Little tricks can go a long way to carry out impactful preparation for the UPSC exam. Here are a few tips and tricks that can be the cherry on top for your IAS preparation journey:
1. Understanding the UPSC exam syllabus: Have a clear understanding of what exactly you need to learn. Read the syllabus thoroughly and understand the topics clearly.
2. Comprehensive study of the subjects: UPSC exam is akin to an obstacle race. Superficial knowledge is bound to let you down on one of the many hurdles. So, to succeed, it's important to gain in-depth knowledge of the subjects and topics.
3. Get acquainted with the UPSC exam format: The UPSC or IAS exam has three phases with different syllabus and question patterns. Proper knowledge of the exam format is beneficial while preparing for it.
4. Gain familiarity with the question pattern and marking scheme: There is a different question pattern for each exam and negative marking for wrong answers. The knowledge of question paper and marking scheme helps in bagging more marks.
5. Start preparing at least a year before appearing: IAS exam has an enormous syllabus with vast topics to cover. It is beneficial to keep at least one year in hand for in-depth preparation. Check out our Blog section to know when to start preparing for the IAS exam and more.
6. Stress on your General Knowledge: A good grasp of general knowledge can be achieved by reading different books, journals, articles and yearbooks.
7. Follow the current affairs: It is important to be consistently aware of the current affairs. Reading newspapers is the most effective way to do so.
8. Habit of writing: Acquiring a habit of writing regularly can accompany you a long way to a successful end of your IAS journey. You can set aside some time for writing your opinions and thoughts on current affairs and also write essays on important events and happenings.
9. Study the recommended books: Study from NCERT books and the standard books for having a strong foundation and in-depth knowledge of each subject.
10. Have a subject strategy: It is helpful to chalk out a plan for studying and stick to this routine. To achieve this, one must have a clear study plan or strategy.
11. Avoid covering new topics just before the UPSC exam: Rather, revise and practice your weak areas to make them stronger and strong areas to move them to perfection. Covering new topics just before the exam, when you hardly have time to gain in-depth knowledge or to practice, can cause retroactive inhibition wherein new learning interferes with retention of previously attained proficiency.
12. Keep revising, keep practicing: Revision and practice are the key aspects that help enhance our memory and learning.
13. Proper analysis to avoid repetition of mistakes: 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. So, 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. You may notice that the explanation to this point is the biggest. Well, it is intentional because we believe that once you've gathered all the tools and resources, gained the required skills and knowledge, this one point of 'practice and analyse' will make all the difference. 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. Analysis gives that direction.
14. Take UPSC mock tests and solve previous years' papers: These tests and papers help in getting accustomed to the timing and format of the UPSC exam. If you've taken enough of these, the real exam feels like just another mock test. This helps in maintaining composure and strategically dividing the time during the main exams.
15. Select the correct optional paper: It is better to choose a subject you are comfortable with and interested in rather than blindly following others to make a choice.
16. Maintain a healthy lifestyle: The brain and body work hand in hand. Good health enables us to reach our individual potentials. Have a healthy diet, take out time to exercise and get proper sleep.
17. Read the question paper properly: Make this a habit because failing to do so can make you misunderstand questions and lose marks for silly mistakes even if you have the correct knowledge.
18. Be determined and confident: Once you've ticked all checkboxes on the above list, all you need to do is be determined and confident. Anyone who has ever topped or even cleared the IAS exam is as human as you are. If they can, then so can you.