Monday, January 17, 2011

Method of Making Notes for IAS Exam

Method of Making Notes for IAS Exam

IAS Papers : Method of Making Notes

        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 and the other PATTERN NOTES.

Linear Notes

        Let us start with Linear notes first, 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 organised. 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.

The right way to use this method is to use loose sheets of paper instead of an exercise book since it is easier to keep adding information. It is a good idea to leave space on each sheet of paper for additional information. Another way to make your notes more interesting is to use colors, block letters, making boxes and highlighting as and when necessary. All this will immediately draw our attention to the actual contents of our notes and make it more clear and comprehensible.

Pattern Notes

        We now come to Pattern Notes. For this we have to 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. Another advantage of pattern notes is that it is exceptionally useful when making notes from memory for revision as you keep jotting down points as and when they occur to you. This makes it easier to revise for exams and writing out essays as only brief key words are used. Lastly, it is easier to remember as notes is made in a shape format.

IAS-Revised Tips for Beginners & UGs

IAS-Revised Tips for Beginners & UGs

IAS-Revised Tips for Beginners & UGs

   Deciding the optionals is the most important stage in CSE preparation because once you have decided your optionals, it is going to decide your fate. Here the catching phrase is ' a scoring subject". The fact is that there is no fixed formula regarding a scoring subject. The percentage of candidates getting selected by opting a particular subject varies from year to year. It depends upon the nature of questions appearing in that year, the approach of the evaluators, etc. But it creates a wrong impression that some particular subjects are "more scoring". I would like to make it clear that it depends upon how many "serious candidates" opted that subject for that year. For instance, Geography was considered to be a "non-scoring subjects" till 15 years ago. But suddenly, the picture has changed. Many "brilliant students" got through CSE by opting this subject. Thus, it became popular. Consider the case of Management on the other hand. It is one of the least popular subjects in CSE. It does not mean that it is a "non – scoring subject". The real reason is that the number of students who opt the subject are less because one who has studied this subject would not opt to serve in government. They may get attractive jobs in private sector.
Then, how will one decide the optional subject best suited for him/her? Some candidates tend to look in to the performance of others in previous years and choose the optionals selected by them. This is to be avoided. The last year's rank holder selected that subject because it was his favourite. He fared well because the subject helped him score good marks. It may not be true for you. By selecting a totally un-known subject, you may be in trouble. Never leave a chance to repent.

      Another tendency that I have noticed in the past few months is that the science students have a notion that science subjects are tough and that they are not scoring. On the other hand, they think that the humanities subjects are scoring ones. This is totally wrong. I would like to present a few lines for you to consider before making a decision:

      Some candidates wrongly think that the arts subjects have an advantage in General Studies (GS). It is true to some extend. But the truth is that the science subjects also figure in GS. The arts students find it very difficult to conceptualise scientific terms and glossaries, while studying science for GS.

      The humanities students have to read from a lot of sources to collect information from a particular topic. A chronic example is history. No reliable source is available in arts subjects. On the other hand, you can get through CSE by depending on your university level notes, if you supplement them with some additional readings.

      You will get definite answers for a question in science. For example, (a+b)2 would always be a2+b2+2ab. Also, in Physics, if you are asked to explain Newton's Third Law of Motion, you have got a definite answer. But in history, if you are asked to express your views on the statement "The Mutiny of 1857 was the First War of Independence", you will have to present at least ten different viewpoints and at last, you will have to reach your own conclusion. The science students who have switched over to this subject will be baffled with the flood of different opinions on the same issue by different authors. On the other hand, a candidate who has studied history in his college days may not find it difficult to understand these streams.

      A student who has opted a totally un-known subject has to struggle hard to cope up with that. If you study a subject where you have at least some basic knowledge, it will be very easy for you. i. Some candidates think that science subjects in CSE are tough. I would say all subjects are tough in CSE. They want the best in each subject. When a zoology student opts history and compete with a history student, think who is having the natural advantage.

      In my independent enquiries, I have come to the know that some "famous" coaching centers in Delhi are responsible for this tendency. They give coaching only in arts subjects. Those science candidates who approach them for guidance are brain washed to take arts subjects. These students explain to others that science is tough.

