Maybe it’s the fact that the word ‘spidergram’ is reminiscent of Spiderman with all his special powers that give it its ring? Or maybe you’re desperate for a way to plan and plot your essay that will actually work? It turns out, either way, you’re right. Research shows that using visuals such as colour, spidergrams and mind maps helps you to both understand and retrieve information better at a later stage.
In fact, these methods of unpacking and reinforcement are critical to all-around academic success, because research on the Curve of Forgetting shows that after a lecture if you have done nothing with the new information you’ve gained, you would have lost 50% to 80% of that information. After a week, you’d be lucky to remember 10% if you did not make a summary, or better yet, reduce your learning to visual cues.
Why is visual learning more effective?
According to Psychology Today, our brains are actually programmed as image processors, rather than word processors. This means that if your brain is a PC, it would much rather function using the likes of Windows Media or Paint, than Word.
Physically, this is evidenced by the fact that the part of the brain that processes words is quite small compared to that part which processes images. Because words are abstract – letters put together that makes sense somehow and infer meaning – but what you see is literally what you get in a picture, images are much easier to retain.
An arbitrary test proving this is quite easy: think back to your high school graduation. You may recall several big moments from it with quite a lot of detail. You may remember your prom, valedictory service or actual graduation quite vividly. However, if you try to recall anything to do with words from the same year to the same degree, you probably won’t be able to. Can you, for example, remember a wordy assignment and see many of the actual words you used in front of you? Or how about your prescribed literature for that year? Unless you’re gifted or blessed with a superior memory, chances are you will not be able to recall words precisely.
If you can add another sensory effect, that’s even better
Your learning and retention become even better if you involve another sense, such as hearing. You may, for example, be drawing up your spidergram so that you can approach a quality but cheap thesis writing service to help you make your essay or thesis all it can be. You are doing yourself a favour on two levels: saving time by being specific about the final essay you require is one thing, but in drawing up the spidergram you are also familiarising yourself with the work. As we’ve seen, this will stand you in great stead when your exam approaches. This way, your essay writing review also doubles up as a rather good revision exercise.
If you really want to hit the jackpot, throw another sense into the mix, such as sound. Use a voice recorder to read your spider diagram to yourself: ‘In the middle is the crux of it all, the broad themes of the topic, namely X and X. The first branch to the left contains X, with the twiges X, Y and Z.’ Then speak generally to yourself about not just the words on the branches, but the detail. Play your recording to yourself first thing in the morning, throughout the day, or for a few successive nights. You will be astounded at how much you are able to recall.
What exactly is a spidergram?
The literature on good essay writing examples often mentions using a spidergram or mindmap as a planning tool. But what exactly is a spider diagram?
It is a way of planning your story or essay or organising revision notes. It is different from brainstorming because different branches in the web lead to sub-categories of information on the twigs, which are related. By the time you draw your spidergram, you have already brainstormed. You know by now which are the main ideas, and which are secondary ideas. Of course, you could brainstorm using a spider diagram, but it should not be your final spidergram if you are to get maximum usage from it.
The hallmarks of spidergrams are that they are neatly set out and highly organised. They start with the central idea in a circle in the middle. There is no right or wrong way to draw them. Other ideas branch out from the central idea, and yet more details branch out from twigs on the branches. They are quick to make.
One of the great ways they’re effective is if you suddenly find yourself stuck for time half-way through an essay. By this time, you’d know how you need it to be structured and what most of your sources are. A reputable essay writing service that works closely with you and tailors results to suit you would be one way of helping you meet the deadline, especially because you’d then be able to provide them with a spider diagram reduction of what the final paper should look like or contain.
Not all essay writing services are equal, so always do thorough research first, especially if the issue is a tight deadline and you won’t have time to revert. Do not only compare on the basis of price – look at what exactly is included in the service for that price. Does the site give you the essay writing price of 2018 – in other words, is the information on the site up-to-date, or will they sneakily levy you with extra charges once they’ve hooked you as a client? Does the service come with a draft, which would probably be best in this scenario? What about reviews from other clients – are they good? If all the reviews are suspiciously good, were they planted or are they genuine?
The mindmap as the precursor to the spidergram
Tony Buzan is widely believed to be the inventor of the mindmap. Buzan describes it as a powerful visual technique meant to harness the brain’s full potential. It brings together all the cortical skills such as words, images, numbers, logic, rhythm, colour and spatial awareness. Mind maps use a lot of colour.
How is a spidergram different from a mindmap?
Spidergrams have a hierarchy of their ideas and consequently, so do the branches. Whereas colour is integral to a mind map, it isn’t mandatory in a spider diagram. Another thing used in a mindmap but not necessarily in a spidergram is images. With a spidergram, it suffices to have concise words on each branch.
Remember that in the spider diagram, your thoughts and logic are more ordered than in a mindmap, which can go where your mind takes you randomly. Spidergrams may have phrases or sentences, but the original mindmap was designed for just a single keyword for each branch or node. Here is a great spidergram of the difference between a spidergram and a mindmap.
Why exactly do spider diagrams work?
Spidergrams work so effectively precisely because they require you to impose some kind of logic onto your thoughts and the sequence of information and ideas. Most powerfully, they are memorable. It is a great spatial concept for your mind to remember – with random blobs on a page such as in brainstorming, the mind may have more trouble accessing that information later on. But because you can’t get confused with bottom-left or top-right, this is a pattern that fits with the natural nature of recall for the brain.
Secondly, the imposition of logic requires active engagement with the content. As you sift through information and make new connections, you deepen your understanding of the topic as a whole.
Creating a spidergram
You’ll need a blank single sheet of paper. The orientation should be portrait, not landscape. Put the centre of your topic, the main nexus or holding idea of it, in a door, rectangle or circle in the middle. Imagine that as you step through this door or circle, you’ll get access to more ‘ladders’ of information represented by the ordered branches.
Think of all the sections your topic has. Each section is a branch. ‘Grow’ branches neatly from the centre. On each branch, write a few words, key phrase or sentence summarising the section.
Now, add twigs for the main things that are important to note for each section. You can subdivide these twigs neatly again if you need to add more details. Remember that the branches and twigs are not random – information fits into categories.
Now that you know how to use spidergrams, you’ll find them most effective when planning your essay, summarising lecture notes or drawing up exam and revision notes. Remember that you can use it to plan your paper, then enlist the help of a reputable essay writing service to help you finesse the paper. That way, you’ll ensure the paper has your stamp of authenticity and is exactly what you wanted.