The key to preparing good
It is a skill which one masters with practice. The more you make notes,
the easier it is to learn and remember. But when we talk about making notes for
a tough nut like the UPSC’s Mains, it is not a frivolous affair. Note making
here needs some well planned strategies.
The key to preparing good notes is to judiciously select what you record. The
point to drive home is that while attending a coaching class or reading at a
library, the idea is not to jot down every word, but to record certain key
elements and highlight important terms. While in a classroom, the trick is to
concentrate and catch the few important terminologies which define a larger
concept faster and easier. Similarly, if you are making notes from a book, ask
yourself why you are making them. Always remember that notes serve the unique
purpose of understanding and recalling the content.
Interestingly there are no set rules of note making. There are different styles
of making them — short sentences, pointers, concept maps, graphical ways. Follow
what suits you best. Here are few effective note making methods.
Headings and bullets:
Condense the matter using headings, sub headings and important points. This is
useful while in a classroom when you have to keep pace with fast-delivered
lectures. You can also leave space at the end of each session in order to write
additional information from newspapers, magazines or other academic sources.
You may use separate sheets and file them, so that it is easier to file extra
sheets at later stages. If you are using a computer to make notes, even better.
You will be able to dig out your notes in a jiffy.
This type of note making is like a spider’s web where you write the main theme
at the centre of the page and each line radiating from it will have brief
keywords describing the subject. This will not only give you a bird’s eye-view
but will help you understand the relationship between the off-shooting
remarks/observations as well. Experts say that such representations leave a more
lasting impression than linear forms of making notes. [...]