Reading Efficiently

by David Barker

Making notes

There are many ways of making notes on what you have read, but one of the most effective is the Mind Map®, invented by Tony Buzan. Based on his research as to how the brain works, Mind Mapping is a highly visual way of recording information that enables large quantities of data to be recorded on a single page in a format that maximises retention and learning. It is useful, not just for making notes, but also for brain storming, planning, problem solving and a host of other applications.

There is a full description of the Mind Map method in its own topic, but to get you started, here is a very simple overview of how to record your notes from a text book as a Mind Map.

  • The two most important concepts of a Mind Mapare keywords and linking.
  • A keyword is a single word or short phrase that summarises an idea, concept, or fact. It should trigger your memory appropriately.
  • Linking mimics the way that our brain stores information by linking one idea to another. Rather than making notes by using a linear list, a Mind Mapuses a graphical representation to link ideas together.
  • Use a full size, blank piece of paper, and write the title of the book in the centre of the page in colour. Add an image that summarises for you the essence of the book.
  • Around the title of the book, write keywords that represent the main ideas of the book. They might be the chapter headings, but often the main ideas and concepts of a book are revisited in multiple chapters.
  • Join the keywords representing the main ideas to the central title.
  • Add keywords representing subordinate ideas and join them to the major keywords. Your Mind Map will start to take on the look of a very colourful snowflake.
  • For maximum effectiveness, use colour extensively and add images in the form of symbols or simple drawings. A well-chosen image can trigger recall of a huge amount of information.

Mind Map® Mind Maps® and Mind Mapping® are registered trademarks of The Buzan Organisation Limited