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In the age of digitisation, is it necessary to write notes when you have already past content PDF books in your laptop? Did you prepare notes for every subtopic in the Mains?
Is it worth the time to prepare notes for each subject while preparing for the UPSC? To begin with, each aspirant has their own style of studying for this exam. Some take few notes while a few take notes for everything t learn. Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages according to the situation and the position that you are in. First, we would be listing the advantages of preparing notes. To begin with, the greatest one would be the memory retention of what you learned after you take short notes. The brain will be able to process the information much efficiently as the data itself has been processed into smaller pieces with only needed elements. The other advantage it can offer is the time it can save when we revise any subject. And remember, revision is the key to UPSC preparation and time is something any aspirant would desperately need in this journey. When these notes are taken, it acts as little pockets of revision that register into our subconscious mind and serves us well during exam time. Now, the million-dollar question - Should we or should we not prepare notes for all subjects? The subjects for which notes are required Stressing once again that time is of the essence in UPSC preparation, and hence, notes are to be taken for those subjects that require continuous reading. Below given are the few subjects for which that I feel that note-taking would give a tremendous impact History- The simple reason for you to take notes for this subject is the sheer volume and the amount of information it holds. Short notes with years and important events are to be noted down to get the maximum marks for History. Moreover, you may not find time to read the whole book while the exam is near and so it is better to take notes. Newspaper- Though not a subject in itself, but the newspaper is a combination of all the subjects and helps you in all three stages of the exam. Optional Subject- Now this is a must, and the notes taken must be in your own language. The purpose of optional note making is to revise the topic during the long prelims preparation and to go back to mains mode after prelims quickly. Polity- Take notes only where the important article and comparisons come up. For example, take down notes for Fundamental rights which takes a lot of revision. Another Topic to take note would be the different bodies- constitutional, executive, etc. to avoid confusion. All the other topics can be dealt with even without note-making if you are comfortable. The subjects for which notes are not required Current Affairs- Every current affairs magazine is a compilation of various sources. Take for example, “Officers Pulse” the current affairs compilation of Officers IAS Academy. The information is gathered from various relevant sources and condensed into a crisp and compact manner. Further note making of a current affairs magazine is thus not required. Economy- As long as you have the basics of Economics, note making is not useful as UPSC will be testing your understanding of the subject and not the factual part. You may note down a few theories/graphs/laws that are in Economics so that it may be useful for Mains Geography- the NCERT’s are plenty enough to study this subject, and that itself has been made compactly. Note making if at all required should be only to mark the headings- cause and effect for faster reading. You may also make your own maps to show various geographical aspects, both human and physical. In short, what to take and what not to, ultimately rests on you. Note making for the whole subject may be counter-productive as time may be lost in writing and it will tire the aspirant out. Hence the subjects that require detailed attention and the one that has current affairs affinity can be taken for note-making. Wherever there is a scope for the current affairs to be added into the static portion of a subject, try to take notes so that it can be used for revision. The static areas are to be written for short notes, only if it needs multiple readings and if the language is tough to understand. If you are able to understand and answer the topic and if your memory retention is more, then note-making may not be required for that topic.
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If on the other hand, you have a hard time with it and your knowledge is not up to the mark, then you will be better off not taking notes.