Study Tip?… OOF

For this assignment, I originally had no idea what to write. I literally stared at my computer and became frustrated. Then, all of a sudden, I got an idea. Since I used to have a tough time processing information for a bunch of difficult classes, I figured that I would attempt to write a study tip for this assignment in relation to cognitive psychology. It’s somewhat weird, but it’s also an idea. Hopefully, I don’t sound uneducated about this and this turns out to be an alright idea. Anyways, there are many ways to study for a class. You can find a quiet place and read, take breaks in between reading, make flashcards for unknown terms, and generate potential questions about important points.

One study tactic that I use in particular is take notes by hand during lecture and reread them, instead of typing them and then rereading them. It sounds like it’s not much of a study tactic, but it’s a form of studying that somewhat works for me. Not only can I process the information better by writing my notes and rereading them, but I can incorporate other ideas while I’m writing and somewhat get a better understanding of material. It’s somewhat hard to explain… According to an article in 2014 [see link below], two investigators named Pam Mueller and Daniel Oppenheimer, studied whether students remembered more after taking notes by hand or by typing. All-in-all, the study showed that students who typed notes were able to record more information than handwritten note-takers, yet students who wrote their notes were able to basically understand topics better than the students who typed notes.

Why is this you may ask? Well, the article essentially claims that the problem is that people who take notes by typing, type only the things they hear without actually processing and understanding the information. People who write their notes, can’t write as quickly, but they can essentially think more in depth and write things in their own words to better understand the material being lectured in their classes. Nonetheless, this whole idea of processing information while note-taking relates to certain topics discussed in class. Even though it relates to memory, which hasn’t been fully discussed in class yet, it also relates to bottom-up processing. “Bottom-up processing basically refers to a flow of information that proceeds from the stimulus to the neural activity driven by this stimulus to its eventual identification” (Robinson-Riegler & Robinson-Riegler, 2017, pg. 27). In other words, sensory data goes straight to the brain to be analyzed and interpreted. When taking notes for example, information is transferred starting with the retina and proceeding to the visual cortex. Then, eventually, information is processed.

Overall, note-taking can be a good way to process, review, and/or study information. Like I had mentioned before, I prefer to write my notes over typing my notes. The last time I actually typed my notes, I accidentally managed to delete them off my computer. I was devastated, especially since I needed them for a difficult class. Luckily, my friend was in the same class as me, and she let me borrow her notes for the time being. Even though I prefer handwritten notes, I’m not necessarily bashing people who type their notes. I know that the evidence I found claimed that handwritten notes were better than typing notes, but that was only one article. It doesn’t necessarily mean that handwritten notes are better for everyone. Typing notes can actually be quite helpful as well, especially for those who have certain disabilities where they can’t write notes. If you’re interested, you can look at another study by Mueller and Oppenheimer [see the second link], and look at the pros and cons for both methods of note-taking. Other than that, I believe that all of this study tip is quite effective.


Mueller, P., & Oppenheimer, D. (2014). The pen is mightier than the keyboard: Advantages of longhand over laptop note taking. Psychological Science, 25 (6), 1159-1168. DOI: 10.1177/0956797614524581. [Retrieved from].

Robinson-Riegler & Robinson Riegler. Cognitive Psychology: Applying the Science of the Mind. Pearson, 2017. ISBN: 9780134003405.

Mueller, P., & Oppenheimer, D. (2016). Technology and note-taking in the classroom, boardroom, hospital room, and courtroom. Trends in Neuroscience and Education, 5(3), 139-145. [Retrieved from].

3 thoughts on “Study Tip?… OOF

  1. estreete

    I really enjoyed reading your post. I have actually heard before that taking notes by hand is better in terms of memory. I usually try to take notes by hand; however, I do have some professors that don’t post their PowerPoints on canvas, so for those classes I tend to take notes on my laptop since I am faster at typing than I am writing. Although, your post makes me wonder, is it possible that writing my notes down would be better for me even in those situations where I may not necessarily get all the information down if I write instead of type? On the other hand, if I miss any information, I do have the textbook to supplement. Lastly, your connection to bottom-up processing was helpful to me in understanding the topic.
    Thank you for sharing!

  2. hmckeen

    You selected a good topic to write about! I have also read the research article you discussed in your post, and I know their findings hold true for me as well. You mentioned that while students who type notes in class are able to record more information, students who handwrite notes are able to process the information being given at a deeper level. I know when I am writing notes in class I try to summarize what the professor is saying in a way that makes sense to me, and that is what I write down in my notes. If when I go back to review my notes something seems to be missing, I can always refer back to the textbook or PowerPoint slides for clarification if the professor makes them available. Even if the professor doesn’t use PowerPoint slides, I find they are usually happy to clarify any confusion or gaps in information I have in my notes. Writing things down really helps me to remember them, whether it is notes during class or my weekly grocery list. A large part of my method for studying for classes and learning the information is reading the assigned textbook readings before class and writing a detailed outline of the chapter. I feel like that is how I learn the information and then hearing the material a second time in class really cements it in my mind. I think you wrote about a great study tip that could really benefit a lot of students. Well done!

  3. kownbey

    I have always preferred to write my notes. I don’t actively think about if I’m thinking more “deeply” about concepts, but I definitely see that I might be making the right choice! It is a bit frustrating when I can’t write down everything I hear the Professor say, but I feel as though it does make me stop and think about everything I’m hearing and try to process it in some meaningful way without relying on my pencil to do the work for me. Typing notes really does mess with me, but I do it if I need to. I feel like it takes my focus off the Professor because I’m so busy trying to type every little thing! Thanks for this post! I feel better about my notes now!

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