Note taking strategies: Our proven 4-step formula - explained

Research shows that students who apply effective note taking strategies are more likely to get top grades*.

For one thing, all the information they need will be easily accessible come revision time.

For another, effective note taking leads to improved retention - so they’ll already remember much of what they’ve been taught**.

So, isn’t it strange that so few students are shown effective note taking strategies?

In a recent Sonocent survey of 1,000 students and graduates just 25.6% had been shown effective note taking strategies.

Little wonder that just 1 in 6 described their notes as “perfect”.

And that falls to just 1 in 10 when you exclude female students from the sample!


What is the Sonocent CARE process and why does it lead to better learning outcomes?

Our CARE process is a 4-step note taking strategy designed in consultation with educators and study skills experts.

By following the steps, students can create richly detailed notes that include audio, text and images.

Along the way they’ll edit, manipulate and summarise the information - the hallmark of effective note taking.


Is there any proof that it works?

Studies show that our CARE note taking strategy raises grades significantly.

80% of students at the University of Nevada, Reno, improved their grades by a two-point average over a single term by using the software in this way.

Check out the breakdown of their results:

Note taking strategies graph

How does it work?

Below is an overview of our CARE process with short videos explaining how a student will tackle each one.


Step 1: Capture

How it works:

• The student takes a recording of their lecture on their laptop or using our free companion app

• Recorded speech is visualised phrase-by-phrase as editable chunks

• With the software, they can import slides and images alongside their recording


Why it leads to better learning:

• Students have a complete record of their lecture to refer to when creating their notes

• They can focus on listening and engaging in their lecture rather than scribbling down notes


Watch a video:


Step 2: Annotate

How it works:

  • Students colour highlight the significant parts of their recording as they listen

  • They can also add section breaks so that their audio relates to their slides


Why it leads to better learning:

  • Thinking about what’s important and engaging with that material involves active learning which is proven to lead to improved retention


Watch a video:



Step 3: Review

How it works:

  • Students can go straight to the information they highlighted in their lecture and summarise the material as notes

  • They can also take dictations and add reference material to the same project


Why it leads to better learning:

  • The process of summarising the lecture material in their own words is a fundamental aspect of effective note taking

  • Students can summarise at their own pace and revisit material that they didn’t understand on first listen


Watch a video:



Step 4: Engage

How it works:

  • Students can extract colour highlighted audio into fresh projects for revision and essays

  • They can also export audio, text and images into other formats such as text documents, videos and MP3s


Why it leads to better learning:

  • It’s easy to utilise the projects that students create for a range of tasks and to share the information with professors and coursemates


Watch a video:



Want to have a chat?

If you work with students who could benefit from our software, then please contact us.


*Titsworth, B.S. (2001). The effects of teacher immediacy, use of organizational lecture cues and students’ note-taking on cognitive learning. Communication Education, 50, 283-297.

**Brown, C (2015). What’s the best, most effective way to take notes? The Conversation.

Mar 06

We're here at #digifest18 today and tomorrow to chat about how to crack the code for grade-winning notes with…

Get started today with our free trial


Sign up to our newsletter

Latest Events

  • 03rd April 2018 - 11:10 AM

    CONFERENCE | Texas AHEAD 2018

  • 26th March 2018 - 11:00 AM

    CONFERENCE | Tennessee AHEAD 2018

  • 22nd March 2018 - 10:57 AM

    CONFERENCE | Illowa AHEAD 2018

  • 19th March 2018 - 10:50 AM


  • 08th March 2018 - 10:46 AM

    WEBINAR | How the New Jersey Institute of Technology Replaced Peer Notetakers with Note-taking Tools


Sonocent Audio Notetaker free trial

Select the Windows or Mac icon, enter your email address and click ‘Go’


Sonocent Ltd.
D1, Joseph's Well,
Leeds, LS3 1AB, United Kingdom.

Sonocent LLC,
4500 140th Ave North, Suite 101
Clearwater, Florida
33762, USA


UK: +44 (0) 113 815 0222

USA: +1 727 474 1118

Get the latest updates with our newsletter: