Which recording method is best used for computer science. The Cornel method or the subsequent method developed by Scott Young who mastered the MIT program in a year.

To be honest, I have problems keeping notes. Or it’s rewritten textbooks. Or it’s rewritten truncated textbooks. Or these are bare examples without explanation.

When conducting a synopsis, my thoughts are not logical and not consistent. Well, speaking in short, when I open my synopsis, I don’t understand anything in it.

  • $\begingroup$ Your first question is certainly topical, so no worries on that front. I'm willing to bet that there has been all of zero research addressing this question, so it will be interesting to see what people come up with. $\endgroup$
    – Ben I.
    Aug 1, 2019 at 16:16
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    $\begingroup$ I'm less sure about the second question. Also, could you do me a favor? Could you remove the second part, and put it in its own question? There should only be one question per question in general, and the two parts you've written are really quite distinct. $\endgroup$
    – Ben I.
    Aug 1, 2019 at 16:17
  • $\begingroup$ @BenI. There might not be any serious research relating to the CS field. There is, however, some research done on note taking for English classes. Kiel Jacobs, 2008 $\endgroup$ Aug 1, 2019 at 19:43

1 Answer 1


Based on what you say about yourself, I'd guess that the Cornel system is probably better than either of the other two described here. But that is just because you suggest that you seem to lack the ability, currently, to pull out the big ideas as they occur and the other two methods depend on doing that.

But, the goal of all of this isn't really effective note taking. You can have the best notes in the world and still not learn anything. The goal is to learn and to do that you need to reinforce the ideas that are presented, not just capture them in notes. But note that the Cornel system, as described at the link, includes this step as an essential part. Review the notes you take.

I'd go farther, actually. Not only review the notes, but write summaries of them periodically. And don't wait too long before doing that, so you don't lose the track of what you were learning in the meantime.

Another reinforcement trick is to write the important ideas on note cards and always carry a few of these around with you, along with a few blank cards and a pen. Then you can review while otherwise spending wasted time waiting for a bus or whatever.

But in a subject like CS or mathematics where you are actually expected to do something with what you learn, it is also important to do exercises and solve problems soon after any lesson. This will, again, firm up the learning. Even better if there is someone to give you feedback on your solutions. This normally happens when exercises are assigned, but you might have to arrange it on your own for others. Study groups can be useful for this if they are well designed, requiring actual work from every member. Reading solutions is nothing like producing them.

For what it's worth I now just capture ideas on directly on note cards. One idea per card. I can then group and rearrange the ideas by physically manipulating the cards. Summaries can be developed from the cards. Questions can be written on the backs of the cards. Different colored cards can be used for different sorts of things.


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