This post was updated on April 10, 2020.
As a student, knowing how to use mind maps can almost feel like cheating. Once you’ve learned how to create mind maps, you’ll be amazed at how much faster you’ll memorize information and how easy it can be to write essays, create engaging presentations, and more!
To make it simple for you to get started with mind mapping, we’ve put together this comprehensive guide to mind mapping for students, including definitions, techniques, tools, and 15 mind map examples for students (with templates you can download and use for free).
Table of Contents:
- What Is a Mind Map for Students?
- Why Is Mind Mapping Helpful for Students?
- Mind Mapping Techniques for Students
- 15 Mind Map Examples for Students
This guide is for students who are looking for mind map examples. If you’re a teacher looking for mind map lesson plans and activities for your students, check out our guide to mind mapping for teachers.
What Is a Mind Map for Students?
A mind map is a diagram that displays information visually. The subject of a mind map is always located in the center of the map. From there, related ideas and keywords branch out in all directions, resulting in a radiant structure.
Has your teacher ever told you to stop doodling and focus on taking notes? Well when it comes to mind mapping, doodling is exactly what you’re supposed to do! The more colors you use and the more images you add to your map, the better.
However, your mind map doesn’t have to be a work of art. The idea is to simply make it as memorable as possible.
Why Is Mind Mapping Helpful for Students?
Compared to traditional linear notes, studying using flashcards, or brainstorming with bullet points and outlines, mind maps have a lot of advantages. Here are just a few of the reasons why mind maps are so effective:
- A mind map’s radiant structure directly corresponds to the way our brains store and retrieve information.
- A mind map conveys the hierarchy and relationships between individual ideas and enables you to see the big picture.
- A mind map makes use of mental triggers (such as pictures, colors, and connections) to help your brain memorize things more easily.
- The best part: mind mapping doesn’t feel like work!
It’s those properties that make mind maps such a great learning tool. And what’s more, they can be created and used by absolutely anyone. Whether you’re a post-graduate student or are just starting out in your academic career, mind maps can help you structure, manage, and memorize the knowledge you’re trying to acquire.
Mind Mapping Techniques for Students
If you’re not sure how to get started creating mind maps, check out our Mind Mapping 101 course. It will walk you through the exact process you need to follow to create mind maps for homework assignments, note-taking, group work, studying, and more.
Once you have the basic process down, you can get started creating your first mind map. While you can create mind maps anywhere—all you need is a writing utensil and a piece of paper—you may want something more flexible.
If that’s the case for you, you can use a mind mapping tool to create your mind maps. A free mind mapping tool like MindMeister lets you create mind maps that are as large as you want; add colors, images, and links to your mind map; and download and share it with your teacher if you need to turn it in as a homework assignment.
All of the example mind maps in the next section were built with MindMeister.
15 Mind Map Examples for Students
Now that you know the basics of how to create a mind map, let’s take a look at some of the ways you can use mind mapping every day in school. Use these 15 example mind maps for students to find inspiration for the different ways you can use mind mapping.
1. Brainstorming mind map
Mind mapping is one of the best brainstorming techniques there is. Drawing a mind map when you’re trying to come up with ideas for an essay, project, or any other creative task can really help get your creative juices flowing.
Using mind maps for brainstorming:
- helps you easily retrieve information from your memory
- gets your thoughts flowing freely so you can come up with new ideas
- lets you identify connections between individual ideas
- helps you see the bigger picture
If you run out of ideas too early, try drawing blank branches into your mind map. Our brains don’t like unfinished business, so by drawing unfinished branches, we can often trick our brains into looking for creative ways to expand our mind maps.
2. Note-taking mind map
Most students use some form of linear note-taking to capture the information presented to them in class. Mind maps, however, are a much more effective tool when it comes to note-taking.
Instead of thoughtlessly transcribing what your teacher says, mind maps compel you to actively think about what you hear and only write down the most essential pieces of information.
Instead of writing whole sentences, you stick to keywords and meaningful images. This way, you save time both during the lesson and afterward when you go back to revise the material.
Mind maps also offer a much better overview of a topic than normal text documents do. Just take a look at the image above. The images on the left and right both offer the same information. But which one would you say is more memorable and would be quicker to review?
3. Memorization mind map
In “The Mind Map Book,” Tony Buzan explains why mind maps are such a great tool for memorization:
“Mind maps utilize all our cortical skills and activate the brain on all levels, making it more alert and skillful at remembering. The attractiveness of mind maps makes the brain want to return to them and encourages the probability of spontaneous recall.”
4. Reading comprehension mind map
Some texts can be quite difficult to understand. Old novels, highly scientific articles, and scholarly essays can be full of words we’re not familiar with, and they often have a complex structure that can throw us off.
