‘Mind maps’ are a common method of organising thoughts in a visual way. Many students are familiar with the term and use this type of diagram to put thoughts down onto a page and revise more successfully.
It starts with a central theme, in the middle of the page, and branches out to include different ideas and connective thoughts. The concept can be used for almost anything, from revising a science subject, to learning a new language. Mind maps are used at primary school level and have been seen in use long into the various educational stages, and even in the workplace. But do they actually work?
According to some research, yes they do. This survey found that staff members who started using mind mapping software said they were able to work much faster than before, as well as being able to juggle more complex projects.
Mind maps have also been shown to be useful in problem solving. Start with writing the general issue down into the middle of a whiteboard, and work as a team to put ideas around the outside of the board, connecting sub-thoughts as you go. Even the smallest idea, which could seem insignificant at first, can be useful. Seeing your thoughts mapped out in such a manner can help some people to problem-solve much more efficiently.
Benefits of mind maps when essay writing
So, when it comes to revision or essay writing, you could be really helping yourself out by first starting with a mind map. According to oxbridgeessays, (an online essay writing service), by starting with a mind map, you can get stuck into your essay much more quickly. Many students find it difficult to know where to begin with a new essay, and procrastinate as a result. A lot of people will say that starting is always the hardest part of essay writing, so mind mapping beforehand can give you the extra acceleration you need to begin.
How to mind map when essay writing
You can first start by putting your essay question in the middle of a large A3 page. Then, add what your initial thoughts are onto the page. These might be fairly few and far between to start out with, but that’s OK. It will build as you go, and acts as a work-in-progress.
As you start researching and reading around the topic, expand your mind map. You can begin linking ideas together, so that you can form some kind of structure to your essay. This is very useful when it comes to putting together an argument. You can organise your thoughts, rather than a jumble of ideas that jump back and forth in the narrative, (a common reason for poor essays!)
The great thing is, your mind map can form any structure you like, and be as complex or simple as you wish. It’s YOUR mind map, so make it work for you. Want to create it on a PC? Great! Want to use post it notes and stick it across your bedroom wall? Go for it! A mind map is a visual representation of your thoughts, so no one method is ‘correct.’