Writing vs. Typing Notes

One of the important questions, or in this case, topic, in terms of taking notes during class is either using an actual pen/pencil with paper or your technology device. Depending on your overall process of absorbing knowledge, it is critical to adjust to what method you are going to use at the beginning of your freshman year. Be familiar with the options you have when taking notes at your lecture or discussion classes. The following will provide you some information on each note-taking method that students use. This can alleviate the stress on what to do and can also be a helpful guide to succeed at the University of Illinois.

Writing Notes

The good old pencil and paper method! Get a simple pencil and notebook, and that will get the job done. Using physical highlighters and other writing utensils can also increase the visibility of your notes. In general, it is known that physical note-taking can increase your understanding of the material. Since you are actually trying to multitask—listening and writing—your brain is trying to comprehend what is being taught. This is beneficial when it is time to take tests and quizzes, or understand the course overall. From experience when writing notes, it is crucial to create short cuts or get used to abbreviating specific terms. This will decrease the amount of time you are writing notes during a lecture. I cannot stress this enough, because it can be hard for people to keep up in a lecture class. Professors love to talk fast. Professors might also include slideshows in their lectures, but most of the time, the slideshows lack content. That is where you have to be on your toes and write enough information when a professor is speaking.

Typing Notes

This method is probably the easiest for most college students. You can use Google Docs, Microsoft Word, or Microsoft OneNote to write down your notes. The reason why it is easy is that it is less time-consuming. If you are a good typer, you can easily type what the professor is saying during a lecture. The programs that I mentioned before also give options on how to edit your notes. However, some setbacks that come with typing your notes using an electronic device would be the battery and getting distracted. From experience, I would show up to lecture with my laptop without realizing it is out of battery. That is why it is important to charge whatever you are using overnight so that you are prepared for the next day. Getting distracted using your electronic device also happens to many students. In a lecture, you will see a good amount of students shopping or watching videos rather than paying attention in class.

Overall, it is your decision to pick the best method for taking notes. Pick a method that you believe will progress your learning experience at the university. You’ve got this!



Class of 2021
I was born and raised in Cicero, Illinois. Although I entered Illinois as an English major, I trusted my gut and switched to Journalism. Coming to a big institution and being a first-generation student can feel like a handful. However, knowing your resources and getting out of your comfort zone can help in the long run.

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