Whereas note-taking from a book or lecture involves taking the essential elements from linear material to generate a Mind Map, note-making for an essay means first identifying the essential elements of the subject in a Mind Map and then using your Mind Map notes to build a linear structure. At this stage you should pay close attention to what the topic or question is asking you to do. The wording of essay topics usually suggests what the BOIs need to be. There is no limit to the number of branches and sub-branches that can radiate outwards from your Basic Ordering Ideas. During this Mind Mapping stage you should use codes colours, symbols, or both to indicate cross-reference or association between different areas.
The best way to avoid this mid-essay disaster is to plan ahead: you need to write an Essay Plan! Essay planning is one of the most important skills I teach my students. When I have one-to-one tutorials with my students, I always send them off with an essay plan and clear goals about what to write. So print out your essay question and any other advice or guidelines provided by your teacher. This strategy helps you to hone-in on exactly what you want to talk about. The other top thing to look at is the marking criteria.
When researching and writing a paper or working on a project, it is vital that you plan before you start writing or start the project. There are numerous ways to plan, with two of the most popular being mind maps and outlines. While we are going to discuss the merits of both mind maps and outlines in this article, the question is: which is best for you?
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