mind maps and other novel study techniques

Discussion in 'Pre-Veterinary' started by gilch, Feb 6, 2011.

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  1. gilch

    gilch VMRCVM 2+ Year Member

    Oct 2, 2009
    Hey guys, I saw mind maps mentioned in another thread about a week ago and am now curious about what that entails. Does anybody use these? I've googled but haven't really gotten a good idea of how they work.

    As for me, I use pretty traditional stuff--reading, highlighting, making lists, etc. I also have a massive white board that came in very handy last semester during biochem :D. I also got a tablet recently that has been super useful when taking notes, but I haven't quite figured everything out on it yet.

    So, anybody want to share? :)
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  3. sumstorm

    sumstorm 7+ Year Member

    Apr 5, 2008
    I use mindmaps extensively. Right now I am mostly using Recall Plus. http://www.recallplus.com/index.php

    I like it because it kind of works like flash cards in a mind map mode, but be warned it has a learning curve. To get fast with it (ie fast enough to note take in the classroom) takes time and knowledge of the shortcut keys.

    Tony Buzan has an entire site devoted to mind mapping. www.thinkbuzan.com
    he wrote the book called mind maps. he is a bit rigid in his implementation, but his method are a great place to start.

    This blog is pretty good: http://mindmappingsoftwareblog.com/

    So, the reason recall plus is pretty awesome is that you can also pull images in with labels, then block out the labels with attached cues/questions, then it lets you test yourself on the image (ie anatomy)

    However, putting together mind maps can be pretty time intensive. I learn best if I hand draw them, but we deal with so much information and as such a rate, that computers work best for me. There are free software programs, but so far recall plus has really been the best thing I have seen for usable at this level.

    I'm a very kinesthetic learner, with some visual learning ability. lectures do nothing for me. the mind maps let me organize the lecture in a way that works. but it can be really hard to do with a disorganized lecture. traditional mind mapping didn't work very well for me in anatomy or physiology, but the recall flashcard programs did. also, I don't find it very useful for behavior, nutrition, parasitology. It has been immensely useful in pathology, pharmacology, and clin path. it isn't a method many folks use....and some students find it frustrating to even look at a map (students that do well studying by outlines seem to think it is way too alien.)

    The absolute basic concept of a mind map is that you start with the main idea. ie 'neuropathology' and then you put your major categories radiating out from it. then the details of those major categories going out, etc. Now, it is best to try to break things up into chunks so a single map doesn't become huge (generally these are called child maps) so in my antibiotics mind map, I have beta-lactams, inhibitors of metabolism, etc.

    if you google 'mind maps' and look at images, you will see some amazing ones out there.
  4. twelvetigers

    twelvetigers damn 7+ Year Member

    Mar 12, 2008
  5. sumstorm

    sumstorm 7+ Year Member

    Apr 5, 2008
    I can generally keep up with a lecture if I don't put images in, but it is fast. My handwriting isn't neat enough (though I kept up with my undergrad lectures via writing.)

    So what I do now is do the word portion of the mind map during lecture, then I review the mind map in the evening after lecture and put the images in. I don't get much from the verbal portion of lectures, I use hte slides.

    The thing is that mind mapping....it sticks with me. So I can literally pull up the images of the maps in my mind, skim through the spokes, and trace down to the details. So generally within 3-4 reviews (brief, we are talking 15 min first review with putting the pictures in, 5-10 for the rest of the reviews.) When I use more traditional modes of note taking (outlining, reading/highlighting) I tend to remember where I found the fact, but not be able to isolate in on it (differentiate it from the rest of the text.) powerpoints are a mixed bag for me.

    here are some cool ones:

  6. bee83

    bee83 Pre-Veterinary

    Oct 30, 2010
    Whoooaa, I just google imaged "mind map". I have no idea how effective they are, but they sure are visually intense!
  7. Pelagia

    Pelagia NCSU CVM c/o 2015! 5+ Year Member

    Jun 18, 2008
    Raleigh, North Carolina
    Wow, that is so cool. I've never heard of these before, but I just googled mind maps and also concept maps. It does seem like something that would be hard to start doing in lecture if you've never done it before. I think I will try these when I am reviewing my notes. Perhaps at the beginning of the semester I will take my notes the "traditional" way, but then during review, I will organize them into a mind map.

