Cornell Note Taking Method | University of Portland

Cornell Note Taking Method


Reduce your notes to use as cues for Reciting, Reviewing and Reflecting


Record the lecture or textbook readings notes.

This technique provides the opportunity to use the 5 R's of note taking and can be used with the SQ3R method for textbook reading.

  1. Record - During the lecture or textbook reading, record in this column the most important facts and ideas presented.
  2. Reduce - As soon after the lecture as possible, review your notes to see if they make logical sense, and then summarize (reduce) the facts into key words and phrases in the recall column. Write in questions you think might be asked on an exam. These key words will act as test questions when you study. Note any areas that need clarification.
  3. Recite - Cover the Main column. Using only your cues and questions, see how much of the content you can recall aloud. Then uncover your notes to see how accurate you were. This procedure is extremely effective in transferring facts into your long term memory.
  4. Reflect - Take some time to think about the information in your notes. Line up your recall columns to see the overall organization of the chapter. Use the back side of your notepaper to write down any questions, additional information, drawings, details that might need further explanations.
  5. Review - If you review your notes regularly (10 minutes every week or so), you'll retain most of the information. Studying for an exam will then be a review process, not a learning process.