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Revision Techniques

One of the most useful techniques for revision I've come across is known as Mind Mapping.  I've successfully mind-mapped with many of my GCSE Information Technology and Geography students with some great results (see later).  Mind Mapping is a fun way to revise and really does seem to work well.  It gives the students much more time to fit in the topics that need to be covered and, I believe, makes revision 'less boring'.

So explain Mind Mapping to me!

Mind mapping is a graphical way to arrange a topic onto a piece of paper.   Visually it looks very much like a stylised 'spider-diagram', but contains much more thought and care in it's spatial arrangement.  I'll draw a Mind Map now, step by step to show you how they're done.

Stage 1: The Topic

In the centre of a piece of A4 plain paper, draw an image that represents the main theme of revision.  As you can see, this image contains a picture and some text.   It acts as the visual anchor for the topic.  Therefore the more relevant the picture the better the Mind Map will be remembered.  This example is about 'industry', and will cover industry classification (minor detail only).

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Stage 2: The Main Branches

Radiating out from the main topic are the main branches.  These contain the main themes within the topic which need to be revised.  In this example the main themes within the 'Industry' topic are 'Primary', 'Secondary', 'Tertiary', and 'Quaternary'.   Notice how the main branches are different colours and labelled with capital lettered words.  Accompany each with a sketch to fix it in the mind.

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Stage 3: The Sub-Branches or topics

Radiating from the main branches are sub-branches.  These are the topics and information that need to be revised.  For example, radiating off the 'Primary' Main branch are sub-branches, each of which contains an example of an industry in this category (Farming, Fishing, Mining, etc).  Add labels in capitals and sketches too, as before.

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As you can imagine, Mind Maps can become complex but exciting revision tools which allow the students (and you) to build up links between the main topics of the map.   Another advantage is that it allows revision to take place using just one A4 page, although larger sheets can obviously be used for more adventurous projects.  It's easy to see that the above map could be extended to cover case-studies, etc.

Finally, try Mind Mapping not just as a revision technique but also to fortify your student's notes.  Encourage them to Mind Map in lessons; it's a great alternative to boring old linear notes and provides them with a welcome break from the norm.

Related Sites

Mind Mapping Tools The Mind Mapping Tool is a designed to help students organise ideas, as part of studying, conducting research, or brainstorming. It uses a simple interface to create graphical representations of linked information. This tool is a part of a larger Basic Skills program being developed at MCLI.
Mind Mapping for Success MIind Mapping for success - Easier Exams!
What is Mind Mapping? Mind Mapping is a powerful technique that allows you to make the best use of your brain power. Developed by Tony Buzan, the Mind Mapping technique harnesses the full range of your cortical skills, making you more productive and creative.