Every student is different, and hence it cannot be said with certainty that the same technique/ rule would apply to all. I have seen many students who use their own method to study, which have resulted in success for that student. The bottom line is that, as an aspirant, you must follow what is suited to you. For the Civil Service Exam, in particular, many aspirants have this question. They often doubt themselves, and they try to forcibly change their own style while copying the style of a topper, which ultimately ends up being disastrous for them.
The Civil Services Exam’s syllabus is massive, and at the same time, multiple subjects are to be studied and interconnected to pass this exam. I will explain each of the methods that students use to cover portions as well as their advantages and disadvantages. You are requested to go through each while identifying the method best suitable to you and assessing the benefits.
The standard practice that is followed is to study your Optional subject for the first six to eight months of your preparation every day. This will be supplemented by the aspirants’ choice to study other subjects like Polity, Economics, History etc. Many students choose to study two subjects (apart from their Optional subject) every day. The advantage of this method is that it would reduce the monotony of studying a single subject for long hours. It would help the aspirants interlink multiple subjects while studying.
Some students would prefer to learn only one subject other than their Optional for the rest of the day. This would allow them to cover a vast area of topics in-depth since there is no change in the subject that they study. For those who cannot take monotonous long hours of studying the same subject, this would be fatal as concentration would be lost halfway. Another thing aspirants do is learning more than two subjects (ex: Polity + History + Economy). While this would reduce dullness, it would also reduce the overall efficiency of the aspirant as the areas covered are less, and it would result in slower assimilation of topics and understanding.
The above given are three different study plans that are usually followed by aspirants. Now, this is for a single day. The next doubt that an aspirant usually has is how long they must keep up this daily practice. Once again, this is entirely the aspirant’s choice. The standard practice is to have the same set of subjects (for ex: Polity + History) for a period of two to three days. This ensures less monotony, coverage of multiple subjects and continuity for a minimum period. After the third day, the next set of subjects (ex: Economy + Geography) would come in. The disadvantage here is that the progress would be at a slightly slower rate. Another way to study is to keep the same subject (or at most, one additional subject) for an entire week to finish off a massive portion and then move on to the next subject the following week. As mentioned before, if you are an aspirant who prefers to study a single subject for an extended period of time, then you may choose this.
The next variation in the study plan is studying all the subjects every day. This particular method of studying can get counterproductive as there can be an information overload and utter confusion. Do keep in mind that the plan that you choose for studying should also complement the revision plan you made. In any study plan you choose, revision is a must and hence, keep preparation and revision in balance with each other.
Kindly remember that the progress you make initially would vary from person to person because of their study plan. It would be best if you did not compare yourself with other aspirants because of this. Keep in mind that current affairs is best studied every day in small chunks since it’s a dynamic topic. When the preparation reaches 5-6 months, the convergence of progress between aspirants happens. From this point onwards, the daily/weekly plan would change, and you will have to focus on strengthening your core subjects, filling the gaps and doing repeated revisions. Now at this point again, studying a single subject/combining the subjects would strictly be based on your expertise. Each aspirant can make changes to the method of preparation according to their situation. One has to be fluid like water to adapt to the changes that seem necessary. Please choose what gives you the best result in the long term and not what is best for you in the short term.