Define your aims and objectives for this study session and complete a different Mind Map of all the questions that need to be answered in this study session.
J Take an overview of the text, looking at the table of contents, major headings, results, conclusions, summaries, major illustrations or graphs, and any other important elements which catch your eye. This process will give you the central image and main branches (or Basic Ordering Ideas) of your new polycategoric Mind Map of the text. Many students report that they have often completed 90 per cent of their learning task by the time they finish the overview
stage. By focusing on the overall structure and major elements of the text, the author's essential ordering impetus rapidly becomes clear and can easily be Mind Mapped.
vf Now move on to the preview, looking at all the material not covered in the overview, particularly the beginnings and ends of paragraphs, sections and chapters, where the essential information tends to be concentrated. Add to your Mind Map.
/ The next stage is the inview, in which you fill in the bulk of the learning puzzle, still skipping over any major problem areas. Having familiarised yourself with the rest of the text, you should now find it much easier to understand these passages and bulk out your Mind Map.
O Finally there is the review stage, in which you go back over the difficult areas you skipped in the earlier stages and look back over the text in order to answer any remaining questions or fulfil any remaining objectives. At this point you should complete your Mind Map notes.
The whole process can be likened to building up a jigsaw puzzle, beginning by looking at the complete picture on the box, then putting in the corners and outside edges, and gradually filling in the middle until you have a complete replica.
In a lecture situation, a similar approach is recommended. In order to make your note-taking task easier, you could ask the lecturer beforehand if he or she will give you a summary of the major topics, themes or categories that are to be dealt with in the session.
If this is not possible, simply construct a Mind Map while listening, searching for BO Is as the lecture progresses. After the lecture you can edit and refine your Mind Map, a process which will force you to make sense of the information, thus enhancing your understanding of it. For more on Mind Mapping a lecture, see Chapter 26.
A PRACTICAL EXAMPLE OF POLYCATEGORIC MIND MAPPING
The polycategoric Mind Map on page 143 was produced by a father to help his daughter pass her university entrance examinations in English literature.
When confronted with a structure as complex as the novel, it is an enormous advantage for the brain to be able to refer to this type of mental 'grid' which sets out the major literary elements in the novel.
This type of Mind Map enables the reader to extract the essence of any text more accurately and comprehensively. It also makes it much easier to transform that essential information into spoken or written form (such as an essay or examination answer).
The Mind Map overleaf was prepared over a four month period by Pan Collins, producer of Eire's leading television programme, The Late Late Show. Pan had to organise the entire crew's thoughts on topics, presenters, and programme order, etc. For her own records, she noted, in the large arrows, how the programme ranked for the week.
BENEFITS OF POLYCATEGORIC MIND MAPS FOR NOTE-TAKING
All 12 benefits of Mind Mapping mentioned in Chapter 9 (pages 89-90).
2 Your enormous 'search-and-find' mental association powers are unleashed.
Learning objectives can be attained far more quickly.
4 Mind Map notes can be quickly and easily transformed into essays, presentations and other creative or communicative forms.
5 Ever-increasing clarity of analytical thought.
6 A growing delight in accumulating knowledge.
7 A permanent and easily accessible record of all your significant learning experiences.
Having used Mind Maps to organise your own and other people's ideas, you are ready to explore Mind Maps and memory - the subject of the next chapter.
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