Neat handwriting hinders chances of doing well in exams

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London, Dec 4 (UNI) Students who concentrate on forming letters perfectly are not able to perform well during exams, researchers have claimed.

While students concentrate on maintaining a good hand writing, their attention is diverted from more complex aspects of writing such as plotting storylines and selecting vocabulary.

Pupils who have the ability to write ''automatically'' in the researchers' terminology without bothering too hard about forming each individual letter are more likely to score highly on writing tests.

Despite evidence that fast writing can boost exam performance, too much emphasis was given on perfecting letter shapes at the expense of speed and efficiency.

The study, published in the Journal of Reading, Writing and Literacy suggests, ''If young writers have to devote large amounts of working memory to the control of lower-level processes such as handwriting, they may have little working memory capacity left for higher-level processes such as idea generation, vocabulary selection, monitoring the progress of mental plans and revising text against these plans.

Handwriting is not just about training the hand but training the memory and hand to work together to generate the correct mental images and patterns of letters and translate these into motor patterns of letters - automatically and without effort, expert Jane Medwell explained.


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