How to create a mind map

Benjamin Franklin3

Mind mapping is a technique to help you remember related information in a visual way and many people find this more effective than formal note taking.  The main concept, purpose or theory is the centre of the map with related information branching off from it.  

1. Begin with the main concept

First determine the main purpose of your mind map and write it down. Since mind maps start from the inside and expand outward, your core idea will become the main topic of the diagram. Your main concept could be:

  • A problem you’re trying to work through
  • The project you’re brainstorming
  • A difficult concept that you’re trying to learn

Let’s say you have to write an essay on Benjamin Franklin. In this case, Benjamin Franklin would be the main concept since he is the focus of the essay.

Benjamin Franklin

2. Add branches to the main concept

Now that you have determined the main purpose of your mind map, add branches that will outline the most basic subtopics. The branches should help you to begin organising the information. Don’t worry about including a lot of details, keywords and short phrases will be more than enough.

In the case of our essay on Benjamin Franklin, the main subtopics that you should chart out are the main branches that explain his life. More detail into these initial branches will be included as we continue to add branches.

Benjamin Franklin2

3. Explore topics by adding more branches

Once you have identifying the main subjects within your topic, add more shapes until you run out of valuable information. Make sure that you continue to organise your information with the most important things closer to the main concept, and the more specific details further away.

4. Add images and colours

Maintain organisation within your mind map by using standard colours for the different levels of thoughts within your diagram. Furthermore, using images will help you to both visualise, and memorise the various parts of your mind map. Images can also be used to link shapes instead of the traditional box shape.

In our example with Benjamin Franklin, we have added more branches until we were ready to write the essay/answer the question or formulate the information. If we were studying for an exam instead of writing an essay, the icons used could be especially helpful to boost memorisation.

Benjamin Franklin3

Good luck and happy mapping!

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