Overview of method*: The Cornell note-taking system is a widely-used notetaking system devised in the 1950s by Walter Pauk, an education professor at Cornell University. Pauk advocated its use in his best-selling How to Study in College.
The student divides the paper into two columns: the note-taking column (usually on the right) is twice the size of the key word column (on the left). Notes from a lecture or textbook are written in the note-taking column. Afterwards, relevant questions or key words are written in the key word column. The student also writes a short summary on the last four lines.
The student then covers up the note-taking column and responds to the questions/keywords in the key word column. The student is encouraged to reflect on the material and review the notes regularly. The Cornell method provides a systematic format for condensing and organizing notes.
* Text taken from wikipedia.org's article on Cornell Notes.