Preliminary is a test of recognition. It would be sufficient, most of the times, if you can recognize the correct answer(s) from the given choices, though it is not as easy as said. If your basics in the various subjects (that are a part of the GS paper) were strong, one would find identifying the right answer easy. The following are the 8 tips that will help you to qualify prelims.
1.NCERTs should run in your veins
Golden rule to qualify prelims is to make sure that you have assimilated NCERTs and now they are integral part of your intellect. Both new and old NCERTS should be thoroughly studied.
2.Avoid rote learning and give emphasis on the concepts
Do not try to memorize facts from the beginning. That’s the last thing to be done. Before memorizing should come the understanding of the concept(s).
So, if you start understanding the concepts, for each of the subjects, the preparation for prelims would more or less be the preparation for mains as well! That’s where I want to drive each of you. There is no separate preparation for prelims as such. It is all a singular conscious preparation for the Civil Services Examination!
3.All lethal weapons are developed during peace time.
Peace time in this context metaphorically refers to the time when the exam is not round the corner. When the exam approaches, many aspirants will start burning mid-night oil. The only way to take a lead is by initiating serious preparations for the exam from at-least 8-10 months before the date of Prelims. Utilize every single second. Make your own notes. If you hate making notes, start writing on the books. So that just before the exam you are able to quickly revise the concepts and facts. Spend time with books. Try to innovate your own techniques to remember things. Develop critical understanding. Keep on studying a topic from different but credible sources until and unless you can answer at least 80% of the previous year questions from the same topic.
4.Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.
The real difference comes in when you start doing/solving multiple- choice questions or mock/previous papers. This is the application part of what you read and understood. One should solve as many questions as possible (multiple choice questions). The more you do, the better would be your grasp on the subject as well as on the examination overall. The questions should be quality and based on the latest pattern of the exam. Don’t waste your time on solving questions that are too factual or deliberately made difficult by certain coaching institutes as a part of their marketing strategy. It is better to do all the mistakes before the exam by solving questions, instead of making in the exam!
At rewise.online we have come up with the quality 7500+ questions. You can rely on them to fortify your preparation.
5.Try to remember questions of at least past 3 years.
Please solve all the previous question papers of prelims. In fact, try and make a good collection of all the mock papers, objective type questions, solve them one by one. Use Internet extensively in this regard, there are very good sources (which are increasing day by day) which provide excellent multiple-choice questions (with trustworthy answers and explanations) that you all could spend time on.
At rewise.online you can bookmark the questions that you think are important or difficult and require last minute revision.
6.Proper time management
Manage your time judiciously. Within one month of the preparation, you should be clear about the subjects in which you are good at and those which require improvements. The time should be managed in such a manner that you are able to maintain the edge in the subjects that you are good at and gradually fortify those subjects in which you are weak. Also as per the latest pattern of the exam, a lot of questions are either based directly on the current affairs or on the derivatives of the current affairs. So keep at-least 90 to 120 minutes for brushing up the current affairs. About 20 to 25% of this time should be utilized in revising the previous current affairs and rest 80% on understanding the new ones
7.Walk a tightrope
UPSC is unpredictable. The trend that it religiously follows is that it is well known to decimate all established trends. Do not plan your preparation on any trend of past few years. Leaving any of the conventional subjects like History, geography, economics, polity or environment is like writing the recipe for the failure. The number of questions from these subjects might vary drastically each year. However, you never know what surprise element UPSC has reserved for the year in which you shall appear. Follow a balance approach.
8.Take tests seriously
Miracle does not happen in UPSC exam. If you are not able to clear the cut off or score well in the mock tests, don’t expect a miracle on the day of the examination. Every year there are thousands of students who miss the cut-off in the prelims examination by less than 1 mark. So the cost of 1 mark in Civil Services Prelims is at time 365 odd days when you need to reappear in the prelims next year. Therefore take the tests seriously. Improve your accuracy. There is no scope for carelessness or silly mistakes in the cut-throat competition like Civil Services; you can only progressively minimize them by taking tests seriously and treating them as learning benchmarks.
The aspirants should spend 20% of their time that they spent in studies on revision on a daily basis when they start preparation. Rest 80% of time should be utilized in learning new things. The topics that are difficult or are factual should be revised more frequently. Aspirants should write important facts and figures on charts or paper and put them on the wall of their study room. During free time or during breaks they should casually spend 5-7 minutes observing these facts and figures on regular basis. The aspirants should ideally complete their entire syllabus 50 to 60 days before the prelims. Once the entire syllabus is finished, they should reverse the rule i.e. they should spend 80% of their time in revision and 20% in learning new things. About 15 days before the exam, 90 to 95% of time should be utilized in revision and observing questions that were marked wrong by them during the practice tests.