How to study efficiently: The Cornell Notes Method
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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 www.engvid.com.
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