Making your own notes is a crucial part of any exam and when I was preparing for UPSC, I realized that it played a major role here too. As the UPSC exam includes a vast array of subjects with a loose syllabus, it is very difficult to remember everything and impossible to go through the entire syllabus while revising. This is where effective NCERT notes for UPSC preparation helps!

So, how to make notes for UPSC? Let’s check out

How to Make Notes for UPSC?

Note making for UPSC exam preparation is actually an art because it is very important to know what to add and what not to add in your notes. When I started making my own notes, it was tough to understand what my notes should include and how they should be structured, but over time I got a hang of it.

There are a few strategies that I followed to make great notes. I would like to share them with you so that even you can use those strategies for IAS preparation and make your note-making task much easier.

Read Your Textbooks

Read your textbooks first and make jotting the second time you read them. Never go in for making jotting from the moment you start reading your textbooks. When you read your textbooks for the first time, don’t start making jotting there and then. For the first turn, just read the book and underline/ highlight the important things.

You are supposed to start making jotting when you start reading the books for UPSC preparation for the second time. Second time reading will help you understand the important points of the chapter and the things you need to remember.

Also Read: Check-out the Best Timetable to Ace the Upcoming UPSC IAS Exam

Make Bullet Points

This is a very important part of making notes for UPSC exam preparation. Always keep in mind that the NCERT notes for UPSC you make are in bullet form. They should be short points which are crisp and easy to understand. 

Long paragraphs are a waste of time and it adds no extra value to the jotting.

The way we write our notes is the way we also write in the exam. So make sure that you write your jotting in the bullet format as this is the best way of writing answers in the exam as well.

Get Digital

Use Digital mode of note-making. I would suggest that you should always make jotting on the digital platform. For example, when I was studying for my UPSC exam preparation, all of my jottings were digital. This was because the records you made for the first time are not perfect.

There are a set of iterations to be made in order to get the perfect set. For example, when I made records for Economics, there were a lot of iterations in my records and if it would have been in pen-paper, then there would have been space issues, but with digital method there was none. I could easily update my records from wherever I wanted and there was no risk of losing them.

Also Read : UPSC Preparation Tips for Beginners: Strategy for The Indian Civil Service Examination

Loose Sheets for IAS Preparation Notes

If you are not comfortable making records in digital mode then you can opt for the pen-paper mode. For a few subjects, I even made my records on paper but the trick which I followed was making these records on A4 size sheets and not in registers.

Registers bring in a barrier when it comes to adding records or pages in between, but when you make notes on loose sheets, you can add sheets in between and update your records from time to time.

Make Short Notes for UPSC Preparation

Record-making is a very lengthy process but it is one of the most beneficial parts of studying. When I was making records, I always made sure that all of my records are short and to the point so that I could study them just before my exam.

For example, I made notes for modern history. Modern History has a vast syllabus, but in my records, they turned out to be 15 pages only which were very easy to read just a day before the examination. It made my task a whole lot easier and helped me to revise the entire syllabus in just a few hours. Learn how to make shorter & effective notes for IAS preparation.

Use Current Affairs as a Part of Your Note-Making

When you read a newspaper there are a lot of articles which are directly related to some of the other subjects. Always try making records or short points for the articles or editorials which you think are important. I used to make my current affair records in “Ever note” and during the exam combined those current affairs with my answers. Learn how to prepare current affairs for UPSC preparation.

For example, in the GS II paper which is regarding Polity and Governance, there were a lot of updates. So there was a Supreme Court judgment on Right to Privacy which had a lot of articles and editorials coming up and what I did was make notes on them and club them together.

I used all those points in my answer in the examination which I guess helped me fetch more marks. Writing an answer which is related to current affairs always helps you get more marks compared to writing a generic answer.

Make Flowcharts or Hierarchy Charts

Make diagrams or hierarchy charts wherever possible. For example, in Polity there is a lot of information about government systems and their models, so for that part, one can easily make a chart.

Making diagrams makes it easier to remember things and it stays in one’s head for a longer period of time. It is easier to make these charts as they save time and it is a better form of representation.

Keep Updating Your Notes

One of the most important things you should do is keep updating your notes. When you update your notes you have the latest information in it and it becomes easier to get all the content in a single place.

Divide Your Note Making Task with Your Friends

While studying for UPSC, you would have a bunch of friends who would be preparing for the same as well. If you find someone with the same calibre of yours and with the same seriousness, then you can divide your work.

One thing you can do is divide the subjects for which each one of you can make notes and then exchange them. This will save a lot of your time and will make your note-making task easier.

What I did was, I had a friend of mine with whom I could relate to. So with a mutual understanding, we divided our work. We divided a subject into parts, which were Modern History and World History. I made notes for World History and my friend made notes for Modern History. In this way, I almost saved 15-20 days in the note-taking process.

Also Read: 5 Best Magazines for UPSC IAS Preparation

Make Template Answers

After you are done reading a topic or one subject, make a list of possible questions which could come out of the topic and make a template answer for them.

By doing this you save a lot of your time in the examination. You only get 8 minutes to write each answer and you can’t really waste your time in thinking about the content. Making templates makes it easier to remember the points and you can directly start writing the answer once you know what the question is about.

In the end, I would wish all of you good luck with your preparations and I hope that these points are useful for your note-making preparations. These are just a few strategies you can follow. You can always come up with the new ones and use those which are suitable and convenient for you.

UPSC Topper Himanshu’s Notes

To learn and understand how I made notes for the UPSC exam, you can download a few sample ones.
Sample Polity Notes – Part 1 Download
Sample Polity Notes – Part 2 Download
Sample Geography Notes – Download
Sample World History Notes –  Download


This article for how to make notes for UPSC is based on the interview UPSC Pathshala had with IAS 2017 Topper Himanshu Kaushik, AIR 77. Hopefully, by reading this you will get your answers for how to read NCERT for UPSC and IAS preparations and other important factors for notes making.

Also Read : Which Newspaper is Best for UPSC? Hindi and English Newspapers for IAS Preparations

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How to Make Notes for UPSC Preparation?  UPSC Topper [AIR 77] Shares Secrets!
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How to Make Notes for UPSC Preparation? UPSC Topper [AIR 77] Shares Secrets!
How to make notes for UPSC? how to read NCERT for UPSC? Check what Himanshu, the UPSC topper with All India 77 Ranking shares in his tips.
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About the Author


Shilpa is a professional web content writer and is in deep love with travelling. She completed her mass communication degree and is now dedicatedly playing with words to guide her readers to get the best for themselves. Developing educational content for UPSC, IELTS aspirants from breakthrough research work is her forte. Strongly driven by her zodiac sign Sagittarius, Shilpa loves to live her life on her own notes and completely agrees with the idea of ‘live and let live. Apart from writing and travelling, most of the time she can be seen in the avatar of 'hooman' mom to her pets and street dogs or else you can also catch her wearing the toque blanche and creating magic in the kitchen on weekends.

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