Cambridge University may abolish handwritten exams after 800 years. The university may ask students to type their exam answers on a computer rather than use a pen. Exam markers are complaining that test papers are becoming increasingly illegible due to poor handwriting. Academics say today's students mainly use laptops in lectures instead of pens. Students are losing the ability to write by hand. One academic said hand writing exams actually causes students physical difficulties. The muscles in their hand are not used to writing extensively for two to three hours at a time.
A Cambridge lecturer told Britain's 'Daily Telegraph' newspaper that handwriting is a "lost art". She said: "Twenty years ago, students routinely [wrote] by hand several hours a day, but now they write virtually nothing by hand, except exams." She said declining handwriting has been a problem and on "a downward trend" for years. She added it is difficult for examiners to read exam scripts. Some students' handwriting is so illegible they had to return to the university over the summer to read out their answers to examiners who could not read their writing.