How to study efficiently: The Cornell Notes Method

Hello. My name is Emma, and in today’s
video I am going to teach you an amazing way to
listen and take notes. This method I am going to teach
you today is really, really going to help you, and I know this because I use
this method myself, and I found it has really, really helped me when I was in university,
during meetings, during all sorts of different situations. This
method really works. So, first, before I teach you about the method,
I want you to think about yourself and I want you to think about: When do you take notes?
Okay? So, when do you listen and when do you take notes? So, some of you might think…
Maybe you’re in university, maybe you’re in college, maybe you’re in high school, and you
have to listen to your teacher talk, and you have to take notes to help you remember
what they are saying. Maybe you’ve graduated and you’re working in a business, and you
have meetings and… Or presentations, and you also need to take notes. So, this method
will work for whether you’re working or you’re studying. Maybe you’re taking the IELTS or the
TOEFL, this can also help you on the TOEFL test in terms of improving your
listening and taking notes. So, how do you take notes? Okay? I know some
students, they watch their professor or their teacher talk, and they use their computer, and
they just type everything their professor or teacher says. Is this something you do?
Maybe you write your notes, and you write every single thing your professor says down
on a piece of paper, or anything somebody says. Well, there are a couple of problems
with these methods, and I’m going to explain to you some of the problems now. So, for people
who like to take notes by computer, there are some advantages of this. You’re able to
type really quickly and you’re able to get a lot of what you hear down on your computer,
and it’s easy to save. But the problem with this is it’s a type of passive listening.
So, a lot of the times you’re not actually using your brain to interpret what you’re
listening to, and you’re not actively listening. You’re just copying word for word, you’re
not actually doing anything active with the material you’re listening to. So, working with a
computer-and I’ve seen this in my university-a lot of students also end up going on Facebook
during the lesson or lecture. So, a lot of the times they get very distracted. When they
should be listening, they’re actually not. So, for me personally and I think for a lot of
people, using a computer to take notes is not the best method. Again, for some people
it might work, but for a lot of people it doesn’t. A lot of the times it’s actually
better to take notes by hand, and the reason is when you take notes by hand, you have to
think about what you’re writing because writing takes a bit longer than typing. So you’re
organizing the material, therefore it’s more of an active way to listen. Okay? And they’ve
done psychology studies on this, and they do find that taking your notes by hand is
often better than taking notes by a computer. So, today I am going to teach you a way to
take notes by hand using what is called “The Cornell Method”. This method was developed
at Cornell University, and a lot of universities actually encourage students to use this method
because it is very good. So, what is the Cornell Method? Okay, well, I’m glad you asked. So, I
have here an example of how you would organize your paper. Imagine this is your paper that
you take your notes on. What you can do is you can make a box just like this where you
have a box where you write the title and the date of the lesson, you have a square or a
rectangle here, you have a rectangle here, and you have a rectangle at the bottom. Okay?
So, in total you have-one, two, three, four -four different rectangles. Now, what do you do? So, I already said you
write the title here and the date here. In this column, you’re going to write the main
idea or the keyword a professor is using. Now, if this is confusing, that’s okay because
I will show you an example of a finished note. Okay? But for now, just to explain, in this
column we’re going to write any big, important words. Okay? So if you’re learning about, you
know, gravity, you might write the word: “gravity” here. Okay? You can also write questions
here. “What is gravity?” Or you can write the main idea. So this is just almost like
the big ideas that you’re listening to. This is where we write the smaller ideas, the
details. So if you’re learning about history or, you know, something like that, you can write
the dates here. Okay? Maybe you’re learning about Shakespeare, so you might write, you
know: “Shakespeare” here and when he was born, when he died. You can write details, details
about what you’re learning. Definitions. If you’re learning a new word, you can write the
meaning here. If you’re taking a science class, you can write your formulas here. You
can write examples here. Maybe if they’re explaining, you know, something about science
and something about, you know, planets, you can write an example here about Mercury. And
you can also draw pictures here. A lot of students, they don’t put pictures in their
notes, but it actually is a great idea to help with understanding and to also help you
remember what you’re… What you’re learning. So here you write the big ideas or the keywords,
here is the detail, and finally at the bottom, after, you know, you’ve gone through the notes…
So while you’re listening to your professor or your teacher, you’re writing here and here.
And then once the class is over, you think about what you learned, and you look. You
