SERIES PREMIERE – Study Tips – How to be a Great Student – Cornell Notes

This is the FIRST EPISODE of our new series on How to Be a Great Student! In this episode, we learn about the CORNELL METHOD.


This is a great method for taking notes in class (or from your textbook, or watching a video). There’s no way to remember every word of a lecture. But taking great lecture notes is the first step to getting good grades and being a great student.

The most important rule is don’t write down every word. Listen carefully, then write simplified and abbreviated phrases that capture the main ideas.

When you get home, RE-READ your notes! Proofread them, making corrections as needed before you forget. Check your notes with a friend! In the margin, write brief headers that will cue your memory of each section of your notes.

Finally, write a summary at the bottom of the page so you can quickly tell what this page of notes is all about.

Do you have a different method of taking notes? Let us know what are your favourite study tips in the comments!



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Are you curious about how we filmed these videos?  Check out our episode of Socratica Backstage about this video shoot:  Socratica Backstage: Overhead Mirrored Shots

Watch the trailer for our Study Tips: How to Be a Great Student series



My first screen-cast for Socratica: “Balancing Chemical Equations”

I’ve been writing and editing and producing videos for Socratica for a little over a year now.  That’s been all behind-the-scenes work.  It’s been gratifying to see my ideas take form and finally appear as a finished little movie on YouTube.  Every now and then, however, I think maybe I have been a little too behind the scenes.  We get comments on our videos sometimes – that are being performed by actors – “You’re so smart! How do you know all these things?”  Errmmm.  Our actors are very bright and thoughtful people, but it is a bit of an ego blow to think that the audience doesn’t realize there is a whole production team writing and editing that material for our actors to perform.  I guess I know how most screenwriters feel.  When was the last time someone fawned over the brilliant minds behind our most beloved movies?  We give all of the attention to the faces on the big screen.

Not that I want to be signing autographs or anything. I think, for instance, that the cult of ego is taken to the extreme in some cases on online personalities.  Look at Sal Khan, for instance, who Bill Gates called “the best teacher I’ve ever seen.”  I guess he doesn’t know many teachers. That’s what happens when someone becomes an online celebrity instead of – well, instead of what I’m trying to be – a maker of beautiful, quality educational materials.  It’s really okay if people don’t know my name, as long as they have found the best videos that help them learn.

This week, I made my first attempt at a screencast video, on one of the most common problems for chemistry students, “balancing chemical equations.”  In this video, I work through 5 examples using the “inspection” or “trial-and-error” method.  In a follow-up video, I’ll demonstrate solving the same examples using the algebraic method.

My latest foray into educational videos is still somewhat anonymous – I won’t appear in these screencast videos except for my voice.  Maybe one of these days I’ll actually show my face in a video.  And then WATCH OUT WORLD!


Welcome to Socratica

A year ago, I left classroom teaching and focused my attentions on creating content for Socratica Studios, a company started by Michael Harrison (my tall dark and handsome husband).  We’ve been making “green screen” videos out of our own studio – on a variety of subjects (math, chemistry, art, opera, etc.) and in a variety of different languages (English, Spanish, French, German, Russian, Portuguese).  We are dedicated to making beautiful, high-quality learning materials available to everyone.  This is an offshoot of our original venture, making educational phone apps.

Here’s our English YouTube channel:

Socratica Studios

Our other channels are

Socratica Español,

Socratica Français,

Socratica Deutsch,

Socratica Русский,

Socratica Português, and

Socratica Kids.

And here are our phone apps in the Google Play store:

Socratica Phone Apps

Please subscribe, tell us what you think, and stay tuned for more developments!



Our Spanish actress Liliana De Castro in the studio


After a little work with Adobe Premiere and After Effects, Liliana is now in the French countryside, talking about art.