A lot of people have asked me how I make my mindmaps, the only trouble is I have lots of different styles (especially as I take both English and Maths, which are polar opposite), and I couldn’t explain them all in one post because It’d probably end up looking like a murder scene knowing me, so I’ll start with how I make English (and other essay-based subjects) Mindmaps.
In English it’s important that you link quotes thematically for your exam. The main reasons for this is so that you can A) Recall and remember themes/quotes easily and B) So you actually write about things that are relevant to the paper. It works the same way for History, Geography, Psychology, Sociology etc, but obviously with things such as Events, Case Studies, Time Periods, Key dates, Key terms and so on, instead of just Themes and Quotes. Even in English it’s useful to produce historical mindmaps on literary periods, so hopefully in the future I can post something similar to help out History students a little more.
There are three components to my mindmaps;
The Centre - This is where you outline what the whole thing is going to be about. In my case ‘Prose and Themes’. Other examples may be titles focussing on one;
- case study
- quote/piece of evidence
The Offshoots - Here, I have divided up the main themes for my course, i.e. ‘Unrequited Love’ or ‘The Geography of Love’. I like to plan these out before I start my mindmap, so that I know how evenly I am going to space them out, and thus know how much space each section needs be by mentally dividing my page.
I also nearly always start my mindmap in the spot where ‘The Geography of Love’ is placed, and work clockwise around, fitting my text/pictures into all space as I go. This is the best advice I would give in trying to fit in everything you want, as a lot of people will draw out all the arms before they start, and it ends up looking more sparse than you would like. Doing it in this way doesn’t just benefit you in not wasting space, but also makes you finish them, because they look so naff unfinished.
Other things you can put in instead of key themes could be any of the title focusses listed above, it all depends on what you put in your centre, and what you’re choosing to link it to (for example you could have a text in the middle and be linking it to themes, or a theme in the middle and be linking it to texts)
For each one of my offshoots, I like to do a little drawing to help me remember it in the exam and think ‘Ahh, when did I draw that? Oh it was for such and such!’
The Offshoots of the Offshoots - This is the most variable part of the mindmap, and the part that can get most messy, so it’s very helpful to colour code like I’ve done above with my quotes. It’s difficult to explain exactly what to put here, as it is so specific to what you are studying, but you could include some of these things;
- drawings and doodles
- case studies
- key people
- graphs/charts (if applicable)
As you can see, I underline within the offshoots, so that I can refine what I need to know down even further, in this case the most important part of the quote to remember in relation to the theme it is linked to.
Within the offshoots, it’s also useful to link between themes to make further connections. I haven’t done that here because I wanted to categorise very definitely and keep it simple, but if you struggle with making links, a simple line between two items can really help you.
I would usually illustrate my mindmap more, most of the time in this way, but because it was very tightly packed, (and it was just quotes) I stuck with a few little drawings.
I hope this helps you guys out! Best of luck with everything! A post on how I do my maths mindmaps with follow soon (she says with hope).