How to Make Notes for IAS and Other Exams?

Appearing for any competitive exam needs a lot of hard work that is put into preparation. One of the important parts of the preparation process is to make notes. And for IAS exam preparation, it is a big challenge. There is a large volume of books, newspapers, journals and study material for IAS exam. Remembering each and everything without effective notes might get difficult for the applicants. Preparation of notes is an exercise a student has to diligently follow for any relevant content he/she reads or studies.

Though studying through notes is not the only way to prepare for the exam, this is one of the techniques students can use to make the preparation less stressful. Making notes is an art of utilizing the resources to the optimum level. It has various benefits for the students, including:

  • It helps you save time at the time of final revision
  • It helps you check your understanding level for a particular subject or the topic, as you can make notes only when you understand a topic
  • It helps you pick the important points
  • It helps you in memorizing the things, as writing down the things help you remember it better
  • It helps maintain a series of events on a topic by keeping track of developments over a period of time.

Now the question is, "how to make notes effectively?" Everyone is not equally efficient at making notes and find it really challenging. Students have to make voluminous notes focusing only on the important points. There are different techniques to make notes. Students can make good notes only when they know the methods. Broadly there are two methods: Linear notes and Pattern notes.

Linear Notes: In this method you squeeze the material through headings and sub-headings to note down the important points. This method is useful when you have to make notes from a well-organized book. To get maximum benefit from these notes and avoid copying a lot of material, use loose sheets of paper. You can also use colors, block letters and highlighting to make these more interesting.

Pattern Notes: In this method, you have to start making notes from the center of the page. The points have to be briefly written through keyword or a phrase. This is a flexible technique where you have complete freedom to add additional information to any point. Further, the shape format of the notes makes it easier to remember the points during the preparation for UPSC exam. This is very useful when studying current related issues, where more content has to be added as time progresses.

Rules for making the notes:

Make it only for relevant issues: IAS preparation has a huge syllabus and making notes for every subject is nothing but wastage of time. Make notes only on relevant issues in relation with the questions asked in the exam. You can make separate notes while for others you can just highlight the points in the book.

Keep it simple and well organized with the points: You need to revise the static topics at least, three times before the final exam. Simple notes with keywords and phrases help you save time during final revision.

Use only your points: Don't include points just because your friends have done this. Focus on the points you want to remember. Going for senior's notes is also a wrong decision, as it will keep you off the track.

Additional copy: Make a copy of your notes in case you lose them. Your years of hard work would be lost. You can also use mobile apps like Evernote to make the process easier.

No matter which method you follow to make notes, just make sure the notes are not more than a few sentences long. These are meant to quicken the revision process before the exam, and should not lead to a situation of studying the book or other content once again. By following a right technique and proper approach you can get success in any competitive exam.


If you have any questions, please ask below!