Mind Maps For Note Taking – Verbal To Visual Approach

What’s the best way to recollect a lecture? Do you think jotting every single word in the class would help you learn a concept? May be yes for sometime but it’s just a temporary learning. Note-taking is said to be effective only if you engage with your notes, review and recollect your lecture and rephrase it on your own. We’ve learnt a couple of note-taking methods earlier which focus on the format of taking notes. There’s a unique approach to take notes which increases the logical ability of students – Mind maps for note-taking.

Mind Mapping method

Mind maps are visual hierarchical representations of concepts, ideas or study topics using lines, boxes, bubbles and other visual elements which represent relationships. As a result this is the best way to organise and understand your notes by dividing it into branches. When you review it later, you will understand the relationship between different topics and subtopics which makes learnings retain for long.

How to Mind map?

When you have too many ideas in your mind, you write down as linear notes. Writing too many things in such a format will lack clarity. Because of this, when you see it as a whole, it becomes tough to memorise from the start point to end point. Hence we create a mind map for easily interpreted fuller pictures.

Mind maps are the best for complex lectures which have interlocking topics. These visual representations help you understand better because it’s easy to remember complex relations and abstract ideas. The main topic or point comes in the centre. To get a better understanding, here are the 3 steps to create a mind map:

  1. Write the central topic
    – This is the main subject of discussion. It can be an idea, topic, problem or a concept.

  2. Add the branches
    – All the sub topics under the central topic should be added and lines should be used to start the hierarchical structure.

  3. Add sub-branches
    – Each of the branches will have further explanations or relations. Also you can keep on adding to each of them.

Steps to Create a Mind Map

Types of Mind Mapping

The way you create a mind map varies depending on the topic or the person taking notes. There are 3 ways or formats in this note-taking method.

  1. Level by Level : This is the most common type where we add the elements around the central topic first and so on. Also all the elements of one level will be added at a time.

  2. Branch by Branch : In this type we add the elements branch by branch. A branch and its sub branches are added one after the other. 

  3. Free-Flow : This type follows no particular order. You are free to add the elements in a flow without particular format.

Types of Mind Mapping

Pros and Cons of Mind Maps

There will always be two sides for a coin. With many advantages, there will be few limitations too. 


  1. Easy to recollect and review 
  2. Makes learning complex topics easier
  3. Improves logical way of understanding a concept 
  4. Visual representations are good to remember for long
  5. Editing notes becomes easy


  1. If there are many branches and sub-branches, it can’t be taken in a single page. 
  2. It will be confusing at times, both to take notes or review notes.

Bottom Line of Mind Maps

When you are stuck with a random plan or idea in your mind, start putting your thoughts on a paper in the form of mind maps. Your thoughts will fall in place, become organised and make sense. For abstract ideas and brain dump of random thoughts, complex topics, concepts with more interrelationships, this is the best method to take notes.

Do check out the recent articles on two more note-taking methods if you haven’t checked them yet. One more interesting article on the next note-taking method will be out next week. Stay tuned.

Happy note-taking!

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