Only Mind Maps For Studying, Or Do You Use More Tools?

More and more people use mind maps for studying. I really enjoy the sessions I have with (adult) students. They are there for one thing and one thing only. They want me to deliver on the promise that they can summarize a complete book, without having read one word from it before, and create a mind map on that book… in 50 minutes.

To do this, you really need to be able to focus and keep your eyes on the price, the summary.

It is also important to know that these 50 minutes you invest will pay back tenfold (at least) while studying the topic and reading the book. During my workshop I give the students insight in their book and make going through the book next time a lot easier. The best thing is that at the end they understand they can gain lots of time and reduce their stress significantly because of the simple 7 step process I give them.

The mind map they create from this first 50 minute period helps them in reading faster and understanding their topic better. It actually is more a rule than an exception that at the end people tell me they already have a good insight in the content of the book, just by participating in the workshop.

This is however not the reason I write this article. If you think it would be smart I explain this process in detail (and show things on video about this), let me know and I create this. I do need your ‘green light’ on this project though…

The reason for this short writing is that I believe a mind map is something good in studying, but there are far better techniques for remembering information. Which ones do you use? Or are you confident you can use mind maps only?

The technique I am talking about is the usage of memory techniques like memory palaces. Next time you want to remember the information from the mind map, use a memory palace. Here’s a brief description how you can do this:

Imagine your living room. In this room, you have between 5 and 50 items that you can recall. I do mean recall or remember because they are actually in your living room as we speak.

Create a list of them and make sure you keep them in order. So you might choose the order this way: first item is on your left hand side when you enter the room. The second item is next to that in a clockwise order, etc. All the way until you reach item 5, 10, 20 or 50 in your room on your right hand side.

These positions/items or Loci (from the Latin word for location) are anchor points in your mind.

Now you connect the information in your mind map to these fixed items in your living room. Make sure the connection is strange, involves action, is absurd, perhaps painful, or involves humour. The stranger the connection the better you will remember it.

Do this for all the items in your mind map or your summary… and I am sure you can vividly remember all the things you had on paper or on your computer screen. Can’t remember one? Imagine you are in your living room and you are standing in front of the item in your original list. When the connection is strong enough, you can’t forget the information connected. If so, make sure you make the connection stronger.

Let me know how you are doing. I am sure you will enjoy this for studying, giving presentations, or for simply remembering information.

Add your thoughts, results and ideas in the form below.

Talk soon!

Arjen