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Note Making and Summarising

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Note Making and Summarising


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Note making and summarizing is a very easy question to score almost full marks. If you understand the best practices and common errors we often commit, this activity will be your easiest way to higher score. Read each page of this article carefully and patiently and understand how to prepare notes, how to prepare abbreviations and keys, how to write a summary as short and precise as that.

Easy Steps

  • Quick-Read the article given for note-making. Get a glimpse of its core idea.
  • Remove junk/unimportant information such as examples, stories, etc.
  • Divide the content into two or three sections. You can follow Facts, Causes, Consequence, Solutions.
  • Before starting, draw 3 vertical pencil lines (||||) very lightly (you need to erase it at the end) 2 cm from each other from the margin.
  • Write the first sub-heading on the first margin (not the main margin)
    1. Write the sub-sub headings on the second margin. Use abbreviations from this point onward.
      1. If any, write the sub-sub-sub heading on the third margin.
  • Follow step 5 for the second and third sub-heading
  • Once notes are over, leave a line and proceed to keys to abbreviations. (In a box)
  • Write a summary in five to 6 lines. Do not repeat information. Try to include all that you have said in the notes but more precisely.

Early Example

The following sample is a solved note with abbreviations and summary. Look carefully. The first element is “Title.” Under the title is “Notes.” Look at the numbering. There are three sub-levels, each against 1, 2, 3, A, B, C and I, II, III list-styles.

Title : Note-making Tips


  1. Reading
    1. Read twice
      1. Be lost in R
      2. UL imp words
  2. Planning
    1. Divide by theme
    2. Divide by imp
    3. Divide by Time
  3. Writing
    1. Sub levels
      1. Max 3 sub levels
    2. Word limits
      1. Max 5 words/line
    3. Keys to Abbr
      1. Abbrte only long words
      2. Min 5
    4. Summary
      1. Max 50 words

Keys to Abbreviation

  1. R – Reading
  2. UL – Underline
  3. imp – Important
  4. Abbr – Abbreviations
  5. Abbrte – Abbreviate


Note making is an easy job if you start it by reading the passage twice. Be lost in reading for a while and underline important words. After reading, you have to plan. You can plan and organize your note by dividing the content by theme, importance or by timeline. Now, start writing the notes by sub-levels and sub-sub levels. Remember to restrict the number of words to five in the most. Abbreviate long words but not too many.

Before you Go Ahead, learn these Guidelines

  1. Read the article/extract most carefully.
  2. While reading, underline/mark words that appear to be difficult/important.
  3. After reading it over twice, get your pencil and scale to draw three vertical lines 1 inch from the left margin.
  4. Divide the extract into two/three aspects.
  5. If you find a third aspect which is not as important as the others, IGNORE that aspect.
  6. In three to five words, prepare the notes. Note, maximum 5 words in each line!
  7. If there are often-repeated terms or lengthy words, abbreviate them. An abbreviation maximum 4 letter in length.
  8. After the abbreviations, write the summary in as less words as possible.

How to divide a passage/essay?

When you get three elephant-size articles with 300 to 500 words headlong, you feel a shiver. Above your head is time laughing at your anxiety. You feel like you have been rushed into an operation theater and with no oxygen supply. What to do?

  1. Read Carefully
  2. Remove Junk
  3. Divide into 3 or 2

FCCS [+] For Positive content

  1. Divide into 4 – Facts, causes, benefits and suggestions
  2. Divide into 3 – Past present and future
  3. Divide into 2 – Side 1 of the issue and Side 2 of the issue

FCCS [-] For Negative content

  1. Divide into facts, causes, consequences and solutions

You can use the following format or style for notes.

  1. What was the past
    1. Event 1
    2. Event 2
  2. What is the present
    1. Event 1
      1. Sub event 1
      2. Sub event 2
    2. Event 2
  3. What will be the future
    1. Possible event 1
    2. Possible event 2

How to Abbreviate?

  1. Do no write too many abbreviations
  2. Do not abbreviate short words, such as “some” into “sm”
  3. Abbreviate long words, such as, “important” into “imp.”

