X'Talk: Note-Taking and Writing Essays with XMind, A College Student's Experience

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This time we have with us Selena, a student in her second year of study at university. In this interview, she will share with us how she picked up the habit of using mind maps to learn in classes and more. Now let's hear from her and see how XMind could be helpful in your study.


Self Introduction

Anne: Tell us a bit about yourself. 

Selena: Hi, Anne, I'm Selena. I am currently studying marketing at a business school. My star sign is Leo, and my MBTI is ENTJ, which probably tells you a lot about my personality. I love hanging out with my friends but also enjoy some alone time binge-watching TV series and movies. When given any tasks, I am very absorbed and determined to finish them the best I can.

Anne: Would you say you're the type of person who will make plans way before you do things?

Selena: How do you know? You probably guessed that from my MBTI, huh? Yeah, I enjoy making detailed plans to follow and feel fulfilled whenever I finish all my to-dos on time. Here, let me show you a to-do list I have for my final week jam-packed with different tasks to do.

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How She Came Across XMind

Anne: It looks like you've been using XMind for a while now. Where and why did you pick up XMind?

Selena: I heard it from one of my friends in college. This one time, I missed out on a statistics seminar and had to ask my friend for her notes. She presented me with these complex but clear mind maps filled with intricate details linking back to some of the key points our professor mentioned last time. I was hooked from that very moment and had my mind set on learning from her how to quickly jot down key points, organize them, and highlight the main points on her iPad. That's when she told me to try out XMind for myself. I did and immediately fell in love with it.

How She Used XMind

Note-taking

Anne: What do you use it for, and how?

Selena: I use it mainly to take notes. Like many zoomers, I would not count hand-writing as one of my strong suits. It's time-consuming and messy, and spelling is not an easy task to handle either. Imagine having to deal with the stress of understanding what the professor is saying and putting down info that could correctly summarize the lesson. 

Now, whenever I need to take notes (which is often the case in classes), I'll just hop onto the outliner mode on XMind and start to listen for keywords brought up by professors. If I am looking for a more immersive experience, I will even turn on ZEN mode to free myself from any distractions. Just keep typing keywords, and don't worry about their structures because you will have to revise them later anyway. image

Reorganizing these key points is one of, if not the best, ways to study for an exam. I usually do it right after the lessons or before an exam. When I do it, I try and combine what I've learned from lectures and reading materials to form a comprehensive and systematic knowledge base customized to my needs. To make it easier for revision, I will use different colors, structures, and even stickers to make it easier on the eyes. image

Writing Essays

After my success in learning with XMind, I started to see many scenarios where mind maps could be of help, especially when you need to brainstorm for new ideas and organize them into a coherent essay.

Last semester, we were asked by one of our professors to write an essay on entrepreneurship, innovation, technology, and sustainability. This assignment threw me into self-doubt because I had no idea where to begin. Instinctually I turned to XMind and started mapping out whatever keywords popped into my mind. And in no time, a visual mind map of a complete essay structure is right in front of me with details waiting to be filled in. 

With that guideline, even finding reading materials became easier. By inserting notes after each topic, I put related references under each point I wanted to write about in my essay. This made it more convenient for me to locate where and how to quote these references quickly. Thanks to this clear structure, I was the only student who got an A on that assignment!  

Takeaways

Anne: Oh wow, congrats on that! What do you think are some of the best practices when using XMind?

Selena: Well, there are two points I can think of. First, remember to always be proud of what you came up with on XMind. No matter how messy your mind maps are, you can always make adjustments later, when you feel like it or when you have to revise them for other purposes. Keep different copies of them, that's very important.

Second, be open-minded and curious to explore new features XMind has to offer. Learn from your friends or other users even. Having fun with mind maps is essential to the quality of your mind maps. Just keep exploring and never say no to trying out new ways of mind mapping~

Anne: Thank you for sharing your stories with us. We hope you will keep up your good work with XMind~

Selena: No problem. Thank you for having me. I will.

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