Often students are expected to take notes while teachers espouse important information in a lecture format. Some teachers may hand out guided notes to help students through the process. While this is a handy tool, it may not help students develop their own effective note taking methods.
The easiest method and best tool for test preparation is the Cornell Note Taking Method (CNM). It requires only a pen or pencil and a designated 70 page spiral notebook for each class. This helps to keep the notes from each subject separated and organized in sequential order.
Follow the simple steps below to build one more executive functioning skill.
- Hold your notebook so the spiral and binder holes are on the left-hand-side of the page.
- Imagine the paper divided vertically in thirds. Draw a line or make a fold to separate the first third from the rest of the page. (See picture of sample page below.)
- You are now ready to begin.
- Write the title of the unit at the top of the page. (i.e. Plants)
- As the teacher introduces new terms write the words in the left hand column of your page. (i.e. Roots)
- Use the remainder of the page to the right to note details regarding this term, including pictures or diagrams that may aid understanding and later for memory. (i.e. Absorb water & minerals, anchor plant, store food)
- Draw a horizontal line across the page when notes for that term are complete.
- When the next new term is introduced, write the word below the horizontal line and begin again. Continue until lecture is complete.
- At the bottom of the last page of notes each day, leave space to write a brief summary of the lecture. This is also a good place to note where further clarification is needed and highlight (as a reminder) to ask at the next class meeting.
The CNM method is also a great tool when it comes time for test preparation. Simply fold the paper so only the terms can be seen to test memory of the details. Anything forgotten will be right there for easy reference.
And please let me know how this works for you. I welcome your comments, questions, and suggestions of topics you would like me to address in future posts.