Handwriting or typing studying notes: What’s the verdict?

The Benefits of Handwriting Vs Typing Notes

Since most of us find typing relatively faster than handwriting, does this mean that we should all upgrade our pens for laptops when it comes to studying?

Whether you like to hand write all of your study notes, exclusively use a tablet, or perhaps even a mixture of both, we have outlined the benefits and disadvantages of hand writing versus typing notes.

Past students will tell you there’s nothing better than hand writing notes, since physically writing them down with a pen and paper can help students memorise the content better. On the other hand, typing notes is actually faster and will save you more time, helping to revise faster and more efficiently. Whether it’s easier for you to hand write your own notes or type them up, make stick to a system that works best for you.

Below are just a few positives and negatives in regards to handwriting or typing your notes:

Pro: Handwritten notes increase critical thinking

Handwriting notes in class helps to understand and retain the content, which also makes it easier to think critically about it. This process can also make it much more time efficient to revise at a later date, rather than trying to teach yourself subject matters which you didn’t understand from class.

Con: It can sometimes take twice as long to handwrite your notes

It’s no secret that handwriting notes is a labour of love. It can take twice as long to handwrite notes, but that satisfaction when you’ve finally finished summarising all your notes for a topic: priceless. Despite this, handwritten notes are still a quick and functional way to jot down

Pro: Typing notes is more time efficient

On average it takes approximately 20 minutes to type 1000 words, while it takes 45 minutes to hand write the same amount. When we break it down like this, typing is more efficient and can actually make your study session run smoother. We can also go back and edit our notes when they’re typed, and let’s not forget the ease of spellcheck and autocorrect which makes life so much easier.

Con: This can lead to mindless note taking

Since typing is so much faster than handwriting notes, we can often incorporate details which have little or no value to the topic. This sort of mindless note-taking can also disconnect us from the notes that we’re actually taking, and could possibly make the entire process meaningless. We suggest re-framing the content you’ve collected in your own words, since this is a crucial part of understanding the content, and finally retaining it.

Pro: Handwriting promotes long-term memory recall

Did you ever feel like you’ve actually retained more information when handwriting notes yourself? Perhaps even memorised it by the way it looks on the paper, using different coloured pens to break down each subject topic? Visual learners tend to remember information based on how it looks, rather than hearing it. Handwriting is just one of these useful tools, which also works on a visual level and can promote increased productivity when it comes to remembering important information. Plus, it’s been proven that handwriting and typing actually use different cognitive skill sets, which proves that handwriting is actually more effective when it comes to remembering more content in the long term.

Con: Information can be missed 

Even though we try our best to write down exactly what the teacher has been saying verbatim, we probably won’t catch every last bit. This can lead to holes in notes, which then makes it difficult to piece together the entire picture.

What are our thoughts about this?

If you’re conflicted whether or not you should handwrite or type your notes, we actually suggest combining them both and utilising all the positive aspects of each to your advantage. Type your notes when you’re in class (this will also allow you to edit them and see which information is required, and which isn’t), and when you get home, you can create a summary by handwriting the important details as dot points.

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