look here, you look here, and then you can write maybe four or five things that you learned
today. Just by thinking about that at the end of each class will really, really help
you to remember, you know, the material. So this is a very active way to take notes
because you’re organizing things, you’re using a lot of brain power which is good, and you’re
going to remember a lot more than if you just type up everything the professor says on the
computer or if you just write everything the professor says on the computer. The other
great thing about this method is it’s so easy when you’re studying for a test or an exam.
You can find ideas very quickly. So, if you want to go back to about
gravity, you can look for: “Okay, where is gravity?
Oh, here’s gravity.” And then you can read up on some of the
details about gravity. So it’s very, very good for organizing your notes, which
will help you in terms of your test. So now I’m going to show you an actual example of the
Cornell Method with actual notes in them. Okay, so imagine I’m actually listening to a
teacher talk about the history of English, and I’ve just written my notes. Okay? So now
I’m going to talk about what I wrote. So here is the title. The lesson I listened to is
called “English 101”. Whenever you see “101” that usually means it’s an introduction to
something. I’ve written the date here. This isn’t the real date. It’s not 2060, but I
have no idea when you’re going to watch this, so I’ve decided to just make up a date. So,
here, again, are the key ideas or main words. So… Or questions. I have here: “What is
English?”, “Dialects”, and “American vs. British”. So, the beauty about this is when I’m studying
for my test, I can quickly find the material. If I need to find out: What’s the difference
between America vs. British, I can just scan and go right here. Okay? Here I have all the details. So, notice this
has a lot more words than this. This is just one or two words, whereas this is a lot more
information. So, here under the question: “What is English?” I wrote: It’s official…
It’s the official language in 60 countries. It’s the most widely learned second language,
and it’s an Indo-European language. Okay? So you’ll notice I didn’t write full sentences
here. There’s no point. You’re trying to write as quickly as you can. So
instead of, you know, writing: “It’s the official language of 60 countries”,
I just put: “60 countries=official”, and I could write “lang” here. This is short for “language”. If you can and
you keep hearing the same words again and again in your lecture, you don’t have to write
them out fully. You can find a short form to write. Any time I see this, I know: “Okay,
language.” Just like down here: “diff”, for me that’s “difference”. So I don’t have to
waste time writing it all out. Okay, so this is: “What is English?” And then I have dialects: Jamaican, Indian,
Australian, New Zealand, Canadian, etc. A dialect is a type of English. There are many
different types of English. And maybe the professor talks too quickly and you have no
idea: “What is a dialect? I don’t understand.” That’s… That’s good. What you can do with
that is down here you can also write questions you have about the material. You know: “I
don’t know what a dialect is. Look up later.” Or something like this. So this can also help
you see what you need to look into or what you can ask your teacher
or professor about. Okay. And then over here I have: “American vs. British”.
So, the teacher was talking about American vs. British English. So I wrote: “er” pronunciation,
it’s different between American and British English. The vocabulary can be different. And
again, I would write a bunch of examples here. You know, maybe I might write: “lift vs.
elevator is different”, or you know, real examples. This is just an example. It’s not
totally filled out. You would have a lot more detail when you listen to
a lecture or a lesson. So if you’re actually interested
in American vs. British English and the differences, we do have a
video on that at And what I actually highly recommend is
for you to try to listen to that video, and you know, practice this method. Write the
title of the video, the date, write some of the key points the teacher is going to talk about,
and some of the details. You can do that with any videos on our website and, you know, for
practice and it will actually help you learn the material better and remember the material
more. And then you can use this again in high school, in university, in college, in
business meetings, wherever you need to take notes. The last thing I wanted to say is: “Today
I learned”. Once you have listened to the lecture, think about the material and think
about: “What did I learn today?” So maybe today I learned that there are many types of
English. There’s Jamaican, Indian, Australian, there’s so many different types. Maybe today I
learned there’s a difference between American English and British English in terms of “er”
pronunciation. I recommend writing, you know, multiple things here. You usually learn at least
four or five things in a lesson, probably more. But what you can do is think about:
What are the four most important things I learned today? And write those four of the
most important things down. This will really, really help you to
remember the material. So, I’d like you to come visit
our website at There, we have a lot more resources
on all sorts of different topics where you can practice using this
method while you watch our videos. You can also subscribe to my YouTube channel
where you’ll find a lot of other resources, a lot of great resources on all sorts
of different topics about English. So until next time, thank you
for watching and take care.