Some common abbreviations:

  1. Edu – Education
  2. Dty – Dynasty
  3. Org – Organization
  4. Govt- Government
  5. Instt – Institute
  6. & – And
  7. $ – Cash
  8. i.e. – That’s
  9. B’cs – Because
  10. Aka – Also known as
  11. Asap – As soon as possible

There should be a minimum 6 abbreviations in your note.

Common Mistakes that Cuts your Score

  • You did not attempt to understand the extract. Lost 1 mark.
  • You did not divide the extract in terms of the aspects discussed. Lost 1 mark.
  • Probably you did not discard an unimportant aspect from the notes. Lost 1 mark.
  • You did not draw the vertical lines or you did not observe perfection. Lost 1 mark.
  • Your abbreviations were either not brief or they were not relevant. Lost 1 mark
  • While making the summary, you wrote so much that it exceeded the limits. Lost 1 mark.

Common Problems and Solutions

  1. The content is very long – Don’t worry, 60% of it is unnecessary.
  2. Words are very tough – Just ignore them.
  3. Sentences are very long – Do not consider the supplementary sentence between two commas.
    Example – The Neolithic men, however, if you consider their tools, not considering their sharpness, were thus more advanced than the paleolithic.
  4. I find too many facts that seem to be important – They seem to be, but not really.

Text-related Notes

Title – Lost Spring


  1. Seemapuri
    1. Once a wilderness
    2. Now stinking lanes
    3. Dest. of Banglas.
    4. No address but food
    5. Rag-picking
      1. The only prof.
      2. A means of surv. for elders
      3. Treasure hunt for children
      4. Wear no slippers, Poverty
    6. Saheb-e-Alam
      1. An RP, teen.
      2. Wears shoes
      3. Welcomes edu.
      4. Ready to change prof.
  2. Firozabad
    1. Bangle-Making
      1. Traditional prof.
      2. Stigma of Rel.
      3. Fooled by middle-men, polt. & poli.
      4. No daring
    2. Mukesh
      1. Wants to become mech.
      2. Determined
      3. Challenging
    3. Savita
      1. Suhag – Irony
      2. Victim of  super..
      3. Believes trads.
      4. Wears bangs., makes bangs., no light

Keys to Abbreviation

  • Dest – Destination
  • Banglas – Bangladesis
  • Prof – Profession
  • Surv – Survival
  • Emp – Employee


Seemapuri and Firozabad are two backward towns of India. People in Seemapuri generally did rag picking while those in Firozabad were bangle-makers. Superstitions, religions, politicians, rich merchants, middlemen and even policemen force these people, young and old, remain in their traditional profession. It is a relief to see that the new generation of men and women like Mukesh and Saheb are ready to change their profession for better future.

Elementary School Classroom in a Slum


  1. Life in Slum
    1. Far from seas & rivers
    2. Far from education
  2. Life in Classroom
    1. Class room
    2. Unlit
    3. Windows closed
    4. Sour cream walls
    5. Donations
      1. SKPR’s bust
        1. Children hate Skpr
        2. SKPR tempt them to steal
      2. Tyrolese Valley
        1. Children hate TV
        2. RSN – their valleys are dirty
      3. Open handed map
        1. Children hate Map
        2. RSN – Map allot partially
        3. Rich places for rich ppl
        4. Poor places for slum ppl
      4. Scene of Sun rise
        1. Children hate sunrise
        2. RSN – They never have sunrise
      5. Tall buildings
        1. Children feel jealous of the TBs
    6. Children
      1. Tall girl
        1. Weighed down head
      2. Stunted boy
        1. Twisted bones
        2. Unlucky
      3. Paper seeming boy
        1. Rat’s eyes
      4. Sweet and Young boy
        1. Lives in dream
        2. Playing squirrel games
    7. Life in Slum Huts
      1. Cramped holes
      2. Dark
    8. Children’s apprns.
      1. Slag heaps
      2. Bony
      3. Little clothed
      4. Wearing broken glasses
    9. Poet’s appeal
      1. Break this school
      2. Reason
        1. It will breed anti socials
        2. They will break the towns
        3. Take the children out to frdm
      3. Show them real world
      4. Teach them from nature
      5. Teach them language of Sun

Keys to Abbreviations

  • SKPR – Shakespeare
  • TV – Tyrolese Valley
  • TB – Tall Buildings
  • PPL – People
  • Frdm – Freedom
  • Aprns – Appearance

Title – The Ailing Planet


  1. The Green Mov
    1. Sus. Dev.
      1. Dev. that doesn’t harm the resources
      2. Dev. that hamper the needs of the > generations
    2. A new awareness
      1. We are not the owners of this planet
      2. Forest precede mankind; deserts follow
      3. We borrowed earth from our children
  2. The Most Dang. Animal
    1. We have:
      1. Decimated forests
        1. Forests – Power house of Evo.
        2. Provides
          1. Raw materials
          2. Timber
          3. Firewood
      2. Over exploited fisheries
      3. Polluted air
    2. We have to:
      1. Respect the earth
      2. Ctrl. pop.
      3. Safeguard the earth
      4. Leave the planet a better place for > Gens
  3. Pop – Threat to our Survival
    1. 1 million years : 1 billion people
    2. 1800 – 1900 : 2 billion people
    3. 1900 – 2000 : 5.7 billion
    4. 2000 – 2014 : 6 billion

Keys to Abbr

  1. Mov – Movement
  2. Dev – Development
  3. > – Future
  4. Dang – Dangerous
  5. Ctrl – Control
  6. Pop – Population
  7. Gens – Generations


The planet earth had been here for millions of years, with its forests, grasslands, croplands, fisheries and natural resources. With the coming of the human beings, the peaceful earth witnessed an end number of changes. Over population has forced us to decimate all forests, tap all the petroleum, pollute the air, over exploit the marine life and transform the green world into barren deserts. Hopefully enough, the twentieth century witnessed a great transition of our attitude – we have realized that we are not the rulers of this planet; we are partners in survival. The earth is a dying planet so it is our duty to save it from its slow death. The best initiative anyone can take is control population because population the mother of all evils.

Let’s Attempt This

The following is part of an essay/article. Let’s apply our rules and instructions and prepare notes with abbreviations and summary. Remember, this is a short article.

Step One – Read
  • Read carefully
  • Underline key terms/words/phrases
  • Ignore long, unimportant and difficult words and examples

There is a very significant problem concerning the Indian society for which someone has to find a solution immediately. While millions of parents are worried about the future of their daughters at an age that blindly adapts to the Western culture, millions of parents of the cities find nothing wrong with it.

The growing concern is if it is desirable our youth look like, speak like and behave like our American brothers and sisters. America is a glowing culture made collectively by native Americans, Europeans and Africans. Its culture is much more open than the culture of Asia, especially of India. In America, people are naturals inside and outside but Indians prefer to be naturals only inside. The Great American culture doesn’t hide anything from the society so, many things considered ‘taboo’ in India are quite child’s play in America – Europe no exception.

Step Two – Divide

What is the article about?

  • Changing trend in India
    • Indian parents accepting western culture for their children
    • Indian parents not ready to accept western culture for their children
  • Difference between Indian and Western culture
    • Indian – Not very open
    • Western – Open
Step Three – Prepare Notes

We are now going to prepare the final notes with abbreviations and a short summary. Remove as many words from the second step. Remember shortening long words.

Solved Answer

Title : Western Culture in India


  1. Changing trend in India
    • Ind parents
      • Accept WC
      • Not accept WC
    • Diff bet Ind and WC
      • Indian – Not very open
      • Western – Open

Keys to Abbreviation

  • Ind – Indian
  • WC – Western Culture
  • Difference
  • Bet – Between

Summary : There is a lot of difference between Indian and Western cultures. While the two are almost the same at heart, Indians do not live the Western culture outside. However, there is a change these days. Many Indian parents let their children, especially girls, adapt to the Western lifestyle although there is a growing concern about it.

