How to Use Mind Mapping for Studying

6 Simple Instructions on How to Use Mind Mapping for Studying

Mind mapping is a technique that makes optimum use of your brain power and allows you to learn and retain information more effectively. It is because of this characteristic feature that mind maps have proven to be highly effective when used for studying. In this following article, we will understand the concept of mind mapping more clearly and the ways in which they can be carried through.
At any given point of time, the human mind faces several stimuli, both external and internal. Some of these demand immediate attention, others not so much. And so it comes to be that certain things are remembered clearly, while others are forgotten and cannot be recollected even after probing. The same factor applies when it comes to studying. Certain things we are able to study, retain and recall quite easily, whereas others we simply cannot memorize.

Our thoughts are so scattered and fragmented that it is bound to have an effect on our learning abilities. But then just as there are difficulties, there are bound to be solutions as well--in that direction, there are certain techniques which can be used for better learning and retaining. While there are several that fall in this category, like repetition, loud reciting, using codes and mnemonics, the concept of using mind maps to study is a fairly new one that seems to have made a huge impact because of the success that it has brought on. What are mind maps and how does one use mind mapping for studying--that will form the crux of this article.

What are Mind Maps

Mind maps work on the same concept as that of our mind and brain - by processing and storing information in a visual manner. It takes the basic idea of how our mind arranges thoughts, information and ideas to create a structure, which makes it easier to learn and recall. For example, let's suppose you think of your school. From this basic word, several other associated concepts will emerge. You'll think of your classroom and the lessons from the texts. These factors are associated with the word 'school' and therefore the mind pulls out those images. That is how a mind map works. It puts a basic concept in the center and then draws associations based on it.

In the context of studying and learning, this becomes a more effective way of remembering things because it does not depend on learning by rote or taking notes. It discards all those concepts and draws upon the basic concept that the mind uses. When the pressure of remembering is taken away and the ideas are allowed to arrange by themselves, they tend to flow freely without one having to pressure them to follow through. That is why it becomes easier for a person to remember study material more clearly. In the following section we will try and understand how to use mind mapping for studying through these mind mapping tips.

How to Use Mind Mapping in the Classroom

You cram and cram for a test, confident that you're acing it. Then when you actually sit in the examination hall and one point in the answer slips your mind, you find that you're forgetting everything that followed. That is what happens when you learn by rote, without understanding the basic concept at hand. When you concentrate on understanding the crux of the matter, you'll find that there is a better chance of remembering everything without beating yourself over it. A mind map works in that way. It helps you understand basic concepts and thereby helps you learn and retain more information - which, as one can guess, is an ideal scenario when it comes to studying. So how exactly are we to draw a mind map for studying? The following is an example of how to do a mind map:

Step 1: Use a plain paper that is essentially huge and bring in a collection of colored pens to draw with.
Step 2: Take the chapter that you have to study and make a note of the central theme in the center of the page. For example - Irony.
Step 3: Start drawing branches (each with a different color) of the different kinds of ironies like situational irony, verbal irony and so on, on all sides of the central idea of irony.
Step 4: Under each type of irony, draw arrows to map out the basic pointers that make up this concept. For example - the definition, examples, characters and their traits, etc.
Step 5: Keep enough space handy to add in more information as you brainstorm and come up with more concepts.
Step 6: Preferably draw pictures that center around each concept. Something that will help you associate the idea with the text. The brain tends to remember things better when they are presented in the visual form.

This is merely an example of how to use mind mapping for studying. Several people come up with more innovative ways of drawing these maps. Though they might adopt different techniques, they run on the same objective - that of planning and formulating a lesson plan to facilitate learning and retention with the objective of total recall. Bring this concept into action and you'll see that your ability to learn and understand has improved greatly.
Mindmap of a personal success
White paper notebook with color pens
Solution flowchart showing different options