This is a guest post by Niels Gouman Niels is a professional lifehacker from the Netherlands. Want to know more about Niels? Check out his website: NielsGouman.nl, or follow @NielsGouman on Twitter. Do you want to do a guest post? Visit the contact page!

In this post I’d like to explain to you why you should use mindmapping. Back in the day when I was going to school mindmapping seriously saved my ass, well at least it did at the times I actually studied. I didn’t study much at school, and I quit my last school after about 2 months. School just isn’t my thing, I disagree with too many things. But tricks like these did help me to get proper grades whilst studying as little as possible.

What is a MindMap?

From my experience I’ve noticed that reading lines, paragraphs, books, and repeating that over and over until you remember it, just isn’t working. This way of studying takes up one hell of alot of time, whilst not giving much result. Apparently this is because your brain just doens’t work that way. Your brain likes to make connections.

For example: You’re into this sport (doesn’t really matter which one), and all of the sudden a rule changes. Now, because you know so much of this sport (hey, you’re really into it!) you can very quickly understand this new rule, and apply it properly. Compared to somebody who isn’t into that sport, you will be amazingly much faster to learn.

This also explains why teaching is the best way to learn. Teaching forces you to think diffrent about stuff you already know, enabling your brain to make new connections.

So what is a mindmap? Well simply put a mindmap is a drawing of these connections. Just a quick video to show you how you can use it:

Why would you want that?

Sounds great and all, this mindmapping thing, but why would you want to waste my time making mindmaps while you might as well just study your notes? Fairly simple actually, you can easely earn back the time you’re spending on making a mindmap, by enabling you to study so much faster. After seeing a mindmap (almost) everything is obvious, you see and understand the associations you made and easely remember what the subject was about.

Also, when you’ve made a mindmap, the next time you need a quick refresh on the subject you’ll be done within seconds. No need to read a lot of text, hoping you’ll remember it. Now with mindmaps you instantly see the associations, it will visualise the subject, and your brain will almost instantly remember everything about the subject, since this is what your brain is good at.

How am I going to make one?

So you’re convinced, mindmaps are awesome! Now what? Well you’ve got to go and make a couple of them, but how?

The guy in the video explains it pretty good, make sure you’ve watched it. Do a couple of Google Image searches for mindmaps, so you can see the results. So now you’ve got a pretty good idea how one of those things should end up, but how to make one yourself?

It’s pretty simple actually. To start just write down the subject that you should be studying for, write it in the middle of your page. Once you’ve done that just write down a couple of keywords around it, and draw lines from the subject to the keywords. Next you write down important notes for the keywords, and connect with lines again. This last stap should actually make it pretty clear already, optionally you can make a pretty drawing next to it, to visualise it even more.

Last (optional) step is one of my favorites which almost everybody forgets. Think of as many examples as possible. Don’t connect these with more lines, that would make it messy and destroy the instant understanding. Add a number next to a word and write the example on the back of your paper. This will make you think a bit more about the subject. By writing down examples your brain can make even more connections to remember the subject by. And on the off chance that you forgot and don’t understand your mindmap you can just read the examples to understand what you meant.

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