This visual technique uses diagrams to help you to organise information visually, making it easier to remember and understand.
Why Use Mind Maps?
If you need a simple, powerful way to memorise large amounts of information, mind mapping will help you do just that. Before we talk about the various types of mind maps, let’s take a look at how mind mapping can help you with your studies.
The Benefits of Mind Maps
They make complex issues simpler.
By breaking complex topics down into simpler parts, mind mapping makes them easier to understand.1
They help you to retain information.
Research shows that diagrams are easier to store in the memory than long passages of written information. Some experts say that studying using a mind map can improve your retention of information by 10 to 15%.1
They allow you to make better connections between concepts.
The process of mind mapping encourages “diffuse thinking”, which helps your mind to form connections between different concepts and topics more easily than linear note-taking does.2
They promote meaningful learning.
“Meaningful learning” is the name used for the type of learning where you don’t just acquire new knowledge, you’re also able to connect that new information to your existing knowledge. Mind maps help you to learn new things and integrate them with what you already know.1
They encourage creativity.
Because mind mapping allows you to think in a less rigid way and make connections more freely, it encourages creative thinking and allows you to approach learning with curiosity.1
Some Popular Types of Mind Maps and their Uses
Here are a few types of mind maps you can try the next time you’re preparing for a test or exam.
Flow chart. A flow chart or flow map shows a step-by-step progression from one concept or theme to the next. It’s a great way to help you visualise and remember a process or a set of instructions that must be followed in the right sequence.3,4
Circle map. This mind map is made up of a smaller “core” circle within a bigger circle. You start with the main idea in the inner circle, and fill up the outer layer with related words, details or even images. Outside the larger circle, make a note of where the information came from (e.g. a textbook). Circle maps are useful for brainstorming and expanding on one central idea or concept.3,5
Bubble map. This map starts with the main topic in a central bubble with short notes related to the topic radiating out from the centre in smaller bubbles. It’s ideal for explaining the main topic by using descriptive words and phrases.3,4
Tree map. Similar to a family tree diagram, this map is designed with “branches” of more detailed information coming off from the main concept at the “trunk”. You start with the key idea, then branch off into several sub-topics, and then create smaller branches to explore each sub-topic in more detail. This is a good way to categorise and organise large amounts of information.3,4
Brace map. A brace map is ideal for learning about physical objects or items, rather than concepts or ideas. This map lets you break a whole object down into individual parts, so you can explore the parts in detail and see their relationship to the whole object.3,6