How to get really good at Mind Mapping


When most people think of Mind Mapping, they think of colorful branching notes with keywords, and a few images. However it is not common for many people to be good at even the simplest of cartoon drawings, and what makes Mind Mapping an extremely memorable and creative form of note-taking compared to any other is the extra little cartoon drawings and three-dimensionality of it. The best and quickest way to get good at this technique is to do a simple google image search for small simple cartoon drawings, and “doodle drawings”, and to practice drawing them several times a week; practice drawing many different kinds of simple, small cartoon-like images, and within a short period of time you will feel very confident in making mind maps. A study that came out in 2016 showed drawing simple doodles of an idea was far superior to memory than writing the words down:
Lastly, there have been some studies that show “mind-mapping” is not all that better from other note-taking systems, but those studies do not use real mind maps - they use concept maps without images, little drawings, thick swirling colors, and three-dimensionality. The human brain remembers pictures extremely well, which is why learning how to make simple small picture doodles with your notes in a mind-map form is far superior to any other method.

Lets get this forum active again. Mind Mapping is like a little mnemonic journey method on paper. You can literally use it as a mnemonic system, by combining the notes with real memory techniques in your head.

Anyone have further thoughts and comments on this? Let us know!

The link below is to a great article that came out years about of an interview with Tony Buzan on the topic of Creativity and Mind mapping. Enjoy.


Before doing all the trial-and-error work involved in creating a manual map, you might want to consider creating a quick prototype using a tool such as the free xMind:

You can quickly add/modify stuff on screen, rather than using pencil and eraser.

Such tools are used by engineering and IT for (a) preliminary planning, and (b) for documenting the final product. So the diagrams look functional and boring - no fancy Tony Buzan stuff. But complex diagrams can be produced in minutes.

Branches can be cut from one node and dragged to a different node. Branches can be cut, and new branches inserted between them. Or the opposite: remove a branch, then join the two nodes on each side.

A click on a node will collapse an open branch, or open a collapsed branch. So, for memorization for exams or demos, you can close all the branches and then open them gradually - one at a time. For recollection, you predict the contents of a closed branch, and then open that branch to check your prediction - as in progressive disclosure.


Any educators I’ve talked to think mind maps are highly overrated. They may work well for some people, but foremost they aren’t that useful. Especially when they get more complex.


Using digital mind maps is not nearly as effective, memorable, or creative as hand drawing them. There is something deeply unique about using our hands to bring imagery onto paper. As for educators who say they have tried mind mapping, I cannot say for certain; most of the time they use only words and branching lines, with no creative images drawn. In my experience, making creative hand drawn mind maps with lots of color and association is extraordinarily useful to both memory retention and insight.