    How do you deal with visual subjects like anatomy? Are you able to use mind maps at all, or is there a different study strategy that you employ?
  8. nohika

    nohika lurker status Gold Donor 7+ Year Member

    Oct 31, 2009
    I would think in anatomy it might be do-able, especially with learning the pathways of nerves/blood vessels.
  9. sumstorm

    sumstorm 7+ Year Member

    Apr 5, 2008
    I did not use it for anatomy, but if you take a look at Recall Plus, it actually allows you to upload images (say a set of muscles) label it, then 'hide' the labels and expose them kind of like a set of flash cards.

    I also did NOT do very well in anatomy. I was a C+ student in that class. I am horrible at small details, so I didn't do very well at naming the spots where muscles inserted or originated, or figuring out a tagged extensor tendon when the leg was hidden from the mid cannon up. I was great at groups of stuff. like I could tell you what a given muscle did and how it was innervated, but couldn't necessarily come up with the name.
  10. KaibabVet

    KaibabVet 2+ Year Member

    Sep 29, 2010
  11. scb44f

    scb44f Llamas and cattle and sheep, oh my! 7+ Year Member

    Aug 31, 2009
    YES! My fiance just (as in 3 days ago) let me borrow that because I had a hard time seeing the big picture in metabolism, and it helped tremendously. I really appreciate having an M1 around to help me get things straight.

    ETA: It seems that mind maps could be very useful. I think I might try it for my not-so-involved class this semester to see how it works.
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2011
  12. su_grad2007

    su_grad2007 Texas A&M 2015 7+ Year Member

    Dec 5, 2006
    Sumstorm, which version of RecallPlus are you using? I just downloaded the lite version and am liking it, but I'm wondering if it's worth it to purchase one of the other versions
  13. Packen

    Packen Dick Vet c/o 2015 5+ Year Member

    Before this semester ends, I was thinking of looking into some of these "devices" and installing/purchasing one now so I could be more comfortable with them before starting vet school next fall.

    I was pretty intrigued by the One Note discussion in another thread, which made me think back to this one. A girl in my class currently has One Note and loves it, but would it be redundant with a program like Recallplus? Mind mapping seems like something that would work well for me but could you achieve the same thing with a "note" program?

    And what about the people who are using Smart Pens? What are your thoughts on those versus a program for your laptop or tablet?

  14. sumstorm

    sumstorm 7+ Year Member

    Apr 5, 2008
    Smart pens are better if you tend to take written notes on a seperate pad (not so great if you are printing PPT onto paper.) I do not write fast enough for the Smart Pens to be useful (and they can be used to do mind maps as well.)

    I use both one note and mind mapping software, and have both up on my laptop. I print PPT's to one note, and will put the occasional note into those (and grab pics from them.) Also, if I get behind in mind mapping during lecture, I will switch back to one note and jot notes on slides (generally the last couple minutes of class when profs rush to cover additional material.)

    I also don't use recall + for all my classes. I tend to use it most for word heavy classes. and less for image heavy classes. So currently I am using it for nutrition, pharm (straight flashcards for this one), and some parts of clin path. I am not using it for pathology, epi (I can't follow our epi lectures), zoo med, PE skills.

    I did not start out with Recall +...I started out doing maps by hand...and I actually remember better doing that, but am not nearly fast enough in class.

    So...my suggestion is figure out what is most natural for you for note taking, then think about options. One note is a really powerful tool, if I had to chose between it and Recall +, I'd go with it. you can make maps in it, but I find them less functional than in a program (and not as easy to quiz yourself on flashcard style-ish). they are clunkier in one note than on paper.

    Oh, for histology, my biggest tool was a smart phone with a camera and mental case flash card app.

    Alot of it is figuring out what will let you learn a given type of material most effectively.

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