Study Hacks: How to Use the Cornell Note-Taking System

Using an excellent note-taking system can do wonders for your IELTS preparations. Not only will it complement your lectures as you take the best IELTS online review classes, but it will also reduce the time you need organize and rewrite your lesson scribbles.

The Cornell note-taking system is one of the best ways to write down your lecture notes. Its systematic layout is designed to allow students to synthesize and retain information better.

Cornell Note-Taking System

Here is how you use the Cornell Note-Taking System.

  1. Divide your notebook into two columns with, ideally, 2.5” on the left side and 6” on the right side. Leave a section at the top and a row at the bottom with at least 2”. These division dimensions work best for 11” by 8.5” binders. If your notebook is of another size, alter these measurements to fit yours properly.

    It should look like this:


    It is highly recommended that you use a loose-leaf binder for easy access to the side-most parts of the page.

  2. Fill the top section with the day’s lecture details for easier identification. These include—but are not limited to—the lesson title, the date, and the details of the training materials that were used during the class (e.g. module title and page number). You can also include the details of your IELTS package, such as your review schedule and your instructor’s name, for documentation purposes.

  3. During your lecture, write your notes on the broad column (6”) or the note-taking area. Use graphic organizers like diagrams and graphs for better comprehension. Emphasize the relationship between concepts using arrows and mind-maps. Streamline your notes by using bullets, outlines, and abbreviations.

    Here are some of the things you should jot down in this area:

    • main subject
    • subtopics
    • lecture notes
    • examples
    • information that the instructors always reiterates
  4. After your lecture, identify the lesson’s key points and jot them down on the narrow column (2.5”) or the cue column. This will not only build up your memory but also reinforce the lesson’s cohesion for when you tackle new but related topics in the future. You can also write questions and clarifications in the cue column.

  5. Use the bottom space to summarize the information written above it. It is highly recommended that you do not skip this step as it would determine your comprehension of the topic. If you encounter holes in the information, it is a sign that you need to conduct further research or ask for clarifications from your instructor. Write a reflection about the lesson as well.

Emphasize brevity and accuracy in your lecture notes for the best IELTS online review experience. Streamline your IELTS package and other test preparation activities with the Cornell note-taking system.