Should you use a pen or pencil doing math? (solved)

Should you use a pen or pencil to do math? mathematics is a subject that requires good attention and focuses on details.

which is the best tool that helps a lot pen or pencil doing math?

In this article, we’re going to discover what most students frequently use in their mathematical studies and why they prefer using it.

Should I use a pen or pencil to do math?

For stem majors, an average successful student should spend 2 hours a day studying mathematics which is 10 hours a week. The majority of college students prefer using pens, especially for passing exams or doing homework.

In addition, many professors demand from students to give them the work back done in pen, not pencil. Because writing pens are very clean and tidy, Not smudged papers and broad or finner strokes.

In the school system, pencils are acceptable because students are still in the learning phase and make a lot of mistakes. But for a college student, this can’t be an option, they already have draft papers to scribble out.

This is not meaning that students should not be allowed to use pencils, they already have many advantages like erasing mistakes as a principal advantage. But with the apparition of corrector pens, pencils lost their power.

Even though many students love to use pencils, college professors insisting working with pens, solving math problems on scrap paper, and copying it properly and professionally on an official paper.

It is not an obligation to choose to use pens instead of pencils. It remains a personal question many people find pencils good for math or vice versa.

But we will show 10 reason why you should use pens even if you love pencils doing math.

1 – Seeing your mistakes

According to LinkedIn, the research approved that humans are making 3 to 6 mistakes per hour on average. But the number will be likely higher in mathematics activities that seem complex and require a lot of attention.

Making mistakes doing mathematics is beneficial for students to know more about not erasing with a pencil.

Using a pen instead of a pencil doing math allows students to find and point out their mistakes localize their weaknesses and find solutions. Using a pencil, in this case, doesn’t allow the student to remember when he missed out or made mistakes.

Many students say that scribbling helps them to understand their level in mathematical subjects and how they are ready to pass exams

2 – Pens writings are 2 times clear

Pens writing are two times more clear than pencils because pencils are made from graphite which let some small holes in letters or lines that infect the reflectivity. As a result, makes less clear writing than ink does.

this is an example of pencil holes.

pen or pencil doing math

The density of color is variable depending on the head sharpness and pressure exert on a pencil. So we can see the difference in the darkness of a color, this is the normal due mechanical process of writing that pencils have.

Pencils work with a friction force, meaning rubbing graphite ( head material of pencil) with surface paper which lets stains on the paper but many small grains are left on the side of the paper. Whereas pen work is completely different.

doing math with a pen is not like a pencil, a pen gives good quality writing. To clarify you won’t notice holes in the writings because the ink is liquid material and not solid raw that gets rubbed on the surface of the paper.

3 – Pencils need to be sharpened every

An average pencil is sharpened 17 times before ending up according to, office express. Could be more or less, to keep and have relatively stable quality and accepted writing size we found that students should sharpen after every 120 words.

that means sharpening after half-hour of consistent work. So students should spend every hour 2 minutes sharpening their pencils which could be very annoying for many people. While the average of sharpeners’ lifespans is less than 6 mounts.

For this reason many pencils lovers prefer to use mechanical pencils to avoid this problem. But it is still to adjust a mechanical pencil every half hour but less demanding than such a sharpening process.

Pencil users are usually interrupted in their work every while they have to set up their pencils, so they can continue the work.

4 – Pencil writings aren’t controllable

Pencil Fontes isn’t stable the writer always varies between 0.2mm and 1mm in his writings. So after the sharpening process, students could reach 0.4 to 0.3 mm. But with the work, the writing thickness begins to increase until reaching the 1mm mark.

So in pencil writing paper, we can notice the difference and incoherent size font which is not professional.

pens have fixed-size heads the font is constant unless the user increases it by changing the angle of writing.

5 – You can do math better with a pen than with a pencil

according to hypertextbook the friction coefficient of steel that the pen use is between 0.15 and 0.6 while graphite is higher and vary between 0.5 and 0.8 this explains the smoothness of the ballpoint pen and pencils.

pens are smoother for writing because they use oil inks, not a pencil that has solid material rubbered with the paper.

It is like making a difference between chalkboards and whiteboards. writing with markers is not like using chalk, chalk is rougher and has less dust.

for people who are doing a lot of math working for long hours using a pen and pencils creates a difference. Using a pencil will require a lot of energy to write on paper which exerts a lot of power and tiring quickly the hand.

6 – Erasers can tear the paper

Erasing pencils’ writings many times can tear paper, and erasing 3 times in the same spot can smudge the paper and makes it not appealing for a professor or someone to revise it. Many students tear their papers using bad eraser quality.

But the problem comes for people who love to sharpen well their pencils, writing finer than the majority of students do.

Writing finner lines make it very hard and near impossible to erase them 100%, stains stay which makes paper smudgy and not comfortable to read. So many people find the idea of using a pencil to erase useless and not efficient.

7 – Pen teaches you confidence

According to Psychologytoday 85% of worldwide people suffer from a lack of confidence. That is due to the lack of self-esteem, say. So this is the reason why a majority of professors adopt using a pen for exams and assignments.

The goal is to raise the confidence of students and not make them be afraid of making mistakes. Creating the bad habit of writing and erasing is not sane and perfectionism in a non-perfect world.

In college, students have to be self-confident in their decisions, they can learn that from classrooms. Some students say that pencils teach them indecisiveness and increase their self-doubts about their works.

Using a pen teach student confidence and the acceptance that everything is not perfect and mistakes are human nature.

8 – Eraser is time-consuming

As we noticed in our article humans make between 3 to 6 mistakes on the average doing unconscious task. So what about solving mathematical issues like exercises or going into exams?. Mistakes could be multiplied by 10.

for instance, if we take and consider that students only make 10 mistakes per hour doing math-solving exercises or passing exams. Also, we’re going to consider the average time of erasing is 1 min for big math mistakes.

As a result, students will lose 10 minutes erasing, while putting a straight line is enough to go to the next step.

Math sequential if you make mistake in the beginning everything that follows goes wrong. The question is, after writing 15 lines of Alegra or filling the whole page, do you need to erase the whole page to start again or do something else?

9 – Pencils exams can be altered

According to Rechargenet, 37% of students are cheating 65% are males and 24% are female. The cheating phenomenon is overspread in college, hence universities don’t allow students to use pencils to answer exams.

Cheating with pencils is very easy and professors could not control it. Some students interchange exams paper which makes it very hard to detect. On the other side, the student is not protected if he wants to ask a professor to revise his exam mark.

Anyone could alter the student exam paper and put something else wrong that could ruin a student’s future.

10 – pencils writing can become smudgy

Doing math with a pencil seems comfortable for many students. But once you start making mistakes and using Eraser things change. erasing many times the paper makes it smudgy, shadowed, and hard for reading.

Many people prefer to use pens instead of pencils to make clean writing because smudgy papers are noisy and don’t help the student to focus between lines.


For people who love to use pencils to do math whatever the problems that pencils have, they could watch this video to see the best pencil to use doing math.

mechanical pencils are more useful because they don’t need sharpening, in addition, this rotation special characteristic makes them behave like a pen.

but the other question is if we want to take notes should we use pencils or pens?


Yassin ajanif is a physics graduate and electromechanical engineer width more than 5 years in the field. My goal and my team are to share our experience to help you succeed in your career as a stem major. we talk about all tips, problems, and struggle STEM students face in their career and how to overcome them.