Typed notes v. Handwritten notes

With the increasing availability of technology, the students are faced with a new dilemma –  whether one should make notes using the resources available or go the old school way. This choice becomes even more difficult with various scientific researches coming up everyday with a ground-breaking conclusion stating which kind of note writing is better and why.

In my opinion, I believe that there is no set method of choosing one over the other. They are entirely up to the individual’s taste. I spent the first 4 years of my law school taking handwritten notes because I didn’t own a laptop back then and the computer was always required by someone or the other, so I had to stick to my handwritten notes, however last year I  got a  laptop and have made a lot of my study guides on it. So I suppose I have a fair amount of idea on the pros and cons of each style.

HANDWRITTEN NOTES

Pros –

  • There is no need to lug around a heavy laptop (mine is 2.4kg) in the already heavy bag pack.
  • This analogous method of note-taking is independent of electricity so you don’t need to worry about battery life.
  • It is excellent for making diagrams, flow charts, mind-mapping etc.
  • Naturally, from the above point it may be concluded that it is excellent for practice or diagram based subjects like maths, physics, chemistry etc.,
  • There is the liberty to play around with colours which makes studying enjoyable. (and also keeps stationery companies in business. LOL.)
  •  Most universities hold offline exams that require answer writing by hand so it is a good practice too.
  • This method improves your handwriting and coordination skills.
  • It is ingrained in human nature to be lazy so the major advantage of this process is that we comprehend the material better so as to write as little as possible.

Cons

  • It is very rigid.
  • It can’t be changed to add new information unless space was left but at the same time it is difficult to estimate how much space is required.
  • One can get caught up in making the ‘perfect pretty notes’.
  • If your handwriting is bad like me then the entire affair of making handwritten notes can be very time consuming.

TYPED NOTES

Pros –

  • Saves a lot of paper unless you choose to print it out (I print it, because I don’t trust the power supply in my area.)
  • Vast amounts of material can be condensed easily
  • Online research and reading becomes easier through the split screen mode so you don’t have to be continuously switching head positions (in case you don’t know, in windows you can activate the split screen by pressing the windows key and the left/right arrow mark)
  • You can take your work anywhere. No need to pack your stationery
  • You can work in the dark.
  • Excellent for subjects like social studies and law where bullet points and summaries rule the roost.
  • It is very flexible. You can easily edit and add in relevant information that you might find later.
  • It is faster as typing is independent of one’s handwriting. Obviously, one’s own typing speed is an important factor as well.

Cons –

  • The constant worrying about battery life is quite a headache.
  • Laptops are usually pretty heavy to lug around. (unless you have one of those super sleek models, then this doesn’t apply to you)
  • An utter waste when you have to make a diagram or practice maths etc., unless you are using a tablet for that purpose.
  • Since typing is faster, it becomes easier to write down what is being said or what we see without actually understanding or comprehending the material. It a very dangerous trap indeed.
  • Easier to get distracted, more so if you have games or movies on your laptop

So these are the pros and cons of each method. I personally use a mix of both – you can read about my current note taking technique here.

That’s it! Be sure to tell me which method do you prefer and why! Till the next post, HAPPY HUSTLIN’ HON!

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