The UPSC exam is a centralized exam conducted to recruit young people to most of the elite governmental positions in our country. It is one of the most sought after competitive exams in the country. Numerous coaching centers, materials, online data, researched topics, etc is available to help aspiring students. Self-motivation is the biggest key factor to help students achieve their dreams. Here, we list out a few important pointers that help students prepare and crack the exam in the very first attempt:
- Effective and strategic time table.
Organizing our study approach is the first step towards climbing the ladder of success. Knowing what to study and preparing a study time table to systematically complete the syllabus in time is very essential. The syllabus is usually not restricted for the exam and the more we learn, the better we are equipped to crack the exam. Along with the set study material for reference, it is also good to keep a separate time allocation to refer to at least two national daily newspapers. Along with keeping abreast with the current affairs, one also gets in a rich source of knowledge through the papers. Vocabulary can also be improved simultaneously.
2. Analyzing the most relevant and must-have study materials.
If you search online for the syllabus to be referred to crack the exam, you will realize it’s an ocean of material available. You will have to absorb every small detail you find in any corner of a useful book. So, basically there are all chances you will lose track in the absence of suitable directions. So, go step by step. Explore what you will need for the preliminary and the main exam separately. Look inside the preliminary and the main exam separately, see what sections you need to study up! Take each section in detail. It’s good to make a list of all relevant sub-sections in the exam paper, based on which it will become easy for you to find a relevant and associated syllabus.
3. Peer discussion and collaborating with people who have cracked the exam previously.
Discuss ideas with other students who are also appearing for the exam, network extensively. The peer group members can meet once in a week to discuss important topics of study and exchange helpful information. This way, you will get a better idea of the exam and get an even higher foothold of what your target should be in the exam.
Another important point is to have regular follow ups with peers who have previously cracked the exam successfully. Learn how to maintain a strict time tab in the exam. It’s very easy to let our mind get entangled in finding a solution for a particular question and find less time for other questions. Basically, time management is a trick you can learn from peers who have solved the exam successfully in a previous attempt.
4. Developing your own unique method of creating notes.
Whether you made your own notes while completing your degrees or not doesn’t matter! Make sure you prepare an organized set of notes for your UPSC exam preparation. It will reward you very well. For quick glances during short breaks and an important task of revision is made easy, thanks to the notes you created. Keep your notes organized and as a good reference to look up to. Write down important points. Highlight key facts and remember to underline critical points under any aspect.
5. Revising frequently and making sticky notes for visual grasping.
Revision is an important part of studying! Do not underestimate the importance of revision in your preparation. It acts like a taste maker in your preparation. The more you revise from time to time; the better is your knowledge about the topic. When you have time for short breaks in between, take some effort to quickly glance through previously studied sections. Just visually glancing over already-studied parts will help in better interpretation of the concept.
It is important to have clarity in your understanding and learning. What you find tough to remember can be written on a sticky note and placed at a place that you will often look up. For example, you can make a chart of all the important dates you need to remember in a subject like history and hang it on your room wall. This way your visual senses will keep looking at the chart, making your learn it faster.
6. Organizing mock tests yourself with a strict time-line.
Test yourself from time to time. Self assessment is helpful in making you analyze your strong and weak points. You will learn time management too. You can better your problem solving skills and work at analyzing core concepts and applying them while solving problems. You will also learn about variety in the exam paper and anticipate the type of questions that may be asked. You will get acquainted with the paper pattern and have a brief idea about how much time to spend roughly on each question. Spending too much time or too less time on a question may be a bad option. Learn to judiciously manage time.
7. Taking help from a good coaching centre.
Coaching centers work on the ‘been there, done that’ concept. They are there to train you strictly from an exam point of view. Be careful in your choice of a good coaching centre. Make sure it is not too far from the place you stay, make sure it is affordable too, as you are bound to invest both money and time in it. Cut on travel time. It shouldn’t be that you spend all the time traveling to your coaching centre and back, and have very less time for study and preparation. Also, take care not to pile up too much of unnecessary study material as it will only confuse you and make you unorganized in your studies. Be crisp and clear in what you need for your preparation.
8. Choosing your optional subjects wisely and carefully.
Choose a subject area that you are good at, or an expert at. Look into what your previous specialization was at your degree level. For instance, if you were good at history during your studies but were passionate about sociology, choose the one where you have more extensive knowledge. Choose the one where you have clarity in terms of conceptual understanding and factual grasping. See the depth of knowledge in the subject area that you choose. Make sure you have access to key notes and terminologies associated with the subject you choose.
9. Covering wide range of topics more important than going in-depth with fewer topics.
The length or depth of knowledge you have in a few topics would not be too significant. It would be more functional and valuable if you covered more number of topics with reasonable knowledge in those topics, with importance being given to the key aspects of such topics. By referring a lot of materials, you should be able to gauge what to learn and grasp under a given study topic. Prepare a list of what you think is important, topics for your study, indication for topics that need more importance, topics that need revision, etc.
The last few days prior to your exam should be exclusively meant for revision. Last minute preparation in trying to learn new concepts may not yield very good results and builds up higher levels of tension in one’s mind. Maintain a cool and relaxed state of mind while attempting the paper. Be calm and approach the paper in a positive state of mind. Motivate yourself to be organized in studies and set a goal and road map to achieve your dream with positive results.