Taking notes in a mind map while reading such a text can make it much easier to understand its structure and content. Here are a few tips:
- Break the information down into smaller, more manageable chunks.
- Capture the key concepts and ideas of the text.
- Make a list of unfamiliar words and other questions that turn up while you read.
- Summarize the plot of a text and describe its main characters.
- Use the map to review your notes before an exam.
5. Group project mind map
If you’re one of the many students who dread group projects in school, mind maps can be the key to change this. A mind map can make it much easier to visualize what needs to be done and work together with your teammates to accomplish all tasks.
In this case, online mind mapping software is definitely the way to go. With an online tool, you can easily share your mind map with all team members so that everybody can access and edit it at the same time. You can also assign tasks to your team members right inside the mind map to ensure everybody knows what they need to do.
6. Class presentation mind map
Mind maps are a great way to present information. For example, you could use a mind map instead of a slideshow while presenting a report in class.
With MindMeister, you can easily create a mind map to use during a presentation. Take a look at the real-time video below where we show you how to create a slideshow for a book report in less than three minutes.
7. Homework mind map
You can also use mind maps to create to-do lists and ensure you never forget important homework or a reading assignment.
MindMeister is a great mind mapping tool for creating a to-do list because it lets you add deadlines to the tasks in your map and check off tasks that you’ve completed.
8. Essay mind map
Mind maps can not only help you brainstorm ideas for the topic of your essay, but they’re also great for collecting arguments and quotes from the various sources you want to cite and for outlining the structure of your essay.
Want to see more essay mind map examples? Check out our comprehensive guide to mind maps for essay writing.
9. Exam preparation mind map
Another way to use mind maps is to collect all the materials that will be covered in an exam, such as:
- your notes from class
- chapters from the textbooks
- a reading list
- links to online sources
Additionally, you can note down instructions from the teacher and other information about the exam, such as date and time, format (essay, multiple-choice, etc.), what you need to bring (calculator, pens, ruler), and so on.
10. Semester plan mind map
If you have a teacher who expects you to just stay on top of the projects and assignments you have to do across the semester, you can create a semester plan mind map that lists things like assignments, project touchpoint due dates, exam dates, teacher contact information, and more.
Using MindMeister, you can also link to any worksheets, Google Docs, or electronic syllabi you receive from your instructors to consolidate all of your notes and assignments into a single mind map you can refer back to all semester long.
11. Creative writing mind map
If you have to write a short story for one of your classes, a mind map is a great way to outline the story you want to tell. You can define your characters’ looks and personalities, even add images you find online showing what you think you those characters look like for reference.
You can outline the story you want to tell and make a note of your setting, any needed background information, the climax of your story, its resolution, etc. Then, you can reference your mind map while writing your story so that your mind is free to be creative instead of bogged down trying to remember all of those details.
12. Lab report mind map
If you’re more interested in art than science, creating an artistic mind map to use for capturing and documenting tests you ran in the science lab can ignite your interest during your science classes.
You can grab the free template for this mind map here and copy it to your MindMeister account to start creating lab reports that are both visually interesting and functional.
13. Grammar mind map
If you’re trying to learn a new language or just memorize the basic grammar and mechanical rules of your first language, a grammar mind map can help.
You can define what the different types of the language are used for and add some examples, which will help you recall those rules when writing or taking a test where you need to have them memorized.
14. Business ideas mind map
Sometimes, in math, economics, or social studies class, your teacher might ask you to come up with a business idea.
A mind map is a great way to brainstorm business ideas—either alone or as a group—to come up with ideas for products you could sell, decide how you would market those products, figure out who would buy those projects, and determine why people would want to buy your products.
15. School club mind map
When you’re in grammar school, teachers and parents usually plan and organize all after school club events for you. But when you get into high school, it’s often up to the students to make plans and decide what the club will do and focus on.
You can build a mind map with all of the members of your club to make plans and decisions. In the mind map example above, students have documented a few plays and musicals their drama club might like to do, as well as some ideas for how they can raise the money they’ll need to perform those plays.
Looking for More Mind Mapping Examples for Students?
Hopefully, these 15 mind map examples for students have given you lots of ideas for ways you can use mind maps every day in school, during your after school programs, and at home. But if you’re still craving even more ideas and examples, check out some of these other MindMeister guides and resources:
- Get Inspired With These 13 Mind Map Examples
- Explore 300,000+ Interactive Mind Maps in Our Public Maps Universe
- 9 Ways to Stay Organized at College Using MindMeister
- Easy to Use Mind Map Templates for Teachers and Students
- 8 Inspiring Examples of Educational Mind Maps
Originally published in September 2013, this post has been updated with more information on how students can use mind maps and six additional mind map examples.