Taking Notes – Mind Maps
As a student, you have to take notes for many, if not all, of your classes. You then use these to study for tests and semester exams. But there are problems with this method. For instance, many of us have incomplete notes, and many more take those notes and never again look at them.
Using Mind Maps to Take Notes
One of the main problems with traditional note taking is that it’s essentially a passive process. As a result, your brain doesn’t really interact much with the material. Conversely, the more your brain is involved in organized the material, the better it will recall it as you get closer to test time.
This is where mind mapping comes in. This process is especially good for visual learners. To do a good mind map, you’ll need paper (the bigger, the better) and one or more pens (More colors helps with the visual impact).
As you do your mind map, keep in mind that they tend to grow quite big, so write small. That probably means you should use pens with a fine point.
Start with the Central Theme
Decide what the central theme of the class session was or what the main concept of the chapter in the textbook is. Write down this main topic in the middle of your paper and draw a circle around it. You could also highlight this main topic.
Now keep listening or reading until you come to what you consider the first major sub-topic. Jot down a key phrase that summarizes this sub topic. Now draw a line connecting it to the main topic, indicating a relationship between the main topic and the sub-topic.
Every time you come to a new sub-topic, repeat this process. Soon it will start looking like a bicycle wheel with spokes, with many sub-topics surrounding one major topic.
As we hinted earlier, you might find it helpful to use different colors of pen…perhaps one color pertaining to each sub-topic or maybe you can change up colors per chapter or day.
As you continue through the book or class, you’ll come to a point that will support a sub-topic. When this happens, draw a smaller circle with a few key words in it, and connect it to the sub-topic. Now when you’re studying your mind map and you see the topic or a sub-topic, it will be easier to recall the points related to each.
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