Don't Make Notes from NCERTs

UPSC Basics

Why it's a waste of your time.

NCERTs form the base for your UPSC prep but making short notes of NCERTs is a WASTE of your time.

Why do I say that?

I'll be using a swimming analogy to explain this.

Why? Because it's summer and swimming is fun.

1. Learning to Swim Starting

UPSC prep is like learning to swim. When you begin you're uncomfortable with the water (syllabus). You don't know what skills you will need.

At this stage, you struggle to breathe in the water (study for 8 hrs), forget about thriving in the water (enjoying prep).

2. Beware of the Deep

If you're impatient & dive in to the deep end (reference books like Laxmikanth), then you’re in for a shock. You've not learned breathing properly yet, let alone be relaxed enough to float (understand concepts).

However, for some daring souls, jumping in the deep end works. But this is not advisable for everyone.

3. Shallow End of the Pool

NCERTs are the shallow end of the pool. The 4ft depth lets you maintain a sense of control.

As you slowly move from 4ft to 5ft & 6ft (class 8-10, 11, 12), you find it easier to float and with growing confidence in your basic skills there will come a time when you will find it easy to handle the deep end (Laxmikanth).

4. Don't make notes from NCERTs

Now that you're comfortable in the deep end, you don't need to make notes about how to float anymore.

Floating is a basic part of your skillset now. It's time to build more skills on top of it, don't spend any more time taking notes about this stage anymore.

And NCERTs are the tools that enabled this, they are great tools. But just like you don't need the floating board after a point, you really don't need to make notes from them.

5. Intermediate Skills

Time for the next set of skills:

  • Kicking (discipline): keeps you breathing.
  • Hand strokes (solving PYQs): course correction.

And then it's all about practice (read + test + revise). When you practice, that's when you should start taking notes. So as to improve your practice outcomes over time.

6. Advanced Skills

It is best to take NOTES here. As you will need to practice these often if you want to succeed.

  • Dolphin kick (reviewing tests)
  • Backstroke (syllabus topic analysis)
  • Diving (answer writing)


You don't make notes from NCERTs because once you've built a subject base, those skills will be part of you. You will be covering them again & again via the reference books anyhow.

Make notes from reference books. This will help you practice the advanced material and gain more from less.

7. Getting a Coach/Mentor

If you’re new to swimming/UPSC prep, you don't need a coach to learn.

But getting a good coach/mentor can help speed things up.

We can help!

GS Basics + Mentorship
Build a strong foundation of GS for both UPSC Prelims and Mains.

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