How To Complete School Notes Fast?


How To Complete School Notes Fast
Note-taking during class – Now that you are prepared and organized, what can you do to take good notes while listening to a lecture in class? Here are some practical steps you can try to improve your in-class note-taking:

If you are seeking conceptual information, focus on the main points the professor makes, rather than copying down the entire presentation or every word the professor says. Remember, if you review your notes after class, you can always fill in any gaps or define words or concepts you didn’t catch in class. If you are learning factual information, transcribing most of the lecture verbatim can help with recall for short-answer test questions, but only if you study these notes within 24 hours. Record questions and thoughts you have or content that is confusing to you that you want to follow-up on later or ask your professor about. Jot down keywords, dates, names, etc. that you can then go back and define or explain later. Take visually clear, concise, organized, and structured notes so that they are easy to read and make sense to you later. See different formats of notes below for ideas. If you want your notes to be concise and brief, use abbreviations and symbols. Write in bullets and phrases instead of complete sentences. This will help your mind and hand to stay fresh during class and will help you access things easier and quicker after class. It will also help you focus on the main concepts. Be consistent with your structure. Pick a format that works for you and stick with it so that your notes are structured the same way each day. For online lectures, follow the above steps to help you effectively manage your study time. Once you’ve watched the lecture in its entirety, use the rewind feature to plug in any major gaps in your notes. Take notes of the timestamps of any parts of the lecture you want to revisit later.

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How long should it take to make study notes?

How often have you found yourself copying down large chunks of text from a textbook, only to remember – well, almost none of it? More importantly, how often have you found yourself reading a section of text and scribbling down notes before realising you’ve not even been paying attention to the actual text on the page.

  1. Many students make the mistake of picking up a textbook, copying out pages and pages of content as they read it from front to back, assuming they will remember all the information.
  2. But that simply isn’t true.
  3. For it to be effective, note-taking needs to be a fairly active process.
  4. Now, that doesn’t mean you are actively writing out notes, but engaging your brain in a way that makes you really think about the information you’re putting onto paper.

We’re going to cover some of the most effective techniques to help you do so, including: pre-empting what information you are looking for, using memory retention strategies, and using colour and illustrations to help highlight and condense complex information.

  1. All the tips are designed to make you a more efficient, more effective note-taker.
  2. How to take notes from a textbook: 10 top tips Ideally, you want your textbook notes to supplement what you’re learning in class, whether it be at school or on your summer course,
  3. They’ll make the basis for any revision or further study you need to do.

Therefore, it’s important to take notes effectively, making it easier for you to read and understand when you come back to revising the topic in the future. Need some help with yours? Take a look at these 10 tips on how to take notes from a textbook and make your learning process so much easier.

Understand what you need to know from the textbook Before you even consider picking up your textbook, it’s vital that you understand exactly what content you need to learn from it. After all, there’s no point reciting an entire two-hundred-page book if you only need to know a small section of it.

As such, one of the most important tips we can give you on how to take notes effectively is to take the time before your note-taking session to decide what you need to learn. Typically, when a teacher has set you a text to read, they’ll often give you a set of questions or points of interest to consider whilst reading which can really help to guide you through the text.

  1. But when it comes to revising for exams or writing an essay, it’s usually down to you to work out what you need to learn.
  2. If this is the case, take some time to check through your subject’s syllabus, past papers, or even notes from class to understand what topics you need to focus on during your note-taking process.

Ideally, you should give yourself at least 15 minutes to do so, making bullet points of every section you need to cover. Once you’ve completed the note-taking process, remember to check back over this initial list and ensure that you have made notes on all the sections you needed to.

Create an outline of the textbook When you take notes from a textbook, you’re essentially trying to condense the entire thing into a succinct format – one which pulls all the important information and terminology out for you, without any superfluous content.

A great tip for helping you to do this effectively is to skim through the entire textbook, chapter by chapter, and use all the headings and subheadings to create an outline of the book – but leaving small gaps between each of these headings. Read the textbook from the beginning and fill in each heading at the end of each section – don’t read an entire chapter and then go back to take notes; moving back and forth between pages can waste time and overloading your brain with a whole chapter’s worth of information could mean you forget something important.

