The purpose of the note-taking presentation is to introduce students to the Cornell style of taking notes, a popular style created in 1956 by Walter Pauk, a former education professor at Cornell University. The Cornell style provides students with a method for taking, condensing, organizing, and studying notes.


This presentation is perfect for a 50-minute or 75-minute course.

Anticipatory Set

The purpose of an anticipatory set is to allude to concepts students may recognize, serve as an introduction to the lesson, and generate interest in the material.

  • Option 1: "The Alien" is a quick introduction to how we parse and record information.
  • Option 2: "Note Taking: It Sounds Like Greek to Me" illustrates how we don't always write down the correct information in context.
  • Option 3: The "What Is It?" anticipatory set illustrates that there are several ways to look at an object or written passage.

Possible Presentations

General Note-Taking Information - This presentation focuses on general tips to enhance a style already adopted by a student.

Cornell Note-Taking - This presentation's focus is on the efficacy and development of the Cornell style.

Possible Handouts

Cornell Note-Taking: More Than Just Random Thoughts - This two-sided document details the Cornell style as well as the modification using Bloom's Taxonomy.

The Cornell Note-Taking System - This three-page document details the steps necessary for setting up your notes in Cornell.

Desired Outcomes

  • Students will be able to articulate a note-taking mastery technique.
  • Students will be able to develop a study plan in accordance with their desired educational goals.
  • Students will understand how to discuss their notes with their teachers.
  • Students will improve their formulation of test questions by using Bloom's Taxonomy.


A study, conducted by Wichita State University in 2008 reinforced the effectiveness of the style. Those findings may be found in their research titled Comparison of Two Note Taking Methods.

Modifications to the Cornell Model

The Absent Professor Program recommends the use of Bloom's Taxonomy, created in 1956 by Benjamin Bloom to improve communication among educators. Questions may be created in the cue column (rather than the traditional notation of a main idea) to create study guides that enable the student to better prepare for any style of test.

Request the Note-Taking presentation