“Organize, don’t agonize.” -Nancy Pelosi.
As high school students, we need to take notes in class everyday, especially in math, science, and history. I find myself so confused when looking back at notes to study for exams, hunting through a mass of information using the typical bullet point format for notes. That is why I would recommend every single student to make use of Cornell notes! This style of note taking makes it easier to organize and distinguish certain information from one another under a single topic. Just take a peek at the left hand column and you would be able to identify the topic you’re searching for. Not only does the spacing makes your notes look clean, but it can also be personalized to your own liking.
Cornell notes are very efficient, so why aren’t more people wanting to use it? Well, it could be the fact that some people are too lazy to make two simple lines on their piece of paper, or possibly traumatized by teachers forcing them to
take notes this way. All that you would really need to draw is one horizontal line on the first line of the paper to separate the notes from the main title, and then a vertical line about 2 inches from the left side of the paper. To make it more interesting, you could also try creating dotted lines, curvy swirls, or funky waves to separate out the sections. This left section of the paper is used to list different smaller headings related to the main topic. When taking notes on a story, I would often times just label the headings based the name of chapters, or the headings they have already provided for you.
Try playing around with different fonts, or use a wide range of colored pens to differentiate between the headings. Nothing could ever go wrong with being so colorful! According to FastCompany.com, color coding your notes can make you a more efficient thinker. Not only does it help you map out your mind, but it also stimulates your inner creativity. Colors will make your notes come alive, compared to looking at monotonous granite text and scribbles on the infinite bright blue lines. However, you should not go overboard with this, for these will be notes so you can study, and not become distracted by your extreme art expressions
Here is how you should take Cornell notes:
- First of all, it is most important to always write your name and date on the upper right hand corner, just in case your paper rips out of your notebook and you lose it.
- Using either a college ruled lined paper or plain white paper, draw a vertical line down the paper, about two inches wide from the left edge of the paper. You could carry around a ruler to do this, but it would work either way using any sort of straight edge too.
- Next make labels by writing the title on the first line of the paper, making sure it is written in a larger font compared to your regular handwriting to distinguish between notes and titles.
- On the left column section, write the different headings appropriate to the key concept to what you are taking notes on.
- On the large right hand section, take brief notes corresponding to the appropriate heading. Try paraphrasing important information in your own words, based on the way you best understand things. **Remember, these are your own notes you will use to study for tests and quizzes, so make sure you know what you’re writing. This sections is also available for tiny sketches and drawings related to your topic (hence, another opportunity to unleash your beautiful artistic skills!)
- After you completely finish writing your last bullet point, draw a line underneath it and label this bottom section “SUMMARY”. Write down the main ideas of what you have learned about the topic and includes some questions you still have for the teacher.