Following are the subject-wise strategies I followed for making notes (I didn’t make notes for any subject other than the ones mentioned below) –
1. India and the World – As posted earlier, I had a file of important facts and figures jotted down from the newspapers along with the cuttings that I would industriously collect every Sunday. At the fag end of my preparation (before mains) I prepared an excel sheet. Each worksheet of that excel file was dedicated to a different country (e.g. India – US, India – Myanmar, etc.) I divided each worksheet into two parts – background and foreground. The background listed out the important historical milestones that have shaped the progress of that country and its relations with India. This background was mostly summarized from books on IR that I have listed earlier. The foreground, summarized from the books as well as the newspaper cuttings and aforementioned facts, would concern itself with relatively contemporary events shaping our relations right up to the present day. This way, I had the entire IR matter summarized in a single excel file. In a nutshell, this is what I did : (1) Read books on IR for background knowledge + Read newspapers and magazines for contemporary events, take cuttings and jot down points (2) Summarize it all in an excel file for revision before exam
2. International Affairs and Institutions, other current affairs, science and tech – I followed a strategy similar to what is given above : Read, take extracts and notes, summarize further for final revision
3. Polity – I had made notes from DD Basu, which I feel is a fantastic source for polity. I kept revising and updating these notes with information gathered from newspapers and internet. I repeatedly revised these notes and always kept a copy of bare act by Bakshi handy for quick reference.
4. Public Administration Paper 2 – I bought a compendium of previous ten years’ papers . I divided the questions topic-wise (as per syllabus). I then began preparing thought framework for each question – and on the next page I went beyond what was asked and jotted down other related points in a similar format. For example, in a question on the tussle between the cabinet secretariat and PMO, I created a TFW after having read the topic from the sources mentioned below. On the next page I made a flowchart of the evolution of PMO (this was asked in the main exam!). Thus, I started with the previous years’ questions as the nucleus and then expanded outwards to cover the entire syllabus. After having completed the notes, I glanced through the textbooks to make sure I hadn’t left anything uncovered (while keeping in view the syllabus). Other than that, the newspaper articles relevant to the subject were placed in the notes for quick revision.
5. Public Administration Paper 1 – I started making notes for PA-1 quite late, much after prelims, which is why my notes weren’t as elaborate for this subject. I, however, did manage to jot down the core points of each subtopic which enabled a quick revision in the end. Thoughts of leaders, theorists etc. on various topics were especially stressed upon. The sources for this subject have been mentioned in a previous post.
6. Sociology Paper – 2 : The numerous booklets of IGNOU would be too tedious to be revised at the end and therefore, I made synoptic notes for this subject, taking special care that none of the case studies given in IGNOU booklets failed to find space in my notes. These case studies formed the skeletal structure of most of my answers in Socio-2 exam. I placed the relevant newspaper cuttings and 4-5 case studies from internet (couldn’t find time for more) in my notes.
7. Sociology Paper-1 : mentioned in a previous post
8. International organizations – I created a PDF from wikepedia pages that I found relevant for the exam