How to prepare for UPSC Exam | Download Complete UPSC Preparation Strategy For IAS Exam

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One of the most frequently asked questions is How to prepare for IAS? UPSC conducts the Civil Services Examination (CSE) to recruit suitable candidates for IAS, IPS, IFS, and other allied services. Lakhs of aspirants apply for the exam, yet only a few achieve the feat. So, what brings about the difference, you ask! Well, it's the UPSC preparation strategy! Most aspirants wonder, "How to prepare for UPSC" or "How to crack UPSC exam in the first attempt" or “How to prepare for IAS”! In this article, we have tried to answer this question in an extremely comprehensive way. We’ve also included the subject-wise UPSC Preparation strategy for your benefit!

"HUMANS tend to lose almost 40% of new information within the first 24 hours of first reading or hearing it. If we take notes effectively, however, we can retain and retrieve almost 100% of the information we receive"

Given the voluminous nature of the UPSC exam syllabus, it is almost impractical for a candidate preparing for UPSC to expect a complete revision of all the textbooks and entire syllabus right before the examination, at the same time to score good and to crack the examination, revision plays a major role. Hence, to overcome this challenge, most of the aspirants rely on their self-made notes for a quick revision during exam days.

Notes making plays a crucial role in UPSC preparation as it is part of active learning. One cannot expect to clear the UPSC examination without preparing his notes and revising it regularly. Take any UPSC topper of any year and you will find almost all of them had notes making as part of their strategy to crack the UPSC examination.

  1. Encoding Hypothesis: when a person is taking notes, the processing that occurs improves our "learning and retention capacity."
  2. External-Storage Hypothesis: A person learns by being able to look back at his notes, or even the notes of other people.

The very exact meaning of notes making is to write down things, which you can forget and things that can be revised in quick succession of time

While note-making is crucial, it is important not to waste much of our time and to make such notes that one can look back at and understand in one reading.


Learning is the first step of notes Making

    • Notes making is quite often confused with writing everything down on paper or digital devices.
    • Quite often you will see students go for notes making in one go and without understanding the exact meaning of notes making and the importance of notes making.
    • The very exact meaning of notes making is to write down things, which you can forget and things which can be revised in a quick succession of time.
    • Notes making is an art where you read things and use that information smartly in pinning down that information in a crispy and precise manner so that you can remember those things.
    • Before note-making you should collect information, information is the key in note-making. When you will know the topics, even in the lightest of manner it will help you in note-making.
    • So, the mantra of note-making is going for information collection in the initial stage and later on, you can disseminate that information in note-making.

Reading less analyzing more

    • Visualize things to remember the studied matter.
    • One of the common problems that are found in students is that they forgot, what they had read after some time.
    • You don't have to worry about these things much, as although it is quite natural that you will forget the studied things but revising time and again holds the key in this examination.
    • Civil service examination is not about bookish knowledge but beyond limited knowledge of books. So, keep on expanding your knowledge, not by book alone but by analyzing the things in practicality that is understanding the concept more innately. E.g. Delhi government implement the Odd-Even scheme in November every year. In this case, understand that Delhi pollution is solely responsible for pollution in Delhi or neighboring states also contributes to Air pollution in Delhi. You should also understand what kind of air is injurious to health and their source of emergence.

Making notes in own words

    • Make a Mind-map or Flow chart.
    • Making a mind-map or flow chart is not only beneficial in notes making point of view but, this same flow chart can be utilized in mains answer writing to get an edge ahead as compared to other students.
    • Making a diagram or flow chart is beneficial in terms of answer writing; when due to time crunch you may have to go to depict relevant information on your copy. These little things can also fetch you good marks.

Confining notes as Small as Possible

Make precise and crisp points.

    • Make notes as much as possible in a crisp and precise way. Write notes into the points in a when, how, and where format.
    • Sticking to the point is most important in notes making as you may end up filling your notebook with irrelevant information, which may not have much use.
    • In a nutshell, you may end up making another voluminous note for yourself before the exam, which might not be much useful.
    • Linear notes are far more superior as compared to writing down the whole thing in the notebook and increasing your work burden by increasing the material. So, try to stick with the information and read as if you have to carry that information for a lifetime.

Linear Notes and Pattern notes

    • Making notes from voluminous study material is nothing but a gigantic task. There are different methods of making notes and one should decide which method suits you the best. There are two types of making notes; one is the 'Linear Notes' the other is 'Pattern Notes'.

Pattern Notes:

      • In pattern notes making each topic is at the center of the page and each line radiating from it should represent a branch of the main idea. Each point is written as briefly as possible using a keyword or a phrase. This is an appropriate method to adopt because it is more flexible and one can add extra information at any point in time.
      • Pattern notes making is beneficial as you can see the entire pattern at one go without actually turning the pages. You can indicate the links between different topics more easily. it is useful from one's memory point of view as one can keep jotting down the points as and when they crop in the mind.
      • Pattern notes are much easier to remember the content of the notes. This pattern helps in revision much faster as only brief keywords are being used to make notes.
      • The disadvantage of pattern notes making is that if there are too many facts and too much information, your notes become messy and overcrowded. Using keywords can remind of basic ideas but when it comes to remembering details, this method cannot be sufficient alone.
      • So the best method of making good notes is to use a combination of both Linear and Pattern methods and evolve your unique pattern of making notes that may help you in your last-minute revisions.

Linear Notes:

    • In the Linear notes method, you condense the material you have read and jot down the most important points using headings and subheadings. This is the best method to make notes after reading a book newspaper or magazine. Here one has to avoid copying a lot of material and a lot of care has to be taken while condensing the contents. The right way is to use loose sheets of paper to make notes on a given topic as it is easier to keep adding information through additional sheets.
    • Notes can be made by using colors, block letters, boxes, and highlighters. This will help you in arranging the notes in sequence and grabbing attention to the actual contents and they would make it much easier for quick recall of the important points of a topic.

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Roshni Santhalia

Writes article on money, market and finance.