OSCM2: Cornell Note-Taking

You are may already be familiar with the Cornell Note-Taking method. It also seeks to curate content from a variety of web sources. 

The Curve of Forgetting describes how we retain or get rid of information that we take in. (source)

On Day 1, you go in knowing nothing, or 0%. At the end of the first encounter with new information you know 100% of what you know, however well you know it (where the curve rises to its highest point). 

By Day 2, if you have done nothing with the information you learned in that initial encounter, didn't think about it again, read it again, etc. you will have lost 50%-80% of what you learned. Our brains are constantly recording information on a temporary basis. Because the information isn't necessary, and it doesn't come up again, our brains dump it all off, along with what was learned that you actually do want to hold on to! 

By Day 7, we remember even less, and by Day 30 we retain only about 2%-3% of the original hour! This may account for feeling as if you've never seen this before in your life when you're studying for exams - you may need to actually re-learn it from scratch. This is all reflected in the Curve of Forgetting at the top of the graphic. 

Rate of Forgetting (source)

A big signal to your brain to hold onto a specific chunk of information is if that information comes up again. When the same thing is repeated, your brain says, "Oh-there it is again, I better keep that." When you are exposed to the same information repeatedly, it takes less and less time to "activate" the information in your long term memory and it becomes easier for you to retrieve the information when you need it.

Here's the case for making time to review material: 

Within 24 hours of getting the information - spend 10 minutes reviewing and you will raise the curve almost to 100% again. A week later (Day 7), it only takes 5 minutes to "reactivate" the same material, and again raise the curve. 

By Day 30, your brain will only need 2-4 minutes to give you the feedback, "Yup, I know that. Got it.” 

Try to aim for multiple repetitions with the material by following the 10-24-7 model: within ten minutes of first taking the notes, then again within 24 hours, and again about a week later. 

This is where the different steps of the CORNELL WAY assist you in gaining these multiple repetitions. 

Get template in Landscape | Portrait version

Pauk, Walter; Owens, Ross J. Q. (2010). How to Study in College (10 ed.). Boston, MA: Wadsworth. ISBN 978-1-4390-8446-5. Chapter 10: “The Cornell System: Take Effective Notes”, pp. 235-277 

1- Select a Text

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts sea levels will rise almost half a meter by 2100. That water will displace several million people on coastlines around the world. Much of the water will come from the region around Pine Island Bay. Specifically, it will come from what’s been dubbed the “Doomsday Glacier”: Thwaites, one of our planet’s largest glaciers, which is roughly as extensive as Great Britain.

Glaciers form when snow is compacted into ice over hundreds of years. As the weight of new snow and ice presses down, the ice beneath starts to flow like a river. Thwaites is an outlet glacier, meaning it flows all the way to the ocean. There, its coastal edge stretches 120 kilometers in a dazzling white wall of ice that looms up to 40 meters above the surface of the ocean and reaches over 200 meters deep.

Thwaites and its neighbor Pine Island Glacier drain about one-third of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet—the ice sheet extending west from the natural dividing line of the Transantarctic Mountains. The two glaciers are breaking up into icebergs far more quickly than new ice can be created. Already they contribute five percent of annual sea level rise, or roughly 0.18 millimeters annually: the equivalent of dumping over 20 million Olympic-sized swimming pools into the ocean each year. And if Thwaites collapses, its shape and location mean the rest of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet could go with it. All told, that’s enough water to raise sea levels by over three meters, redrawing coastlines and transforming the planet we know.

2- Explore Digital Tools

There are several ways to create Cornell Notes. I find doing so on paper to be more beneficial since a digital version may result in taking notes verbatim rather than thinking and summarizing.

Paper versions

Google Docs

Microsoft OneNote

Cornell Note-Taking Process

3- Share Your Creation

You will need to share your creation via this Padlet . Follow these instructions: