Could doodling and colouring in help you or your child pass exams?

By Laura Lynott   @Ly211

Most of us have struggled with exams – but what if someone could give you the answer to help you breeze through tests? Is this where the multi-million euro Mind Mapping theory comes in?  

Mind Mapping works on the belief that the human mind sees in pictures and colour and using this pattern a person can remember facts for exams better than making lists – which let’s face it most of us just can’t remember.

Tony Buzan, the inventor of Mind Mapping, held a seminar at Trinity College on Saturday and had an entire lecture theatre of a few hundred mesmorised as adults, young and old and children, took on the innocent childhood hobby of drawing pictures and writing in colours in a bid to train the mind to remember facts.

“80 per cent of what you read, you forget,” Buzan told the Trinity crowd.  “The Mind Map saves you, so your concentration is perfect.”

Buzan, who is a member of Mensa, was frustrated at how long it was taking him to revise while at the University of British Columbia in the ’60s – and he couldn’t remember most of what he was taking notes on.

He started investigating how to do things quicker and found the students getting the best grades, also had the messiest notes.

Buzan then looked in to how Leonardo Da Vinci had used doodles in his notes and from this early discovery, he invented the mind maps – an industry worth now more than €150 million.

mind map

Speaking at his Trinity seminar, Buzan said that learning was like “riding a bicycle,” and the more we use colours, word association, codes, doodles – mind mapping – the more we can learn and maintain in our minds.

“Everyone has that inate love of colour,” he said explaining that it was not natural for students to be forced to write in black or blue pen ink, when colours would help them remember information much easier.

“I was in Mensa and I thought I was very smart,” he said.  “I was beginning to invent the mind map and Lorraine Gill, an artist, said to me ‘why don’t you draw?’

“I said I couldn’t – I tried to prove to her that I couldn’t – I was using my IQ to convince her I was stupid.

“She said ‘everyone is able to draw.’

Buzan began adopting pictures in to his mind maps and as he tested the theory on the crowd at Trinity, it appeared to work.

People admitted they had become lost in their imaginations as they drew their mind maps – a map similar to a family tree, with branches all stretching out as far and as littered with as much content as the creator desires.

The central part of a mind map is a picture of a topic – for example at this session – people were asked to draw themselves and branches coming out of the centre of the page showing different facets of their personality and lives.

Tony Buzan
Tony Buzan

From main branches, sub branches are drawn to explain sub topics.  Pictures can be scattered round the mind map and colours used to further help the brain recall information.

Buzan also explained that he felt the simple act of sitting down and drawing dooles connecting information together, was more healthy that trying to cram notes in to a person’s head.

While he showed a certain disdain for the methods of learning being used by many across the globe – an over reliance on technology.

He told how he felt it was damaging to children – he referred to as young as two – being able to swipe on a tablet before they can walk or communicate properly.

He encouraged everyone at the seminar to leave their phones off during the break and to get to know people round them because he fears that this over reliance on technology is actually leading to a dumbing down of society and leaving people less able to learn and maintain facts.

If you would like to find out more about Mind Mapping and Tony Buzan, log on here

Buzan has authored a number of books and he is planning to return to Dublin next Autumn again for a similar seminar.

He invited everyone at Saturday’s seminar to his 100th birthday.  He is currently only 74 – but commented that his doctor has said if he continues using his mind and staying active the way he does, there’s “no reason you won’t be around until 100.”















Without a doubt it could be very worthwhile for students, in particular to try the Mind Mapping theory.  If nothing else, it might inject a bit of fun in to a monotonous study session.

Buzan states that memory can be improved 50 per cent along with a higher IQ being achieved if the method is stuck to during studying.  Watch this clip to hear what Tony had to say to Trinity:



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.