After going through the comprehensive civil services exam syllabus, most aspirants feel that that it cannot be cleared in the first attempt. Undoubtedly, the syllabus is huge, but you need to remind yourself that in principle you are not starting afresh and you already have a fair idea of many concepts.
You can kick off your preparation by brushing up that knowledge. You may also divide the whole syllabus into different sections according to your strengths and weaknesses which will help you map out your study plan.
Divide and conquer
You can put to use a simple yet effective time management technique: Set about doing a big task by dividing it into smaller ones and accomplish the important ones first. If you employ this technique, conquering the UPSC exam in the first attempt will be easier.
Drawing out a timetable and adhering to it is a prerequisite for getting through the exam. Your timetable should clearly depict how much time you have allocated for different topics.
Discussion is an important tool that can clear the lingering doubts in your mind. IAS toppers recommend discussing all the developments that take place in India or have an impact on the country’s populace.
This will give you an edge over your opponents not only in prelims and mains exams, but in the interview as well.
Mock tests
It is important to solve mock test papers for both preliminary as well as the main exam. This will help you track your progress and focus on the areas you need to strengthen.
It will also boost your motivation. Studying the syllabus and gaining knowledge is important, but, eventually, what counts is how well you write the exam. How you put your writing skills to use in the three hours is what makes one a topper and another a failure.
Hence, regular practice of essay/answer writing is important. Evaluate yourself before the UPSC evaluates you.
Plan your studies in such a way that you have enough time for a minimum of two revisions. It is recommended that a week before the exam, general studies as well as the CSAT syllabus be reviewed twice.
In the UPSC exam, many questions come directly from newspapers. A better understanding of how to read a newspaper and what to read and what not to read can guide you towards success.
Another effective method of preparation is to frame your own questions. You can keep a separate notebook for the current affairs section and continuously update it with recent developments in the fields of economy, art, polity and social sector initiatives.
This notebook will be your passport to success.
Plan and execute
Good planning is the stepping stone to success and effective execution is the next step. You should carefully assess your plans and make necessary amendments wherever required. Proper planning gives direction to your preparation. So, if you are aiming at cracking the civil services exam in the first attempt, be a good planner.
Sound health is a prerequisite for cracking the exam. In general, most of the students prefer late night studies but it might affect one’s health adversely. Having rich and nutritious diet saves you from fatigue, stress and other health ailments.
Similarly, there cannot be a substitute to good sleep. If your mind and body are not rested properly, you will not be able to give an optimal performance.
The writer is director, Chanakya IAS Academy.
Good planning is the stepping stone to success and effective execution is the
next step