Finding an effective way to study has been the topic of concern for all the students. With so much to study, understand, and remember, the pressure on the student is likely to build with passing minute to the exam. The preparation for the exam is a very crucial point where understanding, and recalling the information plays a vital role. Students usually memorise the concepts without the perception of the concept, which doesn’t do any good in the long run. As the student progress from elementary to higher level, gaining knowledge and understanding what is taught must take precedence. One way students try to understand what is taught is by taking notes as the teacher explains the concept. While it is good to have that habit, is there a possibility to make the learning much more productive?
Yes! The answer is Mind Map!
What is a Mind map?
In simple words, a mind map is nothing but a diagram. It is a visual learning aid to help you with remembering the information, it is a visual map where the information is laid out in a radial form around a central/main idea which acts as the starting point of the map.
Mind maps make an effective study technique says the research. It helps in better understanding and learning the information. It is true when they say A picture is worth a thousand words because an image can be powerful enough to stay with you for very long than a text.
The research by the Nobel Prize winner, Dr. Roger Sperry proves that visual forms of note-making and learning is superior to the traditional ones.
Why use a Mind map?
Every student is familiar with taking notes when a concept is taught. Note-taking involves writing down the information sequentially. And a major drawback in this kind of learning is – missing relationship between the concepts. This setback can be erased in mind map as it establishes the relationship between related concepts easily.
Let us see some benefits of mind mapping
Easy to generate ideas
Paves way for a better understanding of relationships between ideas and concepts
Easy recollection of information
Organisation of ideas is easy
Helps to brainstorm new concepts
Helps communicate new ideas in a better way
Promotes natural thinking
Requires less writing
Easy to add new ideas
How to create a Mind map in 5 steps?
You now know that a mind map is basically a diagram, it is a hierarchical representation of information. Like a tree, it has a central (root) idea from which related concepts (branches) fork.
Mind maps can be drawn on a paper, or it can be created with the help of software such as – XMind, LucidChart, Coggle etc.
Before You Start, Gather The Things Needed to Create a Mind Map
A blank sheet/paper
Colour pencils or markers
First off, you need to determine the main/central idea that will be the basis around which the rest of concepts (branches) evolve. This central idea is required to weave the map, so choose the right one!
Step 1: Determine the Main Idea/Main Point
The central idea serves as a starting point for the map. It is similar to that of the main heading. Start at the centre of the paper where you will write the main point/idea. Use minimum words to describe it, a word or two is sufficient. Draw a circle around the word, and highlight it with a colour, so that it stands out well.
For example, if you are creating a mind map on fruits based on their colour, then ‘Fruits’ will be the central/main point.
How to create a Mind map in 5 steps?
Step 2: Branch Out
The next step is to branch out from the central idea. All the next important connections of the central idea are branched out. Branches are similar to sub-headings. Branches are the next important thing to the central idea.
Continuing with the example above, the branches associated with ‘Fruits’ are the colours – Red, Green, Yellow, Orange, and Purple (to list a few).
Please note that your branches must be in curve lines and not straight lines. Because our brain responds better to curved lines
Step 3: Sub-branching
The first set of branches that emerged out of the central idea are the main branches, and each main branch will further divide into smaller branches which are nothing but, sub-branches. Branching in this way you establish a connection between the concepts. Do not forget to label the branches with appropriate keywords.
Step 4: Work on Networking
Draw the complete network of each branch one after the other. Branch out more if necessary. Use keywords not exceeding more than two words to label the branches. Everything associated with the main and sub-branches must be covered in this step.
Step 5: Final Picture
Once you are done with working with the network of every branch your mind map is ready! Don’t be sad if it doesn’t look appealing, just remember the value it gives to your learning. Practice makes you better at mind mapping.
Suppose you forget to add a branch, don’t worry, just draw a branch and label it. It is so easy to add new information in mind maps compared to the linear notes.
Some points to remember
Select a blank paper (without lines) and it should be turned sideways, i.e. breadth-wise
Always start at the centre of the page and move toward the edges
Let your central idea be bold, big, and colourful
Use different colours for different branches, label the branches and its link/association with the central idea with proper names
Use curved lines to branch out instead of straight lines
Though there are a good deal of software/applications to make mind maps, drawing it on paper makes you more creative. Another important point is that you can instantly add ideas on paper than on laptop/tablet/PC.
Studying for the exam is made easy with mind maps, it helps you to organise your studies, recall the information and never makes studies boring. A visual representation of information can make the learning more constructive and fun.