Skim for important information When it comes to taking notes effectively, one of the greatest and most efficient ways to pull the information you need is to skim the entire textbook and make notes on the most important content.

To master this technique, go through your textbook chapter by chapter, and look for headings, sub-headings and any terminology that’s highlighted in bold or bright colours. These are the hints from the author that tell you which topics and snippets of content are the most important.

Paraphrase the content into your own words To take notes effectively from the very start, you need to make sure you’re interpreting the content in the textbook in a way that makes sense to you. And one of the best ways to do this? By re-wording it using vocabulary you’re familiar with.

Paraphrasing someone else’s content is one of the most challenging things you can do when learning new information, especially if you’re coming across brand new terminology. However, it will make it easier for you to understand the content and remember it in a way that makes sense to you.

  • There’s no one way or sure-fire method for doing this, you can paraphrase in any way you want.
  • Of course, you don’t want to try and paraphrase key terms or facts – these are probably going to be important for your exams and coursework.
  • But as long as you are correctly interpreting the information, you can write the surrounding material using your own vocabulary.

Remember, your notes are only going to be read by you; they only need to make sense to you. Even if you write your notes in a way that would be gibberish to others, it’s okay as long as you can understand them.

Read a section and write your notes from memory Another great and effective note-taking tip to try and implement when reading is to try and memorise the content as you’re transcribing it, otherwise known as the retrieval method,

The method is fairly straightforward, and works on the premise that you read a chapter of your textbook, close it, and then make all your notes from memory. Checking for any errors or inaccuracies before moving onto the next chapter, you’re encouraged to repeat this method over and over until you’ve made notes on all the sections you’ve needed to.

As challenging a method as this may be, it’s actually proven to help students remember new content. Recent research has demonstrated that the retrieval method is more effective at helping students retain information for classroom quizzes than traditional note-taking methods, whereby students make notes as they read sections of text.

By paraphrasing the content and trying to interpret it yourself makes you an active participant in your learning; rather than simply copying notes from a textbook, you’re encouraged to really understand what the content is trying to say and recite it in a way that will make sense to you.

Don’t forget graphs and charts Often, when taking notes from a textbook, it can be tempting to ignore or skim over information in boxes or charts within a chapter, particularly for research-heavy subjects such as Psychology or Mathematics,

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However, these supplemental information snippets can actually help you to understand information, and shouldn’t be ignored. Research, statistics, and other bites of information can often be critical to helping you understand the chapter’s main concepts and definitions.

Ignore them, and could find yourself missing some key understandings. Instead, take a few moments to glance through any supplemental material, including captions and headings on graphs, tables, and charts. This will help you to understand exactly what the section is about and ensure you focus your attention on key information while reading.

As a bonus, you could even consider copying these over to your notes. They’ll definitely stand out against your text and make it easier to revise content when you come back to review it at a later date.

Check your notes for any errors For your note-taking to be effective, it needs to be accurate. And so, every time you finish a chapter or section of text, it’s important that you check your notes thoroughly for any errors or inaccuracies.

This is particularly important for subjects that have lots of technical spellings, such as scientific terms in Physics and Chemistry, as well as names of important figures in subjects such as History and Politics. Using your textbook, revise your notes to check for accuracy in your dates, facts and figures, spelling, and key terminology.

    1. Highlight all the important details How many times have you scrolled through your social media looking at beautifully-coloured notes? Well did you know that highlighting notes can actually be the secret to helping you achieve great academic results?

Colour-coding, or highlighting, all your notes is important for helping you to remember information easier. You’ll be selecting critical details that require your attention and ensuring that your future self will be able to come back to your notes and think; “that’s really important!” There are a few top tips you should follow to ensure that your colour-coding works for you:

  • Do it after an entire chapter/section – It can be tempting to do our highlighting while making notes, however this can be counter-productive and actually prevent us from really reading the content that’s on the page. Instead, colour-code your notes as soon as you’ve finished a chapter or large section of text – this gives you time to process the content and select the most important parts.
  • Be colour-cautious – As tempting as it may be to make your notes reflect all the colours of the rainbow, it can actually hinder the note-taking process. The general rule of thumb is that you should only use between three and four colours throughout your text. Any more, and you will complicate your notes, making it confusing to look at and memorise. Instead, use colours that contrast with each other for the purpose of making that information stand-out on the page.
  • Don’t colour everything – Remember, colour-coding should only be used to highlight the most important pieces of information. If you highlight an entire page of content, you’ll struggle to distinguish one part from another and understand which information is of primary importance.

