How to create the perfect mindmap

For each phase and facet of the processes of learning there are clever, proven and the individual type of learning appropriate tools, which also include mind maps. No matter if you want to create a digital mindmap or if you prefer to use the classical method with paper and paper, we will show you how to do it in this article!

hemmer Repetitorium, StudySmarter

For the phase of creating structure, finding topics but also for creative processes so called mindmaps are very popular. Mindmaps are so efficient because the method of mapping imitates or activates a neurobiological process for storage in long-term memory. This is done by saving knowledgeable content as nodes and then connecting them with each other. In this article we show you how to create a mindmap and increase your learning success.

If you use the method of mapping regularly, you turn lonely islands of knowledge in your head into interconnecting and exchanging nodes. You can then insert new knowledge into them much more easily, because connections already exist or the individual points at least have an idea that the others exist.

So mindmaps are brain-friendly classics for learning, which you should try out in any case.

Creating a mindmap – the basics

For every learning project there is a topic, a question, an essential starting point. This point is the center of the mind map. From this main idea the obvious associations can be derived. These central elements should be developed in more detail in the further course, but at the same time always reduced to the essentials. They are key points in the thinking process and help to divide the topic into further subordinate points.

Mindmaps can have several levels depending on the complexity of the topic. However, a common recommendation is not to use more than four layers. This prevents the central task of mindmaps, namely to appear concrete and clear, from being overloaded with page information from the section "also interesting" and too many details from the section: "By the way, did you already know?"is disturbed. A mindmap should always work as a whole.

Create a mindmap – single steps

Already At the first step, by filtering out the core element, you create a starting point as well as order in your mind and, in the best case, separate everything secondary from the essentials. The first question must always be: What is it actually about?? The shorter or more limited your answer, the better. This may seem very simple now, but it is of central importance. With the answer you understand at the same time also, which everything strictly speaking does not belong to it. Who hasn’t got bogged down and then lost the orientation??

After you have presented your core element as briefly as possible, in the next step you create connections in the form of first thoughts. These thoughts are the second level of your mindmap, here an order or structure begins to form. It is also important that you try to find very short labels for these first thoughts. They divide your starting point and can be called subpoints.

On the third level developing thought processes and key points. This level of development allows for free association. From the derivation of the subtopics, mostly spontaneous associations, ideas and additions arise, these should be transferred as immediately as possible into this third level. Ideally you jump from association to association. This way you can also check yourself for already existing knowledge.

After that you can A fourth level be inserted into the mindmap for further concretization. This can include making notes, for example, but care must be taken not to overload this layer too much.

Create mind map – At the end there is the beginning again

It is important to look at the mind maps again, preferably after a break, and check for coherence.

If your map is "a round thing", i.e. nothing is "too much" and nothing is "too little", you can move on to the next step.

When recalling the knowledge later on, you can increase the chances many times over with further supporting elements of visualization that you will later (for example in the exam) think of one point of your mind maps and that you will be able to open up the whole mind map based on this point.

How to use mind maps most effectively

Smart learning is therefore the order of the day. You can absorb information on several levels and through different methods, and the more bridges you build for yourself, the higher the chance that you will be able to draw on this knowledge. If you have created a mind map in a first step, you can use means of visualization to your advantage.

Classic is of course to mark the corresponding lines and words in different colors and to frame the core ideas. This provides a superior structure and a filtering out of the connections. Arrows or connecting lines can also be deliberately highlighted with color.

If you anchor small symbols or pictures to important elements as an addition to the words, you create new links to strengthen the newly acquired learning connection.

The characteristic of mindmaps

Mindmaps can be used to quickly put thoughts on paper associatively. For learning you have to take out a bit more spontaneity than for example when brainstorming for a creative project. However, even with a rather dry subject matter, it is important not to completely lose sight of the leaps and bounds of free association.

It’s always about the central core, that is, an image that concretely illustrates the essence of a topic or question. A mindmap is not meant to be a non-fiction book and it is not necessary to create a mindmap. even disadvantageous to follow every thought in detail. If no associations come – off to the next point. Blocks can be more easily broken this way, by leaving the topic for now (but in sight) and then coming back to it later.

Create mindmaps – the form

Where you place the central idea on the sheet of paper and how you draw the connections is up to you and your preferences. Most maps start in the middle and go from there in different directions to the subtopics.

It is also important to always reduce. Sometimes – especially at the university – subjects are very complex and the subtopics or sub-topics can be very complex. developed key thoughts are worth their own mindmap standing for themselves. In the further process of learning, you can then create another mind map for the essential points. This is a very efficient method to build knowledge networks for the long term memory.

Classic mind map creation on paper

Mindmapping is done classically on paper. Better said on papers: "What, I’m not a nerd after all?"Again: make it easy for yourself. you have a well thought out mindmap, things crystallize as relevant, outsourced relevant or not so relevant. If you now take a small window of time to put it all into a neat form, you will do your brain a big favor. So you create a clean visualization of the relevant knowledge landscape in your head. If you prefer to touch up, you should make a first version in pencil.

Basically it is advantageous for the brain to write by hand. It depends on the type of learner, but some learn best through writing.

Create a digital mindmap

Digital mindmaps are above all functional and practical. You don’t need a lot of paper, things that need to be touched up simply disappear, the size can be adjusted to the number of thoughts and the color design is done without writing utensils. Working on the computer is clearly impressive because of its functionality.

The important thing is that you can access the map from anywhere. This way you can spontaneously add things that would get lost if you don’t write down the ideas. The offer to store data on the Internet, for example in a cloud, is huge. There are also a variety of online offers for mindmaps, many of them free of charge. The StudySmarter app, for example, offers you the possibility to create mind maps and much more, such as digital index cards and summaries for your studies.

Create mindmaps – It’s all a question of recall

You see, creating your own mind maps for learning, with which you can build a well-functioning knowledge network, is a very clever method to not lose the overview and to create important anchors for the essential content.

A very useful additional tip is to have the most important mind maps in sight while learning. The best way to do this is to hang it up somewhere, if you are working with paper. If you prefer a digital version, you can for example use the mindmap as wallpaper for your PC or smartphone.

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