Practical Guide: How To Mind Map During Certification Preparation

Practical guide to use mind maps

So, you decided to use the mind map as a whole-brain method that boosts your productivity and memory during your next certification preparation. You can use them for the number of reasons.

Would you prefer to create them in efficient way, hold the information in a format that your mind finds easy to recall and quick to review? Not to waste a time, right?

I’ll show you practical guide how to mind map during your certification preparation.

This technique is already used for a variety of tasks including brainstorming, identifying new opportunities, organising, managing projects, teaching, studying, communicating information and much more.

I suggest use mind maps to:

  • plan and organize your certification preparation;
  • increase efficiency of recall sessions.

Mind maps engage your whole brain and allow you to see the big picture. Mind maps are more compact than notes. But, do not consider mind maps just for notes taking. It’s not efficient.

They are useful for summarizing information, for consolidating large chunks of information, for making connections between study domains, consolidating information from different sources. It’s more important.

Mind mapping is the combination of art and science, logic and emotion, words and images, boring and fun. Mind mapping combines all these things to make the result.

Mind map is something that your brain really likes.

In order to improve your memory and recall of the mind map you are drawing, it is important to use a number of imaginative tools that will help stimulate deeper associations.

Let me explain:

Practical Guide to Mind Map

Step 1. Create a central idea.

I used to use an image. It’s more interesting, keeps you focussed, helps you concentrate.

Step 2. Use colors.

Adding images and colors stimulates right-brain thinking. Colour coding links the visual with the logical and helps your brain to create mental shortcuts. Allows you to categorise, highlight, analyse information and identify more connections which would not have previously been discovered.

Step 3. Include images.

Printscreens, diagrams, etc. They make the mind map more interesting and more memorable.

Step 4. Add details.

When you’re done with your initial mind map you still are able to add details; jot down questions that radiate from particular nodes; and draw little “vines” that connect ideas on different branches.

Step 5. Cross-connect.

Connect your main branches to the central image and connect your second- and third-level branches to the first and second levels, etc. Make a cross-references where possible. Your brain likes to link things together. If you connect the branches, you will understand and remember a lot more easily.


Probably the biggest part during your preparation is reading the prep guides, manuals, etc. Most people complain that they quickly forget what they read. However, there’s a way to remember and retain more of the books and articles that you read. You can achieve this having recall sessions and by creating a mind map each time that you read something that you find informative or helpful.

When you’re reading a prep guide, the branches of the mind map can be the chapter headings of the most important chapters. Then, write down the main ideas of each chapter as subheadings. Third level branches can include examples, quotes, and even your own comments on what you just read. In the fourth level, you can write down ideas on action steps.

Normal method of “studying harder” and “making mire notes” don’t help but actually hinder performance. It seens quite commical when you think acout it that most people around the world are taught to make notes in a perfect way for their brain to forget. Sing a single colour pen to capture large sentences in a linear flow. What are actually doing is helping our brain to go to sleep.

My approach

I’m using mind maps to better retain information from “prep guides”.

  1. I’m using prep guide cover or exam logo as a central idea.
  2. As the major branches I refer to:
    • chapter headings,
    • important details,
    • exam details.
  3. Adding layers of detail as needed to be used during recall sessions.
  4. Generally, I include details that I didn’t know or had a gap in knowledge. Well known and important facts I leave in prep guide highlighted.
  5. I highlight (with color, uppercase, bold etc.) the key words which will provide the triggers to large quantities of additional data.
  6. Focus on why questions, keep the answers short.

Possible mistakes

  • Too many words on one branch.
  • Straight lines throughout.
  • Boring central image.
  • No colors.


  • Each word or image used in a mind map must be on its own line.
  • Use images, photos and drawings wherever possible.
  • Use arrows, other symbols, spacing and so forth to connect images and produce an “image-rich network”.

Take a look at the mind map “Effective Techniques for Improving Focus and Attention You Need to Know” I’ve prepared earlier:


Simplify your certification process by engaging your whole mind with mind maps.

If you find out more information after you have drawn a mind map, then you can easily integrate it with little disruption. Mind mapping helps you break study materials or topics down into manageable chunks, so that you can plan effectively without getting overwhelmed and without forgetting something important.

Mind-mapping software and apps are rapidly expanding in their features. There are even some that are free with high capabilities. FreeMind, for instance. Also freemium. MindMeister is my favorite. They allow for real-time virtual collaboration, brainstorming and discussion; map revision by other users; whiteboard, free-form drawing during meetings or presentations; personal use on your cellphone; scheduling, etc.