Mind Maps for Better Memorization
What are Mind Maps?
Mind maps are a random note taking method, modeled un the way the human brain organizes, interprets and recollects information. Take this instance for example. Suppose we read a section in History on the second world war. It may be a long section in which many names, events, dates and the importance and role of each would be mentioned. However, our brain does not organize them in the same way as we read, i.e. in a linear pattern of words and sentences, like the paragraph you are reading right now.
Our brain will take time to organize and interpret the information contained in the section by interconnecting the bits and pieces of all the related information into something meaningful. This is so because most of the words (90%) of what we read in a section or paragraph are connecting words which are used to make meaningful sentences by joining the main keywords (i.e less than 10% of words). Our brain actually eliminates most of these connecting words and remembers the keywords only by associating the new words or concepts with the information it already knows or remembers.
How to make a Mind Map
Suppose we are learning a new language like French and we come to know about the French words for father, mother, brother and sister then our brain will automatically associate Pere' with father, Mere with Mother, Soeur(s) with sister and fre're' with brother. You can even consciously associate your father dancing with his clone as a pair or your mother lifting a mare (female horse) on her right hand and your brother in a friar’s dress to remember these new words.
A typical mind map would look like this;
Sui+cide=Killing oneself--------Cide = killing---------Regi+cide=regicide=killing of king
Soro+cide= Sorocide= Killing one’s sister (Homi+Cide=Killing of one man by another) Fratri+cide=Fratricide=killing of brother
Uxori+Cide=Uxoricide=Killing one’s wife (Matri+cide= Matricide= Killing of one’s mother) Patri+Cide= Patricide= killing of father
opp.quality=Uxorious= willing slave to wife
This is just a small sample, which you can use to learn new words, concepts, and information in a book or magazine. Notice that the main concept or root word is in the center and the related words are gradually moving away from the central concept or idea. More important or closely related ideas or words should be placed nearby the central theme and less important words can be placed along side the secondary words or meanings.
used for perfumery----------enchanting smell=(Rose= Red) in Color----------Color of love/passion etc.--used as a gift
As you can see here, Rose is the central word or theme and when describing it more important things which come to mind are placed close to the main word. Secondary words like red in Color and enchanting smell are placed next to it. Likewise the tertiary words i.e. less important words like used for perfumery or a gift; which are associated with secondary words are placed right next to them. You can use brackets, symbols of words like equal to, similar to, antonym, synonym as much as possible in the mind map. Use as few words as possible in a mind map. Also use hand drawn images with vivid colors to remember better.
Also you can use geometrical shapes like squares for including words of main theme, circles for secondary words, and triangles for tertiary words to be included in them. One more tip, you can club together closely related info in one circle or triangle. Use signs and abbreviations whenever possible and do not try to think hard for a mind map construction. Jot down the keywords or salient points, which naturally and quickly come to your mind and then make a mind map of the topic or subject which you have studied.
One can take notes in a linear pattern also along with the mind maps so that details and explanation of the mind map terms are available for a quick glance. You can include written notes on the topic of your mind map along with mind map itself in adjacent pages of your notebook. We already know about the value of daily revision in memorization of a subject so mind maps will help us to do so quickly and efficiently. You should create mind maps for any topic, which calls for more emphasis in tests. Even long and complicated topics may be depicted on a mind map in a concise manner, for easy revision and memorization. We can even make difficult topics to be understandable for us by using mind maps because a visual representation of the subject in color and drawings is often very quickly realized by us.
You can refer to http://www.mindtools.com/ in the memory improvement section for more details.