Updated: Jan 23, 2020
Despite the evolution of technology in the modern world, and the push towards the use of such technologies, handwriting is still of great importance. Although handwriting takes longer than typing, there can be some really significant benefits if you put pen to paper. The importance of writing can be easily seen, especially since universities still require students to complete their final exams by hand. I would like to add however, there are many other reasons why writing is still important in the modern world.
Drawing from my experiences of studying, writing has been one of the most effective ways for me to learn and improve my memory. This leads to my first point, namely that the more you write, the more you remember. I keep a daily journal, and ever since I began writing down a couple of thoughts each day, I have noticed a significant improvement in my memory. How is this relevant to university or high school students? Well, when it comes to exams, especially closed book exams, your ability to recall information in a short amount of time and provide the necessary depth in information is absolutely crucial. Therefore, a great way to improve your memory for upcoming exams is to handwrite all your notes and summaries (repetition is key, of course).
Not only can handwriting improve memory, it can also improve your overall performance during an exam. In the modern era, with the saturation of technology in every facet of our lives, students are more likely to type all their notes on their computers. Although this is a great way to have neat and readable notes, typing does not help train your hand to be ready to write for up to 3.5hours (the duration of some exams). Writing your notes and thoughts on an everyday basis can also help prevent your hand from cramping during the exam. During an exam there is an expectation on students to write anywhere between 6-14 pages, and more often than not, those who are unaccustomed to handwriting, are not able to write the expected amount. This can significantly impact on your overall mark, especially where there has been a lack of depth in your analysis. Also, the more you handwrite, more readable your writing becomes (hopefully). When handwriting is extremely messy and hard to read, and this may also affect your mark. Therefore, as an exam preparation strategy, handwrite... everything.
Writing can also be a great motivation tool. Sometimes, when motivation is lacking, I start handwriting ideas for upcoming research tasks and lesson plans. This can, on most occasions motivate me and get me back into 'work mode'. This can be easily transferred to those studying simply by writing down what you need to achieve that day or during the week, so you can stay on top of assessments and coursework, this should hopefully help those lacking in motivation get back into 'study mode'.
Writing is also a really effective way to learn content, and arguably more effective than typing notes. Most of the time when you are writing, you are re-reading as you write. Doing this as you type can be harder, as most people type faster than they can process the information.
My top ways of incorporating writing into my daily routine include, keeping a daily journal and handwriting notes for research projects/assessments. For those studying, handwrite your notes during tutorials and handwrite your textbook summaries. Also try printing out your lecture PowerPoints in 'Note View' and handwrite all your lecture notes on the print-out (this also helps increase your writing speed), for those who don't have a PowerPoint available prior to your lecture, just handwrite (everything) during the lecture.
Overall, despite typing being an efficient way to create summaries and take notes, you should not underestimate the continued importance of handwriting.
For more study tips, head to the Study Zone.