Most students are familiar with mind mapping, but for those who are not, a mind map is an excellent visual tool to use for a variety of tasks related to assignments and tests. It has become one of the most popular tools for students in high school and college, because it consolidates a topic onto one page and thus allows a holistic picture of the task ahead. Here are 6 ways to use mind maps for study and assignment purposes.
Encapsulating and Organizing Notes
You have notes from lectures; you have notes from reading. To collate all of this information, you can create a mind map. Suppose, for example, you have just finished a unit on World War II. Your mind map might include the following:
- You central idea or topic (World War II) will be the center of the map.
- Branching out from that center will be each sub-topic that you studied – causes, Allied countries, Axis countries, war in Europe, war in the Pacific, terms of the peace treaty
- And branching out from each of those sub-topics will be the details that are important to remember.
Now you have World War II encapsulated on one sheet of paper for easy viewing. If you do this with all of your units of study, you will have all information organized for future purposes.
Writing Essays and Papers
Again, a mind map will keep your totally organized as you prepare to write that essay or paper. Your center is the topic of the essay or paper. All of the branches coming off of that center will be either paragraph topics for your essay or sections of your research papers. You then simply continue moving outward filling in the detail as you go. Writing your piece from a mind map keeps you organized and on-point.
Studying for Tests
Remember how the first point explained how you could consolidate all of your notes for each unit studied in a course? Well, this is when all of those mind maps come into play. If you have completed them well, you will not have to pour through your lecture and reading notes all over again to study for a test or exam. And, if, when you study from those mind maps, there is something you don’t remember well enough or that is not detailed enough, that is the only thing you will have to go back into your notes to find. And here is the really cool thing. What you will find is that, because you created those maps yourself, when you look at those listed items, your brain will be triggered to recall the information.
One of the issues with oral presentations is that the speaker can get a bit nervous. And when that speaker gets nervous, it is very easy to lose his/her place in the written notes that have been made. If, however, that speaker would create a mind map for that presentation, there is an easy-to-see visual, all on one page, and it is so much easier to find one’s place!
If each member of the group will create his/her own mind map for the project, then members can come together and consolidate all of their points and ideas into one map that will drive how the project is completed and what information/data will be included. It is also very easy to divide up the tasks and note who is responsible for what.
When there are problems to be solved, a mind map can be an excellent decision-making tool. The problem takes “center stage,” and all optional solutions will each have a branch. Coming off from those options will be the listings of the pros and cons. It will be very easy to see which solution best.
Technology Hits Mind Mapping
Students no longer have to create mind maps by hand. There are a large number of apps and web-based tools for creating mind maps that can take you far beyond just what you write down. As you enter your topic and sub-topics, the app/tool automatically creates the map for you, allowing you to add as much detail as you wish. The additional feature of using this technology is that you can upload files, documents, and even videos right onto your map, store it on your desktop or in the cloud, and have it easily accessible.
Mind maps are extraordinary tools for students. They add ease, efficiency, and greater success to the entire learning process.
Photo by: https://www.flickr.com/photos/es-motor/10164495224/.