      It is a fact that a few candidates who have switched over to arts from science stream get through CSE every year. But most of them fail and repent. Don't gamble with your career and life.

      If you are sure that you can do well in science subjects, stick on to that. If you find the going tough, the reason is that your preparation is not on the right track. So change the strategy, not the subject.

      On the other hand, there may be a few students who are not comfortable with their own subjects. They may select a suitable subject from any of the streams; science, arts, professional subjects or commerce. x. While selecting the optionals, you may keep the following points in view:

      Syllabus of the subject & List of suggested books: This is available in the free site You will get the scheme of examination, list of optionals, their syllabus, the combination of subjects not allowed, list of books for each subject, conditions of eligibility, general information, etc. The list of books I have not posted in forum because it is a painstaking exercise to post it again and again in different communities.

      Previous years' question papers. This can be availed from

      Consider your tastes, aptitudes and comfort level.

Consider the availability of study materials. (v) Even after reading this, if you think you can switch over from Science to humanities, my humble advice is to begin from G.S. for Main. Thus, you will be sure whether you can do this. Those who want to opt history may read the book "National Movement in India" by Cosmos Book Hive", New Delhi. After reading this, you may decide whether you can proceed with this subject. (Keep in mind that for optional more in-depth study is required.) If you find the subject not of your ilk, do not worry that you have wasted your precious time. Any way you have to study it for GS. So study hard. The efforts you have already put in will not go in vain. Similarly, Those who want to opt Geography may begin by reading the books on "Indian Geography" prescribed for GS (Main) in the site  and find whether Geography is your cup of tea. Those who want to taste economics may begin with "Indian Economy" for GS (Main) and the ones who want to choose either Political Science or Public Administration may begin with "Indian Government and Constitution" for GS (Main). Again, I would caution that the taste of the subject you will get from the above books for GS will be only superfluous and you will have to devote more efforts to master the subject for optional. One of my friends has already thanked me for advising this tonic. He wanted to opt Geography, on the basis of the information he got from his friends. His friends were mis-led by some coaching classes that Geography will land you in IAS. I told him to begin from Indian Geography for GS (Mains). After a week, he scrapped me saying he found Geography as boring, and hence, he took physics.

Preparation Tips For IAS Exam

Preparation Tips For IAS Exam

Preparation Tips For IAS Exam:

1. One needs to put in a lot of time dedication plus concentrated devotion to prepare thoroughly for IAS exam

2. One should ideally go for preparing in the reverse order, and tune up his time-management skills and rational thinking

3. Writing skills should be excellent, as it being a paper which includes essay and English writing exams. One should have good and speedy writing skills as well as good expression of thoughts. One should practice by reading a lot and writing lot of essays

4. Thorough study of all the subjects and those chosen by the candidate for his/her prelims, checking the availability of books and going through the best author, being update on the Latest happenings all over the globe and good knowledge of GK are again very essential.

Time Management and IAS Preparation Tips

Time Management and IAS Preparation Tips

1. While preparing for a set of subjects in IAS syllabus, ensure that you would be appearing for a multiple choice question papers, where subjects such as history, maths and geography may prove to be highly scoring. Choose subjects whose preparation material like IAS Exam Material books, IAS Comprehension Test, reading material and guidance books are easily available in the market.

2. Your General Knowledge will definitely pay in your IAS prelims examination which can be improved through keeping a tab on day to day happenings by reading newspaper, watching television news, etc.

3. For all those who are lucky enough to clear IAS mains and reach interview stage, then bookish knowledge itself won't do. Mind alertness counts when somebody asks tricky questions on "how many steps you walked to reach the office?"

4. Improving the personality is quite important as this will definitely be one of the criteria for selection. Physical and mental wellbeing is quite important for IPS.

5. Try to enhance your communication skills as the civil servants must be proficient in at least one foreign language.


I am R. K. Gupta (an IAS Officer of 1973 cadre). I obtain my bachelors degree in civil engineering from Madras university and a masters degree from Delhi University. further i obtain another masters degree from the university of Alberta Canada. i tought at IIT kanpur for over one year and then later involved in the civil services. I have extensive teaching experience in the areas of  UPSC pattern, I have authored several successful books besides publishing technical papers in national and international journals.