Mind Mappingby Gillian Burn
Using Mind Maps® to improve revision
Revising is something few of us enjoy. There is a tendency to run out of time and feel under pressure when trying to squeeze a lot of learning into the last few days or hours before an exam.
Mind maps can help to make sure you are prepared for your next exam and, more importantly, that you are able to recall information clearly during the exam.
Part of the learning process teaches young people to cram lots of information into their brains. The beauty of mind mapping is that it also helps you retrieve that important information during an exam, so you achieve better results. The process of drawing a mind map also helps to bring the information into your own muscle memory and into the brain, ready to recall the information as you need it.
The brain is like a very powerful computer. In the same way that you need to feed your body with good food to provide fuel and energy, you also need to provide the brain with information in a way that can help your memory. There are several key principles to enhancing memory for retention of key information.
- Firstly, the brain loves to see the use of colour. Colour encourages greater creativity and enhances memory by as much as 25 to 50 per cent.
- Secondly, to help remember facts, it is also useful to use a technique called ‘association’, where you aim to associate or link the information with another fact in a funny or interesting way. This provides a memorable link to help you when you subsequently need to recall the information. For example, you could use a rhyme to remember the names of muscles in the body, the planets in the solar system or colours of the rainbow. Mind maps work in a similar way.
- Thirdly, including humour is also very important, because it makes a stronger association, which is easier to remember. You could imagine a situation with cartoon characters, strange voices or funny faces.
- Fourthly, repeating the information several times and in different senses also improves memory skills. By combining colour, humour and association, the mind map becomes an invaluable form of memorable repetition. See the information; hear it; feel it, and write it down.
The benefit of preparing revision notes in the form of a mind map is that you create a one-page summary of all the key information, with subject summaries. The mind map will then act as a reference document to use during revision periods, helping to ensure that your revision time is more effective and time efficient.