How to Make Notes for UPSC from Newspaper: 10 Best Techniques

By Acadlog 7 Min Read
7 Min Read

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) examination is a highly competitive and challenging exam in India. A key part of preparation involves making effective notes, especially from newspapers, given their relevance in covering a wide range of current affairs and issues crucial for the UPSC syllabus. This detailed guide will provide you the strategies and techniques to enhance your note-making skills for UPSC from newspapers.

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Understanding the UPSC Syllabus and Its Correlation with Newspapers

The UPSC syllabus is extensive, covering subjects from Indian Polity to Environment, Economics, and Current Affairs. Newspapers like ‘The Hindu’ and ‘The Indian Express’ are preferred for their comprehensive coverage of these topics. For instance, ‘The Hindu’ reported on the Indian government’s economic policies in detail, which is directly relevant to the UPSC syllabus on Indian Economy. In 2022, ‘The Hindu’ published over 200 articles on economic reforms, providing a rich source for UPSC aspirants.

Selection of Newspapers and Segmentation of News

When choosing newspapers, look for those offering in-depth analysis of national and international events. For example, ‘The Hindu’ and ‘The Indian Express’ stand out for their editorial quality and coverage of diverse topics, including socio-economic issues, international relations, and environmental policies.

Segmenting News for Effective Note-making

Segment news articles by UPSC subjects like Geography, Polity, Economics, etc. This method helps in organizing information systematically. For instance, if a new bill is introduced in Parliament, classify it under ‘Polity’ and summarize its implications, debates, and relevance to UPSC topics.

How to Make Notes for UPSC from Newspapers: 10 Effective Ways

Understand Before You Write

  • Conceptual Clarity: Before jotting down notes, ensure you have a clear understanding of the topic. This might involve reading a text more than once or seeking additional sources to clarify complex concepts.
  • Source: Educational Psychology: Research in educational psychology emphasizes the importance of understanding before memorization. This approach aids in long-term retention and recall.

Use the Cornell Method

  • Structure: Divide your page into three sections: a narrow column on the left for keywords or questions, a larger right-hand column for notes, and a summary section at the bottom.
  • Source: Cornell University: Developed at Cornell University, this method encourages active engagement with the material, improving comprehension and recall.

Mind Mapping

  • Visual Representation: Represent information visually using diagrams that show the relationships between different parts of a topic.
  • Source: Tony Buzan: Mind mapping, popularized by Tony Buzan, leverages the brain’s capacity for spatial and visual processing to organize information efficiently.

Bullet Journaling

  • Simplicity and Organization: Use bullet points to structure information, integrating symbols and shorthand for quick notation.
  • Source: Ryder Carroll: The Bullet Journal method, created by Ryder Carroll, is known for its effectiveness in managing complex information through simple notation systems.

The Outlining Method

  • Hierarchical Organization: Organize notes in a structured format, using headings, subheadings, and bullet points to denote different levels of information.
  • Source: Academic Research on Note-Taking: This method is supported by numerous academic studies for its ability to create a clear, logical, and easy-to-follow record of information.

Flow Notes Method

  • Dynamic and Flexible: Allows for capturing thoughts and information in a more organic, flowing manner, akin to mind mapping but in a linear format.
  • Source: Agile and Adaptive Note-Taking: This method is influenced by agile methodologies, emphasizing adaptability and fluidity in information processing.

Digital Note-Taking Tools

  • Technology Integration: Utilize digital tools like Evernote, OneNote, or Notion for organizing, searching, and syncing notes across devices.
  • Source: Information Technology Studies: Studies in information technology highlight the advantages of digital note-taking in terms of accessibility, searchability, and multimedia integration.

Active Recall and Spaced Repetition

  • Review and Recall: Regularly review notes and practice recalling information without looking at your notes to enhance memory retention.
  • Source: Psychological Science on Memory: These techniques are grounded in cognitive science, demonstrating improved recall through active engagement with material over time.

Annotation and Highlighting

  • Engage with Text: Annotate texts with your own thoughts, questions, or connections, and highlight key points for emphasis.
  • Source: Reading Comprehension Strategies: Annotation and highlighting are widely recognized in literacy education as effective for deepening engagement and understanding of the material.


  • In Your Own Words: Summarize the main points of a lecture, book, or article in your own words to reinforce understanding and memory.
  • Source: Educational Techniques: Summarization is a well-established technique in education, promoting comprehension and integration of new knowledge.


Importance of Editorials and Opinions

Editorials provide critical insights and analyses of current issues. They often present different viewpoints, helping aspirants develop a balanced perspective. For example, editorials on the Indian economy can offer diverse opinions on the same policy, aiding in a comprehensive understanding.

Regular Revision and Integration with Static Subjects

Regular revision is key to retaining information. Integrate current affairs with static subjects to create a holistic understanding. For instance, link a current environmental issue with the static part of environmental science in the syllabus.

Final Words

Efficient note-making for UPSC from newspaper is not just about writing down the current affairs you read. It’s an active process that involves understanding, organizing, and synthesizing information in a way that suits your learning style and needs. By incorporating these techniques, you can enhance your ability to capture, process, and retrieve information effectively. Remember, the best approach is often a personalized blend of these methods, tailored to your specific context and objectives.

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