Learn how to learn
How do you take notes?
I bet you write down in your notebook what your teacher says. It might look like an essay! If your notes are with bullet points or numbers, you are more advanced. But still such method of taking notes is linear, because both the process of taking notes and their reading and recovering the knowledge hidden in the piece of paper consists in producing and reading the information from left to right, line by line. It has been proved that this activates only the left hemisphere of your brain and does not make it easier to remember the information.
Mind mapping is a famous method of taking notes and learning invented by Tony and Barry Buzan. They have discovered that when we stop noting in a linear way, we activate more areas in the brain (also the right hemisphere) which makes us remember better and more quickly.
What are mind maps and how can we use them in learning English? Every mind map starts in the center of the page, where you put the topic, and then, using arrows, you move round and the map grows bigger and bigger. You should use a clean piece of paper (without lines etc.), different colours of pens and felt-tip pens. You should add drawings and symbols, underline the most important elements. The more creative you get, the better you will understand. This method is very often used for history, geography, biology lessons. Can it be used for English? The answer is: yes, of course! You can use this method for:
In the center of the page there must be the category, and then subcategories. Of course you can add lots of drawing.
Very good for learning different uses of the same tense, or for example different ways of expressing some meaning.
Mind maps are perfect for brainstorming before writing an essay. Below you will find examples of such maps. So, if you are bored with traditional notes, you must try it out!