Meet The New, Smarter Columns

Throughout my time at UC Berkeley, I’ve met some of the fastest-talking professors to ever live. Everything they say comes out so eloquently, as if they are writing a chapter of their next textbook while lecturing to the bewildered and intimidated students who sit in front of them. I’ve also had professors who treat the classroom as their stage and practically perform a theater play for the class as they move back and forth with animated expressions and a dominating presence. No matter what type of professor I’ve had, I’ve still struggled to take notes in the most effective way I could. Now that I’ve finally figured it out, I thought I’d share some of my tips with you so we can all receive “gold stars” throughout the semester on quizzes and exams.

At the start of every class, I open up a blank document on my laptop or turn to a fresh page in my notebook and write down only the important things I hear. I realized that when I tried to write down what the professor says verbatim, I either miss their main point or never process what they actually said because I’m too focused on writing everything out perfectly. Now, I only fill up around a page for each class. I circle key terms and include a few words to summarize the professor’s explanation, along with a sentence that contains an example.

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But here’s the trick: I go back and reread my notes after class. After lecture is over, I go up to the top of the page. Now that I’m not distracted by trying to listen to what the professor is saying next, I write down everything I can remember to fill in the blanks and add meat to all the keywords and examples I had written down. If you do this right after class or even later that day, the knowledge will be fresh in your head, and as you look at a word, it will trigger you to remember everything else the teacher said about it. Essentially, what you are doing is going over the material twice, helping your brain process what you’ve been taught and taking away all the key points the professor mentioned so you’re ready for the exam when it comes around. I know — it sounds too good to be true.

For me, class is about listening and absorbing the material. If class for you is about writing down things as fast as you can, telling yourself that you are going to go back after class to understand the material … more often than not, you never go back because everything has been “written down” already and you think you can try to figure it out when the exam comes around. That method doesn’t work for me, and I’ve realized that listening and watching the professor speak allows me to keep the information in my head.

Another reason I encourage others to take notes in this way is that if you find that you missed something during lecture, you now have the chance to go to office hours, bond with your professor and stay on top of any concepts you may be struggling to grasp. Professors hold office hours for a reason, and they would much rather meet you than sit in an empty Zoom room for an hour.

To really go the extra mile with this strategy, motivate yourself to use your Saturday mornings wisely! Every Saturday, I spend two hours transferring all the key terms I learned that week from each of my classes onto blank “study guides.” By doing this every Saturday morning, I end up with a concise study guide all ready to go when it’s time to study for the exam. In doing so, I’m going over the material for the third time before the exam is anywhere in sight! Who wouldn’t want all their key terms, concepts and equations already on one document for each of their courses?

With everything online again this semester, it’s important to change the pace and try different things that might just end up working perfectly for you. I understand it might be scary to move away from your tried-and-true note-taking strategy, but with so many things our lives looking the same day after day, maybe some spice is exactly what you need. So next time you’re in class, I encourage you to try this method!

Contact Natalia Brusco at [email protected].

(Written by Amitesh Bharat Singh)

Gauging the impact of the COVID-19pandemic is still an evolving exercise, but without a doubt, its fallout has been negative and widespread across the globe. Challenges arose in the form of export prohibitions and restrictions, which some countries introduced to mitigate critical shortages of medicines and equipment.

In April, the WTO expressed a deep concern over this unsettling trend given that all countries would depend on global supply chains to source critical products to meet the public health challenge. The demand for medical products as well as the disruptions to international transport were also at their peak at the time.

Amidst all this, India has evinced a clear ability to repurpose resources to meet the challenges thrown up — be it in automobile manufacturers making ventilators or in the quick scaling up of production of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) to now become one of the largest producers of PPE kits. Indian pharmaceutical companies are active partners in working to supply the world with an effective vaccine against the virus; startups are looking to pivot into the healthcare and ed-tech sectors; e-tailing has gone hyper-local in food delivery; new stores for essentials have been created and so on.

In terms of policy, Make in India now has a new overlay and enrichment in the form of the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan. Self-reliance, going by the experience of today, is a reasonable and prudent aspiration to have. A notable component in Atmanirbhar Bharat is the determination to strengthen the supply chain to increase as well as fulfil demand. This objective is coextensive with the proposition that the revamped Section 65 scheme of the Customs Act – that of “Manufacture and Other Operations” in a warehouse — promises to deliver. The professed intention of the revamped scheme is to support Make in India. A warehouse under the scheme is also a manufacturing facility.

An entity operating under this scheme can import both raw materials and capital equipment into the bonded Customs Warehouse. Import duties leviable stand deferred at the point goods are entered into the warehouse. The warehoused goods can be used to make both export and home market supplies. There are no fixed export obligations nor any conditions towards a net foreign exchange realisation.


When the resultant output is cleared to the home market, the deferred customs duties (including the IGST component) need to be paid in proportion to amount of warehoused goods used up in making this supply. If the resultant goods or the warehoused goods are exported, then the deferred duties on them stand waived. There is no duty payment on capital goods till the time they remain in the warehouse.

Meet The New, Smarter Columns

Domestic raw materials and capital goods, too, can be procured as normal supplies and used in the warehouse. The entities can also engage a job worker to have better production efficiencies. The application process is simple and online. The system is premised on a digital record-based controls as far as compliance is concerned. All benefits available under GST laws are also available to such an entity, including seeking export refunds. They can be located anywhere in the country and not necessarily in demarcated zones.

The scheme is particularly suitable with those entities with large import volumes — savings are in terms of working capital requirements, a better managed supply chain procuring optimum amounts at a time when prices are right.

The scheme under Section 65 has good parallels elsewhere in the world. Heroes act 2020 updates hazard pay. In the Indian context, the added attractions are of a large market, the stability of India’s democratic institutions, cost-efficient manpower and the large number of India’s FTAs. The new Production Linked Incentive (PLI) schemes announced for the electronics manufacturing and pharmaceuticals sectors can also be usefully combined with the Section 65 scheme for added benefits. The scheme thus has a wider locus of interest in supporting manufacture, and growth in employment and incomes rather than an overwhelming concern with promoting exports alone.

Customs warehouses have been around for more than 300 years. On their own, they allow for a substantial operational flexibility in the supply chains. Newer technologies in the sphere of supply chain management make for more efficient processes and functioning. The potential customers also get a deeper view of what is available, including empty shelves. Shifting customer priorities and increased expectations translate a product unavailability either into a lost business or deficient service in case of a needless downtime waiting for spares. The continuing growth of the rural areas and smaller cities worldwide indicates a new megatrend that encourages using the possibilities of a well-located warehouse to cater to hitherto unserved areas; and of producing closer to the market.

Meet The New, Smarter Columns

As a recommendation, it may well make a good strategy for both existing as well as new businesses to explore and leverage the intrinsic advantages of the Section 65 scheme to gain in both productivity and competitiveness.

Meet The New Smarter Columns 2020

The writer is additional director-general DGTS-CBIS. Views expressed are personal