|Mind Map example for CPA exam from CPAtwits.com|
Mind maps are excellent at summarizing a lot of information into one place. By using connecting branches, colors, graphics and key words it can increase your memory. A single picture or word can increase your memory and increase your score on your exam. By just having a picture or word in your memory it can help you remember 5 or 6 important points.
Researchers Mastroieri and Scruggs have eight guidelines for improving memorization:
1. Increase Attention.
Students will not remember something that they did not pay attention to in the first place. Be sure your students' memory problems are not really attention problems. Use strategies for enhancing attention, such as intensifying instruction, teaching enthusiastically, using more visual aids and activities, and reinforcing attending.
2. Promote External Memory.
Many things that need to be remembered can be written down, a practice known as "external memory." Practices such as keeping an assignment notebook and maintaining a student calendar can be helpful in remembering to do things. Unfortunately, external memory is usually of little use (ethically, anyway) on tests.
3. Enhance Meaningfulness.
Find ways to relate the content being discussed to the student's prior knowledge. Draw parallels to the students' own lives. Bring in concrete, meaningful examples for students to explore so the content becomes more a part of their experience.
4. Use Pictures.
Pictures can provide a memory advantage. Use pictures on the chalkboard or on the overhead projector. Bring in photographs or other illustrations. Show concrete images on videotape, when appropriate. If pictures are simply unavailable, ask students to create images, or “pictures in their heads."
5. Minimize Interference.
Avoid digressions and emphasize only the critical features of a new topic. Make sure all examples relate directly to the content being covered.
6. Promote Active Manipulation.
Students remember content better when they experience it for themselves (Scruggs, Mastropieri, Bakken, & Brigham, 1993). For example, rather than lecturing the class on the effect of weak acid (such as vinegar) on calcite, allow students to place calcite in a glass of vinegar and see for themselves.
7. Promote Active Reasoning.
Students remember better if they actively think through new information, rather than simply repeating it. For example, rather than simply telling students that penguins carry their eggs on the tops of their feet, ask students why it makes sense that penguins would carry their eggs on the tops of their feet.
8. Increase the Amount of Practice.
Students remember information better if they have practice using it more frequently. Use lots of review in your teaching; do not simply finish one topic and then never mention it again. Remind the class, and have students practice previous information frequently.
Mind maps address each of these guidelines to help your memorization and learning.
Tony Buzan is the originator of mind mapping and coined the term mental literacy. He was born in London and received double honors in psychology, English, mathematics and the General Sciences from the University of British Columbia in 1964. He is probably best known for his book, Use Your Head, his promotion of mnemonic systems and his mind-mapping techniques. In his book he describes the MMOST technique (Mind Map Organic Study Technique).
MMOST is divided into two parts (Preparation and Application):
a. A quick browse through the book to get a feel for the way it is organized
b. Defining limits on how long you will work for and how much you will study
c. Mind Mapping what you already know about the subject
d. Asking questions and setting goals. This will help you define exactly what you want from the text in the book. When you do this you will find that words, diagrams, and paragraphs will stand out more to you while reading.
a. Overview. Look at the table of contents, major headings, illustrations or graphs, and any other important information that catches your eye.
b. Preview. Your focus should be on the beginning and end of paragraphs, sections and chapters. You should also look at the summary and conclusions. Pay close attention to the text, diagrams, etc that you defined when you set your goals.
c. Inview. Fill in the blanks from the Overview and Preview by looking at specific parts of the book. Remember to only select what is useful as defined when you set your goals.
d. Review. Go back over the difficult areas you may have skipped and to answer any remaining questions or to reach any goals you set.
e. Mind Mapping
f. Continuing Review
By creating a mind map it assists with studying by forcing you to review the course material and increases memorization by writing down key words and drawing it on a map.
For tips on how to draw your mind map watch these YouTube videos below or do a search on the internet.
Keep your mind map where it can be seen and review often to assist with your memorization. Redraw your mind map in the same format as before. If you practice redrawing your mind map it will help with your memorization and eventually you will be able to redraw from memory.
List of MindMap software
My personal software recommendations:
XMIND and FreeMind
Ernest Tucker has over 15 years in the Information Systems field and is currently a Network Supervisor for a local hospital. He also offers computer consulting in his spare time. You can find Ernest here and here.