How to Prepare Notes for UPSC Exam?

Students are often faced with the daunting task of making notes. Several questions arise such as why should I make notes;  how will I revise everything that I have studied for a year in one day before the exam? Do you have such a good memory power that you will remember all important points and concepts? If your answer is no, then the only remedy is “Make short, crisp notes with important words and phrases.”

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Here is the list of some strategies that should be followed while making notes:

  • Try to write on loose white sheets as they help in organizing and adding content relating to a particular topic.
  • Try to use different colored pens for headings, sub-headings etc.
  • Maintain separate folders/files for each subjects.
  • Always keep revising the notes or just have a glance at the important points once in a while.

For Optionals

  • Pick up one or two good recommended books that cover almost all the syllabus of the optional subject.
  • Make separate sections in accordance with the chapters of the books.
  • Make sure there is no overlap and you cover all the syllabus.

After analyzing the syllabus and selecting the recommended books:

  • Make notes on the particular chapters from the recommended books as you study.
  • Follow all the important points which is listed above.
  • Whenever you read some other books or come across a news/update about a particular topic, directly go to your notes, add one page and write down all the new things you learnt.

This way in the course of revising your notes, you will also revise the recent developments in that field.

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For Current Affairs:

Try to segregate the news/articles/features etc. in following categories:

  • Polity (PIB, PRS, Yojana etc.)
  • Diplomacy and International Relations (The Hindu, IDSA etc.)
  • Economics (The Hindu – Economy, Industry , EPW etc)
  • Environment and Bio-diversity (The Hindu – Environment, Indian Express etc.)
  • Science and Technology ( The Hindu, Indian Express)
  • Collect news from various sources and take notes from it on day to day basis.
  • Try to group the similar news/features/articles under same heading and you will get a bigger picture after some time.
  • Also update the corresponding sections of GS subjects/ optional by adding one extra page in between the their notes.

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The Civil Services Examination is mainly a test to choose suitable administrators. It tests the candidate right from the stage when one starts the preparation. A candidate should be in the right frame of mind and the will power to succeed in the exam. Note making is of great importance for a student. This is because there are few good reasons for making notes:

  • One is that you cannot make notes without understanding the given topic, since you have read out the important points and tried to summarize them.
  • Next is that writing down any information helps you to remember it better. It makes a good practice for thinking and writing out essays. Well-organised notes make the writing process much more efficient
  • It will prompt you to revise your work since it does not take a long time to go through a set of well made notes.
  • It helps you in your final revision by reminding you of the most important points of each topic.
  • Note-making habits will help to train a critical mind,and it helps a student pass his examinations as well as develop a discerning, insightful mind which is quick at grasping relevant information.
  • On the occasions when one is called upon to give a lecture, speech or to participate in a discussion, note -making skills helps in providing a record of the essential points so that the speaker does not have to read out what he has prepared. The notes remind of the contents and sequences of lecture or contribution to a discussion.
  • It allows you to focus on the points relevant to your purpose.

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Making your Notes user-friendly

Making notes are good when you try to use them! Here are some more suggestions to make your notes easier to read, easier to understand and easier to find when you need them.

  • Make your notes brief and be selective. As understanding a topic would be easy for you but remembering certain points would be difficult, hence it is important to make notes of important points as this would make you easy to summaries and have a glance whenever you want.
  • Keep them well-spaced so you can see individual points and add more details later if necessary.
  • Show the relationships between the main points.
  • Use your own words to summarize.
  • Illustrations, examples and diagrams can help to put ideas in a practical context.
  • Make them memorable using: color, pattern, highlighting and underlining.
  • Read through to make sure they’re clear and understand them when you come to revise.
  • File with care! – use a logical system so you can find them when you need them, but keep it simple or you won’t use it.
  • Writing down points helps you to remember it better, it is also a good practice for thinking and writing; it is easy to revise your notes as it helps in your final revision making easy for you to recall important points of each topic.

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14 COMMENTS

  1. Sir I have done M.tech in Automobile Engg but still I want to go for Philosophy as an optional subject is it suitable fr me plss reply…thnks

  2. sir please tell me about to ias,and i was just compelite BA 3rd year so how to prepare ias exams

    • mai v as a student hu.pr itna hi apko bolu ga pahele market se UPSC ki syllabus le li jiye.us me sari apki question hesitation ki answer mil jaye ge.oor thora v kuch bach jaye toh deffinetly our topper Tina Dabe ki seminar net me dekh li ji ye.
      ” Thank You “

  3. Many many thanks to you,sir
    I’m very impressed by our priceless suggestions and tips about the preparing of notes for the world’s third toughest examination( IAS).
    So, i again thanks to you for your valuable advice and suggestions which helps me more.

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