Tammy said:Mindmaps might be considered to be shorthand for all the material covered in the text books and in class. They are a pretty good summary of all you need to know to get excellent exam results. They are visual in nature and therefore are easy to remember and recall for the vast majority of students. They focus on key material you need to know and act as a prompt for further information you will have learned in class or at home.
I also find mind mapping can particularly help with revision for English where I used MindMapping to revise the larger areas of the course like poetry and character analysis in the studied texts. With regard to poetry, my main study was constructing a Mindmap which displayed all of the poets my class had covered and connecting them to different themes and techniques. I also wrote the most important lines in the poetry out on small flashcards– as quoting to support an answer is vital. When it came to the novel and studied drama I wrote out shorthand summaries of every character and scene of conflict in both works and then applied them to a Mindmap. Again using flashcards I made sure to note the most important quotes which I would have to remember and reference in the exam.
In other areas like functional writing and media studies, it was a matter of again placing all of the formats and language tones that I had previously learned and putting them into categories in a Mindmap. For example, when I was revising the different forms of letter-writing within functional writing, I constructed a ‘Letters’ Mindmap. Each branch contained shorthand notes about the different types of letters and the vital parts of their structure and language. Every branch about layout was made up of a fixed number of points – that way I knew when I was in my exam that there was a fixed number of layout features I needed to include to get the marks.
Formal Letters section of Functional Writing Revision Map
The issue with English is that it is almost impossible to study for, as many of the answers you will have to write are about interpretation. I therefore believe that it is vital for students to have a glance back at previously attempted questions and see where they went wrong and where they succeeded.
For other subjects, I often rewrite my course notes into map format, for my Irish exam for example, I made sure to revise grammar for the Written paper by writing out all the rules of verbs on a Mindmap. For my studied poetry and stories, I again constructed a large mindmap, linking themes to writers and highlighting the phrasing I needed to earn more marks. I wrote quotes on flashcards and revised them regularly as well as browsing through previous questions and learning from mistakes.
If you have left it too late to start MindMapping you can always access the ones I have created online. There are free samples in 10 different subjects so that you can check if they work for you. I’ve also put together my top tips in map format, that you can download here.