Note Taking By Hand Makes It Stick

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Guess what?! When you write something down, you’re 42% more likely to make it stick*! Post-it® Brand recently conducted research on Generation Z and discovered that 85% of this generation recognizes that they learn best when using both non-digital tools and digital tools for school work.

And they’re right!

Note-taking by hand makes things stick because it beats typing notes for retention and for accomplishing goals.

Handwritten Notes Important for School Work and Goal Setting

Note Taking by Hand

Writing notes by hand is the most beneficial for students. Why? Because writing is slower than typing and forces students to paraphrase and synthesize what information they write down.

Typing notes on the computer is faster but research shows that it doesn’t work as well for retaining information. Researchers believe this is because most students are typing the information verbatim, not actively processing the information. This contrasts the longhand note-takers who are putting the information in their own words while taking notes.

Note Taking with Post-It Products (in a Textbook)

When taking notes from a textbook, you can use all of your Post-it® Products to help! (Especially if you can’t write in your textbook.)

  • Use tabs or flags to organize information in the book.
    • Tabs work well for BIG IDEAS — like chapter titles.
    • Flags are perfect for labeling and organizing information within a chapter such as headings and sub-headings. This makes it much easier to find when you’re looking for that information later.
  • You can also use your Sticky Notes within the pages of the book for taking notes.

The recent Post-it® Brand study on Generation Z reveals that:

  • 93% of students use handwritten notes to keep up with schoolwork in a typical school week
  • 85% believe more likely to get something down when they write it down on paper
  • 68% write down key points on sticky notes
  • 61% use both digital devices and handwritten notes
  • 56% flag important information in a book
  • 41% make flashcards

Pretty interesting, right?

Note Taking By Hand Makes It Stick --Doodle

Note Taking Tips

So, if the best note-taking is done by hand, here are a few tips to get the most out of your handwritten note-taking:

  • Organize your information
    • Use headings
    • Use bullet points
  • Use abbreviations (shorthand)
  • Synthesize the information and write down what’s most important — in your own words if possible
  • Doodling can help you process
  • Pretty up your notes with borders, doodles, paper tape, Post-it® Super Sticky Notes, and add color contrasts with paper and pen color

Post It Products Note Taking By Hand Makes It Stick

Post-it® Brand learned that most students already bring to class the following (necessary) note-taking items:

  • pencil or pen (92%)
  • notebook (88%)
  • loose-leaf paper (64%)
  • planner (46%)
  • sticky notes (38%)

Note Taking By Hand Makes It Stick

Goal Setting: Make It Stick with Post-it® Brand

Interestingly enough, goal achievement is more likely to happen if the goal is WRITTEN DOWN. (But you probably know this already, right?)

Which is why as we head back to school, my family wrote down goals for the year.

Ask your Gen Z students to do this, too. Prompt them to think of doable goals (that can be achieved with an actionable result) and write them down.

Goal Setting Tips

It’s helpful to guide kids in making goals. Ask these important questions to get them started:

What do you want to do and / or learn this year that would be an achievable goal?

Is your goal achievable?
–> Learning to fly is not achievable in this school year.

Will you know when you achieved the goal? How?
–> If you want to get good grades you might say that achieving a 3.5 would be meeting the goal.

What steps do you need to take to accomplish the goal?
–> Complete all homework right after school. Ask for a tutor. Study with a partner for tests.

Note Taking By Hand Makes Learning Stick

After your kids write their goals, display their goal lists in a common area such as on a refrigerator, bathroom mirror, or desk.

Refer to your goal lists on a regular basis. Ask your kids if they’re working to achieve those goals and how that’s going.

Note Taking By Hand Makes It Stick

Visit for additional information on Post-it® Products, Gen Z and study tips. Share how your family is accomplishing their goals this back to school season using the hashtag #MakeitStick and tagging @Postit.

Follow Post-it® Brand on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest.

This post is sponsored by Post-it® Brand.


“Handwriting Can Make You Smarter,” Wall Street Journal

“Take Notes By Hand for Better Long Term Comprehension,” Psychological Science

*Matthews, G. (2007). The impact of commitment, accountability, and written goals on goal achievement. Paper presented at the 87th Convention of the Western Psychological Association, Vancouver, B.C., Canada.

Post-it GenZ Infographic Note Taking By Hand Makes It Stick

note taking tips for kids

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  1. Hi Melissa, what a creative ideas and effective strategies you have introduced for kids learning! Ideas and tips shared by you are really innovative and helpful. Excellent, research supported points. Instead of converting entirely to shorthand, you might try translating just some of your most-frequently used words into a shorthand “language” that takes less time to write. It’s helpful to guide kids in making goals. This sounds like amazing advice, I’ll definitely try this out. Thanks for your catch.