The Cornell Note Taking System

The Cornell Note Taking System

I recently stumbled across a new system of note taking on wikipedia which looks interesting.  It’s called the Cornell Note Taking System and it can be useful for students that are used to buy their works at websites such as  or similar to it, where students are used to read different kind of articles because it was originally developed and used by a professor there:

The basic idea behind it is to summarize as you go:

On the right side of the page you take regular notes

On the left side of the page you summarize main concepts on the right into a word or two

At the bottom of the page you try to summarize ALL the topics on the page into a sentence


I can imagine this would make it easy to go back and study, reviewing the keywords on the left and sentence on each page.

But I think this might be effective for another reason: it boils down to the psychology technique of “chunking” (which is also discussed in our eBook, 10 Ways To Raise Your Grades By Studying Smarter, Not Harder).  The human brain isn’t good at memorizing more than about 7 similar items with any distinction.  But if you can group items, then you can remember 7 groups of 7.  Further grouping is basically endless.  This is the technique used by people in memorization marathons where they will remember a sequence of thousands of random 1’s and 0’s, or similar feats.


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