Include small illustrations and doodles Another great method for how to take notes from a textbook effectively is to try and interpret them in a way that is completely unique to you; by turning snippets of text into small illustrations and doodles.

These shouldn’t overwhelm your notes, instead, they should slot in around your page as visual clues about the content that already exists on the page. You still need to ensure that text is the main element of your work to add further detail to your content, and that these doodles are used purely to enhance your understanding.

  • Better understand new information – Turning complex explanations into easy-to-understand diagrams can help you better understand new information. This can be particularly useful for topics such as Medicine, Chemistry, or Physics where you often need to understand how different processes work.
  • Improved memory retention – Using a combination of note-taking techniques can help you to better understand information. Illustrations in particular can really help you to memorise complex processes that you may not have remembered as well if presented in a written format.
  • Highlights key details – Just how colour-coding your work can help highlight important details, so too can illustrations. Illustrations are a really visually-stimulating presentation format, and your eyes will naturally be drawn to them when reviewing notes.

Condense, condense, condense! Finally, one of the biggest tips we can offer on how to take notes effectively is to condense your notes as much as possible. No one can memorise pages and pages of context. After all, that’s why you’ve decided to take notes from a textbook in the first place.

This is particularly important for those of you using your notes for revision purposes. As you return to your notes over your revision period, make room in your schedule to condense them as much as possible; from A4 pages of notes into a pack of revision cards; from a pack of revision cards into a single A4 sheet of paper with a mind-map on.

It’ll make it far easier to retain the content when it comes to your exams. This may sound daunting now, but as you become more familiar with the content, you’ll find it easier to curb lesser important information and superfluous words. In the end, you want to head into the exam process knowing definitions off by heart, with only key memory triggers, statistics or figures there to prompt you as and when you need them.

The more you go back to your notes and the more you interact with them, the more familiar you’ll become with the information and retain it for the long-term. Summary Taking effective notes from textbooks is an important part of academic success. Most courses require significant reading and memory retention, especially for those that rely heavily on exams as part of their assessment.

For note-taking to be productive, it needs to stimulate your brain and encourage you to really think about the information you’re writing down. In this sense, pre-determining what information you want to gain from the textbook, using memory retention techniques, and condensing your notes can all help with making sure you have fully understood the content you’re reading.

The important thing to remember is that there is no right way to take notes from a textbook. The strategies which work best for you may not be the same as someone else. As long as you are able to fully understand and remember the information you’re reading (within a fairly reasonable time frame), then it doesn’t matter how you do it.
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Is retyping notes a good way to study?

Retyping Notes – The process of taking notes during a lecture or at a meeting helps you to concentrate on the information being conveyed by the speaker. Retyping those notes can be an effective learning technique that can help you to memorize key information by reintroducing it to your brain.
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Is it better to write or type notes?

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.
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What is the most effective note-taking method?

The charting method The charting note-taking method is one the most effective methods for fact- and data-heavy lecture content. When the lecture content is highly structured and uniform, the charting method provides an efficient way to keep up with the material.
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How do I not take too many notes?

Avoiding excessive highlighting and too many notes – ” – In this video, we’re going to discuss note-taking while reading, and the potential dangers of excessive highlighting and too many notes. Have you ever bought a used college textbook, and noticed ridiculous amounts of highlighting? How does this happen? Here’s how.

  1. Someone’s reading the chapter and maybe they need to know it very well for a test that’s coming up.
  2. They read a sentence and realize that’s really important so they highlight it.
  3. Then they read the next sentence and realize that’s also kind of important, and they highlight that as well.
  4. Then they read the third sentence, and now they realize this sentence is way more important than the previous two, maybe they’ll use a different color this time around.

