My Modified Cornell Note-taking System

One of my high school teachers introduced the Cornell Note-taking System to us.  To be honest, at the time I rarely read any of the required reading and took minimal notes so I did not think much about it.  It wasn’t until later when I was attending meetings at my job and taking graduate classes at night that I recalled the system and implemented it.

The system was created by Walter Pauk from Cornell University and was based on the 5 Rs of note taking: Record, Reduce, Recite, Reflect and Review.  Below is the basic format of your notes page and information on how to use it.




I find this format works very well for classes and when studying.  With some modifications, I have also found it effective for meetings and the business world.

  • The note-taking column is the same.  While in meetings, I jot down notes.  I put the date and meeting name before each new set of notes.
  • After the meeting, I review the notes and identify key information in the left column.  This allows me an easier time of reviewing notes afterwards.
  • On the bottom section, I have replaced a summary with action items.  This allows me a consistent place to capture actions and an easy way to see what actions are completed vs. outstanding.



I don’t often use pen/paper anymore as most of my information is stored electronically.  If I do find myself with pen and paper, this is the system that I always use.

1 thought on “My Modified Cornell Note-taking System”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *