How to use Mind Mapping

When you are studying networking, you have to deal with a LOT of information. Most people find it difficult to keep track of notes and remember everything when studying for an exam. One of the techniques I show to Cisco CCNA students is to use mind mapping. A mindmap is pretty much the same as taking notes, but the big difference is that everything is structured. It’s like putting your brain on paper.

A mindmap is a diagram that consists of text, images, or relationships between different items. Everything is ordered in a tree-like structure. In the middle of the mindmap, you write down your subject. All the topics that have to do with your subject can be written down as a branch of your main subject. Each branch can have multiple branches where the pieces of information are leaves. Mindmaps are great because they show the relationship between different items, whereas notes are just lists…

You can create mind maps by drawing them yourself or using your computer. I prefer the second method because I can save/print them and I’m faster at typing than writing.

If you want to give it a try, take a look at Xmind. It’s free, and it’s the mind mapping tool that I like best.

You can download Xmind over here:

Once you have installed it and started a new project, you can add some items.

You don’t have to use the mouse to add new items. Just use ENTER to add a new branch or press INSERT to add a new sub-branch.

Here’s an example I created for CCNA with some of the items to give you an impression:

CCNA Mindmap

The example above is everything but complete, but it should give you an idea. Give mind mapping a try to see if you like it!


Forum Replies

  1. Hi,
    do you have a mind map available for ccnp? thanks

  2. I don’t have a complete mindmap for CCNP unfortunately. It’s best to create one yourself as you are studying…it’s called “mind” map for a reason :slight_smile: Better to have your own mind/thoughts on paper then mine.

  3. Nice tip Rene thanks!

  4. thanks a lot for the mindmap. i really appreciate. i use to struggle a lot to write the exam because is a lot to read and when the exam is near, the pressure get more high.
    i would like to buy some of you book for ccna. i have seen that you explain very well. all the best in what you and your team are doing.

    Best Regards


  5. Hi Bonito,

    You are welcome. Mindmapping will help to create a nice overview of all CCNA topics for yourself. For the exam I have another tip:

    Some of the questions have a lot of text explaining a scenario or a story that is not always required to find the right answer. When you get one of these questions, start by looking at the answers and figure out if there are any “bogus” answers that could never be correct. Once you got 2-3 answers left, see if you can skim the text to find the solution. Sometimes they give you 2-3 paragraphs of text while the real questio

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