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Taking Notes

Concept Mapping

Concept Mapping is a method for visualizing connections between large amounts of information. It offers a way for you to write down everything you know about a topic without having to write it out in full paragraphs.

This method is particularly useful if you're a visual learner —it can be a great way to organize your notes after a lecture, even if you take notes in class using a different method.

How to Use Concept Mapping

How to Take Notes Using Concept Mapping

  1. Identify the main topic: What will be the main focus of your next class? Brainstorm everything you know about the topic based on your textbook and course readings or based on your personal experience.
  2. Organize your information into subtopics and main points: Once you've identified the main topic of the class, start listing out key subtopics and points that stem from the main topic. For example, if your main topic is Time Management, some subtopics could include goal setting, motivation, scheduling, prioritizing, etc.
  3. Create your map: Put your main topic in the middle of your concept map, and then create branches out that link to your subtopics and to any key points you need to remember about those subtopics.
  4. Review your map to look for more connections: Once your information is mapped out, you might start to notice that some of your subtopics are connected to one another. Use arrows, symbols, or colours to show relationships between ideas. Ask yourself—How do these ideas fit together? Is the map accurate, logical, and detailed?
  5. Revisit your map and add to it throughout the term: Review and revise your map as you learn new material and make new connections with content covered earlier in your course. This can be a great tool to help you study for a final exam!

Pros & Cons of Concept Mapping


  • Excellent visual aid for studying.
  • Helps with recording ideas when brainstorming about a topic.
  • Great method for less structured lectures.
  • Allows students to see multiple relationships between topics, which improves information retention.


  • Facts and thoughts can be difficult to tell apart from each other.
  • Mapped notes often need to be used alongside other methods like the Cornell Method or Outline Method.
  • Requires strong concentration skills to create during class.
  • Smaller details can be easily missed, not ideal for complex subjects.

When to Use Concept Mapping

Use Concept Mapping when:

  • Content in your class lecture is well-organized, detailed, and focused on a specific concept.
  • You're studying a concept that has many categories and subcategories that all directly or indirectly link back to the main concept.