Essay With Mind Map Exercise

In this article we’ll show you how to use mind maps for essay writing. Mind maps can not only make this often dreadful task a whole lot easier, but also save you a huge amount of time. If you want to learn how this simple yet effective technique works, just follow the steps as outlined below.

What Is a Mind Map?

A mind map is a diagram that displays information visually. You can create mind maps using pen and paper, or you can use an online mind mapping tool such as MindMeister. Whatever you use, the rules for creating a mind map are simple:

1) Write the subject in the center of your paper / canvas.

2) Draw branches that point away from the center. Each branch symbolizes one thought or idea related to the subject. Use meaningful keywords to write these ideas onto the branches.

3) From each branch more ideas can branch off.

4) Use colors, icons and images whenever possible. These function as mental triggers and can help spark new ideas in you, which is important during brainstorming sessions.

Now that you know how to create a basic mind map, let’s go over how you can use mind maps for essay writing.

Step 1: Using a Mind Map to Find a Good Topic for Your Essay

If you have the opportunity to choose the topic for your paper yourself, try to find one that’s been covered by other researchers before, but still gives you a chance to come up with new findings and conclusions. If you choose a topic that has already been explored in depth by a gazillion other researchers, you might be hard pressed to develop a unique perspective.

Ideally, the topic should be something you are also personally interested in, or at least something you can relate to in some way. This will make the whole task of writing your essay a little less dreadful. The best way to find such a topic is a brainstorming session.

How to brainstorm topic ideas in a mind map

Create a new mind map and simply write “My Essay” or “My Paper” in the center of the map. Now, start adding ideas around the center. These can be things your professor suggested, related subjects you discussed in class, or anything else relevant to get you started.

Next, note down your own areas of interest and see where they intersect with the former. Once you have a few good ideas for the subject of your paper, you can start weighing them against each other, noting down pros and cons. Eliminate topics until you’re left with only one. This will be the topic of your paper.

In the example below, the only requirement that had been given was to write a paper about literature from the English Renaissance. You’ll see various famous writers of this time mentioned in the map, as well as various aspects of their work that could be examined in a paper, such as the symbolism, dramatic conflicts or themes.

Step 2: Start the Research Process

While working through both primary and secondary sources, it’s quite easy to get confused about the numerous arguments and counterarguments. Many students get frustrated and waste a lot of time just trying to figure out how to make all the different pieces of information fit together into a coherent text.

What you need, therefore, is a system to collect and structure all this information in one central place, so you can easily review the materials while you write.

How to collect research in a mind map

Create a new mind map for each source (book, article, essay) you read and take notes in this mind map while you work through the text. Alternatively, you can use one single map where you list all your sources and create child topics for every page/paragraph/quote you want to use in your paper.

In the map below, you’ll see that – based on our initial brainstorming session – we chose ‘Love in Romeo and Juliet’ as the topic of our paper. For our research map, we wrote this topic in the center and created individual branches for each source we read. Next to the book title, we noted down the topics covered in the source, its central question as well as important passages that we thought we might want to quote in our essay.

Here are some practical tips to set you up for success:

  • Use colors, arrows and icons to indicate connections between the arguments and quotes.
  • Be sure to add the page numbers to the topics in your map so you can quickly go back to do some more fact checking if necessary. If you’re working with online sources you can also attach their links directly to the topics in your map.
  • As you go along, you can restructure the sources according to topics, which usually provides a better overview of the material you have available for each section of your paper.

Here’s another example of a research map. This is the map we used to take notes while reading Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, the subject of our paper. As you can see, we created branches for each of the text passages we wanted to analyze in the essay.

Step 3: Outline Your Paper in a Mind Map

Before you start with the actual writing, it’s very important that you first create an outline of your paper. This will help you create a coherent structure of your arguments, counterarguments, examples, quotes, and the sources you want to reference in each argument.

You can quickly review this outline whenever you get sidetracked in your writing process, or when you’re unsure about how to continue. A mind map is a great format for such an outline because it provides you with a visual overview of your thesis statement and the entire text structure.

If you’re using mind mapping software such as MindMeister, you can also…

  • Link the individual topics in your map with the respective research maps you’ve created.
  • Add notes and deadlines to each step to make sure your writing stays on schedule.
  • Export your finished outline as a Word document and use it as the basis for your paper.