You already see where this is going. Have you ever heard the phrase, “When you get caught “up in details, you lose sight of the big picture.”? This is one of the biggest issues when it comes to note-taking. People get caught up in details. A better way to handle this would be to finish reading the paragraph and then decide what you want to highlight or take notes on.

  1. And keep in mind, you don’t have to write out full sentences.
  2. You could highlight just a word or short phrase, and that would remind you what the section was about.
  3. For example, when I say the word “Katrina”, what’s the first thing that pops into your mind? For many people, the word “Katrina” might remind them of a hurricane.
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Rather than highlighting an entire sentence that discusses Hurricane Katrina and its effects on the city of New Orleans, you might instead highlight or take note of the word “Katrina” and that would be enough to remind you of the details. If you focus on noting just a word or short phrase, you’ll be much more effective with your note-taking.

  1. So again, make sure you finish a paragraph at the very least before taking your notes.
  2. If you still feel like you’re spending too much time taking notes, you may even want to finish reading a section of text before taking notes.
  3. Note-taking is without a doubt helpful, but if you spend too much time with your notes, it could make you less effective.

If you’re wondering how much time should be spent on notes, follow the 80/20 rule. Eighty percent of your time should be spent reading, while no more than 20% should be spent taking notes. So if you’re reading for 60 minutes, this would translate into 12 minutes of notes and 48 minutes of reading.
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Is it OK to study for 30 minutes?

1. Set Time Limits – Try working for 30-45 minutes straight, and then take a 10-15 minute break. recommends giving yourself a specific amount of time for each subject. That way you will be able to stay focused on one topic, knowing you will still have time to work on another.
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How long is it OK to study?

How Many Hours a Day Should You Study? – If you need to study quite a lot, you may be wondering how many hours you can study in a day. Most people recommend studying for 3 to 4 hours every day on a set schedule that allows your brain to work at its full capacity.
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How long should 20 pages of notes take?

Answer: the average reader takes about 33.3 minutes to read 20 pages, You might take more or less time than 33.3 minutes to read 20 pages, depending on your reading speed and the difficulty of your text. The average person’s reading speed is around 300 words per minute (WPM).

  • A single-spaced page usually has around 500 words, though it can vary with page-size and the type of document.
  • Documents that contain 20 pages can include research papers, manuals, and short books.
  • The typical reading speed for a fluent adult reading for enjoyment is about 300 words per minute.
  • Reading speed usually slows down when reading technical material such as instruction manuals and scientific research papers.

Students or professionals who have a lot of reading may need to read at speeds of 450 words per minute or more in order to consume content faster and increase their productivty. The table below shows the estimated time to read a given number of pages.

Number of pages 🐢 Slow (150 wpm) 🙋 Average (300 wpm) 🐰 Fast (450 wpm) 🚀 Speed reader (600 wpm)
1 page 3.3 minutes 1.7 minutes 1.1 minutes 50 seconds
2 pages 6.7 minutes 3.3 minutes 2.2 minutes 1.7 minutes
3 pages 10 minutes 5 minutes 3.3 minutes 2.5 minutes
4 pages 13.3 minutes 6.7 minutes 4.4 minutes 3.3 minutes
5 pages 16.7 minutes 8.3 minutes 5.6 minutes 4.2 minutes
10 pages 33.3 minutes 16.7 minutes 11.1 minutes 8.3 minutes
25 pages 1.4 hours 41.7 minutes 27.8 minutes 20.8 minutes
50 pages 2.8 hours 1.4 hours 55.6 minutes 41.7 minutes
100 pages 5.6 hours 2.8 hours 1.9 hours 1.4 hours
250 pages 13.9 hours 6.9 hours 4.6 hours 3.5 hours
500 pages 1.2 days 13.9 hours 9.3 hours 6.9 hours
750 pages 1.7 days 20.8 hours 13.9 hours 10.4 hours
1000 pages 2.3 days 1.2 days 18.5 hours 13.9 hours

Use SwiftRead to read and comprehend text up to 3X faster. SwiftRead is a software tool that helps you read more efficiently and absorb knowledge faster. Users from over 100 different countries have used SwiftRead to read faster and save time.
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Is it better to take notes on paper or laptop?

