Studying can be a challenging task, especially if you're balancing it with other responsibilities such as employment or childcare. It's important to reflect on the study strategies that fit you best as an individual to be sure you select the optimal ones.
Besides leading to better grades, this will ensure you absorb content more efficiently, saving you time, and also make the process of studying as engaging and enjoyable as possible.
One popular strategy among students is mind mapping topics, which allows you to visualize the connection between different pieces of information. In this blog, we'll take a closer look at mind maps and provide some tips on mind mapping to help you succeed as a college students.
A mind map is a visual diagram in which you summarize information on tasks, words, ideas, or other content you come across during your studies.
The various parts of a mind map are connected to or arranged around a single overarching topic through the use of arrows or lines. The topic acts as the 'center' of the mind map and gives the diagram a clear, organized framework.
Summarizing ideas in your own words and looking for connections between them helps you better structure your knowledge of the topic you're studying. Mind maps also allow you to reflect on the specific details of a topic as well as the overall 'big picture.'
You can even add drawings or colors to mind maps, which is especially useful if you're a visual learner.
Research shows that mind maps have many proven benefits for students. In particular, working with these diagrams can:
Improve memorization and retention
Make complex topics easier to understand
Enhance personal engagement
Improve writing skills
To create a mind map, decide first which topic you'd like to cover and write it in the middle of a piece of paper in a large bubble or any other shape you like. You can visually highlight the central topic further by writing it out in vivid color and capitalized letters.
Next, add lines or arrows branching off from the central topic to each of the subtopics related to it, summarized in short phrases. It's a good idea to draw the arrows branching off from the central topic in the same color for visual consistency.
Depending on how in-depth you want the mind map to be, you can draw more branches from each subtopic and add sentences to summarize the relevant information. Try to keep your sentences short and snappy while including keywords.
Let your mind run free. You can add arrows or lines linking subtopics together, highlight important parts of the map with a new color or even draw pictures or doodles to illustrate the information in each part of the map.
Many people use mind maps to study for exams, but there are several other ways you can use them to your advantage, including:
Planning team projects
Generating ideas for an essay
Planning priorities for the semester
Have a think about what you might find mind mapping helpful for, and don't be afraid to play around with its different uses.
Julie Campos is the Senior Director of Operations and Student Success at MedCerts. She brings over 14 years of experience in Online Higher Education in both Student Support and Enrollment and started her career at the University of Phoenix, serving most of her tenure as a student-facing leader.
Julie has her Bachelors of Liberal Arts in Political Science from the University of Texas at El Paso, and her Masters in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix. Her areas of expertise are student support in online higher education environments and working with nontraditional students. At MedCerts, she is focused on creating a pro-active student central support model for MedCerts students to reach their goals and has developed the MedCerts Student Support and Outreach Model, created MedCerts Student Success Advisor reports and Dashboards, as well as the Student Success Advisor Playbook. Her proactive approach to student support has been crucial in meeting MedCerts’ student’s needs, as well as completion and certification goals.
Julie has three children – a 10-year-old son and 12- and 4-year-old daughters, who keep her and her husband busy with sports. She is also an avid crafter with an entire room of her home dedicated to the hobby. In her free time, she enjoys teaching wreath making and even has a few “how-to” YouTube videos on the subject!