Why You Should Take Notes By Hand — Not on a Laptop


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“Taking notes by hand forces you to actively listen and decide what’s important.”

New research (Mueller & Oppenheimer, 2014) shows that students who took notes on a laptop we more likely to write everything a professor said verbatim. These students did poorly on quizzes later testing them on various conceptual aspects of the lecture content. Researchers conclude that students who write notes by hand must listen actively on order to choose what to write.  This helps them process the lecture content actively, and make connections.

Do you take notes verbatim on a laptop or record lectures with the intention of referring back to them later? Try skipping that step this semester. Best intentions fall through, and it is likely you’ll run out of time to revisit that lecture, or lose the context of a lecture in the moment. Sure, you may miss some details, but you’ll make bigger connections between ideas. This is a sought-after skill in the workplace. Wrote memorization is great, but critical thinking is better.


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