How To Make Notes From Newspaper For UPSC Exam


In my previous post, we understood how to read the newspaper.

After reading this post you should be able to take notes from newspaper easily.

You should use plain paper without any lines to write the notes.

You may ask why the plain paper?

Remember, you will get plain A4 size paper in the Main Examination to write your answers.

So start writing on plain paper. Initially, the structure may not be linear.

You may see your paragraphs or sentences or words tilted either upwards or downwards.

Don't worry, with practice this issue will be resolved in a few days.

Instead of a notebook, I suggest you to follow the file type system.

Why it is better than maintaining a notebook?

Whenever you make notes on plain paper about some current topics, the matter related to the topics will come frequently in the newspaper. So when you want to add new information you can file the page next to the previous page in a file. This will give you a complete picture in reference to the topic.

I suggest you to make 4 files for 4 GS papers.

Stick respective syllabus on respective files, i.e syllabus of GS 1 should be pasted on GS 1 file and so on. Always keep your syllabus with you while making notes.

Current happenings or affairs do not happen in watertight compartments. These may have several causes and effects in several fields.

For e.g. While reading news related to COVID 19, besides Science and Technology aspect you also have to look into several aspects like effects on Economy, Employment, International Relations, Society, Health, Ethics etc...

So when you make notes related to COVID 19, try to identify which part of syllabus it corresponds with. Whichever aspects you can link to it write down on the first few lines of paper. Because after a few months when you try to revise it you will know for the particular topic what are its links and where to read.

In our example of COVID 19, the major part will go to GS 3 paper under science and technology section and the linked aspects like Economy, International Relations etc.. will go to the respective section of the respective paper.

While reading any news article think it from Prelims and Main perspective.

Once you finish the news article

  1. Try to get factual information that can be useful in prelims or as a filler in writing answers in the Main exam or in an Essay paper.

  2. Try to understand what the author wants to convey. Is the tone of an author critical, suggestive, praiseworthy etc...This practice will help you a lot while dealing with questions related to English passages in paper 2 of prelims.

  3. If the tone of an article is critical the points given in the article may be useful when you have to write the critical analysis. If some suggestions or recommendations are given in an article those can be used as suggestive measures while answering the questions. I hope you are getting this point. If you didn't get please go through it again.

  4. When you come across something historical in context or the terms or concepts which you don't know, try to find it there itself. Do not skip over or leave it. Google it.

  5. Avoid newspaper cuttings. You may never see or read it again. When you write something, you think, write, read and revise it. In newspaper cutting, you don't do any of these activities.

  6. Most important, do not make soft copy of the notes. Remember you have to write and not to type the paper. When you write you learn and develop your own set of skills that makes your answer writing skills unique.

  7. You may get notes from your coaching institutes or your friends. You can refer it but don't be dependent on them. You can add any extra new or missing information to your own notes. But ensure that you prepare from your own notes and revise them at least once a week.

  8. Gradually you will know how to shorten the length of your notes.

  9. You can also use different ink colours to make your notes attractive.

  10. Most important whenever you revise the notes try to frame the questions out of it. What questions can be framed in Prelims or Mains from this topic? How the topic can be linked to different topics? Is any essay possible on the topic? More questions you ask, higher is your level of preparation.

In the beginning, you may find it difficult to implement all these points but gradually day by day you will become an expert in taking notes from newspapers.

This could be a very important post for you. Kindly go through it again if you don't understand in the first reading.

In my next post, I will take some articles from the newspaper and will show you some samples on how to take notes adhering to the above-mentioned points.

Happy Reading.

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