I have always been a conscientious, hard working student yet I dread exams. All the knowledge laboriously collected over the year seems to remain locked away and although it’s there I feel I can never quite consolidate it totally and confidently.
I was ‘diagnosed’ with dyslexia at the age of 10, which has added to my struggle. I am a medical student in my 4th year, studying in London. Last year I intercalated and studied for a BSC in Experimental Pathology. This is conventionally a three-year degree, which I took in a year – as you can imagine, a great deal of work. There was a lot to learn and I was keen, yet I was near despair as I felt it was impossible to consolidate and retain the year’s work.
In a moment of desperation I went to the library and luckily stumbled across a book by Tony Buzan called ‘Use Your Head’. It described memory techniques, how to speed read and Mind Mapping methods. The book was incredible; inspired, I went on to read all of Tony Buzan’s other material. I began to make Mind Maps, condensing down lectures and course material and developed them into Mind Maps of essay plans. They were colourful, quick to create and easy to review and revise from. I sat the exam with confidence and managed to get a first!
I continued with my medical studies this year (2nd year of clinics). I discovered that Tony Buzan offers Mind Mapping computer software from www.thinkbuzan.com; I started with the free version, iMindMap Basic and soon went on to use iMindMap Ultimate as I found all the premium features to be so beneficial. I’ve found that Mind Mapping is a great tool for medical students, as it allows all of your thoughts on a topic to be displayed clearly and concisely on one page. Notes are therefore quick to make and even quicker to review and revise from – hundreds of pages from textbooks can be condensed into a few mind maps covering only a few pages.
With iMindMap, multimedia attachments such as images and links to websites or medical papers can be attached to branches to keep all of your references and work on one topic in one place. Clinical pictures of pathology, blood films, investigations and procedures from online textbooks, lectures or the Internet can be inserted directly into you mind map. They can be used to clearly set out medical histories, to highlight the steps in medical examinations and to summarized lectures and case histories. Audio notes are also great. Audio clips recorded of heart or lung sounds can be linked to branches and played at the click of a button as well as voice recordings of lectures.
The software’s Presentation View instantly transforms my Mind Maps to look like professional presentations; not only is this great for the audience, but it’s also great for me too. Keywords and images attached to branches jog the memory, so I can deliver a more natural and interactive presentation than reading from a ‘script’. The plus side to this is that my notes on a topic are instantly presentable and I save huge amounts of time not having to make a PowerPoint presentation. As most medical students know, presentations are a huge part of our assessment and study, in addition to written assessment, so any tool that can help save me time doing this is a greatly appreciated!
The Presentation View feature is also tremendously useful when teaching younger year students in seminars – my audience focuses on listening to what I’m saying rather than copying down lines of text, which is obviously more beneficial to them and me from a learning perspective. Mind Maps can also be converted into a word document at the click of a button if you’re presenting to a consultant who might prefer to see your work set out in a more traditional, linear fashion.
Lastly, iMindMap Online is an online feature allowing you to view your mind maps from any computer, even if it doesn’t have the iMindMap software installed. This is great for students using multiple computers as it increases your access to them. You can also print them out and take them into hospital if you want to re-jog your memory when in a clinic, in a teaching session or on the wards. I thoroughly recommend this technique and this software. Thank you ThinkBuzan, you have changed my life and have helped pave my way to becoming the best doctor I can possibly be.
If you have any questions get in touch with our friendly ThinkBuzan Support Team:
Email: Support Team
Call: +44 (0) 20 71 177 173 or for US customers 1-800-961-4582 (phone lines open UK office hours 8.30am – 6pm)