The Science Behind Why Note Taking Makes Us Smarter
Ever wondered how note taking can increase your memory power? Here are some interesting insights on the science behind it!
Our friends at StudySoup shed light on how jotting down notes can boost your memory in ways more than you thought
For some people, note taking is the name of the game. It doesn’t matter if they’re in the classroom, board room, or on a conference call, they’re always taking notes. Conversely, there are people who don’t consider this important for one reason or another. Most often, it’s because they don’t fully understand the benefits. Once you understand why note taking makes you smarter, as well as the other benefits it has to offer, you may find yourself adding this to everything you do.
Let’s examine some of the reasons why you should take notes, along with other important data:
Minimize Your Rate of Forgetting
Even if you are the forgetful type, you can benefit from taking notes. According to the Orange County Department of Education, citing the Cornell University Reading Center, people who don’t take notes forget 60% in 14 days. But get this: people who take organized notes and do something with them remember 90 to 100% indefinitely. In your mind, you may think you’re able to remember everything you hear. While you retain some information, it goes without saying that other details will slip through the cracks. Unfortunately, it’s these details that are often lost forever.
Hand Writing Notes may be Better
In today’s day and age, technology is taking over both the classroom and the workplace. This is a good thing in many ways, but it can also have a negative impact on the way people learn and remember. A recent study conducted by Pam A. Mueller of Princeton University and Daniel M. Oppenheimer of the University of California, Los Angeles touched on the impact of taking notes by hand, as opposed to using a computer.
Mueller explains why note taking by hand is the better of the two options:
“When people type their notes, they have this tendency to try to take verbatim notes and write down as much of the lecture as they can. The students who were taking longhand notes in our studies were forced to be more selective — because you can’t write as fast as you can type. And that extra processing of the material that they were doing benefited them.”
This study shows that writing notes force you to process more material, which benefits you in the long run.
More Notes Equals Higher Test Scores
Dating back to your early days of education, you probably remember your teachers (and parents) telling you about the importance of taking notes. These people didn’t tell you this for no good reason. They shared this advice because it really can have a positive impact on your performance in the classroom. There is no other way of putting it: study after study shows that taking more notes leads to higher test scores. For example, the University of Michigan says that students who take notes score higher on both immediate and delayed tests. Adding to this, note taking can improve your ability to recall information and apply new knowledge.
How to Experiment with Note Taking
Many people, students, and entrepreneurs alike consider themselves too busy to take notes. Although you may have a lot on your plate, there is always time to take notes. With so many benefits, it doesn’t make sense to omit this from your life. Getting started comes down to one thing: finding a system that works for you. This often means experimenting with different ways of taking notes. As mentioned above, hand writing notes are often better than using a computer or other device (such as a smartphone). This doesn’t hold true for everyone, though, so it’s imperative to experiment with several strategies. As the days turn into weeks, you’ll see what’s working, what’s not, and how to adjust your strategy accordingly. What matters most is that you experience a positive return on the time that you put into this task.
There are many studies that show why note taking makes people smarter. You can read all of these that you want, but at some point, you need to take action. This means picking up your pen and putting it to paper when it makes sense to do so.
It can take a while to get into the habit of taking notes, but once this is part of your life you’ll never go back.