The Two-Column Method

To take good notes, you have to find a note taking method that works for you. Unfortunately, finding a method that works for you is not always the simplest task because there are a variety of different methods that you can use, and each method has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. However, it is important to note that there are some methods that will work for almost any note taker, and one of these methods is the Two-Column Method. The Two-Column Method is a note taking strategy in which a note taker draws a line down the center of the page to split each page into two columns. The first column, which is located on the left hand side of the page, is for all of the major topics, subtopics, and key terms that you learn on a particular day. The second column, which is located on the right hand side of the page, is for all of the details and key points that you have learned about the topics, subtopics, and/or key terms that you have written in the first column. This strategy can be very helpful when your teacher or professor is trying to teach you a lot of information in a single class or is trying to teach you a lot of key terms and concepts.

It is important to note, however, that there are a couple of things that you should know about the Two-Column Method before you use it.

    Two-Column Method Details

  • First, it is important to remember that the Two-Column Method is very similar to the Cornell Method (see the Cornell Method article for more information), but the two methods are not exactly the same. This is because the Cornell Method requires you to include a summary, but it doesn’t necessarily require you to make sure that the information in the second column is directly next to the appropriate information in the first column. In other words, the topics that you write in the first column in the Cornell Method do not necessarily need to line up with their details in the second column because you can use headings to separate different topics. The Two-Column Method, on the other hand, doesn’t have a summary, but it does require you to make sure that the information in the second column lines up with the information in the first column.
  • Secondly, the Two-Column Method is designed to create two columns, but you may find it helpful to use more than two columns in some cases. This is because you may encounter a situation in which you need to take notes on your homework, handouts, textbook, visual presentations, or other similar educational aids, and it can be helpful to have a special column for these notes.

Last Updated: 05/19/2014

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