MindMap in exams

If you’ve got an essay style exam, creating a brief MindMap, before you launch into the essay writing itself, is a really good way to structure your thoughts. However, it’s very important that you keep it simple and brief.

And if you’re not sure where to start your essay, brainstorming or your ideas onto a mind map is great because the structure is created for you, as you go.

It’s worth spending a little time upfront, organising your thoughts like this, because then you can just concentrate on delivering them coherently as you write your essay, instead of trying to do everything at once and potentially getting all the way to the end before realising you’ve left something out.

Having said that, you don’t spend so long doing the MindMap that don’t allow enough time to write the essay itself. Getting the balance right is essential.

1. Read the exam question carefully.

2. Put the title of your essay in the centre of your MindMap.

3. Create major branches for each main section of the essay.

4. You also need an introduction branch and a conclusion branch.

5. Then from each of these major branches you’ll need smaller branches for the different points you intend to put in each of the main sections.

6. Think about any definitions, quotes, references etc you’ll be using as evidence to back up your argument and put them on a separate branch.

Setting it out so simply and so clearly like this means that as you write your essay you can cross reference backwards and forwards, the points that you’ve made (eg your definitions and examples) because they’re so easy to see in front of you on your MindMap.

Make sure as you draw your MindMap and before you start writing your essay, that you are answering the question.

Think about what the examiner needs to hear from you.

Using MindMaps in Exams

When you start writing that essy:

Your introduction should be a short and concise summary of the main points that you will be covering. Make sure you don’t go into too much detail here and then end up repeating yourself later on in the essay. Usually it’s better to aim for shorter sentences in your introduction to keep the whole thing clear and concise.

For each point that you write in your essay, find evidence to prove or support your answer. This could be a quote, an example, a definition or for example a reference to a point of law.

As you write the content of your essay, keep referring back to your MindMap and make sure you link smoothly from one section to the next.

As you design your MindMap before you start, don’t go into detail, just write the keywords and phrases. Maybe spend 5 to 10% of your allotted time on creating your MindMap and writing the introduction to your essay.

Make sure your conclusion recounts the most important bits of information and presents your answer to the exam question, giving your reasons why you believe that’s the best answer.

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