How to prepare notes for IAS Exam

You might have heard a hundred times about the importance of taking small or micro notes for the IAS exam. But how do you do it in a manner that the notes are concise, effective, readable in a short time, all at once. After all you will need to go through these small notes for IAS exam before the preliminary and/or the Mains in just a few days or even hours.

There are several good reasons for making your own notes:

  • Helps you to understand any given topic, pick out the important points and to summarize them
  • Writing down any information helps you to remember it better
  • It makes a good practice for thinking and writing essays
  • It prompts you to revise your work since it does not take a long time to go through a set of well made notes
  • Also helps you in your final revision by reminding you of the most important points of each topic

There are different methods of making notes and one should decide which method suits you the best. Two common methods of making notes are:

Linear Notes: It is a method in which you condense the material you have read using headings and sub headings and jotting down the most important points. This method works best when making notes from a book where the material is already properly organized. But one disadvantage of this method is that you end up copying a lot of material from the book which defeats the very purpose of condensing.

Pattern Notes: For this, begin the topic at the centre of the page. Each line radiating from it represents a branch of the main idea. Each point is written as briefly as possible using a key word or a phrase. It is a better method to adopt because it is more flexible than making linear notes. One can add extra information to it at any point without any problem. Second advantage is that we can see the whole pattern at one go without actually turning the pages. Thirdly we can indicate the links between different topics more easily than we can do in a linear method.

But this method has some disadvantages as well. If there are too many facts and too much of information, your pattern becomes messy and over-crowded. Using key words can remind you of basic ideas but when it comes to remembering details, this method cannot be sufficient.

Therefore the most effective way of making good notes from the sources available is to use a combination of these two methods. One important thing to remember is that for many subjects your notes will have to include diagrams and sketch maps. They must be accurate and well labelled.

Books For IAS Exam Preparation

Crack Civil Services General Studies IAS Prelims (CSAT) - Paper 1 Third EditionCrack Civil Services General Studies IAS Prelims (CSAT) - Paper 1 Third EditionCSAT IAS Prelims 101 Speed Tests Practice Workbook with 10 Practice Sets - Paper 2