  1. Micah Bennett

    July 17, 2019 at 5:05 pm

    is the first 3mins and 59 seconds the introduction of this video?

  2. abdalla osman

    July 28, 2019 at 6:31 pm

    This is fastening ones

  3. DJ Trump

    July 28, 2019 at 7:02 pm

    So glad she let us know that's not the real date.

  4. Life ForEver

    July 29, 2019 at 6:10 am

    A w e s o m e ! ! ! ! ! !

  5. Anonymous Person

    August 4, 2019 at 7:45 pm

    Thanks for explaining in a very lucid manner.


    August 8, 2019 at 3:34 am

    How many are from VIT AP?

  7. Max Lin

    August 14, 2019 at 3:32 am

    Year 2060. Dont know if youtube is still around by then. hahaha

  8. NASSER Mohammed Burhan

    August 15, 2019 at 7:46 am

    thanks alot Emma


    August 15, 2019 at 1:19 pm


  10. Moayad Srour

    August 17, 2019 at 10:45 pm

    who's here in 2019!!

  11. LI OVAV

    August 18, 2019 at 11:18 am

    tnx for explain this method

  12. hEhE hEhE

    August 21, 2019 at 10:20 pm

    Anybody here from Mr.H's class?

  13. Sun Caprio

    September 12, 2019 at 2:17 pm

    very good method.thaks for sharing

  14. meme lord

    September 13, 2019 at 7:50 pm

    ok thz but um you take to long

  15. ThirdSoundPiano

    October 2, 2019 at 4:33 pm

    Video ends at 13:50
    You're welcome

  16. Tootsie Babe

    October 3, 2019 at 3:53 am

    where she explains what the method is: 4:00

  17. Marlene Aparecida

    October 4, 2019 at 11:57 am

    excellent, thanks

  18. Samirah Samir

    October 8, 2019 at 10:36 pm

    This video help me A lot wAllahi. I got headache coz of how my teachers teach me i couldn’t understand it but now better than before Alhamdulilah 😊🤗

  19. Fatiha Faik

    October 12, 2019 at 8:20 pm


  20. Hashir Jamil

    October 13, 2019 at 3:00 am

    I always found this to be an overrated gimmicky and cumbersome method

    Class is for getting the stuff down homework is for writing it out neatly and organizing it in a method like this

    If you do this in class i guarantee you you will mess your notes up because of the borders and lines you draw constraining the space you can use

    If you study for a test with in class notes then your most likely not in a rigorous program or dont have serious goals for marks

  21. Mohsin Azeem

    October 15, 2019 at 9:01 pm

    Hye give me ur no.
    We will learn English together.
    Then we will make our family.

  22. Thuy Truong

    October 17, 2019 at 5:30 pm

    I don't know what "er" means

  23. Dunn Ngo

    October 23, 2019 at 3:49 am

    your very attractive face distracted me from learning.

  24. John Doe

    October 23, 2019 at 3:43 pm

    I'd say this is a pretty crappy method. It's just in a box. If you take this all out the box then you have notes. Idkkk I guess I'll use this and make my own shape.

  25. ARCGrayist

    October 23, 2019 at 10:52 pm

    Who's here in 2060?!?! AYYE

  26. pow007

    October 24, 2019 at 9:35 am

    This video stressed me out LMFAO

  27. livresque livresque

    October 25, 2019 at 10:49 pm

    The problem is that the professor speaks too quick, so we can't apply this method when he's speaking, this will take a lot of time

  28. Jennelle Joshua

    October 26, 2019 at 12:36 pm

    Was really helpful..People should really start appreciating others.Stop with the mean comments

  29. MedinaAaliya

    October 27, 2019 at 9:50 pm

    thank you

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