To start a mind map, you would typically have a theme or idea in the centre of the map. Subsections will then filter out from the middle just like branches from a tree. Yet they will surround the central idea, rather than simply going up or down. Mind mapping typically uses lots of colour, vary sizes of text and even doodles.
Why should I start a mind map?
Many don’t use mind maps because they are simply unfamiliar with the process - but it’s definitely worth a try. Studies have found that students who use mind maps to document information have a better chance of recalling the information to those who don’t. A study also stated that if students knew the process and were motivated to use it, they could gain up to a 15% increase in retaining information over those who do not use the process.
As the information is organised visually and you need to invest time and thought in arranging it, it makes it easier to recall. You aren’t simply copying words down, you are putting thought into where the information should go on the map. It’s also worth noting that it's not the map that helps you learn as such - it’s creating it. So simply studying someone else's map won’t give you the advantages of retaining information as it does for the person who created it.
Simple steps to creating a mind map
- Decide on your main idea and write it down in the centre of the page.
- Add branches.
- Add keywords to the branches.
- Colour code your sub-sections.
- Add images or doodles to your map to help you remember the different ideas.
Once you have finished the map, you should have a good understanding of how the different subsections relate to the central idea.
This practice is not only good for studying for exams, it’s also a great way to note down your next big idea. Give it a try!
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