We have to process data every day. There’s no way we can go around it. The problem is, not all data are easy to remember. We need tools to sift through them.

That’s where the mind map comes in. Mind maps are not known as brainstorming diagrams for nothing. They mirror how the mind thinks. And in doing so, they help the mind work better. How?

“Mind maps help facilitate knowledge in a way that will allow you to grasp and recall new information better. They help you visualize ideas to improve critical thinking, analyzing and decision making skills,” said Yvette Ruiz, lecturer of Ahead Tutorial and Review Center.

Mind maps help you understand relationships between and among different concepts and therefore make better sense of them.

In helping flex mental muscles, mind maps let your creative juices flow more freely. They help you come up with new ideas. And when these have become part of your daily thinking process, mind maps give you a wealth of knowledge, not just for now, but for an entire lifetime as well.

Now, wouldn’t you want to maximize your brain power through mind mapping? Here’s how, as shared by Teacher Yvette, lecturer at Ahead Tutorial and Review Center.

1.  Watch out for connections. Lines, colors, arrows, branches and others signify relationships in mind maps. You may also use simple sketches to stand for ideas, like a Philippine flag to represent the Philippines.

2.  Write all those symbols on unlined paper. Lined paper promotes linear thinking. But since the mind works in a non-linear way, it’s best to follow the dictates of the mind as it does the thinking anyway.

As popular British psychologist Tony Buzan, inventor of mind mapping, says, learning is curvilinear. The mind gets bored, even unhappy, when forced to think in a rigid, regimented way. So junk those lined papers and straight lines when making your mind map.

Jot down main ideas. Some students have an easier time when they capitalize letters for mind maps. They find it easier to read these letters. But small letters are also okay for explanatory notes.

3.  Write the key idea at the center of the map. This way, other ideas literally radiate from the main one and enough space is available for you to jot down all thoughts that come your way.

You may also turn the blank page around (landscape orientation) to look at the idea in a fresher, sometimes better angle.

4.  Leave lots of room to write around in. This way, you make allowances for new ideas that grow over time. Ideas expand. So you may have to focus on other ideas, or even redo your mind map in a couple of days, weeks or years. So allow for space to put in more ideas, questions or subjects. By the time the exam date or the deadline for the school project comes around, your mind map will be packed full of ideas that will help you get a higher grade.

5.  Use wavy lines or branches attached to the main and other ideas. Remember, the mind works in a non-linear way. The more you follow its pattern, the more it will help you remember.

6.  Use lots of colors. Buzan says studies in a London university show that those who use color and images do better than those who don’t.

That’s just a preview on how to make a mind map. Ahead Tutorial and Review Center can demonstrate the actual mechanics for you in any of its 12 branches.

So how about it? Start your journey toward a more creative, more productive you via mind mapping now!


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