Chemistry Magazine

Step by Step Guide to Creating Mind Maps for Organic Reactions

Posted on the 26 June 2016 by Ewong0117
In the previous post, I shared that the use of mind map is a good way to memorize reactions tested in organic chemistry. Simply because, the reactions are very much connected to one another. For instance, dehydration of alcohols produce alkenes, which can be converted to alkanes by an addition reaction.
In this post, I would like to work with you to create mind maps for organic reactions. Are you ready?

Step 0: Read through the Organic Chemistry Chapters

Before you even create a mind map, you should know what the topics are talking about. As such, step 0 involves reading to familiarize yourself with the topic. Know the big picture, what each chapter is talking about, before proceeding with the next step.

Step 1: Think of a Central Topic

Once you have finished reading the chapters, and are roughly familiar with what is inside each chapter the next step is to think of a central topic for the mind map.
The central topic is where you would like your mind map link out from. It will be written in the middle of the page. From there you would branch sub- topics out from this central topic.
When I started doing mind maps with students, they often tell me that this is the hardest part. If you have problem coming up with a central topic, let me give you a suggestion. Give yourself two minutes. Write down whatever phrases or words that you can think of as a central topic. At the end of the two minutes, use another two minutes to choose one that you feel is the most suitable as the central topic. There is no answer for which is the best central topic (because there simply isn't any).

Step 2: Link Subtopics to the Central Topic

Once you have come up with a central topic, the next step is to link other information to the central topic. There are two ways to do so.
If you are very familiar with organic chemistry, treat this as a revision time, and associate the central topic with what you can remember. From there, branch out further.
If it is the first time you are doing the revision, consider writing out all the reactions that you want to include in the mind map. You may like to refer to here and here for the reactions that are tested for O level organic chemistry.

Step 3: Review what you have written

Once you have completed your mind map, review what you have written. This involves looking at what you have written, and revisiting your text book or notes to see if there are additional items you would like to include, or if the information is accurate. 
Finally, absorb what you have written!

Coming Up Next

In the next post, I will be sharing with you some examples of mind maps for organic reactions. Stay tuned!

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