Union Public Services Commission conducts examination for recruitment of the Central Services and All India Services. Preparing for the civil services examination is challenging but at the same time is a deeply enriching experience.
Tips to Prepare for UPSC Exam
Though it is regarded as one of the toughest examinations, with the right approach and strategy, it can be cracked in the very first attempt. If you are a beginner and are looking for some tips and tricks to ace the prestigious IAS exam, here are a few:
#1: Know the exam dates
Civil services examination is held once in a year and the UPSC notification was out in the month of February. Keep a track of the registration and exam dates. A missed date could cost you one precious year of your life.
#2: Keep yourself motivated
Civil services Exam is spread over one year with three different levels of examination, each to be approached differently. It requires prior preparation with dedication and seriousness. The only thing that can keep you going despite the long process is “MOTIVATION”. Getting into the services is not an end in itself; it is a means to serve the nation and your society. Having a strong driving force and a reason to crack the examination will make it easier to survive through the long process. As the saying goes “Motivation doesn’t last, neither does bathing.” It is important not to give up but to motivate yourself constantly.
#3: Know the syllabus
The syllabus for civil services Preliminary and Mains examination can be found on the UPSC website. Before you start your preparation, you must go through the whole syllabus thoroughly. The syllabus is indicative and not exhaustive. It is important to keep your preparation well within the boundaries of the syllabus to avoid wasting time on irrelevant topics.
#4: Prioritise your time
The UPSC syllabus is vast and comprehensive and hence it is important for you to prioritise your time in such a manner that you turn your weak points into strengths. Don’t be overwhelmed by the syllabus. Cover the 4 core subjects i.e. Polity, Economy, History and Geography thoroughly and build on it according to the current happenings. Allocating a good chunk of your time for optional subject preparation is also essential as it can decide your ranking in the final list.
#5: Choose the Optional subject wisely
UPSC mains exam comprises of 9 papers of 250 marks each, of which 2 papers are of the optional subject you choose. Therefore, it is important to choose the optional paper wisely. Make sure you choose the subject as per your interest. Also consider various factors such as the availability of materials, coaching institutes, vastness of the syllabus, your time availability etc.
#6: Have your own book list
There is a huge ocean of materials available in the market that can help you in your preparation. But it is essential to choose the right set of books as per your comfort level with the subjects and follow the same throughout your preparations. Revising from the same book over and over again will prove to be more beneficial than reading the same topic from multiple books.
# 7: Current affairs Preparation
Lately, UPSC questions are mostly current affairs based. UPSC exam preparation is incomplete without newspaper reading. Reading the newspaper is a must. Choose a newspaper of your choice and read it thoroughly every single day. It is advisable to make notes from the newspaper as it becomes easy to revise right before the exams.
# 8: Online preparation
Many online platforms provide assistance for UPSC preparations. Their daily news analysis, gist of issues in news, current affairs quiz can prove to be beneficial if followed wisely. Follow one or two websites for your UPSC online preparation and do not spend most of your time jumping from one website to another. Remember, the plan is to derive quality information in lesser time. You could also top up your current affairs preparation by watching the Rajya Sabha TV debates, following various ministry websites, reading from the Public Information Bureau website and other such reliable sources.
#9: Test yourself regularly
The importance of practice cannot be emphasised enough. To test if your preparation is going to yield results, you need to give mock tests. Make sure that the mock tests you take are from reputed institutes because, here, quality of questions matter more than the number of questions you solve. Time management is another aspect you learn when you give mock tests.
#10: Answer writing practice
Do not wait for the Prelims results to start answer writing practice. Though the approach to Preliminary examination and Mains examination are different, one has to integrate Prelims and Mains preparation. Start practising to write good quality answers in a time bound manner. This practice will make answer writing at the time of Mains exam seem like a cake walk.
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