Chapter 4 - A do-it-yourself guide

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A do-it-yourself guide

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straight from a high school French class to a mathematics lecture and it can be hard to "switch gears". But take a few moments to do deep breathing exercises, and you'll start to relax. Play some relaxing music, close your eyes and think of the most peaceful scene you can imagine - and soon you'll be in the state of relaxed alertness that makes it easier to "float information" into your long-term memory.

15. Practice, practice, practice
 
  If you're learning to speak French, speak it. If you're learning about computers, use them. If you've taken a course in Asian cooking, cook an Asian feast for your friends. If you're studying shorthand, write it. If you want to be a public speaker, join Toastmasters - and speak publicly. If you want to be a writer, write. If you want to be a bartender, mix drinks.
  Remember the sporting maxim: it's not a mistake, it's practice.

16. Review and reflect
 
  When you're learning a physical-mental skill, like typing or cooking, you can practise it with action. But in gaining other types of knowledge, make sure you review regularly. Look again at your Mind Map and review the main points immediately you've finished it. Do it again in the morning. And again a week later. Once more a month later. Then review it, and other associated data, before you have specific need for it: for an examination, an overseas trip, a speech or whatever. Before reading a new book, for instance, many people find it helps to first look at their existing Mind Maps on the subject, or skim-read the highlighted parts of three of four books that they've already read on the subject.

17. Use linking tools as memory pegs
 
  Since the memory works best by association, develop your own "memory pegs". Associate newly acquired knowledge with something you already know.
  The association can be physical: such as learning to count in Japanese by scratching your knee (see exercise, page 34).
  It can be visual: like visualizing scenes to remember names - forging gold in a blacksmith's shop to remember Mr. Goldsmith, a picture of a crocodile under a McDonald's arch to remember founder Ray Krok.
  It can be a strong visual story: like picturing a sequence to remember,

 

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