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PRO: Handwritten notes enhance memorization and comprehension

Photo by Noah Lederer ’21 | Joey Schillinger ’21 writes his history notes in his composition book on Oct. 4, 2018.

By George Anton ’21



Taking notes is extremely beneficial to students who are trying to learn what is taught to them and memorize it for later.

As technology enhances, there is now the option to take notes on a computer, rather than to write them down on paper.

At Brophy, most students prefer the efficiency of typing their notes, but they may not know the effectiveness of writing notes and how it could benefit them.

First of all, written notes increase memory retention. Memorization is key. It is one of the primary reasons students take notes in the first place.

It may be said that typed notes are cleaner and easier to study. However, handwriting notes causes information to be learned much more thoroughly than when typed and then less time is needed later on to go back and study them.

Yes, writing down notes may take much longer than quickly typing them, but that extra time spent is well worth it. Taking more time writing notes allows the writer to be engaged with the information and make connections between their thoughts.

Also, writing down notes will increase contextualization of the material and will help the writer comprehend more thoroughly what it is they are writing about.

For example, while writing notes on a lecture, it is difficult to write the words that are spoken verbatim. Therefore, you must process the information so that you can summarize it in a way that makes sense to you.

Often when notes are typed, the writer mindlessly copies down exactly what a teacher says even if it does not make sense to them. This is often the case today in Brophy classrooms. It is easy for students to type what the teacher says and then zone out. Taking notes by hand forces students to actively learn information and process it so that it is better stored in their long-term memories.

Using devices in class to take notes can indeed lead to distraction as well. As soon as you type what you need to, it is tempting to go check your email or game and completely get off track.

If you’re going to spend the time taking notes, you might as well get the most bang for your buck and take them by hand.