The Simple Yet Effective Cornell Method Helps You Take Better Notes

A science-backed method that works even on busy days.

Eva Keiffenheim
All Things Work
Published in
4 min readJul 25, 2023

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Created by Eva Keiffenheim through MidJourney AI

Have you ever wondered why some of your notes seem to disappear into a void while others stick like superglue?

The secret to effective note-taking lies in how you’re taking them.

Note-taking is a skill that can help you become more efficient while studying, working, and learning.

As a learning science nerd, I’ve written countless articles on advanced strategies like Zettelkasten note-taking and managing them through tools like RoamResearch.

While these strategies are great, they require initial time and effort to start. And not everyone wants to spend hours learning a new note-taking method.

So in this article, you’ll get a simple and science-backed method to take better notes — even on hectic days. You can use this system for lectures, online courses, and meetings. Ultimately, this method can help you become more efficient while studying, working, and learning.

The Cornell Note-Taking System

The Cornell Note-taking system takes little preparation and comes with various benefits. Designed by Walter Pauk at Cornell University, this method involves a structured format that encourages note organization, review, and active engagement with the material.

To use this method, divide your page into three sections — the largest one is for your main notes, a smaller one on the side for cues and questions, and a summary section at the bottom.

Source: Umass.Edu

Here’s another example — Eva Hörtrich used the Cornell Note-Taking Strategy to summarize “Make it Stick,” one of my favorite learning science books. Again, we see a section for cues on the left, notes on the right, and a summary of critical points on the bottom.

Source: Eva Hörtrich

Two Things to Keep in Mind

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Eva Keiffenheim
All Things Work

Learning enthusiast, TEDx speaker, and writer with +3M views | Elevate your love for learning with my free, weekly Learn Letter: http://bit.ly/learnletter