Since a candidate is permitted only 6 attempts at the examination, all candidates want to clear the examination in their first attempt. Clearing the Civil Services preliminary exam is not very difficult if you plan it well. You need an organized plan and a complete understanding of the syllabus to hit the bull’s eye in the very first attempt.
The Union Public Service Commission Civil Services exam has three stages. The first stage, Prelims, is objective in nature. The second stage, Mains, is a written examination and the third and final stage is the interview which is a verbal evaluation process.
The prelims stage is the most unique one in nature. Every aspirant irrespective of his/her level of preparation appears for this stage. Aspirants who have failed in any subsequent stages also start from here. Hence, the preliminary stage demands a different approach due to the sheer competition faced by aspirants. Failure in this stage can lead to jeopardising the entire preparation strategy.
Here are 10 things aspirants always miss before attempting the UPSC/IAS Exams –
- Study as per the syllabus – Candidates who are going to appear for the Civil Services examination should have a complete understanding of the UPSC syllabus. The syllabus should be covered comprehensively. No portion under any circumstance should be left for granted, irrespective of the past trends. UPSC can tilt towards any part of the portion from the massive syllabus and hence it’s advisable to be on the safer side. In the 2020 UPSC paper, the focus on Ancient India was more than usual and this took many students by surprise. Covering the entire portion will always benefit you and give you the confidence that you require.
- Adequate revision– The syllabus given by the UPSC is quite massive and scattered. More than coverage, it’s necessary to consolidate the entire material in the correct way. Hence, you should ensure that your revision is both reasonable and time-bound. A fine balance is demanded in the coverage of the syllabus and revision of the covered portion to excel in the exam. The syllabus should be properly scanned, comprehended, and prioritized. Your revision also depends on your strengths and weaknesses. Focus more on your weak subjects. The portion of the syllabus which is more data and fact-oriented should be revised multiple times before attempting the exam. These portions can be left for final time revision to keep it in fresh memory.
- Attempting mock tests – After covering a substantial portion of the syllabus, a decent number of mock tests must be attempted by the aspirants. The number of mocks should be reasonable. Too many tests would lead to draining your precious energy and too few in numbers would leave you unprepared and underconfident. Mocks should be given in an exam type of environment only. Joining just a single Standard Test Series would be the ideal choice. Post Test analysis is a necessary exercise. High performance should not bring elation and poor performance should not bring disappointment. Your goal should always be to improve yourself. By solving the previous year’s question papers candidates not only comprehend the level of the examination but also learn how they must manage the time in the examination hall. It also gives them a clear idea as to which section they must attempt first.
- No new chapters a month before the exam – Candidates must avoid exploring new portions or topics before one month. The last month before prelims should not be given to cover any new chapters or study materials unless it’s extremely and exceptionally important. The month should be kept exclusively for revision. If a candidate studies a new part, they are most likely to not remember it completely. It will also be a burden on the other chapters they have revised. Mains can be taken along with Prelims but a proportion of time should be justified.
- Focusing on Current Affairs – Current affairs is the most indefinite part of prelims. However, non-orientation preparation can lead to destruction of the entire purpose of Current Affairs. So, it’s essential to carve and confine the boundaries. All candidates are advised to read at least one or two good newspapers on a daily basis. They must also browse through important news and feature websites at least once or twice in the day. Reading current affair magazines will keep you updated. There are various online applications and websites available through which you can play a current affairs quiz. These habits will not only enhance your general knowledge but also improve your English language skills and vocabulary. Joining an exclusive current affairs course is a great idea but too much dependency can be an unnecessary exercise. Excessive diversity in study materials will mess up your entire preparation and will bring you anxiety and stress during the last phase of preparation.
- Clear your Basics – Aspirants need to focus on strengthening the basic knowledge that then just and understanding the entire subject. This will also help them in the future in their interview round. For this they know various sources of information but they should not get confused by referring to too many books.
- Take CSAT seriously – The CSAT should be taken very seriously by all candidates. Civil Services Aptitude Test, refers to the compulsory part of Civil Services Examination that acts as a screening test to Civil Services Main examination. It is conducted annually by the Union Public Service Commission of India. Taking it lightly can take a big toll on your entire preparation. The people who are complete novices to CSAT should place it at par with General Studies. The same applies to the aspirants who are at a comparatively advanced stage, they too should take it seriously. At Least the previous years question papers should be solved.
- Going through previous papers – All aspirants must practice the previous year question papers. Past year papers act like a radar of preparation which provides direction and orientation to your preparation. Pat papers not only enhance your existing knowledge base but also help you in forming your mental outlook. This increases your common sense as well as helps you in eliminating options. Solving previous papers helps you assess yourself. They help you understand how much time is to be spent on each question, what the format of the paper is, what common questions are asked frequently and which areas of the portion you need to pay more attention to. They also help you gain confidence.
- Proper notes – A candidate must make proper notes for all the subjects. The syllabus of UPSC cannot be covered with quality without making proper notes. Notes should be made in an effective format so that it becomes easier for the aspirants to memorize and reproduce. They should not be too bulky and hence the purpose of notes should always be kept in mind. One should only refer to a single source of notes, reading multiple will be a strain on your preparation. You should make them in the most optimum way that suits your needs. Notes also help speed up the process of revision.
- Adequate sleep – Never underestimate the power of good sleep. All aspirants should note that sleep deprivation will take you nowhere, so, sleep well on the eve of the examination and don’t go through any books.
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