How to make effective revision notes

How to make effective revision notes

The Cornell method of taking notes is an effective way of revising. Rather than just creating boring notes the process of making Cornell Notes regularly tests your knowledge on a particular subject.

Revision Notes

Buddy holding revision notes
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Use Cornell notes for revision video

Why use the Cornell method?

The Cornell method is like a supercharged note-taking system that helps you ace your revision! It's all about being organized and active while you study. With this method, you can make your notes more exciting and easy to remember. You'll focus on the most important stuff, add your own thoughts, and have a handy summary to review later. It's like having a secret weapon to make studying way cooler and more effective!

How to use Cornell Notes

1) Write down sub-headings

Using a text book write down the sub-headings of your topic. Either lay them all out before you start or do them as you go.

2) Read and write what you know

Read everything under that sub-heading in your text book. Then close the workbook and write everything down that you remember.

3) Write anything you missed

Open your text book and see what you missed. Write this down in a different colour so you know what you found hard to remember.

Repeat steps 1-3 until you have finished the subject.

4) Add questions

Write questions in the left-hand column where the answer can be found on the right.

5) Add a summary

If you can summarise the notes you are on the way to understanding that subject. To write a summary ask yourself, "How would I explain this information to someone else?"


6) Test yourself

Cover over the right-hand side of the page to test yourself with the questions you have written. Or give them to a friend to test you.

How to file and use your notes

1) Print our folder dividers

Print folder divides here. Place them in your folder in plastic punch pockets if you have them.

2) Keep testing

Place your notes under after Test 1. Once you have tested once move it on to under Test 2. Test again and move to Test 3.

3) Rate your success

Once you have done three tests either file under Additional Test if you think you need more practice or under Nailed It if you are happy that you understand it.


  • Don't waste time on the boring bits. Focus on the main ideas and key details—the stuff that really matters.
  • Let your notes shine with vibrant colours! Highlight key points with different hues.
  • Leave room for new ideas. Your notes are like a garden that can bloom with extra information and insights. Keep it open for growth!
  • Keep your tests a week apart before you test again. This is the best way to make sure the information goes into your long-term memory.
  • Make a note in your calendar or diary when you are going to test.
  • Before an exam test yourself again on anything that is in the Additional Test and read the summary of anything in the Nailed It section.
  • Regularly revisit your Cornell notes—it's like playing your favourite song on repeat. The more you review, the better you'll remember.

For more information visit our revision tips page.

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