The conceptual map is essential tools for all students enrolled in the schools of all levels. They allow to have a visual and complete outline of the topics that are being studied and not only are they very useful for schematizing complex concepts by visually elaborating them, but if created through the right technique they can really help in every context of study: maturity, interrogations, tasks, university exams. Here’s how to create the maps of concept …
What is a conceptual map?
If you have difficulty memorizing what you study, a valid ally could be conceptual maps for you. These are really useful study tools, which allow you – in a very simple and practical way – to outline the topics you need to study and, consequently, to remember them better.
Their effectiveness is guaranteed by the studies of numerous psychologists and the individual experience of thousands of students: being able to graphically outline very vast subjects is truly a godsend for memory. Just as the territory can be represented through geographical maps, even the thoughts and concepts we memorize can be depicted in a simple map … a conceptual map, to be precise!
In short: concept maps can really represent a lifeline in the study for questions, homework or university exams, because they are able to help you better impress the notions in your mind. Not only that, they can also be very useful for preparing a multidisciplinary term paper for maturity.
How to use conceptual map?
Concept maps can be useful in each of the different phases of your school career: whether you are a middle school or high school student, but also if you are enrolled at the University. They will allow you to …
- Store quickly
- Easily forfeit notions in your head
- “Record” almost indelibly the concepts you study, so much so that even years later you can easily remember what you had memorized long before.
There are two ways to take advantage of these very valid allies in the study: you can download ready-made concept maps or you can create one yourself, starting from scratch. If you have time available, we can only advise you the second way: being you, in the first person, to organize and outline your study material in a conceptual map, you will be able to have much clearer the topic you need to study and to stamped in indelibly in your memory. This means that you will have an extra gear not only in the study phase, but also in the revision phase: all you have to do is take a look at the concept map that you built yourself to get an overview of all the related concepts.
How to create conceptual map?
Creating valid conceptual maps is only a matter of training: initially you will find the procedure slightly difficult, but slowly the road will appear to you downhill. The benefits, however, will be immediately evident: even if your first concept map is not perfect, you will see that the subject treated will be imprinted in your mind in a way that you did not think possible.
Where to start to create a conceptual map? The first thing you need to do is (of course!) Choose the topic you want to outline. You can write the nice big title in the middle of your sheet and, with the help of arrows and branches, divide it into concepts of lower levels that is less important, which will be connected to it by logical links.
It is important that you know that, in general, every conceptual map can consist of two different elements …
- The conceptual nodes: These are the key words or concepts of the topic you are studying. Graphically they are inscribed within a geometric figure.
- The associative relationships: They are the arrows that connect the different conceptual nodes and represent the logical connections that are established between the concepts. They can be accompanied by a short label that has the task of clarifying what kind of relationship exists between the different conceptual nodes.
Tips for making a conceptual map
A concept map is, as we have seen, a graphic schematize of a much larger topic that we want to imprint in our mind. First of all there are “constraints” to be respected: the first is undoubtedly that the map is synthetic. It must therefore report some key concepts, not the summary of the entire study volume. Therefore, be concerned about identifying the most important elements that you believe must be included in your concept map, which must constitute a sort of photograph of your mind. Emphasize from the book the key words and concepts: they will be the ones you will have to use within your scheme.
It might be useful to write a legend on a sheet of paper, a sort of handbook containing all the criteria you want to use for your conceptual maps: the level of importance of the concepts according to the geometric figure in which they are contained, the meaning of the different colors used. We advise you to always use the same criterion so that, when you have again in your hands a concept map created some time ago, you don’t have to waste time trying to understand the parameters used.
To help you better understand how a concept map is structured, we thought it might be useful for you to see one.