How to Make a Concept Map

Liven up your concept map by using bold, colorful markers.

At first glance, a concept map looks like doodling or just a page with circles and lines. But a concept map is actually a highly effective note-taking strategy. In essence, a concept map allows you to organize information in a manner that enables you to make connections between facts and ideas, thereby making course material easier to remember. It is easy and fun to make a concept map. The only items you need are paper, notes and writing utensils.

List the key concepts. Look over your textbook or notes and isolate a key concept. Write the most important ideas related to the concept on a sheet of paper. Include relevant terms, proper names, dates and details in the list. Limit each item on the list to three words in the interest of saving space on the concept map.

Arrange the concepts in order of importance. Write the main concept at the top of a separate sheet of paper. Jot down specific elements across the bottom of the paper. Write the supporting details throughout the middle of the paper.

Frame each concept. Use a pencil to draw a circle or square around each concept.

Connect the concepts. Draw lines between the concept circles. Add words that explain the relationships between the concepts. Use verbs, verb phrases or prepositions to describe how the concepts are related.

Review the concept map. Check the concept map for accuracy Fix errors and delete any redundancies. Add missing concepts to the map.

  • After you learn the basics of a concept map, you can make highly elaborate maps. But it is best to make concepts maps that are simple to effectively commit the concepts to memory.
  • Draw your concept lightly with a pencil, then go back over your map with a pen or marker. Highlight the most important concepts at the top and the bottom of the paper.
  • Have fun when you make a concept map. Use markers to color code the circled concepts or lines.
  • Save time and make your concept map with desktop publishing software.

Renee Vians has been writing online since 2008. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism and language arts certification from the University of Nebraska-Kearney. Her articles have appeared on various websites.