In every store that sells school supplies, there is a selection of dozens of different types of pencils. They can vary by color, shape, size, hardness of lead, traditional or mechanical. With so many choices, it may be difficult to select the best type of pencil. However, there are certain characteristics that the best pencils for school all share.
Color and Shape
It’s best not to buy pencils that are sparkly or have extra doodads. While a pencil with pink fur and feathers or with a spiral eraser may look pretty, these features impede with the actual purpose of the pencil, writing. Special pencils usually cost more than regular ones do. Of course, there are many areas in life where accessorizing is appropriate, but plain pencils are more convenient and less expensive. The better pencils are not accessories; they are just regular pencils without anything to impede their function.
Similarly, extra-sized pencils may seem to be a fun purchase at first, but their novelty soon wears off. They are inconvenient to use, and most pencil sharpeners do not have holes big enough to sharpen extra-large pencils. The best pencils are ones with a size that fits easily in your fingers, about one fourth of an inch in diameter. Pencils that have been sharpened down to stubs are also uncomfortable to use and should be avoided.
Hardness of Lead
Pencils that have number 2 lead are preferred over other kinds in school. The number 2 refers to the hardness of the lead, indicating that the pencil is not too soft or too hard. Words written with pencils with softer leads are fairly difficult to read, and it is harder to write with pencils that have harder leads. All in all, number 2 pencils are easy to see and to write with. In addition, standardized tests like the SAT require number 2 pencils because it is the only kind of pencils that scanning machines can read. If a student uses a pencil with a lead number of anything other than 2 while taking a standardized test, the student’s answers will not register in the machine and he or she will not receive credit for the test. It is better to use number 2 pencils at all times and not take the risk of losing credit.
Mechanical vs. Wooden
Mechanical pencils are in general better than wooden pencils for school use. For students who must often write for long periods of time without breaks, getting up to sharpen a pencil every so often is an annoyance. Mechanical pencils do not have to be sharpened at all, and more lead is just a click away. Mechanical pencils are usually more economic because they are not discarded after use. In theory, the same mechanical pencil can be used for decades, with the owner only having to replace the lead in the pencil every so often when it runs out. Some higher-end mechanical pencils are ergonomically better than straight wooden pencils as well. Finally, the erasers on typical wood pencils can run out quickly, whereas the erasers on most quality mechanical pencils are significantly longer and can be retracted in and out of the pencil. While certain situations in school like art classes may call for a traditional wooden pencil, generally mechanical pencils have far more benefits than their archaic cousins.
Many different types of pencils are available for use in school. The best of these pencils are plain and average-sized, have number 2 lead, and are mechanical. If students use this type of pencil in school, it is far easier to succeed.