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Want good grades? Write with your hands

Livni argues you should write notes instead. Source: Shutterstock

Handwriting has cognitive effects that will help you in your studies, writer and lawyer Ephrat Livni argues in a Quartz article – so much so it is the simplest yet most powerful tool a student can have in their arsenal.

Livni quotes a few researches that back her arguments – adult students who write their notes by hand retain memory longer than those who type (Princeton University study published in Psychological Science, 2014) and with handwriting, children are writing more, faster and churning out more ideas (Berninger, V, Handwriting in the 21st Century?: An Educational Summit, 2012).

Livni writes:

“Writing demands more intellectual engagement, which seems to pay off substantively.”

Compared to typing, which requires the same gesture all the time, handwriting makes the writer come up with different strokes each time. These varied strokes are said to help make notes stick better in the writer’s mind.

There is also a strong relationship between how fluently one hand-writes and the quality of the written composition, according to Research Associate Anabela Malpique and lecturer and ARC DECRA Fellow Deborah Pino-Pasternak, both from Murdoch University’s School of Education.

“The ability to write quickly and effortlessly allows children to focus on translating ideas into writing, thinking about what they want to say about the topic at hand,” the duo said in an article for The Conversation.

US schools are reinstating the lost art of cursive writing back into their curriculum. When proposing a Bill to make cursive mandatory, Tennessee state legislator Sheila Butt held a copy of the US Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights in their original handwritten form, according to Chalkbeat.

“I’m thankful I can read that…and I believe if we’re going to educate our students, that they deserve a right to know what’s in their past,” Butt said.

“They need to know the traditions and the founding documents of this country and they need to be able to read those.”

Livni says she owes her success to writing,

“Later, I used the trick to learn other languages, study the law, pass two state bar examinations, and face difficult information every day at work. All this with scribbled lists, booklets, and endless notes,” Livni wrote.

“It’s easy. If I take time and put pen to paper, my mind sorts the puzzle out for me.”

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