No Image Available


Read more from TrainingZone

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1705321608055-0’); });

Tony Buzan answers members’ questions


QuestionBefore Christmas in an interview with Tony Buzan, we gave members a chance to ask him questions. You came up trumps - the breadth, depth and quality of the questions impressed the great man himself. But what of the answers? Here is Tony Buzan's second set of replies to your questions on creativity, mind mapping and more. Read the first set here

Question: My 16 year old daughter who was born prematurely has some difficulties in remembering simple instructions. She is looking to revise for her GCSEs this summer (and I would like to help her obtain good marks) and get ready for the world of work/ further study. What can you recommend to assist her to reach her potential? Also what support can be provided at home to help maximise her time?
Janet Mullin
Chartered MCIPD
HR Manager HOPPS

Answer: Your 16-year-old daughter sounds like most people of her age – 'experiencing difficulties in remembering adults' instructions' is an epidemic! It may have nothing to do with her premature birth. The fact that she has already reached GCSE level, and has the potential to obtain good marks, would seem to indicate that her brain is in fundamentally good order. All she needs are the tools with which to help her obtain those good marks.

Your daughter would obviously benefit from Mental Literacy skills, including Mind Mapping, Memory, Speed Reading, and Study Skills, as well as the general uplifting information about her brain.

I have written four books in this area:

  • Mind Maps for Kids – An Introduction – The Shortcut to Success at School (Thorsons, Harper Collins Publishers)

  • Mind Maps for Kids – Max Your Memory and Concentration (Thorsons, Harper Collins Publishers)

  • Mind Maps for kids – Study Skills (Thorsons, Harper Collins Publishers)

  • The Buzan Study Skills Handbook – The Shortcut to Success in Your Studies (BBC Active, Pearson Education Group)

Each are specifically addressed to the areas of your concern.

If your daughter is computer literate, have her go play on where she can download, free, the latest Mind Map software.

You yourself can also play with it, as well as visiting my own website, where you will find further information.

If you would like one-on-one teaching support and advice, please contact Phil Chambers at Phil is one of my most trusted educational Buzan-licensed instructors. Phil will be able to give you good general guidance for both your daughter and her family.

Do keep me posted on all of your progresses.

Question: I would like to ask if the 'rule-of-thumb': repeat after 10 minutes break, an hour, a day, a week, a month, six months, could be addressed to Tony Buzan. 
Neuro-cognitive science gives us more scientific evidence to back this up, it seems. What evidence can Tony Buzan give? 

Gerjanne Dirksen
BCL Instituut

Answer: The 'rule-of-thumb' should be called the 'rule of neuron'!

The intervals you mention are correct. And yes, neuro-cognitive science does give us more scientific evidence to back this up.

I should point out that these time periods are a general guide. They should be individually varied depending upon interest, difficulty of material, physical health of the student, not- taking techniques, use or not of memory techniques (mnemonics), and the overall goals for the revision.

Jorge Castaneda, of Buzan Centre Latin America (, has done extensive research with Mexican educational organisations attached to the Ministry of Education, specifically on the time periods and the effectiveness of using them. Please feel encouraged to contact him.

Please also let me know of your own work, the work of the BCL Institute, and what researches you have found in this area.

Question: Could you explain the differences between the Tony Buzan Mind-Mapping and the Kaoru Ishikawa "fish"?
Pascal Denhaerinck

Answer: There are many, many differences. The Ishikawa 'fish' is a structure based on the skeleton of our piscatorial friends! Therefore, each Ishikawa diagram is fundamentally the same, leading to a 'monotony of form'.

Other differences:-

  • Mind Maps use individual central images; Ishikawa uses the same

  • Mind Maps use colour throughout; Ishikawa's don't

  • Mind Maps have curvi- linear branches reflecting the nature of thought; Ishikawa's have bony, rigid, straight lines

  • Mind Maps use images throughout; Ishikawa's don't

  • Mind Maps use the full range of cortical (left/right brain) skills; Ishikawa's use only approximately 60% of these skills

  • Mind Maps, because of their guidelines which encourage individual and creative expressions, manifest themselves in an infinite variety of forms; Ishikawa's restrict the maker to a fundamentally similar form

Ishikawa diagrams are certainly better than linear notes. Add colour, curvilinearity, images, and more creativity to your Iskhikawa diagram, and you will end up with a Mind Map!

Let me know of your personal progression...

Question: I'd be very interested to know if there are people who have used mind maps to present / analyse information gathered from focus group interviews in a research study? I am currently undertaking an MA in human relations and am utilising mind maps as the tool for presenting data back to focus group participants. I'd be really interested to learn from anyone who has used mind maps for this type of work before.
Sue Haines

Answer: Congratulations on taking your MA in Human Relations – I would be interested to know what degree you did before, and whether you used Mind Maps for that, and at which academic institution you are studying.

Mind Maps have been used a lot to present/analyse information, and I am giving you contacts who are in the process of doing academic research for their degrees, in order that you can have more detailed conversations with them on their own methodologies.

In Australia, Bill Jarrard and Jennifer Goddard, both achieved suma cum laude results in their Innovation and Entrepreneurship Degrees. Their coordinates are and

In America/Mexico, Americ Jenkins received a 97.5% grade for her Master of Science thesis on Creative Thinking using Mind Maps. Her coordinates are

In Mexico, Jorge Castaneda has completed two massive studies on Mind Mapping and Memory for educational branches of the Mexican Government and education system. Jorge's coordinates are

In Singapore/Asia, Henry Toi is completing his PhD thesis in Education, and as well as doing his own research, has spent a lot of time researching the web for 'Mind Mapping Degree Takers'. Henry's coordinates are

Similarly in Singapore, Dr Tan Buck Chye completed his Doctorate at Henley Management College using Mind Maps throughout. Buck's coordinates are

In Europe, Hilde Jaspaert has worked for government and educational bodies and gathered a lot of invaluable research on Mind Mapping and the brain. Hilde's coordinates are

I do hope that these contacts will be of help (they may become lifetime friends) and that you will keep me and them posted on your progress and inevitable first class degree!

Tony Buzan has worked with governments, Olympic athletes, global businesses, academics and high profile individuals to help them train their brains, improve their memories and unleash their mental capacities. The author of almost 100 books in over 30 languages and the creator of the World Memory Championships, he lectures on the techniques of Mind Mapping and Thinking - all over the world. Visit


Get the latest from TrainingZone.

Elevate your L&D expertise by subscribing to TrainingZone’s newsletter! Get curated insights, premium reports, and event updates from industry leaders.


Thank you!