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Are Note-Taking Apps Better Than Regular Notepads?

No matter which course you are pursuing, note-taking is an important part of learning. It can help you refer back to the lecture later in order to understand the concept better or to prepare for a test. 

In an increasingly paperless world, many students have already gotten comfortable with taking notes on their tablets or iPad. However, many might still prefer to take notes on a good old notepad with their pens and pencils. 

If you are confused about which is the right way for you to take notes, then this article is for you. Here, we compare the pros and cons of both note-taking methods to help you figure out which is the right one for your needs. 

  1. Academically Better - Longhand Note Taking

In 2014, Princeton University published a study in which students were given Ted talks to watch, and they were asked to take notes. Later, the students were tested on many aspects, such as remembering facts, and the group that used a pen and paper to take notes performed better. 

As per the study, those who use regular notepads process information more deeply because they can't possibly write it all down. So, if you are more focused on making the most out of your lectures, then you might be better off using a notepad in an old-fashioned way. 

That being said, today, there are many apps that allow students to write with a digital pen. This might also offer better results. However, if taking notes swiftly, using digital pens might mean more workload for students. 

  1. Gathers More Notes - Note-Taking Apps

On the other hand, if you are focused on gathering data so that you can get back to it later, then a note-taking app would be the better alternative. That is when typing the notes, not when using a digital pen. 

Not only that, you are likely to make fewer errors when typing onto your laptop. This is one of the reasons why you always resort to your laptop when thinking about how to write my college paper. After all, it's quite easy to refer to papers online and create your paper - in much less time. 

  1. More Convenient - Note-Taking Apps

While convenience often comes down to personal preference, you can't deny the fact that note-taking apps offer more flexibility. To start with, when using a device to take notes, you need to carry around different notebooks for different subjects. 

Furthermore, if you back up your notes to cloud storage, you can access them from anywhere and anytime. This offers a lot of flexibility and improved productivity, which the conventional type of note-taking cannot offer. 

Importantly, when writing notes speedily, some of it is likely to end up ineligible - which makes it difficult for you to comprehend them later. With note-taking apps, you don't have to worry about that. 

There is also no concern of the ink getting smudged or for the notes getting physically destroyed in some way with note-taking apps. Even if your device has stopped working, you can simply sign into the app from another device and gain access to your notes easily. 

  1. Better for Imagery - Note-Taking Apps

Another factor to consider is what type of notes you would be taking. For instance, if you are a science student and have to copy drawings and diagrams, then a note-taking app might be better. With such apps, you will have easy access to a variety of pens, colors, and other features, which might make things easier. 

A 2019 study from Helsinki tried to compare the use of note-taking apps and notepads with medical students. The students were given iPads, and they found them to be very helpful. iPads gave them more flexibility to take nonlinear notes, especially when students had to note down visual images. 

  1. Environmentally Friendly - Note-Taking Apps

Finally, the most obvious advantage of using note-taking apps is that you will end up using less paper. This can turn out to be a small step in contributing to the better health of the planet. 

How to Make the Best of Both?

Fortunately, there are several ways to make the most of your situation. For instance, you might prefer the advantage of taking down notes by hand in order to memorize the topic better. At the same time, you might prefer the convenience offered by note-taking apps. 

Here are some tips that can help you in such a scenario. 

Digitize Your Notes

The easiest way to store hand-written notes safely is to digitize them. While taking photos of notes might be the easier option, it can be challenging to browse through them in the future. Instead, find an app that can convert hand-written notes to text. This way, you will even be able to search for keywords in the text if needed. 

You will also be able to organize your notes more efficiently this way. 

Use a Combination of Notepads and Note-taking Apps

As we mentioned above, for some subjects, a note-taking app might undeniably be the better option. So, why not take advantage of both methods? It will only require you to carry your iPad or Android tablet with you, which you might already be doing. 

Invest in Digital Note-Taking 

While the advantages of note-taking apps are many, it might take you a while to get used to them. If you are planning to switch to digital note-taking, it is worth trying out different apps until you find the best option for you. 

Most note-taking apps offer free trials that you can and should take advantage of before buying the full package. What works for another student might not work best for you. 

Moreover, your options would also vary depending on the type of device you are using. For instance, all note-taking apps available on iPads are not accessible on other tablets. And you might also need a device compatible with a digital pen if you want to add images when taking notes. 

In other words, there are plenty options. You might want to try a few trial-and-error options before you find the right routine and app that can offer you the best value. 

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