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How To Make Notes for UPSC Civil Services Exam

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  • Published
    13th Aug, 2021

Under UPSC Civil Services Examination candidates struggle with time crunch to complete huge amount of UPSC Syllabus on time. Note making is thus an essential exercise for candidates to cope with strong competition and sheer unpredictability of the IAS Examination.

The when and how of Note making differs from one candidate to another. While some are comfortable to not to make any Notes while others prefer to keep an account of anything they have studied. It is referred to as an “art” because of the fact that while the extent of the UPSC syllabus is huge, it is very important to practice your own discretion while Note making exercise.

How to make notes for UPSC Civil Services Examination

This is the most important question in the minds of candidates. Today various applications like Evernote have made note making a lot easier, large amount of time is saved in comparison to traditional methods of keeping a separate notebook and jotting down. Making Notes especially under UPSC Civil Services Examination needs to be smart and pragmatic. Before digging deeper it is first essential to understand the purpose of Note making.

Following are the things that must be kept in mind by a candidate while making notes from newspaper or any other resource:

  1. Notes must not be a replica of original text.
  2. Notes must not be extensively lengthy.
  3. Notes must cover important facts, phrases and concepts
  4. Notes must be free from repetition of concepts and facts that you already know by heart.
  5. Notes must be handy from revision point of view

Thus it can be seen from above points that the foremost purpose of making notes is to save time. It is done with the purpose that you don’t have to go through the entire original text again while revising before exam. Notes should be concise enough for better understanding the context of the topic and help you with  revision of important facts and concepts.  

How to link your notes to newspaper 

All of us agree on importance of newspaper reading for Civil Services Examination. Daily newspapers, monthly magazines like Yojana and Kurukshetra provide lot of fodder that candidates feel they must know and memorize and thus feel the necessity to write down. However to prevent your notes from becoming excessively lengthy it is important to scan the entire UPSC syllabus thoroughly  and then analyze past year papers of both UPSC Prelims and mains.  This exercise would stop you from making note of everything you come across. You will consciously spend your time on things that are relevant from the exam point of view. This can catalyze your chances of qualifying the Civil services examination.

Your notes must be prepared with a motive that could be helpful in revising the entire UPSC syllabus at one go before exam. If your notes contain too much information they will be bulky and hence revising them will be quite tiresome and exhaustive. Art of notes making is a skill that could be developed gradually. Just blindly copying or writing cannot be considered as the notes making and also it will not help you in long run. Purpose of Notes-Making should not be the creation of another Book.

Thus you can adhere to following practices while making notes and linking them to your newspaper:

  1. Making use of applications like Ever note for current affairs would be quite fruitful in this regard as this area is quite dynamic and need daily updation of current events and issues that will save a huge amount of time.
  2. Speech to text application also makes it easier & relatively faster to jot down the important points.
  3. Segmentation of your notebook into various fields and areas such as agriculture, industries and International relations etc. could further help you to target each section with more concentration.  The more segmented notes would be helpful in last minute revision.
  4. Writing down things that are more prone to forgetting could help you to memorize efficiently. Use sticky notes on such sections
  5. Underline clearly in the textbook itself and make use of side margins to write down things that need to be revised in future.

Last but not the least one thing must be remembered that notes making is a practice that should be treated as a jovial and delightful practice. They must also be accompanied by timely revision. Each round of revision should make the notes crisper, lighter and shorter with removal of those words and sentences which you know by then and could recall easily. Thus ultimately your notes would filter down to just a few terms, facts, figures & concepts. These would then usher in greater level of confidence as the revision of a these notes would take very miniscule fraction of time than that taken while revising the whole book.


Verifying, please be patient.

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