Using mind maps to plan and outline your essay will not only make the writing process a lot easier, it will also enable you to work through sources more efficiently and help you find information more quickly. Of course, you can use mind mapping for all types of writing assignments – from essays to short stories and from book reports to blog posts. Try it out!

See also: The Student’s Guide to Mind Mapping

September 4th, 2013 by iMindMap

With the new school year upon us, what better way to get off to a flying start than with our Top 10 educational Mind Maps created by real users. Take these ideas and use them as templates, posters or simply, be inspired to create your own unique maps.

1. Why study…

When introducing a brand new topic or subject to students, you want to remind them of the importance of the information you’re about to bestow on them. However, it’s often the case that you have to constantly remind your students of this throughout the school year.

Try introducing your subject with a fresh approach. Ask your students to Mind Map why your subject is so important or even complete a group Mind Map as a class with everyone’s ideas incorporated.

Download this map for free here


2. When I grow up…

The aim of school is to prepare students for their future. Set your students the task of Mind Mapping what they want to be when they grow up. It works well with students of any age and it encourages your students to engage in critical thinking. Aspects of the map which your students should consider include the timeline (when do they expect to achieve their goal?), requirements for their dream job (do they need certain qualifications?) and the steps they need to take to reach their targets.

Download this map for free here


3. Student Progress Review

Parent’s evening has a habit of creeping up on you and before you know it, you’re writing tons of reports. Why not get a head start and create a Mind Map for each child at the start of the year. As the term continues, add branches to the Mind Map to build up a picture of their performance and development. The Mind Map itself will serve as a fantastic visual reference when discussing progress at parent’s evening.

Note: The green branches signify strengths; the red branches signify weaknesses and amber branches signify areas for improvement.

Download this map for free here


4. Writing an essay

Essays and reports are an essential part of homework tasks and end of year exams. Instil your students with good habits by providing them with useful phrases for supporting and contradicting arguments. Throughout the year, your students can build on this as they encounter new and useful phrases for their work.

Download this map for free here


5. Language for beginners

Whether your students are 6, 16 or 60, everyone needs to start somewhere. Allow your students to get to grips with the fundamentals of a language by consolidating key terms into Mind Map summaries. Maps can include tenses, verbs, animals, numbers, family members and more. Once you have done this, you can issue it every year to your new group of students.

Download this map for free here


6. Basic grammar

At the start of term, it’s time to recap the basics and make sure your students are ready to tackle the tasks that the new term brings. Use this Mind Map as a classroom reminder of the basics of grammar and see whether their writing style starts to change as they include more complex grammar in each writing task.

Download this map for free here


7. Fill in the blank exercise

Box branches in iMindMap serve multiple purposes but perhaps the most original is for fill-in-the-blank exercises. These work for every topic or language and serve as templates which can be used time and time again. At the end of the exercise, fill in the box branches with iMindMap projected onto the board so everyone can see the correct answers.

Tip: Print off the exercise and issue to your students and if you think the questions are pretty tough, you can try including images as hints.

Download this map for free here


8. Healthy eating guidelines

With parents and teachers world-wide looking to tackle bad eating habits in their children and students, never has there been a better time to educate them on healthy eating. Print off this Mind Map and use it as poster in your classroom. This will really help you and your students learn about the importance of a balanced meal and show the creative potential of iMindMap.

Download this map for free here


9) Full of facts summary

Mind Maps work very well for consolidating the more complex topics which often need to be broken down. In iMindMap, you can work in a limitless workspace where the Mind Maps you create can be as detailed as you require – something which can be difficult to achieve on paper. In addition, your students can edit and build upon their maps throughout the year. So when exam time arrives, your students have ready-made maps for revision. Plus, students can attach notes to each branch and add links to web resources so the basic points are essentially highlighted with additional core information just a click away.


10) The benefits of audio learning

Finally, audio learning – a learning strategy which is often underestimated and taken for granted. Introducing audio into your lessons can have a huge impact on student development. Whether it’s music, language exercises or audio recordings to recap previous lessons, these can all be attached as audio notes in iMindMap.

Download this map for free here


*In order to download the maps, you will need to have iMindMap 10 installed on your computer (or the free iMindMap trial).

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Posted in Education, iMindMap

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