Use of Mind Maps in UPSC Revision

The UPSC syllabus is a comprehensive one and candidates try to adopt different techniques to learn and revise wide-ranging topics. One such tool to learn a new topic or revise an old one is a mind map.

One should know that mind maps are the best tool to organize your ideas, concepts and notes. These can be used in all stages of the UPSC Civil Services Examination including the IAS Interview. However, to know how useful these can be and how one should create mind maps, this article envisages the overview.

What is a mind map?

Technically, these are called brain tools. Why is this name given? A person is capable of creating multi-fold thoughts and ideas. However, it becomes difficult to remember all of it. Sometimes, difficulty also lies in understanding a few important topics. As a saviour, the mind map can be the best solution to all such challenges.

There are a few components of mind maps that one should know of:

  • Central Theme
  • Associations
  • Keywords
  • Proximity

These are general components of mind maps, but how these can be used for the IAS Exam is discussed below.

How to use a mind map for the IAS Exam?

It is always better to create mind maps manually. There are numerous topics mentioned in the UPSC syllabus that can easily be understood using this tool.

Using this, a candidate can link as many dimensions to their topics as possible but in a crisp manner. Sometimes, a candidate can go overboard with mind maps by having too many associations, that could lead to confusion. Therefore, generally it is suggested to use only seven associations to a central theme.

We will provide you with an example to learn how to use a mind map for IAS Exam:

Let’s take a topic – “Child Labour”. It is a topic that is relevant for IAS Mains General Studies 1, General Studie 2, Essay and also optionals like Sociology. Therefore, while reading this topic,  a candidate would come across various information. That can be sorted using a mind map for better revision. The steps to create mind map for the topic, ‘Child Labour’ are:

  1. Take a central theme or a central topic as it is which is Child Labour
  2. The following can be associations and Keywords:
    1. India
      1. NSS Report 2017-18
      2. Census 2011 Data
      3. Ministry of Women and Child Development & UNICEF rapid survey of children
      4. ASER 2020 Survey
    2. International
      1. Sustainable Development Goals
      2. International Year for Elimination of Child Labour
      3. UNESCO figures
      4. International Labour Organization (ILO) Conventions
    3. Initiatives by Indian Government
      1. Policy interventions
      2. National Child Labour Project
      3. Ministry of Labour Pencil Project

A candidate can make sub-topics under each KWs also. For example, under NSS Report 2017-18, one can write the important figures mentioned in the report. Similarly for ILO Conventions, one can mention about 138 and 182 conventions related to child labour which India has ratified. This way, one can fill each association with different layers.

What are the IAS topics that can be easily learnt using mind maps?

To brief, there are major subjects like history, geography, polity, indian society, art and culture, environment, economy, and science and technology. Under all these subjects, there are various topics that are majorly static in nature. For such topics, one can surely make a mind map.

The list of topics for which a candidate must try creating a mind maps subject-wise is given below:

SubjectTopics for Mind Mapping
History & Art and CultureIndus Valley CivilizationReligionsIndian School of PhilosophyDifferent dynasties and their rulersPerforming ArtsAdvent of Europeans Battles and personalities involvedGovernors-General and ViceroysIndian Freedom Struggle Movements
Indian PolityArticles of Indian ConstitutionParts of Indian ConstitutionAmendments of Indian ConstitutionImportant Acts of IndiaGovernment Schemes with their aims and missionUnion and State ExecutivesPressure GroupsCommissions and their roleCommittees and their recommendationsARC reports and their gist
EnvironmentBiosphere ReservesEnvironmental Conventions and ProtocolsEcology and BiodiversityClimate Change and its effects

These are just a few examples of topics that can be used while creating mind maps. A candidate can also use mind mapping for current affairs-related topics. For UPSC, a candidate must get used to creative ways to learn the syllabus as vast as the sea.

This year, the Commission is going to hold the Prelims exam on 10th October 2021. Candidates planning on revision should definitely try mind mapping.

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