Student Support Resource | How to Take Cornell Notes for Revision with Sonocent

Do you support students who struggle to focus on study tasks without having clear processes to follow? Applying the Cornell note-taking method could be the answer.

With Cornell notes, students create memory triggers that rigorously test their recall of subject matter. These notes come into their own at revision time. Below is a 5-step audio-centric study strategy for applying the Cornell method with Sonocent.

Download this study strategy as a printable PDF

1. Create a Personalised Colour Key

Your students can do this with our free companion app, by selecting: Settings > Edit Colour Keys > +

When creating their Colour Key, your students should consider what labels will be most useful when they come to revise. Below is an example of a Colour Key created by a student on a Computer Science and Mathematics degree.


Cornell Notetaking Colour Key Example


DSA professional? Have your students downloaded our Sonocent Link app?


2. Record and Colour Highlight

The student should make sure their new Colour Key is selected before they start recording. If it’s not, they can select it from the Settings menu.

As they listen, the student can highlight individual phrases of audio with meaningful colour. They can do this on their mobile device with our companion app, or their laptop with Sonocent Audio Notetaker for Windows and Mac.

With Sonocent, students don’t need to take written notes at the time if they feel this will distract them from listening. By colour highlighting, they are adding meaning to their audio recording that will make it easy to go back to the key moments later. It’s the audio equivalent of marking key phrases from a textbook with a highlighter pen.


Highlighting Comparison - Digital and Physical


3. Type Text Summaries

Once they are back at their desk, the student can build on their recording to create a truly accessible multimedia version of Cornell notes.

If they have taken their recording with our companion app, the student will first need to transfer their file to Sonocent Audio Notetaker on their desktop. This infographic explains how to go about it:

Infographic | How to Transfer Files from Our App to the Desktop Software

Once they have transferred their file, the student should listen back to their highlighted audio and type summaries in the adjacent Text Pane. Studies show that actively engaging and reworking source material helps students remember much more of what they hear.


Cornell Notetaking in Audio Notetaker
Click to Enlarge


4. Add Textual and Visual Cues

Now they’ve created their text summaries, it’s time for the student to condense their notes further by jotting down keywords and questions in the software’s Reference Pane. These will serve as cues, which they can use to test their memory at revision time. Students who are strong visual learners can also import visual cues into the Image Pane.

Here’s an example of a completed Cornell notes project created with Sonocent software:

Sonocent Audio Notetaker Project
Click to Enlarge


5. Utilise for Revision

In the lead up to exams, the student can test their knowledge of the subject material by hiding their text summaries (each Pane in Sonocent Audio Notetaker can be minimised) and seeing how much they can remember using the textual and visual cues alone. Invaluably, they can refer to their original recording whenever they come up blank or need to check their knowledge.

Working with Sonocent Audio Notetaker

Download this study strategy as a PDF

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