Using mind maps

Mind maps can help you to take notes, organise and structure your thoughts and ideas, and remember what you have learnt.

What are mind maps?

Mind maps are a visual form of note taking, where you can use diagrams to represent topics and ideas. They imitate the way we think, which is why they can be one of the most effective aids to learning and memory. They are also easy to remember and quick to review.

Mind maps

• Have a central image, with branches radiating out from the centre.

• Each branch represents a key theme.

• Details are added to the main branches in the form of sub-branches.

They can be used for

• Summarising information.

• Consolidating information from different sources.

• Thinking through complex problems.

• Showing the overall structure of a subject

 Pictures of mind maps - Google (opens in new window)

How to create a mind map

The more visual a mind map is, the more effective it is, so when you draw a mind map use colour, pictures and symbols, such as arrows showing the connections between topics.

The steps involved are easy

• Start by putting your main topic on a page. You can write this and/or draw it.

• Add your key words around the main topic, recording any words that come to mind from that main topic.

• Draw smaller branches stemming from your mind map key words. Draw lines between your thoughts so that you can see how things are connected.

• These branches will generate further ideas and branches.

• If you get stuck, move on to another branch. Some branches will be bigger than others.


When you are finished study the connections that have been made. Look for patterns and how information connects.

More about mind mapping

Mind map online tutorial - RMIT University Learning Lab website (Opens in new window)

Brainstorming and mind mapping for assignments - Monash University  (PDF 122KB, opens in new window)

Maximise the power of your brain with mind mapping Tony Buzan - YouTube video clip (5:39 mins) 

Related information

Active learning

Research and reading

Reviewing your work to help you remember