How to create and use mind maps

Creating mind maps is a technique that many students find effective when revising.

What is a mind map?

A mind map is a visual diagram that provides an overview or summary of a topic or idea.

Example of a Mind Map
The main subject, topic or idea is located in the centre, with related ideas and information branching from it in many directions.

Each related idea may have further information or ideas branching from them.

Both words and images can be used when creating a mind map.

What are the benefits of creating a mind map?

Here are some of the benefits of creating and using a mind map.

Mind maps help you remember information

Creating a mind map has many benefits in relation to your memory:

  • Mind maps allow you to organise information into easy to remember chunks
  • The organisation process helps you to understand and remember content
  • Mind maps help reduce information overload
  • We generally find it easier to remember images and diagrams in comparison to plain written text
  • Mind maps are also full of mental triggers which help our memory recall
  • The mind map structure is similar to how our own brain stores and recalls information

Mind maps allow you to see everything at a glance

Mind maps are concise and constrained to a single side of paper.

This allows you to see all the information for that topic at a single glance, all in one place.

Seeing the information in this format also helps you to quickly and easily spot connections and relationships.

Mind maps help you see the bigger picture

Seeing all the relationships and hierarchies within a mind map give you a fantastic overview of a topic and help you understand the bigger picture.

Mind maps are fun and easy

Creating a mind map can often be a fun and easy process.

We are drawn to doing activities that we enjoy, which is surely a good thing when it comes to a revision schedule.

Mind maps are quick and efficient

Mind maps are an efficient and quick way of dealing with the information you need to learn.

Having the main topic so central and prominent on the page helps to keep you and the information focused.

How to create a mind map

There is no wrong way to create a mind map, however below are some guidelines you may wish to follow:

  1. Put your main idea or topic in the middle of page and draw a circle around it.  This will be your starting point
  2. Add related keywords or phrases all around this, then use lines to connect these ‘first level branches’ to the starting point
  3. As needed, connect further keywords and phrases to the first level branches (these are called child branches)
  4. If needed, add further branches to your child branches


  • Use keywords and short phrases, not full sentences
  • Use images, icons and colour as you see fit.  These are really helpful memory triggers
  • Try to create a sense of hierarchy as you break down the information
  • Keep the mind map to one side of paper
  • Don’t worry about your artistic skills, it’s not a competition

How do I use my mind map?

Although there is an obvious and real benefit from just creating the mind map, more work now needs to be done.

Your mind maps need to be incorporated as part of your revision schedule.

You should revisit them on a regular basis, and use them in conjunction with other revision techniques.

Consider sticking them up around your home as a prompt to use them.

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