The Difference Between Mind Map and Concept Map Explained

mind map and concept map feature imageConfusing, right?

After all, they’re both maps…

Aren’t they?

Not necessarily.

Certainly not when you’re looking for the best possible tool to help you accomplish a specific goal.

So whether it’s for brainstorming or teaching, you really do need to know the difference between concept maps and mind maps.

I’m going to clear this up for you right now.
Even better, I’ll share with you at least one other kind of map that will take your thinking and memory skills to the next level.


Let’s dive in!

What’s the Difference Between Mind Maps and Concept Maps?

When we explore the question of the mind map vs concept map, the frustrating answer is this:

It depends on who exactly is using the term.

Concept Maps

For example, in this scientific study, the term ‘concept map’ is used to describe computer-generated representations of student writing skills. 

In fact, the study used a concept map to show the connection between two parts of the research. Inside of the concept map, they included a graphic representation of the concept maps involved in the study.

concept map example

The automatically generated concept maps showed relationships between aspects of writing skills by using blue and yellow pins to create visual connections.

Another concept map example would show relationships between different ideas using boxes.

hand draw concept map example

Another way to think about concept maps is to compare them to geographical maps.

A map of the world is covered in countries. But what are countries really? They are concepts humans use for a variety of political and economic reasons.

Mind Mapping

Mind mapping, on the other hand, is not always about visually depicting connections.

As Tony Buzan points out in Mind Map Mastery, mind maps are good for:

And a lot more.

For example, one of the Magnetic Memory Method Masterclass students created this mind map to help her learn memory techniques faster:

keko mind map example for the magnetic memory method masterclass

I also use mind maps a lot to help plan my YouTube videos:

mind map example for planning a youtube video

I can show you hundreds of mind map examples for many different purposes.

But at the end of the day, I can only come up with concept maps that show conceptual connections between things.

Concept Maps vs. Mind Maps: Which Should You Use?

At the end of the day, it’s a personal decision.

But my advice is to use concept maps for showing the connections between ideas.

Learn mind mapping when you want an absolute powerhouse of creative techniques that can also visually depict connections.

I don’t think the sheer number of tactics they can be used for will ever be exhausted.

Ultimately, I like to use them in combination with the Memory Palace technique, especially for developing Memory Palace Networks.

Concept Map vs Mind Map? There’s No Contest

Am I saying you should never use a concept map?

Of course not.

It only makes sense to have as many accelerated learning tools as you possibly can in your toolbox.

And if you want the ultimate learning tool, grab my FREE Memory Improvement Kit:

Free Memory Improvement Course

It includes some easy and fun ways to map out your memory so that you can learn faster and retain information quickly.

Either way, enjoy using all forms of representation. Humans are visual creatures, and the more you produce information optically, the faster you’ll learn.


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Anthony Metivier is the founder of the Magnetic Memory Method, a systematic, 21st century approach to memorizing foreign language vocabulary, names, music, poetry and more in ways that are easy, elegant, effective and fun.

Dr. Metivier holds a Ph.D. in Humanities from York University and has been featured in Forbes, Viva Magazine, Fluent in 3 Months, Daily Stoic, Learning How to Learn and he has delivered one of the most popular TEDx Talks on memory improvement.

His most popular books include, The Victorious Mind and… Read More

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