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Revision Methods: Spider Diagrams

By: Kate Simpson BA, MA - Updated: 13 Oct 2017 | comments*Discuss
Spider Diagrams Spider Diagramming

Spider diagrams are an invaluable revision tool. Ideal for visual learners, they help you to represent connections between ideas and facts in a clear and memorable way. When it comes to revision, the spider diagram becomes multi-purpose. From testing yourself, to create effectively presented notes, this method has a endless variety of uses.

Test Yourself

Before you begin revising a topic, you might like to test yourself and see what you know first. This will help you to gain an impression of how competent you are in a particular area, to see exactly what you need to revise and how much time you should be spending on it. Once you have divided your revision up into manageable sections and allocated time to each part, devote five minutes at the start of each study session to creating a spider diagram detailing all that you can recall about that area of knowledge.

Write the title of the section in the middle of your paper and draw a ring around it. Divide the large section into smaller sub-sections by writing sub-headings around the main word. Use these words as the foundations from which to build your other thoughts around. Recalling certain facts and arguments will lead you to other connected information and ideas. Once you have written all that you can, take a look at your revision guide, class notes or text book and try to ascertain what has been left out. After briefly refreshing your mind on the information you were already familiar with, your revision session should then be centred around filling the gaps in your knowledge.

Working in this way will help you to boost your productivity and make the most of your time. You might also like to use the spider diagram method to test yourself at the end of each revision session to see how much you have taken in.

Organise Information

If spider diagrams work well for you, consider arranging the majority of your revision notes in this manner. Creating these diagrams will boost your understanding of a topic but they will also prove useful when you re-read them. Try creating spider diagrams to illustrate the arguments surrounding a certain concept, or the various components of a scientific process. This will enable you to get to grips with detailed, inter-linking information. You might then consider assimilating a collection of more detailed spider diagrams into a larger, simplified one. Work backwards in this way, creating diagrams ranging from the very specific to the general and over-arching. You might even find that you are able to create a spider diagram to represent a whole subject. Many students find that looking at such a diagram before their exam helps them to recall the series of detailed diagrams which proceeded it, raising complex information to the surface. In this way, spider diagrams enable you to map your thoughts and knowledge.

Focus on Presentation

As you work, try to develop a spider diagram style that is distinct to your revision needs. This might involve using a particular writing style for the central keyword, to help you to focus. Consider developing a colour coding system to highlight the similarities and differences between individual arguments and facts. You might like to use different styles of arrows and lines to highlight distinct sorts of relationships. Being creative in this way will strengthen the visual power of your diagrams and aid your revision.

The process of creating connections and focusing on relationships between ideas mirrors the way in which your brain works, easing the task of absorbing information. If you find that this method works for you, don’t be afraid to employ it at every opportunity. Quick to create and simple to read, spider diagrams can help to take the pain out of the revision process.

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