How to use Mind Maps in Community Medicine

Disclaimer: This article is intended for my students and everyone who uses the mind maps shared on this site.

In 2019 I shared mind maps on this blog so that students could freely access them.

(Note: I am working on creating updated, better versions of the mind maps and hope to make them available in the near future.)

Since then I have received feedback from students on how they use the maps. Based on their feedback, I have identified three main ways to use the mind maps.

Textbook followed by Mind Map: This is the approach I initially recommended to students. After reading the textbook and getting familiar with a topic, mind maps make a lot more sense. This is because the maps are essentially non-linear notes of the textbook that contain headings and subheadings along with brief details. The use of key words and only brief explanations results in a compact size, allowing faster review. However, unless there is prior familiarity with the topic, students are unlikely to make sense of the maps. This problem is particularly noticeable with topics involving concepts. Therefore, for such topics it is prudent to first understand the concept(s) from a textbook or other source before using the mind maps. However, for topics containing a lot of facts there is no such difficulty.

Mind Map followed by Textbook: This approach is preferred by many students who want to get an overview of the topic first. After reading the mind maps, the textbook makes more sense because the maps have provided orientation to the topic. Thus, one gets a sense of the organization of the topic, key points, and may also be able to identify items that require further reading and comprehension. This approach is best suited to large, complex topics that span several pages in the textbook. The mind maps present just the essential ideas and points in an organized manner, providing an excellent overview of the topic. Reading the textbook after the mind maps relieves anxiety associated with reading such topics directly from the textbook.

Textbook and Mind Map simultaneously: This is a less common way of using the mind maps. Here, students read one source (either mind map or textbook) first, immediately followed by the other (textbook or mind map). Both sources are typically kept side-by-side when using this approach. Such an approach may be preferable for those who do not want to return to the topic later. By reading both sources simultaneously, the issues associated with reading one to the exclusion of the other are largely mitigated. Particularly, unfamiliar concepts can be readily understood from the textbook. In addition, points that have been omitted from the mind maps can be added during the same sitting.

Please note that the mind maps were/are not intended to substitute textbooks. Instead, they were/are meant to provide an accessible and easy way to study Community Medicine.

If you use the maps in a different way, please share details in the comments section below.

Useful Link:

Link to the page containing Mind Maps in Community Medicine:


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