The Cornell Method: A Fast and Efficient Note-Taking System
The Cornell Method is a well-known system that allows for note-taking in a fast and efficient manner. Created and developed in the 1950s by Professor Walter Pauk of Cornell University, this method helps to maintain attention during classes, avoiding wasting time spent in lecture; furthermore, it facilitates subsequent study phases, improving their quality.
The technique, suitable for both high school and university, was originally designed to be used with pen and paper, but PCs and tablets represent a valid alternative. In fact, digital devices make it easy to format text and correct any mistakes quickly.
Divide and Conquer
The Cornell Method involves dividing a sheet into three sections. The largest area is the central one: it occupies about 2/3 of the width of the page and is delimited by a vertical line on the left side. Here, notes should be written in the most essential way possible, using abbreviations (as long as they are understandable), arrows, lists, and symbols. This section will contain the main ideas, avoiding the mere transcription of the entire lecture. It is recommended to make an effort to rephrase the concepts in your own words.
Keywords and Questions
On the left side, we find the area reserved for keywords. It is important to choose one or more terms that summarize the content of the information contained in the right part of the sheet. Not only that: it can also be useful to include functional questions that can be answered in the section dedicated to notes. This exercise can be done during or immediately after the lecture.
Summary and Reflection
The third and final section, at the bottom of the page, can be dedicated to a brief summary of the content, taking care not to copy the upper part word for word. Alternatively, this space can contain personal considerations, questions, or doubts.
The vertical division of the sheet provided by the Cornell Method allows for the best possible review phase. By hiding the right column, it will be useful to review the topic starting from the keywords, or to answer the questions noted on the left side of the page. This way, the repetition of the information will be more effective and stimulating, favoring active learning.
The Cornell Method is definitely a solution to integrate into one's study method, especially for those who have difficulty maintaining attention during lectures, or for those who cannot benefit from traditional note-taking methods. Having an effective method and being able to achieve an optimal level of concentration are essential elements for achieving academic goals.