Self Preparation Strategy for UPSC Exam

Self-preparation or self-studying is one way of preparing for the UPSC exam. While some people say coaching is the right way, others say one should just self-study. Well, no matter what you choose, there’s no way circumventing self-studying. Even if you attend coaching, you will need to put in some time to study, learn, practice, revise, etc. on your own. The road to success does not pass through a coaching centre or self-studying, it passes through a good strategy, a well-laid-out plan, your discipline and dedication towards it, and of course, your hard work.

So we suggest, either way, have your self-preparation strategy ready. Here are some keys that can help you unlock your personalised preparation strategy:

- Know the UPSC Exam: Before starting with your studies, research about the exam and gather all the information you need about the UPSC exam. Get to know the exam criteria, format, process, and syllabus – All that ‘you’ need and that would be needed ‘from you’. Ensure that you are eligible and fulfil all the required eligibility criteria to take the exam. In today’s world, everything is available at the tips of your fingers or simply at the click of a few buttons. You can check out our resources section to get all of this at one place.

- Gather the Tools and Resources: Once you’re acquainted with the UPSC exam needs, gather all the tools and resources you would need to prepare for the exam. This will include the syllabus books, reading subscriptions, practice subscriptions, etc. Have these lists handy and start procuring gradually on the need basis. You will again get a lot of this information in the resources section of our website.

- Plan Your Preparation: Now that you understand what the UPSC exam is and have the resources to clear it, all you need to do is prepare. To do anything well, it’s always a good idea to plan for it. Just like you have been planning to take the UPSC exam, plan your preparation as well. Break it down into workable chunks; how and when you would study what and from where. This planning is very important to complete your learning well within time, and leave you with the scope of going those extra miles to ace the UPSC exam.

- Have a Routine (Timetable): Once the wider big-picture scope of the plan is ready, you come down to individual subjects and topics, or the granular day-to-day plan. The best way to do so is to have a set routine, a timetable clearly indicating what you would do and when. Not only this helps to prevent panic because you know you have a set time to do this or that, but also it helps in the fine-tuning of your body and mind, bringing out optimised results in terms of your productivity and learning. It helps set your body-clock, leading to minimum force or effort required to set your ‘mode’ and put you in the mood.

- Follow the Routine: Taking the first step, preparing and putting your routine on a paper or a chart is indeed a big leap. However, it’ll end up in a trashcan, just like your ‘strained’ efforts, if not followed meticulously. Following a routine helps ease the strain of preparation. Once you’ve followed the routine for some time, it’ll be an effortless habit, and soon you’ll be more confident of your preparation for the UPSC exam, or for that matter, any test in life.

- Subject/Topic Wise Study Schedule: We suggest you prepare a weekly schedule covering each subject topic-wise. After each week, review the situation and make updates if necessary. Revisit your progress against the remaining timeline. This will red alert you very early in case you’re going amiss with the preparation and help you alter your pace of preparation on a need basis, always keeping you on the right track. You can visit the subject strategy section for help on this.

- Allot Time for Revision and Practice: Once you have covered certain topics, you must keep revising and practising them. Doing so not only helps to identify your weak areas but also allows you to achieve perfection in your strong ones.

- Practice Right: Is there something like right and wrong practice? You will be surprised to know, yes, there is! Waiting for the whole subject or a whole book to be over to start practising is the wrong way. Do not wait for so long. You’ve finished a topic, a chapter? Go ahead and practice that! If you’re wondering how, as all the mock tests and test series available out there are full-length or book-wise, well, SprintUPSC is the expert platform that helps you revise and practice in this unique mode for the UPSC exam. Here you can practice any subject from the syllabus topic-wise as well as book-chapter-wise. Practice at your own pace and at your own time by creating small, medium, or full-length tests. You can also choose an easy, medium, or hard mode for the test.

- Analyse: Practice without analysis like a car without a steering wheel. You may hit the accelerator as hard as you can, shift the gears as many times as you want, but the direction is missing. Yes! We’ve said this before and we’ll keep saying this again and again because that’s how important it is! A detailed analysis of whatever you practice will point you to the right path and lead you to the road to success. The most important outcome of 'analysis' is understanding your mistakes so that you don't repeat them. Most candidates work very hard, gain all the required skills and knowledge but still lose out in the final race. That's because they lack the rudder, the direction to put to use all they have attained. The analysis gives that direction.

- Start From the Basics: This strengthens your foundation and gives you a comprehensive understanding of each subject. Start with NCERT books of class VI to XII and then move on to the other standard books. Avoid reading too many books or notes other than the standardised ones.

- Follow the Current Affairs: This helps you stay up to date with the news and also forms a good base for general knowledge. However, don’t just end it there. Start developing your own opinion on various topics as you read. Remember, to have a good and solid opinion on something and the reasons for it. This comes out very handy, especially in the Mains and the Personal Interview.

- Stay Connected With Peers Who Share Your Goals: Community learning and peer-to-peer learning is not only a great way to learn but also helps create a healthy competitive environment. Keeping this in mind, SprintUPSC has come up with innovative Study Groups and Discussion Forums that not only make your preparation a breeze but also fun! Invite your friends to the Study Groups and challenge them on topics or books. Duel with them on these tests and see where you stand relative to each other. Make use of Discussion Forums to take help from the wider community and have your doubts resolved.