To use the Cornell note taking system, divide you page into three sections as shown below:
The three areas of the note taking template are used as follows:
- Add bullet points, brief information
- Add more detail in the main area
- Write a summary at the end
When in lectures make notes in sections one and two. After the lecture think about what has been learned and write a summary.
Writing the summary is good revision in itself, thinking properly about the information presented in a lecture will help you retain it. The more you think about the topics you are studying, the more familiar you become with the subject, and the more easily you will find subsequent revision.
What you should end up with at the end of this process are notes that are easily read (the bullets / brief notes in section one). Being able to quickly read / scan your notes for relevant information will greatly assist you in your revision.
If you find what you are looking for in section 1, then you have additional detail near to it in section 2.
The summary in section 3 try and summarize the essence of what has been said. Make sure you capture all the key points and try and put these in some kind of context. The idea being that you can read the summary at a later point, as a quick memory jogger. This section will be particularly useful in the later stages of revision, when you already understand the topic, and are just looking for reminders to cram with before the exam.