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How to make a mind map/definition/Concept Map/5 steps to make

What is a mind map?

The mind map concept is not very new. But still, it’s not as well known as it should be. After all, it is a tool that can help ( and a lot!) in academic life. How to make a mind map? 

In general, mind mapping is a technique for organizing and memorizing ideas through a visual structure . The main objective of this tool is to enhance the brain’s ability to store knowledge and develop logical reasoning.

It was the English psychologist Tony Buzan who first introduced the term mind map in 1974 during the Use Your Head series .

According to Buzan, in Mind  Maps and its elaboration  (2005):

“All mind maps have a few things in common: they use color; they have a natural structure that starts from the center; everyone uses lines, symbols, words and images according to a set of simple, basic, natural and familiar rules to the brain” .

The benefits of the mind map stem especially from its visual structure. From creativity and needs, you can build mind maps in many ways: with text, arrows, geometric shapes, images, colors, in short. How to make a mind map? 

In other words: through a map it is possible to assemble diagrams, concept flows, text and graphics skeletons. All to help and structure ideas.

In summary, the technique consists of choosing a main theme for the center and, from there, branching other keywords that relate to the sides.

That is, the main theme is the central point or node, in which other ideas interconnect.

Mind Map vs Concept Map: What’s the Difference?

It is quite common for  university people to  confuse the concept of a concept map with a mind map. However, as we will see, these are different tools that even have different goals.

Well, let’s go. The  first big difference is the purpose of the tools . The purpose of the concept map is to represent knowledge that already exists, to serve as a learning tool. How to make a mind map? 

The purpose of the mind map, in turn, is to develop a set of new ideas.

The other difference concerns the application. While the concept map represents more formal knowledge – such as academic knowledge or a company’s strategic plan, for example – the mind map can represent a greater variety of tasks and concepts.

So the mind map is more flexible and the concept map is more formal and hierarchical.

Furthermore, the concept map shows cross-linked topics and multiple relationships. On the other hand, the mind map shows only one topic with primary item in the center and all other secondary items, spreading out to the sides.

How can mind map help in your academic life?

Some scientific research proves the benefits of the mind map for better information retention, due to its visual structure. This is what Tony Buzan had already advanced: the absorption of ideas increases with the use of images, curves, colors and assertive keywords. How to make a mind map? 

Here are the main advantages of using it:

  • Generating new ideas:  Mind maps are important tools for debating information and coming up with new ideas about a topic. That’s because it helps focus thoughts, giving rise to new ideas and showing how they relate to each other.
  • Annotating ideas and content: People – students, researchers and teachers alike – can use mind maps to capture and organize ideas from classes, presentations and studies.
  • Memorization and absorption of information:  many studies have shown improvement in memory and increased absorption of content through maps.
  • Planning:  from the map, it is possible to structure the stages of a work or a research project.

5 steps on how to make a mind map

Follow these 5 steps to make your map: How to make a mind map

1. Set the central theme

Well, that’s the first point. First of all, you need to understand what your goals are with the map.

From your objective, you can now build your central idea. She will be the focal point. A tip is to use simple and assertive concepts, so as not to divert the focus of the map.

You must write the main theme in large letters in the center of the map. To define it, consider: what should the map be about? what is your purpose? what is the problem you want to solve?

2. Define the tool you are going to use

There are several ways to make a map. You can use tech tools or just use a pen and paper. If you have colored pens, even better.

3. Choose the main subtopics

Then start listing the most important points about your topic. They will be the subtopics of the map. They should help you start organizing the information.

Write each subtopic on the sides of the paper and draw an arrow from the central topic. If you can, use different colors. How to make a mind map? 

It is interesting to use a letter smaller than the letter of the title to signal the hierarchy of the subject.

4. Write topics that relate to subtopics

Now it’s time to explore the subtopics. Write down all the information that relates to the subtopics. Use colors and arrows to indicate the information sectors.

You can include as many keywords as you like. There are no limits on the number of topics and subtopics.

5. Add new elements: designs and colors

Finally, use different designs and colors to help organize and memorize map information.

Special tips for making a mind map

To facilitate the construction of the map and optimize the benefits, consider the following tips:

  • Write assertive and objective topics. It is important that you understand and memorize the information.
  • Use different graphics and colors to segment and memorize ideas.
  • You need to create an organization of words and drawings that makes sense to you and that supports the purpose of the mind map. How to make a mind map? 

Mind mapping tools

Well then. You can make your map using just paper and pen. However, in case you want to enjoy some technology, here are 2 tooltips:


Canva  is an interesting  tool for creating presentations and templates. The platform even offers several free flowchart templates, which you can use and customize as you prefer.


Miro  is my preferred choice for creating maps that need a wide view It also has several templates that you can just edit.

Also, it has the functionality to share your work with others. This is essential for anyone working in a group.

Not to mention that the tool comprises infinite whiteboards, which give you a lot of freedom to create your map from all sides. How to make a mind map? 

Automatic formatting of academic works in ABNT standards

You cannot forget that, regardless of the type of production – be it a  TCC , a  monograph ,  dissertation  or even  thesis and the area of ​​knowledge, you must respect the ABNT and APA norms .

If you follow the rules, your work will be ready to publish. But how much work does it take?

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