Noting of knowledge on the subject

Having decided on the amounts to be covered, next jot down as much as you know on the subject as fast as you can. No more than two minutes should be devoted to the exercise. Notes should be in key words and in creative pattern form.

The purpose of this exercise is to improve concentration, to eliminate wandering, and to establish a good mental 'set'. This last term refers to getting the conscious mind filled with important rather than unimportant information. If you have spent two minutes searching your memory banks for pertinent information, you will be far more attuned to the text material, and will be far less likely to continue thinking about the strawberries and cream you are going to have after.

From the time limit of five minutes on this exercise it is obvious that a person's entire knowledge is not required on the pattern - the two minute exercise is intended purely to activate the storage system and to set the mind off in the right direction.

One question which will arise is 'what about the difference if I know almost nothing on the subject or if I know an enormous amount?' If knowledge in the area is great, the five minutes should be spent forming a pattern of the major divisions, theories and names etc. connected with the subject. As the mind can flash through information much faster than the hand can write it, all the minor associations will still be mentally 'seen' and the proper mental set and direction will be established.

If the knowledge of the subject is almost nothing, the two minutes should be spent patterning those few items which are known, as well as any other information which seems in any way at all to be connected. This will enable the reader to get as close as he possibly can to the new subject, and will prevent him from feeling totally lost as so many do in this situation.

Apart from being immediately useful in study, a continued practice with patterning information gives a number of more general advantages. First, the individual gains by gathering together his immediate and current state of knowledge on areas of interest. In this way he will be able to keep much more up to date with himself and will actually know what he knows, rather than being in a continually embarrassing position of not knowing what he knows - the 'I've got it on the tip of my tongue', 'if only I could make sense of what I know' syndrome.

In addition this continued practice of recalling and integrating ideas gives enormous advantage in situations where such abilities are essential: examinations, impromptu speeches and answering on the spot questions, to name but a few.

Once the five-minute period is up, the next stage should be moved to immediately.

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