UPSC Preparation: UPSC CSE or civil services exam is a three-stage exam. It is designed to enable testing of the candidates on the knowledge about India and the various developmental aspects that run the country. Second, the candidate has to demonstrate an in-depth understanding of the subjects chosen as optional. Third, there is a personality test comprising an interview where a panel of experts checks the applicant’s mental resilience, oratory skills and knowledge, and, most importantly, the mind’s presence.
The very first tip on preparing for this prestigious exam is that one should not let it boggle the mind. Mastering it instead of allowing it to master you is as good as half the battle won. Other essential and elaborate tips are as below.
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Start preparing well in advance
UPSC CSE exam is conducted annually in October, and by the end of May following year, all results are declared. Thus, when you have decided to appear in this exam, you must start thinking about it right from the start of graduation days. At the beginning of college life, the enthusiasm is high. If you channelize this enthusiasm in doing something meaningful, you can opt for the UPSC exam. Thus, the preparation starts right at the time of selecting the optional subjects. UPSC is not that kind of review where whims and fancies work. Your systematic selection of subjects can help you carve a prolific career for yourself.
Other must-do during the early preparation phase are:
- Read the newspapers and magazine speaking about current affairs in an unbiased manner regularly. By reading, it does not imply just going through the headlines. You can prepare a notebook for yourself where you note down all the important events in a categorized manner – politics, sports, entertainment, economy.
- Give at least an hour to reading the newspaper and try to find the history behind the latest news items. It helps to prepare for the interview as well as general studies paper.
- Go through NCERT books from grade VI to grade XII of all subjects. It helps to strengthen the foundation for advanced preparation.
- Take first look at the UPSC model paper from the previous year. The difference in the questions and the material given in NCERT books allows you to understand how to plan to study for the exam.
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Dig deep into the general awareness topics
UPSC is a three-stage test comprising of – preliminary exam, mains, and interview. In the preliminary exam, the general studies section is the most crucial one and requires the students to come out with flying colors. The success in the general awareness section makes the predestined path easier and brightens the chance of clearing the exam. The preliminary exam also includes the general studies (GS) about the optional subjects selected for the exam. Thus, the preparation for the GS exam involves:
- Deep studying of NCERT books and the optional subjects books
- Devoting extra time to books on Indian History, Indian and International Geography, Indian Economy, Indian Foreign Policy, and others. The students should keep a close eye on the current affairs of the present year and that of the period 3-4 years before the current one.
- Joining a coaching class for preparing for the GS section that also provides study material. By joining a coaching class, you learn a lot from students from different educational backgrounds. It contributes fairly to the preparations and building basic concepts on various subjects belonging to different streams.
UPSC Preparation: Basic requirements for preparing for UPSC CSE papers
A majority of students don’t even think about appearing in the UPSC exam. It is because of the lack of knowledge and interest in studies. Many students brand this exam as a prerogative of a selected few academic achievers only. The first requirement that arises from this notion is – a deep interest in studies. The aspirant should be capable of reading and developing analytical concepts from the books. They should be able to devote at least 8 hours of focused research on the subjects.
The second most important requirement is the availability of ample study material. The students who aim to clear this exam should have easy access to books and various study resources. The exam requires them to study a variety of subjects, which is possible only when the students have ample books and guides. There are various refresher books on topics and subjects that can provide ample exposure to trending issues and expected questions’ list.
The third requirement worth considering is guidance. The students must study under the supervision of subject coaches. These coaches explain the topics well and allow the learners to take the subjects with ample focus on analysis. The coaches make the topics interesting and have a complete record of the chain of events that led to any particular incident. They also tell how questions are formed from the issues and what to expect at these tests.
The fourth and most significant requirement is to have the nerves of steel. Your determination only can keep you going with preparations for the UPSC exam. The students should have a career graph well-etched in their minds. The clearer the goal is, the more focused the preparation shall be. They should remind themselves that having a stable, prolific, and promising career does come with hard work, and that is what is required to be amongst the top achievers in the country, also known as UPSC selected candidates.
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When to start revising complete syllabus as final preparation for UPSC Preparation
Though the planning, accumulation of materials, coaching, etc. can begin right from the college days, the candidates can focus more on preparations from March onwards. From March to May, they should refresh reading all the NCERT books, and then from June to August, the optional subjects should be at the focus. In September, the full attention should be on the GS paper and other parts of the prelim exam.
These are some of the trustworthy tips that some successful candidates have shared on different online forums. You can take a cue from these to create your success mantra for clearing the UPSC exam.