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University of Maine at Fort Kent • 23 University Drive, Fort Kent, ME 04743

How to Retain Knowledge When You Study

September 26, 2017
Posted by: David Sands

Photo of an individual sitting at a desk with a pencil in-hand taking notes in a notebook. A laptop sits on the desk in front of this person.

How often do you find yourself taking meticulous notes in class, yet upon reviewing your notes, find that the information isn’t aligning with what you learned? Effectively taking notes during class can be difficult when you’re frantically writing down your professor’s every word before they hurtle on to the next topic.

Taking notes for online classes can be just as difficult, as the professor isn’t always readily available to take questions in the moment due to most lectures being pre-recorded. However, note taking methods exist that help students take notes effectively without losing the context of the initial lecture. One such method, which is perfect for online students, is called the Cornell Note Taking Method.

The Cornell Note Taking Method

Before taking notes using the Cornell Note Taking Method, you must first format your paper correctly with the following steps:

  1. Draw a horizontal line about five or six lines from the bottom. Use a black magic marker to make the line heavy and clearly visible.
  2. Next, draw a vertical line from the top of the page to the previously drawn horizontal line approximately two inches from the left side of your paper. Your lines should look like the letter “I,” but with the vertical line closer to the left edge of the page.

You’re now ready to begin taking notes. Use the large box to the right for writing out notes. Use the smaller box to the left for key points. Make sure to skip a line between every idea, and abbreviate where possible.

You can use this format to pull out the main ideas, key dates, points and people and insert the information into the left column. Review your notes as soon as possible after class to retain and reinforce the information and data you’ve learned.

Use the bottom part of the page below the horizontal line to write a summary of all the main concepts you’ve learned or need to remember. Re-read your notes beginning with the right column, then move to the left column and review the key bullet points. Finish by reviewing the summary at the bottom of the page to snag that A+ on your next test!

Make Distance Learning Easy with the University of Maine at Fort Kent

The Cornell Note Taking Method pairs perfectly with online classes at the University of Maine at Fort Kent. Our online classes suit a variety of learning styles and are optimized for convenience. With our courses you learn valuable job skills and acquire new knowledge to supplement and build upon existing knowledge.

Register and enroll in one of our online classes today!