Before Imogen sat her university exam last week she told me what she’d be expected to do:
“We have to complete some short answer questions, write an essay and do some patterned note-taking on a given reading. The patterned note-taking will be easy because it’s just like drawing a mind map. Do you remember when we did those together a few years ago? All I’ll have to do is pick out the main ideas from the reading and arrange them in a diagram.”
“So those mind maps came in useful,” I remarked. “Isn’t it amazing how everything we learn comes in handy, sooner or later?”
“Yes! I enjoyed doing them too. They’re a bit like doodling.”
Like doodling? Yes, they do involve being creative, using colour and doodling pictures.
I found this definition of mind mapping on the Internet:
A mind map is a diagram used to represent words, ideas, tasks, or other items linked to and arranged around a central key word or idea.
Drawing a mind map is a much more effective way of making notes than the regular down the page method where only words are used (usually many) in an attempt to record everything we want to remember. The colours, pictures and single representative words all form a diagram that triggers our memories very effectively.
There are many uses for mind maps apart from note-taking. Here’s a few:
They encourage creativity. They can be used to brainstorm ideas when problem solving or planning novels. They can improve memories and be an aid for memorising poetry or foreign language vocabulary. They can be used to revise for exams. Or as Imogen found out, they can be used to pick out the main points from an article or plan an essay.
What do mind maps look like? I asked Imogen and Charlotte to dig out some old ones of theirs:
So how do you draw a mind map?
Here’s a simple video explaining the basics:
Mind mapping was invented by Tony Buzan. He has written many books on the subject. We borrowed a few from our local library including Mind Maps for Kids.