How to revise using funnel notes

By Matt Burdett, 22 February 2020

This article is about how to use funnel notes to help you revise for Geography exams.

Funnel notes are a great way to ensure you have covered the information several times, and end up with a really good understanding of everything from the big to the small. There are five steps:

  1. Write down everything – literally everything – in full. It doesn’t matter if you use sentences, paragraphs, bullet points or diagrams, so long as you have everything on the page. Just make sure you aren’t copying the textbook. Use as many sources as you can in the time available.
  2. Look at the amount of space you’ve used for your notes. Take one sheet of paper, and from memory (that’s important!) write it all out again, but limiting yourself to the information that can fit on one page.
  3. Look at your work. Think carefully: what’s the most important thing? Then, take a post-it, or a flashcard, and write down the most important information. Again, do it from memory!
  4. You’ve now got the most important information on a single flashcard or post-it. Great! That’s the key thing you need to know. But of course, you want more detail for the exam. So now, take the same size paper you had in Step 2, and write as much as you can remember. When you’ve done, compare it to your original Step 2 notes and add anything you missed.
  5. So, now do Step 1 again, this time from memory. And then compare it to the original Step 1 you did using the books. Add in what’s missing.

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Awesome work! Think about it: you’ve now written:

  • the most important thing five times
  • the second most important stuff four times, and
  • the least important stuff twice.

This is going to help the important things stick in your head, and that’s what revision is all about.

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