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Face-Off: Typing vs. Writing

Time for the battle to end all battles.


1. Retention

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Studies have shown that writing notes can help you retain and recall information. A study conducted by the University of California found that those who wrote notes by hand were forced to summarise and paraphrase their notes, leading to improved retention, while those who typed their notes tended to type every word, learn by verbatim and scored lower on retention level.

2. Stamina

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Law school exams test not only test your knowledge, but how quickly you can apply that knowledge and write it down. Practising writing quickly will better prepare you for exams.

3. Longevity

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Notebooks do not require batteries. Who would have known? So while that guy next to you stopped typing half way through the lecture because his laptop died, you will get all the notes you need for your contracts lecture (provided your hand doesn’t cramp)


1. Cramps

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Pretty self-explanatory. They’re hell.

2. When your lecturer talks quickly

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Handwriting is great… unless your lecturer moonlights as an urban rapper. Even worse when their lecture slides have very few dot points, which your lecturer explains which the rapidity of Eminem’s second verse in ‘Rap God’.

3. Ink and space run out?!

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If you look up ‘traitor’ in the dictionary, there’ll be a picture of that pen that ran out of ink in the middle of a lecture, or that notepad that reached its last page in the middle of the revision class.


1. Infinite room

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Unlike the folk who are busy squeezing their notes on the final page of a notebook, your document will never run out of pages.

2. Get every important fact down

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For some classes, writing every fact and example down will help you for later revision. Judges also articulate principles very carefully, so typing is helpful for getting down every word.

3. Notes are ready for revision

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Just keep your notes neat, print them off, and you’re ready for revision. Exams come at me!


1. Aimlessly typing

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You may find yourself typing every word the lecturer is saying because you know it will be relevant to the upcoming mid-semester exam. Only to realise when you walk out of the lecture theatre that you have no idea what just happened. Welcome to the world of verbatim.

2. Distractions

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With laptops comes easy access to wi-fi, which then brings distractions like Facebook, Youtube, aimlessly scrolling through pointless Buzzfeed quizzes like finding out what type of cheese you would be or your Hogwarts House based on your personality. Instead of learning about assault, I learnt I’m a Gryffindor. Coincidentally, Survive Law published an article on apps that can actually block distractions and help keep you focused.

3. Student budget, y’know?

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Laptops are expensive to purchase and maintain, and as a result may not be financially viable on a student budget. You don’t have to conform to stereotypical Apple MacBooks; you can normally buy lesser-known brands for less. You will still need to pay for Microsoft Office, but make sure to check if your institution is eligible for a free student Office365 suite!

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