1 Conceptual or factual learning – Before you choose a note-taking method, think about whether you’re in conceptual or factual learning mode. Conceptual learning involves wrapping your head around ideas. Factual learning is all about memorizing things.

  • For factual learning, taking notes on a laptop may be more beneficial – you can type faster and jot down only the most important details.
  • As for conceptual learning, a 2014 research study is often cited as favoring paper notes, but most other research has shown that computers are better.
  • The 2014 study is titled “The Pen is Mightier Than The Keyboard: Advantages of Longhand over Laptop Note Taking.” It was said to have shown that students taking notes by hand during a TED talk recalled concepts better than students who took notes electronically.

But when other researchers ran the same experiment, they found different results. The key takeaway here is that taking notes by computer is always a great starting point.
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What is the OK4R method?

OK4R is the acronym of overview, key ideas, read, recite, reflect, and review. According to Tierney et al, OK4R technique was created by Dr. Walter Pauk in 1974. This technique offers six steps in reading.
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Is it better to take notes in pen or pencil?

Pens Vs Pencils: The Final Battle – Here are our top recommendations on the most appropriate uses for each writing tool, including mechanical pencils:


We now know that traditional pencils are widely used by creatives for drawing. Depending on how they’ve been sharpened, pencils can create fine point detailed work or harsher and border strokes and shading. On the other hand, drawing with a pen can save time, especially if you get bogged down by little mistakes and stop to erase every minor error.

Technical Drawing

Whether you’re creating detailed technical drawings or plotting rough designs, anyone who draws exhaustively needs a pencil that is steady to use and creates smooth, solid lines. Mechanical pencils and wood pencils can be used for technical drawings. However, it’s a lot more work to create the same effect with a wooden pencil as it is with a mechanical pencil – it can be very time-consuming having to sharpen the pencil to ensure all lines are uniform.


All writing tools work for general writing. The choice between them usually comes down to personal preference. Mechanical pens are made with balanced weights so the pen can rest comfortably in the hand, which is ideal for anyone who has to write for long hours.

However, pens are the most popular writing tool, especially for journaling. The most popular pen for writing is the fountain pen – this luxurious pen is bound to make a statement. Not only is the fountain pen easy on the eye – it’s easy on the hand too. Fountain pens require less pressure which then eliminates the dreaded hand cramp and improves handwriting! Pens are great for writing anything that needs to be permeant because the ink is more durable than graphite.

Making it the perfect tool for signing receipts, legal forms, or writing letters – pencils should be avoided when signing important documents because they can smudge and be erased. So, when it comes to pens vs pencils which one is better? Both pens and pencils have their benefits, and neither is necessarily superior to the other.
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Is copying notes effective?

How to take good notes while reading – Good notes can take different forms and may vary from person to person—or even from text to text. One of the key ideas of good note taking is that it is not necessary to copy down loads of information from the text.

Copying down information does not engage your brain and is not a strong strategy for learning and remembering content. It also takes a lot of time and energy. In contrast, simply highlighting loads of information is simpler but does not do much to actively engage the brain. Instead of copying down tons of notes or over-highlighting, try some of the active and effective strategies and formats listed below.

These will help you decrease the amount of time and energy you spend on notes and increase your comprehension and retention from reading.
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Is it faster to type than write?

Recently I was in McCosh Hall 10 for the first lecture of PHI 202: Introduction to Moral Philosophy. It’s a large class with around 300 students. The lecture hall is large, with a balcony. I sat near the front — one has to be choosy in looking for a left-handed desk.

  • I set up my notebook and pen, wrote a heading, and began taking notes.
  • The professor moved through his lecture, sliding through his stylish powerpoint presentation.
  • He described the nature of ethics (in rather interesting terms, I might add) for about 10 minutes.
  • The room was in rapt — or maybe bored — silence.

