Author: Ian McAllister
Chapter 2: Pictures
You have probably heard “One picture is worth a thousand words”. Have you ever thought about why this should be?
Here’s why. A picture shows you everything at once. Words can only try to build a mental picture a little piece at a time. Don’t you think that it would be great to have a shortcut to bypass one thousand words of instructions? That’s what you get with a picture.
Looking at the picture of the maze it is easy to trace the right path. It would be much more difficult if you could only see one step at a time.
You could probably give someone directions to get through the maze if they had a perfect memory, but try to work out how you would tell a gardener where to plant the bushes to make a hedge maze. He would be totally confused long before a thousand words. If you told him that each mark on the diagram meant another plant, he would only need to know the scale of the drawing to proceed.
|I can never remember directions, so I like to sketch out the route and landmarks as someone tells me where to go. Sketches you make in the exam should be of that same poor quality. A map-maker would sneer at my sketch, but it works.
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When a lecturer tells you about his subject he has to break down a complicated mental picture into one word at a time. You must reassemble it into a complicated mental picture. It’s great if you can copy his picture directly without a double translation.
This chapter will deal with some special forms of visual organization, then describe the “Tree” system which you can use in almost everything you study.
You already know about graphs. If you can make a graph with a simple curve from the figures you want to remember, do so. Then memorize the units for the vertical and horizontal axes, and important figures such as turning points. The examiner will be more impressed with this form of information than with a table of a hundred figures, and it is much easier to remember.