These last five months are the most crucial for your preparation. These are what will make or break your preparation. So Officers IAS Academy has compiled a list of the most important things to follow for the next few months in order to ensure that you are able to achieve the most put of your preparation.
From January at the very least, it is important to slip into “Prelims Mode” of preparation. You can still read topics related to mains but common to preliminary as well. Mains exclusive preparation has to be shelved as of now. Preliminary is the most important hurdle to cross. This is because the aim of preliminary exam is to eliminate the candidates. To whittle down the candidate pool so that only the serious candidates are able to clear. It is important to remember that Preliminary is the elimination round, therefore it is important to tackle prelims with the respect it deserves. Another thing to bear in mind the vast number of candidates who write this exam every year.
Let’s talk about what some “Do’s” are.
Many candidates would have been preparing for mains and it’s helpful thus far. However, it is important to switch into Prelims Preparation Mode right now. Take time from January to March and finish the static portion now. Revise your static portion enough that you shouldn’t be making any mistakes in them. This is how well versed you must be in your static portion preparation.
A candidate must also bear in mind that Current Affairs has only risen in importance in recent years. Therefore in order to keep up with the growing importance of current affairs, newspapers must be read every day. Although compilations help your preparation, their effectiveness is marred by the fact that you haven’t read the newspaper daily. By reading the newspaper daily and revising the monthly current affairs using the compilation, you will be able to prepare more effectively. If you haven’t started the habit of reading the newspaper now is the best time to start your preparation. Your backlog can be addressed by reading Officers Pulse, which features a weekly compilation of news from all the important sources.
With respect to Current Affairs, remember to read from an integrated perspective ie, for both Prelims and Mains. Don’t forget to make your own notes out of the newspapers as you can learn more in depth by doing so.
Revision is the keystone of your preparation. The more times you are able revise, your preparation moves from your short term to long term memory. You can also supplement your revision by writing down important dates and times, your understanding of concepts in your own words. This will help gauge the depth of your understanding or correction in terms of any minor deviations that you have seen.
The next important thing is to set up a time table for doing things. This will allow targeted study. By doing so, you can break down your study from a huge amorphous mess into manageable pieces which you can then tackle with full concentration. This will also ensure that your subject of study does not drag. For example, if you have allotted 9 days for studying Polity and have targeted the areas of studying for Day 1 to Day 9, then you will benefit from being able to know what you are studying. This will also make sure that you are not exceeding the time to be spent on each subject.
Evaluation should also be an integral aspect of your preparation. You should take up mock tests in conjunction with your preparation so you can evaluate how well you have prepared. You can also obtain extra information via mock tests and these can appear for your exam as well so it is recommended that you revise your mocks frequently. You can train your mind to notice details like whether a question asks for ‘Choose the correct/incorrect answer’ or which option is more correct than other. By practicing beforehand you will be able to ensure that you are able to discern the most accurate answer in the shortest possible time. In addition to this, a test series will structure your approach to studying.
In addition to this, you must also ensure that you solve the question paper for the last 10 years. By doing so you will have a grasp on the pattern of questions UPSC asks. This will not be helpful for the current affairs of the previous years.
Let us now focus on the “Don’t” aspects:
This is the time that a lot of aspirants start panicking about their preparation. Worry over their incomplete Mains preparation, the optional, poor time management and the stress of the exam starts getting to them now more than ever.
It is important to keep your composure. This is also helpful for both your peace of mind and your preparation. Remember that UPSC is a steeplechase and not a sprint. Keep covering the static portion and the current affairs of the exam. If you feel like your Optional preparation is lagging, then you can switch studying your GS with Optional whenever you feel bored. However, after February, please do not spend time with your optional as it will be to the detriment of your preliminary preparation.
Avoid overloading of materials with your preparation. Whatever sources you have been using thus far, continue to utilize them as they are sources that you have the most familiarity with. If you feel the need to make addition to your study sources, Mock Tests are an excellent medium to incorporate more data into your preparation without disrupting the core of your preparation.
Another thing to bear in mind is that your mock tests should show you where the gaps in your knowledge lie. Don’t get too hung up on the marks that you get. Use that as a launch point for improving your preparation by seeing if the questions that you have answered are accurate or not.
CSAT is an integral part of your preparation. Even though CSAT is qualifying, remember to allot some time to prepare for CSAT. You can just utilize last year’s question paper to ensure your preparation is thorough.
These are some tips and tricks to help sharpen your focus and enhance your preparation. We wish you the best of luck in your preparation. Please reach out to us at Officers IAS Academy for any further assistance.