Question for Practice

Passage 1

One of the prime advantages of owning a good website is the big money it can generate. Believe me, there are so many people who become very rich with a website that they own.

Google Adsense is the number one ad network. All you have to do is to have a good website, get a good traffic like 1000 visitors per day, apply to Google and get approved. Once you are approved by Google, you can create ads and place codes on your site. It is very simple. It is very easy. For any solution, just Google and watch videos. The internet is really full of information.

When your website becomes more popular, say, 10000 visitors per day, people will approach you with their ads. You can display their advertisements on the top or on the sides of your site and charge them for a month or for a year. That’s really big money.

Okay. Now, how to choose a niche for my site? A niche tells search engines (Google) and advertisers (Adsense) what your site is all about. Choosing a niche or genre or subject or theme is very important. Stick to just one because advertisers can see your presence. If you have a number of niches, like education, movies, property, business, loans, law, marriage, dating, etc. all thrown together, advertisers will not be able to see you. Which are the best niches? It is a little hard to decide that. Use your brain and calculate this way: What do people search on the site? How can I make them stay on the site for longer so that their focus will fall on the advertisements. How can I make them addicted to my site?

Now you should know about hosting. Hosting means you need a computer that will stay awake 24×365 days of the year! You will begin with a shared hosting. A shared hosting means you are sharing a super server with hundreds or thousands of websites. The only trouble is shared hosting is pretty slower than dedicated servers. In terms of cost, a shared hosting is very cheap. Well, let’s think of dedicated hosting at an advanced point of time. There are number of hosting available. Among them netmagic, bluehost, eworld, etc. are really cool. They give us the best services and timely response.

Next Level is analyzing your site’s growth. Using Google Analytics, you can see how many pages of your site are being views, how many visitors are online, where are they from, what are they searching for, etc. Based on this analytics report you can add or remove pages in tune with your viewers’ interest.

Next level is to get connected to adsense. Don’t you want income? If you have some 1000 visitors per day or 3000 page views, you will get approved by Google’s Adsense. In many cases, you can get approval earlier! Once you have been approved, proceed to the adsense login page and sign in with your email account associated with your adsense account. On the top of that page you can locate “my ads.”

Click this and make as many ad units you want. Be careful not to create too many. For best results, create responsive ad units so that ads will automatically change size when your pages are viewed on smaller devices like mobile phones or tabs. Now the last step is to copy the code from the ad unit and paste it in your pages. You will get to know how and where to paste your pages.


  1. Prepare a precise and comprehensive note for the article by splitting the relevant information into two or three segments.
  2. Use at least 6 short abbreviations.
  3. Prepare a key to abbreviations.
  4. Prepare a summary in not more than 80 words.
Question for Practice 2

If you are not mistaken, you are writing the first paper of your class 12 Board exams at present. From this line onward you will be reading questions after questions that will test your reading, comprehending, writing and grammar skills although there are no grammar related questions for CBSE Core students. These questions are very important for you because their answers will define you in the coming years in your academic time line and career. 3 hours that will now pass like three minutes. Feeling a little worried? Please relax and feel your pulses. Very high? Thank God for the pulse being active and let’s begin the exam.

Now you have more than 3 hours still left owing to the additional 15 minutes prepended since 2009 for reading passages. However, you are not going to spend your bonus 15 minutes reading because the reading passages MAY put your confidence down and turn your excitement off. So, are we going to take a u turn and attempt the reading section at the end? Perfectly said. We will be following a C B A pattern, that’s, Literature first, Writing second and Reading last. Let’s be ready.

