Writing & Memory

As I’m taking a break from this long weekend of studying (it’s only 9am on Saturday…oh boy), I realize how much writing helps me learn. I notice a huge difference in how well I know course materials when I take notes by hand vs. notes on the computer. I much prefer taking notes by hand because physically writing it and seeing the words as I think helps reinforce my memory of that information. I find that taking pen to paper forces me to consider the material more and involves more of my senses. I’m very particular about neatness so I’m always extremely concerned about how my notes look (I’m known to recopy notes, front and back, if my handwriting is subpar or there’s too much wite-out on the page… don’t make fun of me, I’m working on it), and because of that, I’m very careful when I write. I focus more on the words and see them for a longer period of time since writing out a sentence by pen takes much longer than by computer.

This reinforcement works really well with diagrams and images as well. I’m currently studying for biochemistry and endocrinology and both classes focus A LOT on pathways, intermediates, enzymes, and things that regulate intermediates. Drawing out and seeing the entire system helps me see how the information is connected and what the relationships are. It’s even more helpful when you use colored pens (who doesn’t love color coding? I know, I’m a dork).

Writing helps me study better. Even though working by hand is much more time-consuming, it’s more beneficial in the long run.

Here’s an example of how I wrote out one of the pathways (if there are any fellow biochem students reading this, maybe this’ll help you too!):

Here’s too the cramped wrist that’s bound happen after what’s going to be long weekend of writing! Cheers!

One thought to “Writing & Memory”

  1. Ha I’ve always thought about what is the best way to take notes? Even to this day. I came to the same conclusion as you though, that I like to write my notes out by hand because I do feel like it reinforces the material. I tested it for a little bit once and tried not taking notes for like half a lecture. I would guesstimate that I zoned out about half the time. And that doesn’t happen when I’m writing things out. I could try using the computer, but honestly I don’t feel like brining my laptop to class just for that reason when all of the info can be found in the slides. But I laugh at my own self because I end up not even looking at my notes before exams and just going through slides anyway. So if I don’t reference them than I don’t know how much it is helping me ha. But I do agree that diagrams are useful too.

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