Then, he tapped his keyboard and the definition of “metaethics” shone on the large projector screen. Immediately it was as if a large flock of birds took off into the sky behind me. Hundreds of students moved to copy down the definition. The flutter of hundreds of typing fingers challenged the professor’s amplified voice.

After a year of Zoom classes and lectures, relatively silent in my bedroom, the sound shook the room. By the sound, the vast majority of the class typed their notes. Typed notes, especially in large lecture classes, are de rigueur these days. But many professors scoff at them, preferring handwritten notes — this is from personal experience.

Many prohibit screens from their classes altogether. Should they? There are plenty of studies arguing that handwriting is better for notetaking than typing. Professors reference these studies often, arguing that students ought to handwrite their notes so they will remember their notes better.

  1. The explanation is that moving one’s hand helps to retain the information, as multiple parts of the brain are firing at once.
  2. Handwriting also inclines the student toward synthesis of information, and typing inclines toward transcribing of words.
  3. The literature backs up these claims.
  4. There are plenty more studies, however, suggesting that handwriting does not have that many advantages over typing.

Many professors ignore the issues of accessibility. Some students can’t handwrite easily, and even still, others have handwriting so poor they might as well type. Typing is far faster than handwriting: the average American can type 40 words per minute, but can only handwrite 13 words per minute.

  1. And it’s easier to organize, edit, and synthesize notes when they exist on a hard drive rather than on paper.
  2. Handwriting and typing both have their advantages.
  3. People will advocate for both.
  4. But I’m not an opinion writer or a scientist, and this article is not a scientific study.
  5. My technically-grounded discussion ends here — I’m much more skilled in the realm of anecdotal than empirical evidence.

For a long time, I was a steadfast typist of notes. I had pages and pages of notes in Google Docs, meticulously edited, with pictures, for all sorts of classes. I typed all my notes, I typed my essays, I typed my thoughts, nearly every last last one of them.

  • In high school and my first year of college, I would go weeks without handwriting more than a few words at a time.
  • There was one place I did handwrite, and still do.
  • Each night, work done for the day, I retreat to my bed, settle in, and write one page in a notebook.
  • I write about my day, pitch a thought and follow it to its conclusion, or just practice some writing — whatever.

I write my thoughts. I write in cursive, which takes me a long time. It can be a slow, arduous task, especially at a late hour. But it’s a valuable ordeal — because I write at the pace I think. I can type faster than I can think. I’m not even a particularly fast typer, but my cursor can still fly through a thought before I’ve even seen the end of it.

Typing allows flighty thoughts, ones perhaps better fit to our Twitter-infected society. When I write by hand, I force each sentence’s thought to mature in my mind. The words don’t spill out, scattered all over the floor: they’re laid down one by one like bricks. It’s far from a perfect process. No one’s a great speller when they’re tired, so I scratch out a lot of errors.

I’m left-handed and I write in pen, so my pages are smudged often. And typing allows word-choice changes on the fly — that’s much harder by hand. It’s full of errors, but thoughts are full of errors, too. Whether you type or handwrite is important. What you write with affects how you write.

How you write affects how you think. In other words, as the great Canadian communication theorist Marshall McLuhan said, “the medium is the message.” These days, the majority of my professors ask for handwritten notes, while a few still allow laptops in class. I’m not sure whether that’s a reaction to a year of online learning or something else; it’s far too soon to say what the effects of the pandemic on pedagogy are.

But for now, I’m choosing to write all my notes by hand this year. How To Complete School Notes Fast Get the best of ‘the Prince’ delivered straight to your inbox. Subscribe now » Should you do it too? I can’t say. Like I said above, there are lots of great reasons to type your notes. I’m not going to, but not because of what the science says. I remembered my notes just fine when I typed them.

Given the choice, I’m going to reach for the vintage. I’m going to take notes by hand because I want to take notes slowly and thoroughly. I want to lay down words at the pace I can think, creating sturdy stepping stones of thought that lead toward knowledge. My Moleskines and I will take a slow walk through the thick forest, hacking a path through the trees.

