Use Colours To Improve Memory Retention, Comprehension And Understanding

When we first learn something, information is processed by the brain to form a neural trace which first enters your sensory memory and then, if you’re paying attention, enters your Short Term Memory (STM). If you keep working to process the information and adapt it correctly, it then moves to your Long Term Memory (LTM).

The information which is processed into your LTM is more or less permanent and with occasional reviewing, you will not forget it.

The trick is to adapt the information that you really need into LTM as quickly as possible.

The ability to retain needed information in working memory is important to learning and exam taking performance. Drawings help to improve memory retention, comprehension and understanding.

There are varying learning styles. Learners who are visually predisposed (I explain this in detail in my study book) benefit from constructing a graphic image or mind map of the information which they read. Visual learners like to see a visual representation of their reading materials. For visual learners, the concept of mind mapping appeals to their love of images, pictures and colours.

Mind mapping is a visual information management tool that enables you to structure, organise, memorise, arrange, brainstorm and learn information in a highly specialised way. The human mind has a limitless capacity to think, comprehend and store large reservoirs of information, and so mind mapping enables academic students, business professionals and anyone else who wants to recall information easily for future use to tackle and take control of an overwhelming amount of information.

Mind maps are a fast way to collect knowledge in a way that your brain will remember for much longer but they are also fun to make and can be easily redrawn for review purposes. A Mind Map is a summary you can use after reading a chapter or article, to reinforce the relationships between the various content elements.

Drawing a mind map of the information using a variety of colours will help you to better retain it in memory and is the best way of visualising the information. Highlighting the essential information in a document, whether it’s a paper, book or magazine, with a coloured highlighter or pen can increase memory retention and concept comprehension but improved  memory retention results from combining different methods of highlighting and note-taking only available in a Mind Map.

The key to memory retention is getting the mind and the senses highly involved to move information into your long term memory. This is achieved by integrating colour and verbally processing the information as you draw it.

Whatever your learning style, you will benefit from conceptual mind mapping since this type of note taking requires you to distinguish main ideas from details by connecting the coloured text to other elements on your mind map. Therefore, it’s a particularly useful memory method to employ if you are a reader who “gets lost in the detail”. This is ideal when you have an exam or test and need to recall important dates, times and places.

The mind stores information as images, pictures, concepts and processes. All the knowledge and experiences that you’re exposed to, even your thoughts, add to these images, pictures, concepts and ideas.

A mind map organizes information like a filing cabinet and folders so you can retrieve them in logical order when you take an exam or test.

When leveraging accelerated learning techniques , you will study best when the material is graphic, i.e. charts, tables, maps, etc. You should highlight or write text using different colours.

Colours aid in comprehension and memory retention when they are used effectively. Each colour represents a different type of detail; one colour for main ideas/themes, another colour for subordinate ideas or secondary (less important details), etc. If you use mind maps as a note-taking tool, you can connect the coloured text to the same colours on your mind map.

Colour influences the way you see and process information, it improves your ability to remember both words and pictures and is regarded as a vital factor in memory retention. You can use a different colour highlighter for each topic; identify specific colours for themes, details, and concepts. That way when you need to, you can close your eyes and imagine that colour to help recall the information more easily. A mental picture is much easier to retain in memory than its auditory or textual equivalent.

Recognising that “a picture is worth a thousand words”, mind maps engage both the right and left hemispheres of the brain. The logical connections, lines  and words attract your left ‘logical’ brain whereas the colors, pictures and smooth flowing curves engage your right ‘pictorial/visual’ brain.

By simultaneously stimulating both hemispheres of your brain, understanding and retention of information are greatly improved as well as significantly speeding up the cognitive (learning/absorption) process.

Because each mind map is unique it ensures there is always plenty of variety to keep your mind interested, intrigued and captivated.

Some of the prolonged benefits experienced by those who regularly use mind maps to clarify their thinking and organize their ideas are:

Benefits And Advantages of Mind Maps:

  • Improved capacity to see the bigger picture.
  • Improved capacity to see, then recall detailed information later.
  • Improved capacity to remember complex information that otherwise overwhelms you.
  • Improved memory retention.
  • Improved levels of concentration which means you can study less and get better results.
  • Improved note taking ability – you can mind map 3 to 10 times faster than writing linear, sequential notes which means you can capture more details without stress and pressure.

Study techniques are essential. Knowing HOW to study is important. You need to use effective strategies that will help improve memory retention, comprehension and understanding.

Studying can be as simple as reviewing information; however, effective studying means using the tools available to commit information to long term memory. One of those tools is mind mapping using colours to help you recall vital information for your exams and tests.

Knowing how to quickly memorise things will help you learn more and perform at your peak when it counts – on tests and exams.

If you want to learn How To MindMap To Get Better Grades <- Click here.

2 Responses to “Use Colours To Improve Memory Retention, Comprehension And Understanding”


  • I have never done this, but I cann see already how it would help me in my studies. I would definitely remember things more readily if I mapped them out like this. I will have to show this to my study partners to see if they get as excited about it as I am!

  • First off I would like to say wonderful blog! I had a quick question in which I’d like to ask
    if you don’t mind. I was curious to know how you center yourself and clear your mind
    prior to writing. I’ve had a difficult time clearing my mind in
    getting my ideas out. I do enjoy writing but it just seems like the first 10 to
    15 minutes tend to be lost simply just trying to
    figure out how to begin. Any recommendations or hints?
    Cheers!

    Look at my blog – Memory Skills

Leave a Reply to Memory Skills