Cornell Method and CaptureNotes

The Cornell Method (or formally, the Cornell Note Taking Method) is frequently recommended by colleges. It is known as an organized and systematic way of recording and reviewing lecture notes. The key underlying concept is to work with a specific (simple) template that highlights major concepts and ideas.

The Cornell Method and CaptureNotes

Cornell Method Page Layout

If you’re not familiar with the Cornell Method, you divide your notes page into two columns: a keyword column on the left and a note-taking column on the right, with the notes column being twice the size of the keywords. You retain about seven lines at the bottom of the page.

Taking Notes in Cornell Method

During class, take your notes in the right column. After each main point, skip a few lines. Your notes should focus on big ideas, paraphrasing as much as possible. Avoid lengthy sentences and use abbreviations and icons when possible.


At the end of the day, review your notes and write any follow-up questions for your teacher. Complete phrases and sentences in the notes, if needed. Add or update cues in the left margin. For reviews, cover your notes with a piece of paper, leaving only the cues visible. Say the cue aloud, and then see if you can describe the (covered) notes in full. When you have said as much as you can, remove the paper and compare what you said with what is written. If you can say it, you know it!

Also, add a summary in the space reserved at the bottom of the page to quickly find material later.

Cornell Method in CaptureNotes

There’s a Cornell System Template (Adobe Acrobat PDF format) you can use in CaptureNotes to try in your next lecture! Not only do you get the benefit of having structured notes, but you can have the audio to accompany for spectacular review.


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