the lecturer says or everything on the board/OHP.
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Concentrate on listening and understanding – rephrase in your head Listen for repetition, backtracking, paraphrase and digression, e.g. anecdote. Listen with a questioning ear – ask questions of the lecturer, or for you to answer later. Listen/watch for clues as to where the lecturer is going – get to know individual lecturers’ styles. Reflect afterwards and tackle follow up work.
What to note and how.
Find a system that suits you – try out with a TV program. See examples of different styles of notes below.
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Use one side - leave space for later additions. Note main themes, important points, theories. Note references and questions that are raised. Note your own thoughts and issues. Don’t note all examples, anecdotes etc. Be brief – use key words and abbreviations. Avoid details you can follow up afterwards.
After the lecture
Review your notes soon after the lecture
Fill in gaps. Clarify and amend where necessary. Tidy up – draw boxes round different sections; highlight key points; highlight quotations in a different color; underline headings; use numbers, letters, lines etc to link connected ideas; circle stray information and link with arrow to where it belongs. Rework if necessary.
Cornell 6-R Notetaking Method
The Cornell 6-R Notetaking method breaks the process down into components, but it is really an ongoing, dynamic process. The value of taking notes this way is that it organizes information and prepares you for tests from the very beginning, and saves time.
Write down important facts, names, dates, concepts, theories, procedures and other information in the column on the right.
Summarize the main ideas with key words or questions and write these in the column on the left. Cover the details section, and ask yourself the question in the main idea column, or formulate a question based upon the concept phrases in the left column. How well could you remember what you wrote down? Keep track of what you need to learn.
Reflect upon the ideas in the notes, including how they are applied, the implications of conclusions or data, and the meaning of examples or cases discussed. Search for connections between ideas. You give meaning to what you are learning by reflecting upon it. Record your thoughts, observations, questions and unresolved issues in the lower section of the page for the summary. Review your notes again immediately after taking them. If the notes are from lecture, fill in any blanks; clarify any missing or partial information. Recite and reflect again to test yourself. Plan spaced time for review of your notes each week.
Summarize what you have gone over in your notes again. Write a summary of each page of notes in the lower section of the page. This will help the information to be stored in long-term memory. Professors will use cue words that tell you what to expect. Emphasis -- "This is important", "you need to know", "to emphasize" highlight important information. Organization
-- "The topic is", "first of all…then…next", "in conclusion" cue listeners or readers to a sequence. Non-verbal -- Writing words on the overhead or board, speaking in a different tone or speed, changing body posture are cues to indicate something of importance should be noted. Online written lectures lack non-verbal cues so it is especially important to pay close attention to the verbal cues of emphasis and organization in the readings.
Devise your own abbreviation codes tailored to each discipline. Generic examples w/ = with, ind. = individual, & = and, ? = question, info. = information, e.g. = for example, gov’t. = government, i.e. = such as, ref = reference, diff. = difference.