Gabriel Robare is a senior writer for The Prospect, co-Head Editor of the Puzzles section, and a news contributor at the ‘Prince,’ who often covers literature and the self. He can be reached at [email protected].
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Why is taking notes by hand better?

Frontiers in Neuroscience published the findings of a study on the differences between writing by hand or digitally recording notes and the correlations with brain activation and memory. – Is it better to write on paper or use digital devices? Which of the two formats works best for learning or memorizing information? Taking notes or writing using mobile devices or computers has become increasingly common.

However, many researchers have found that taking notes by hand is a more effective way to learn and retain information than digital. A behavioral neuroscience study conducted by researchers at the University of California and Princeton University published in 2014 showed that students who take notes by hand perform better with conceptual questions than students who record notes on digital devices.

According to the study, one explanation for this exciting discovery is that writing with pencil and paper allows people to summarize and organize information in their own words and ensures more profound and natural coding. In contrast, the use of electronic devices inclines them to write passively.

  • Similarly, several studies have reported that although writing on a computer saves time because it is a faster process, taking notes by hand improves students’ memorization and word recognition.
  • One of the advantages of handwritten notes is that reading and writing on paper improves conceptual understanding.

Another human behavioral reported the superiority of paper to computer screens in reading comprehension. These studies indicate the importance of visual and tactile signals for perceiving physical sizes and spatial locations. Paper material provides physical spacing through Spatial-temporal signals to measure the text.

  • Another group of researchers from the University of Tokyo made the following hypothesis in an article published this year in Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience : Writing notes in a notebook will improve coding.
  • More specifically, the use of paper improves associating what and where of information, specifically in the hippocampus (the part of the brain involved in coding and memory retention that can be studied at a neurological level).

The researchers performed a comparative study of three groups of people who would perform the same task to analyze this phenomenon. First, different people were asked to schedule various tasks on a calendar; some would write with a pen in a physical notebook, others would use a tablet, and the last group a smartphone.

  • Subsequently, people underwent memory tests where they were asked questions about what they had to schedule.
  • Also, in other external trials, they were told a story and asked questions; they were asked to observe letters of the Chinese alphabet and then repeat them.
  • The results were analyzed in conjunction with several medical studies conducted during the tests, which included MRIs.

Finally, the results of the groups were compared. The findings of this study were published under the title Paper Notebooks vs. Mobile Devices: Brain Activation Differences During Memory Retrieval, in which the following was found:

Tablet: The Tablet users were slower in recording tasks in the calendar than those who wrote physical notes on paper. This could have been due to the slow typing of characters. Smartphone : Users who performed the test with s martphones took the same amount of time as the tablet users. Physical notes: The scheduling of tasks per written notes was the fastest of the three groups. They were more accurate, and their answers to questions more direct. Although all the groups managed to activate the hippocampus, the handwriting group displayed the most responsive brain activity when carrying out the task.

As mentioned above, all three groups managed to activate the hippocampus. Therefore, they managed to activate the part of the brain responsible for the retention and encoding of verbalized memory. So, all three methods had memory retention results, but the most effective was taking notes by hand on paper.

For notetaking, I considered it appropriate to test the hypothesis of the Japanese scientists and changed my research method. This time, instead of reading the article on my laptop screen and making notes in a Word document, I decided to print the reading and take the time to underline the salient points with a highlighter and write in a notebook.

As a result, I found that the working time was reduced, and I had a quicker understanding of the text. Furthermore, I managed to organize the information in a more visual and personalized way. For example, in a Word document, I limit myself simply to typing.

  • However, in the notebook, I drew diagrams with arrows, pictures, and annotations, making the note-taking more dynamic and visual.
  • Considering the above, I invite you to try these methods from time to time, as previous research has shown it can bring positive cognitive effects.
  • In addition, we benefit from subtracting screen time from our day, improving our concentration and time management.

Translation by Daniel Wetta. This article from Observatory of the Institute for the Future of Education may be shared under the terms of the license CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
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Does typing help memorize?

Typing is one of the quickest methods of note-taking, letting us record as quickly as possible so that we can focus on listening. Although typing helps us capture more information, research has shown that this often means we remember and understand less of what we record.
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