Typed or Written Notes: Opinions from UCLA Community Members

By StartupStockPhotos, CC0 1.0 Deed,

By Akshaj Mehta

LOS ANGELES —Professor Tony Friscia said, “You see a sea of laptops where students are taking notes” when asked about what methods students use in class to understand lectures. 


College students use a variety of different methods to take notes and retain information in class, with the two most common being hand-written notes and typing out notes on a computer.


Some students have found that typing helps keep them on track with fast-paced lectures, as opposed to physically writing notes — which take much longer.


“I usually type stuff out. It is just more efficient for me because I type faster than I write. So in my case it’s by choice but I am also just playing to my strengths,” said Diana Aboul-Hosn, a first year English major at UCLA. 


Aboul-Hosn feels typing is much more efficient.“I choose to type because it just ensures I can get everything the professor is saying. If I need to reference it again, then I also have that option,” said Aboul-Hosn. 


Hayden Longwell, first year English major at UCLA, started by hand writing her notes.“I started out trying to write down notes with pen and paper notes for every class, but I switched to typing because I was able to keep up with the speed of my lectures more,” said Longwell.


Remembering what was taught in class is another important factor in the hand-written and typing argument. 


“There’s a lot of studies that show that if you physically write it sticks in your brain better than typing. There’s not as much transfer, because there’s less connection,” said Professor Friscia. 


For this same reason, Leo Medrano, first year Engineering major at UCLA, hand-writes notes for most of his classes.“I need to take notes for the classes in order to understand the material. I feel that I can better retain the information when I write it down rather than type it,” said Medrano.


Even though studies have shown a benefit to hand-writing notes, some are unsure about its future. Longwell believes it would become decreasingly popular.


“I think it is already becoming increasingly less popular to physically write things down. It requires too many physical materials that may be difficult to have in college. Also, walking back to our dorms can take 20 minutes if we forget something. For efficiency and just convenience, I think that writing things down, in the future, will be less popular,” said Longwell. 


However, Aboul-Hosn isn’t sure.“I’m unsure. I think that technology is obviously becoming the main method of note taking, but everyone has their own study methods and I think people will continue to take notes in whatever way helps them understand best, not necessarily what is more popular,” said Aboul-Hosn.


Professor Friscia is also unsure which method will die out.“I can see it both ways. One on hand, during the pandemic it was a big push to move everything online, and do as much as you could online, and as it was ending there was a rise of chatGPT, and now there’s a move to do more in person, like tests in person. I don’t know if it’ll eventually balance out,” 


The future of both methods is unclear at this point, especially being on the other side of the pandemic. In class, it comes down to the individual, their preferences, and their needs. 

About The Author

Akshaj Mehta is currently a first year at UCLA, as a political science major. He is a published author with 5 published books, the most recent titled The Butterfly Effect in collaboration with non-profit KidsFirst Roseville. He has written for the N Magazine of Natomas and Sacramento School Beat in the past. His passion for writing has been a central part of his life ever since he was young, and is excited to continue his writing journey.

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