With the Civil Services Exam scheduled to be on June 3rd, this year, the aspiring candidates are in a frenzy of last-minute preparation. Indeed, the UPSC 2018 answer key conducted by the Union Public Service Commission is one of the toughest competitive examinations held across the country. With more than 7 lakh candidates in 2018, chances of making it through are slim. The percentage of people getting through in the first attempt is even lesser. It is pivotal therefore that any individual opting to take the Civil services exam goes about his preparation in a smart, methodical way.
Clearing the UPSC exam in the first attempt may be rare, but it is not unheard of. If you read topper interviews, and even interviewswith people who made it in the second or third attempts, you will find that they agree on poor planning to be a major reason for failure. This poor planning manifests on multiple levels in the preparation process. Here are some essential points on how to study smart and fare better in the exam that will decide what route your future will be taking:
- Previous years’ questions
The UPSC exam has a specific question pattern that can be explained generally, but in order tounderstand the trend, you will need to familiarise yourself with the question papers from previous years. Answer keys are available on the UPSC official website itself. The questions give you valuable insight on how to tackle each topic in your syllabus,andyou can go about your preparations accordingly. The papers can also shed light on which topics are more scoring than others, helping youprioritize your study plan.
You can study as much or as little as you want, but what will matter at the end of the day, is how much knowledge you can retain and apply when you are at the venue answering said exam. Going through the topics once is not advisable, just as merely mugging up will lead you nowhere. Revision is an importantpractice that will allow you to go through everything you have studied and store it in your brain and use this knowledge when necessary. While revising, you can tally everything that you have studied, which also helps you process through the overload of information that preparing for the CSE generally entails.
- Writing practice
Something that most candidates ignore is the practice of writing the exam. While reading and studying can help you absorb facts, revision helps youprocess, and writing shows you how much of the amount of knowledge you have taken in is actually ready for use. In addition, the daily practice of putting a pen on paper significantly enhances your thinking process while writing. This makes sure that you can complete your paper in time. Writing ceases to be a hindrance if you put in daily practice.
- Time management
Time management is an important issue, both in the months spent preparing for the exam and in the hour of the examination. In order to be effective, a methodical approach in your preparation is necessary. This can be achieved by setting short-term goals, targeting to complete a number of topics in a setperiod of time, and testing yourself on those topics. A definite study plan is essential to make it through the preparatory process, prioritized and with due focus to the time factor. Another important aspect of time management is how you do it in the examination hall. Make sure to have an objective approach so that completion of your paper is not in question.
- Legitimate source materials
Any individual willing to sit for the IAS exam must make sure to get his or her hand on legitimate books and sources of study. Every day there are books launched in the market with tags about how every aspiring candidate must own a copy in order to make it. Opt for officially prescribed books and don’t fall for such traps. Choose your resource material wisely and prepare well
- Online sources
In the age of the internet, it is no longer acceptable to merely bank on the conventional offline source material. There are many online portals with great study apps to help with your preparation. You can test yourself on a number of there platforms as well to know where you stand. Online sources are also handy in keeping track of current affairs in the country which is a big part of the UPSC examination.
Make sure you keep all these points in mind as you proceed with your studies. It is also important to stay healthy and physically fit, and maintain a positive attitude through the UPSC examination.