When it comes to effective studying and flow-based note-taking, the Cornell note method has worked for top performers since it was invented in the 1950s, and it is still being used by top performers today. This method specializes in condensing and streamlining your notes. And it does this by organizing input into two columns: keywords and notes.
It is an easy and effective way to start taking great notes, but it might take time to prepare a good, functional outline. To help you out, here is a collection of Cornell Notes Templates for you to download for free and start using right away. They come as Word documents so you can easily modify them to fit your needs.
Cornell Style Notes Template in Microsoft Word
Biology Cornell Notes Template in Word Doc
Section Cornell Notes Template in Word Doc
How to Win with the Cornell Note System
The Cornell Note Taking Template should work for anyone trying to take comprehensive and detailed notes that can be put to actual use later on.
You should definitely check out this method if you are
- a college student or a high school student attending lectures or taking notes from long-winded, information-packed textbooks;
- a full-time professional routinely involved in any group discussions or high-stakes meetings aiming for a practical outcome; and/or
- a self-taught person attending interesting conferences or reading interesting books that you want to remember for years.
Most of these free note layouts are set as a School Cornell Notes Template, but they can be easily modified for a business or personal study setting.
Here’s Why It Works
The surprising fact is many students don’t know how to take good notes, or they misunderstand the actual purpose of note-taking. Notes are not for studying—they are for reviewing.
Studying is what happens during or before the note-taking step, not after. You have to learn something new in order to make notes, and so you have to write down only what you understood.
A good note-taking system like the Cornell method will then help you effectively review and recover the information you spent studying. This prevents you from going over the material again and again. Instead, this method forces you to understand the material in depth while you are taking notes.
It accomplishes this by the 2 simple columns:
The Cornell method helps you link information to certain key words and phrases. These are the “big ideas” you have to understand. The related notes on the second column have to be condensed to the point, and this forces you to have a good grasp on the core idea.
When reviewing these notes, you only have to run through the keywords column and see if you can recall the linked information. This helps deep recall and saves you from rote-memorizing, which is a losing strategy.
Printable Cornell Note Taking Template in Word
Simple Cornell Notes Template in MS Word
Blank Cornell Note Template in Word
How to Start Using the Cornell Note Method
If you’re looking for an easy way to start using this method, use the Blank Cornell Note Template in Word, which comes with some guidelines on how to use the columns. After a while, you should be able to make use of any basic Cornell template, depending on your needs.
You can look for a great Cornell Notes Template for MAC if you find it faster to take notes on your computer. But all that’s really needed for success is the technique and the mind-set.
Understand the method, get the tools down, and you’re good to go.