Moving to the writing section, the first is a 4 marker advertisement or invitation combo out of which only one needs be done. It is always like this although in the past notice writing was inseparable from the writing section. Make sure that you choose advertisement over invitation or notice over poster because of the simplicity of advertisement and notice. If you can help, avoid poster and display ads as they require you to dedicate more time than the others. Then there are the six six markers – formal letters of various kinds such as letter of inquiry, reply to inquiry, placing order, cancelling an order, complaint letter and job application letter. Again, let’s not welcome thee job application as it takes more than 15 minutes in the least whereas letter placing order takes 5 minutes to complete. However, if you are a fast writer, you could sing a song with job application letters. That done, we have to deal with a few big guns – article, speech and debate. While speech weighs heavier than debate, article goes without a choice. Remember, a speech is a spicy article with as many as 10 questions and addressing the audience in person. Well, your audience is your teacher!

The final stage is literature section. You well know that there are answers that carry 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6 marks. There is nothing like word limit but there is line limit. For 1 marker questions you need to write in just 20 words or two lines. For questions that carry 2 marks, write as many as 5 lines. Simply put, multiply the mark with 2 to get the line limit. It is baseless that teachers deduct your marks if words happen to exceed or otherwise.

Another dear advise for most of you who think ‘checkers do not read the whole paper word by word’ is that it is not so. They, unfortunately, do read, especially if your presentation is eye catching. This might make you think of leaving your paper in a mess but that applies only to those who expect or need marks in 60s or less. If your handwriting is bad, say, the human teacher who will be so unfortunate to check your paper will get bored, angry and sometimes mad. He or she will not spend an hour checking your paper. All that such teachers often do is weigh the paper and mark you down by a multiplication called number of pages multiplied by the face value of the paper. The multiplied value in this case is never more than 70. If you are happy with such a low mark, there is no action required. So, keep in mind all that has been said about your exam. Now, pick your pen – the blue for writing and the black for drawing – and start with a prayer to the God’s above. If someone is reachable, you will be lucky.


  1. Prepare a precise and comprehensive note for the article by splitting the relevant information into two or three segments.
  2. Use at least 6 short abbreviations.
  3. Leave a key to abbreviations.
  4. Prepare a summary in not more than 80 words.
Question for Practice 3

Being in the business of fashion, one is aware of the unethical labor-practices being followed and the hazardous waste-products being dumped on land and in water in order to produce low cost products. Sadly, corporate social responsibility is being neglected. Our environment is getting destroyed, resulting in rampant global warming. Our skilled workers are ignored on one side while they are losing their jobs on the other.

It is quite sad that the streaks and lines handmade by our skilled artisans are now done by the tongs of a machine at the speed of lightning. In the fast paced world, art of heart finds no place and demand. In order to earn a living, our traditional artists let go of their skills and take up menial jobs resulting in the death of art and culture.

The prime concern of governments should be a beautiful and safe environment alongside taking care of economical-empowerment of the skilled artisans. If India’s heart lies in the villages, as long as India’s identity is colored by traditional art and crafts, it is evident that a new concept of fashionista – renewable luxury – should be the word of the century. Fashion @ cost of Zero means updating and excelling India’s fashion sector – from earring to wearing. India has to mind the gap – the gap created between purely traditional and purely alien.

It is the duty of government and individual to find ways and means to promote environmental-friendly manufactured products by following waste management practices. Governments should, by all means, focus on renewing the community through local employment and providing villages with means of sustenance, promoting the art and cultural heritage of a country and save it from an untimely end.

With the help of qualitative methods, one can find out the factors that would affect the branding of a sustainable luxury product side by side with street brands. With skilled questioning, it can be found out how handloom products can be introduced and sustained in the market. This methodology aims to eliminate any kind of coercion, whatever of its kinds, upon the free thinking fashion-makers and blenders. It goes without saying that India’s traditional fashion concepts need to be rendered new with that sort of blending where nothing is lost but much is added to the past’s sheen.


  1. Prepare a precise and comprehensive note for the article by splitting the relevant information into two or three segments.
  2. Use at least 6 short abbreviations.
  3. Leave a key to abbreviations.
  4. Prepare a summary in not more than 80 words.

Biju John

Love for English begins with understanding its unknown rules. Biju John lives on the internet, teaching OET, IELTS and PTE. More than a million students have thanked him from their heart.

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