Noteworthy material

curved line mark for difficult or unclear material

Fig54 Techniques for marking text

4 Marginal straight lines for important or note-worthy material.

5 Curved or wavey marginal lines to indicate unclear or difficult material.

6 Question marks for areas that you wish to question or that you find questionable.

7 Exclamation marks for outstanding items.

8 Your own symbol code for items and areas that relate to your own specific and general objectives.

If the book is not valuable, markings can be made in colour codes. If the book is a cherished volume, then markings can be made with a very soft pencil. If the pencil is soft enough, and if a very soft eraser is used, the damage to the book will be less than that caused by the finger and thumb as they turn a page.

Mind Mapping structure of the text as you progress through it is very similar to building up the picture of the jigsaw puzzle as you fit in bit by bit. Ideally the bulk of Mind Map noting should take place during the latter stages of study, as in the earlier stages it is very difficult to know that which is definitely note-worthy, and subsequently unnecessary noting can be avoided.

It is best to start with a central image that captures the essence of that which you are studying, and from that central image, to branch out with the major sub-subject headings or chapter headings forming the central arms from which the secondary and tertiary levels of your note taking will emanate. Re-read now 'Noting' section starting on page 71.

The advantage -of building up a Mind Map as you progress through the study text is that you externalise and integrate a lot of information that would otherwise be 'up-in-the-air'. The growing Mind Map also allows you to refer back quickly to areas you have previously covered, rather than having to thumb through pages already read.

It will enable you after a reasonable amount of basic study, to see just where the areas of confusion in your subject are, and to see also where your subject connects with other subjects. As such it will place you in the creative situation of being able to: integrate the known; realise the relevance to other areas; and to make appropriate comment where confusion and debate still exist. The final stage of your study will include the completion and integration of any notes from your text with the Mind Map, which will act as your basis for ongoing study and review.

When you have completed this final stage, you should, as did our imaginery jigsaw puzzle fanatic, celebrate! This may sound humorous, but it is also serious: if you associate the completion of study tasks with personal celebration, the context of your study will become increasingly more pleasant, and thus the probability of your studying far greater.

Once your study programme is well underway, it is advisable to keep enormous 'Central' Mind Maps which summarise and overview the main branches and structures of your subject areas.

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