How to use Mindmapping

When you are studying networking in particular you have to deal with a LOT of information. Most people find it difficult to keep track of notes and remember everything when they are studying for an exam. One of the techniques I show to Cisco CCNA students is to use mindmapping. 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 which 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 where notes are just lists…

You can create mindmaps by drawing them yourself or use your computer. I prefer the second method because I can save / print them but also because I’m a 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 mindmapping tool that I like best.

You can download Xmind over here, it’s free:

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, just to give you an impression:

CCNA Mindmap

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


Forum Replies

  1. 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

    ... Continue reading in our forum

  2. Hi. Thanks for the great site.

    With mind mapping, how do you get enough info on the screen? It looks good for an overview of topics But I can see how you would get enough detail onto the screen. Any tips?

  3. Rene I started using mind maps after reading your CCNP books. Now I think I have developed the habit to solve complex problems through mind maps.

    Also, Thanks to for their wonderful tool.

  4. Hi Renee,

    I am thinking this may work very well for me as I can never remember names and just pure memorization tasks. I have always been someone who never forgets a story or things about people or who a person is personality or identity wise just not the best with labels. So I would think something based on this system might tailor fit my learning style. I don’t even mind purchasing a pro version but I would like to learn how to use some basics first.


    I see your CCNA mindmap and I also saw one in your CCNP route book but I don’t seem to be able to make

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  5. Hi Brian,

    In the first screenshot, I think you used the “Relationship” button between boxes . The 2nd and 3th screenshots look familiar :smile:

    I usually just use the keyboard in Xmind, it’s pretty quick and using the mouse to move sub-topics around is a bit annoying sometimes.

    * Use the arrow keys to move around
    * Hit Enter if you want to add something below the current box.
    * Hit Insert if you want to add something next to the current box.
    * Just use copy/paste (CTRL-X, CTRL-V) to move a subtopic to another box.

    It seems you can add relationships between different b

    ... Continue reading in our forum

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