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Draw It Out: How Mind Maps, Flowcharts, and Concept Maps Can Help Prepare Your Child For Exams

It’s the last month before your child’s major exams, which you have been helping him revise for. With such a large pool of information for various subjects, it can get incredibly trying for your child to memorise what he has to revise.

Cue diagrams into this scenario. Flowcharts, mind maps, timelines, and more are able to organise facts visually, which allows one to look at the big picture while narrowing down to specific branches as well.

Here’s why and how parents should utilise these charts to help their child prepare for exams.

Diagrams help your child recall information faster

In the high-stress setting of an exam, it’s unlikely that your child will be able to recall the whole mass of information from books. Cramming large texts isn’t very effective either—instead of understanding our notes, we simply become familiar with it and this familiarity will fade with time.

Meanwhile, humans are able to process visuals better—60,000 times faster, in fact, than processing text. It will therefore be easier to grasp the memory of a graphic, which is how diagrams come into play.  

Diagrams can serve as a topic summary

After studying a subject, you would naturally assume that you are able to tackle all kinds of questions, but the truth is many people overestimate the amount of knowledge they retain. By having your child draw his own maps, both of you will be able to analyse and check your understanding of something—if your child finds some of the connections feel strange, it’s possible he did not truly understand the topic. Summarising everything will thus allow you and your child to find the weak points in his study of a subject and help him improve.

Types of diagrams

As with many things, diagrams can be presented in different ways, and some better than others. Here are some common ones used for revision.

Concept Map

Concept Map Example

Photo credit: LucidChart

Represented in circles and boxes, the concepts in a subject are linked by words or phrases that explain their connection. This helps your child organise his thoughts and understanding in a hierarchical structure, branching out the main idea into various sub-topics.

Mind Map

Mind Map Example

Photo credit: LucidChart

Similar to a concept map but without the top-down structure, a central idea is placed in the middle and expanded into in-depth sub-topics. Mind maps tend to focus on one concept and break it further down, whereas a concept map brings multiple ideas together.

Comparison Chart

Comparison Chart Example

Photo credits: SlideBazaar

One of the briefest charts on the list, it makes use of single words and phrases from a number of similar concepts in table format and finds links between them—literally drawing comparisons.

Timeline

Timeline Example

Photo credit: Venngage

Best for history, a timeline places major events on a line, visually depicting the periods between their occurrence. This will allow your child to follow through what he needs to know in chronological order—which is very important when answering questions about specific incidents.

Flowchart

Flow Chart Example

Photo credit: LucidChart

Instead of a branching concept map, some processes tend to flow linearly—which is best utilised with a flowchart. As with all charts, having your child understand how something goes from one stage to the next and connect the dots would deepen understanding of a particular topic.

Diagrams help you draw conclusions

After mapping everything out, what comes next? Your child may then start noticing further relationships between concepts, as well as trends that were not clear from the beginning. These connections may not even be ones found in the textbook—but the more connections made, the better your child will have of retaining the information required (and be able to ace the exams!).

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