Mind mapping: learn to create a mind map yourself

The so called "Mind Mapping" (engl. loosely translated "thought map") is a learning method that aims to learn how to grasp and structure the main point of a topic. In addition, a mind map can be used to check whether and to what extent a learner has understood a topic.

Mindmaps and learning

For the learner, a mind map has the advantage that he can retain already learned knowledge for a longer time. can be refreshed quickly.

Structure of a mindmap

Another application is the organization of more complex processes, simplified in a graphical overview. This allows for an optimal overview of what needs to be done and: You do not forget anything.

Since mind mapping is used in many areas of knowledge transfer, I will introduce this learning method in more detail. The goal of the article is for you to understand mind mapping and be able to use it yourself.

How does the creation of a mind map work??

If you want to create a mindmap yourself, you first have to get familiar with the principle of how a mindmap works. Basically, it is about presenting a certain topic in a graphically simplified way, so that you can see the topic, main points and sub-points at a glance.

To give you a better idea of how this works, I will illustrate the principle using a vacation planning – z. B. Mountaineering – represent.

1. Mindmap preparation: Define key points

First, I write down all the important points on a piece of paper that come to mind when I plan my vacation. I then end up with an unsorted list of keywords like:

  • Extending a passport
  • Autoinspection
  • Feed cat
  • Organize staircase service
  • Deposit keys
  • Shopping for mountain boots
  • etc.

Mostly it becomes apparent that you can assign single actions to one main point. So you could include actions like: Renew passport, get vaccinated, apply for visa, get EU sticker – assign to the main point "organization" – or visits to authorities.

Preliminary work Create mandmap key points

One sorts into main points and subpoints resp. try to form categories (like a kind of table of contents) to order the existing mess.

2. Creating a mindmap – arranging key points graphically

Figuratively, you could represent your sorted collection of key points as follows:

Create Mind Mapping Mand map yourself

2.1. Rules when creating the mind map

  • The topic is placed in the center and circled around it.
  • Branches branch off from the topic, which are structured into main points, sub-points and details. It should be broken down into a maximum of 4 levels.
  • Branches indicate how a main topic breaks down into sub-points and details – from the general to the specific.
  • The naming of all points is done in bullet points and as short and concise as possible.

Here is another picture on the scheme / structure of a mindmap:

Structure principle of a mind map

The above example is of course not complete, but is only meant to show how a complex organizational task can be shortened to a clear representation. The goal could be to have an overview of all important points, so that – when all points are done – you can go on vacation with peace of mind.

Too many ideas do not fit on one mindmap

Sometimes it happens that you have noted down too many main points, sub-points or details that can no longer be clearly presented on a DIN A4 sheet of paper. One option then is to use a larger format – z. B. DIN-A3 – to choose.

Alternatively, you can create separate mindmaps for very complex sub-items. If, for example, the list for "Organization" would be too long, you could create an extra mind map for the topic "Organization mountaineering", which would structure the necessary work there again more clearly. This could be displayed on the main mindmap as follows.

Mindmapping Split up mind maps

You can see that the item "organization" ends at the squiggle "2", d. h., For this purpose there is an extra mindmap, which shows the organization in detail.

The goal is always to be able to grasp the entire structure of a topic clearly at a glance.

Create mind maps for "knowledge topics" yourself

In contrast to an organizational mind map, a knowledge mind map shows the structure, core terms, connections, etc., of the knowledge. given by a teacher or topic. The procedure is then the same as already described above.

If, for example, you go through "Electricity" in school, the topic, as well as core concepts (or core questions: What is electricity?? – Calculation of volts, amps, ohms – formulas – simple circuits etc.) already delivered as a ready-made structure.

The task here is to independently Reproducing the content of the knowledge, by creating a mindmap from the given points, which depicts all the connections. At first glance, this may seem like a completely unnecessary additional task, because the descriptions are also in the physics book.

The purpose of a knowledge mindmap, however, is to test whether you have understood and can represent the connections at all. In addition, relationships are better remembered if you have structured them clearly and comprehensibly yourself. This way you can not only study better for a single exam, but for a final exam – where a lot of topics are asked – you can reduce the complexity to a point where you still keep a good overview of all topics.

Tip: Longer definitions of terms or bulky formulas can also be put on an extra sheet of paper. On the mindmap itself you can then z. B. Use numbers (as index, which formula belongs to which branch).

Free mindmap programs (freeware) for the PC

Since many people like to work on the PC, it is pleasing that there are free mindmap programs available. The advantage is that when collecting key points or even transferring them to the mind map, you don’t have to write everything down by hand repeatedly, but can simply copy back and forth.


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There are two free mindmap programs from Chip-Online, which everyone can download for testing as freeware.

Both were rated very good and are also good to start creating mindmaps on the PC.

This is the end of my tutorial and I hope that I have been able to make you appreciate the advantages of this method of learning and memorizing mindmaps.

Have fun creating your mindmaps!

Own videos

We have filmed many good topics as videos and sorted them clearly into playlists.

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Test yourself!

Educational tests, little helpers and humorous perspectives can be found on our Funtests page.


Philognosy is a made-up word that means "love of knowledge". It was invented by the Philognosy team in 2000 and chosen as the name for this project.

It expresses our worldview that knowledge is the engine of our overall development and self-realization. You could also call it "effective knowledge" – because only effective (or applicable) knowledge can fully unfold its design power.

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