Mind mapping

Mind maps are a visual way of taking notes, brainstorming ideas or planning. They can help you organise and connect information and ideas. They are also easy to remember and quick to review.

Mind maps are a quick way to:

  • show what you already know about a topic and where you may need to find more information
  • summarise information from a range of sources
  • find and see links between concepts and ideas
  • think through complex problems
  • show the overall structure of a subject.

Tip: Mind maps are also useful to help you plan research or revise for an assessment or exam.


How to mind map

You can make a mind map on paper, whiteboard, or use an online tool (there are a few available that let you create some for free such as MindmeisterMiro or Lucidchart). Or you could type a list on a word document. 


  • Start by putting your main topic in the middle of the page (if you are drawing or using a mind mapping tool) or the top of the page (if you are typing).
  • Add all the key words, concepts and ideas you can think of about the topic.
  • Don’t try and organise the information, just get your ideas out. 

Diagram showing an example of the first step of a mind map, which is to note down all the key words and ideas you can think of for a topic


Categorise and go deeper

  • Next identify the main categories of information and circle or highlight them. These are your branches.
  • Draw lines to show which items fit into each category and how categories connect. Use different coloured pens and visuals to help make it clear what is in the same category.
  • Each branch could generate further ideas and branches. Keep adding to each one, and if you get stuck, move on to another branch.

If you are using a Word document, you could group words into categories and label each category. 

Diagram showing part 2 of mind mapping, where you categorise and group the words in your original  list


Review and organise

  • When you are finished, consider how the information connects.
  • Highlight or note categories that are most important.
  • If you need to, redraw your map making each main category or branch a heading. Then list the information and ideas under each heading, and connect them.

Part three of a mind map where you think about how your categories connect and which are most important


Learn more about mind mapping by watching the video below.