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Writing vs Typing Notes: What is More Effective?

What is the difference when writing vs typing notes on a laptop or tablet and using a pen and paper? Research indicates that physically writing notes on paper is the clear winner.

Yes, writing by hand is a slower task, but it makes it so that students have to be more selective in what they’re writing. Researchers have found that the actual processes involved in writing by hand mean students have a deeper understanding of the material.

If students are still going to use a laptop or tablet over pen and paper, they’re not doomed. However, students need to override their instinct to write everything and instead be more selective. And, of course, organize their notes immediately afterward and review them regularly.

What the Research Says on Writing vs Typing Notes

The research is clear: the better way to cement knowledge in your brain is to write your study notes by hand rather than type them. A simple change can make things easier to recall on test day.

Hard to believe? 

Research published recently in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, echoes previous studies, such as one often-cited 2014 study called “The Pen Is Mightier Than The Keyboard,” which shows that writing notes by hand allowed participants to retain information better than those who typed on a laptop, even if they wrote fewer words overall.

When students take notes by hand, it develops a stronger conceptual understanding than by typing. Since handwriting is slower and more tedious, it makes it harder to take notes verbatim. Therefore students have to actually process the information and summarize it in a way that makes sense for them.

Taking Notes 101

Taking notes in class is important: as much as we’d like to think we will remember what a teacher or instructor said, most of us don’t have a memory that recalls everything. That’s why taking notes in class is so important.

While there isn’t a right or wrong way to take notes, there are methods that can be more effective.

Firstly, students do not need to write down everything. This is a mistake many students make.

If students’ in-class notes are messy, unorganized, and unclear at first glance, they’re not going to get much use out of them. This has nothing to do with how neat their handwriting is—it’s about how their notes are structured. Learn more about the best note-taking methods here.

GradePower Learning Can Help

Taking notes is an important part in the learning process. Taking note properly in class and when studying helps students remember information better and reduces stress at test time. Help your child develop more effective note-taking and study skills with GradePower Learning. Contact a location near you today!

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