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Mind mapping

A step-by-step guide:

Plan on making your mind map in stages: a rough first draft to capture your ideas, an edited version of the draft to show their connections, and a final draft that groups information in an orderly way.

To make a mind map, you'll need a large, unlined notepad or an artist's sketchpad, and several colored pens, markers, or highlighters. If you take notes with a laptop or tablet PC, you might want to invest in software such as the Mindjet MindManager or Inspiration.

February/March 2006 issue of ADDitude

Apollo 11

First, pick out related ideas and categorize them by color. In the "Edited Draft,"

  • details about the crew are in red,

  • equipment in gold,

  • dates in black,

  • statistics in violet,

  • terminology in blue, and

  • interesting facts in green.

Next, look for an organizing principle. In our Apollo 11 example, the stages of the moon mission--Lift-off, Moon Landing, and While on Moon--stand out as a way to impose chronological order to the map. Add "Crew" as another topic, and you have four major themes around which to organize the information. (If a topic heading isn't already on the map, add it.) Number the topics to indicate their chronological order, and assign a different color to each.


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