A student studying regularly for the subjects can do a lot better than the one that wakes up at the eleventh hour. There is a dedicated approach required to prepare for IAS exams. Almost every support material is available for the aspirants these days. The need is to adopt a focused approach and make the best use of the 24 hours of the day. IAS exam is something that requires the aspirant to be passionate about it. The zeal for it cannot be reinforced into a person; it is innate to be an influential person one day that keeps an aspirant motivated in true sense.
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Last leg of Preparations – What students need
Students start preparing for IAS exam from quite early. Some start thinking about it as soon as they have entered college. They approach the subjects with an analytical and sincere research-oriented attitude and try to gather as much knowledge as possible. The very first need is to accumulate the right resources while preparing for the exam. Second, you need to divide the time of 24 hours into various subjects and focus on that subject only during the assigned time. By the time the date of the exam lurks around, the students must have completed the course and revised it at least 4 to 5 times.
In the last leg of preparations, the students need not stress themselves; this is the first requirement. Their steady approach will work better when they:
- Share the concerns and study ideas with friends or family
- Design an exam solving pattern to achieve better results with each attempt
- Try to fill the gaps in the study instead of ignoring them
- Strategize solving the question paper using previous year patterns
The coaching centers provide the right atmosphere to the candidates preparing for this exam, resource, and guidance-wise. In the last few months, they organize mock tests and discussion rounds to give an overview of what coming events are going to look like. The candidates who are amply headed up are likely to be more successful in their endeavors of being an IAS officer; rest all depends on how thorough they are with the knowledge.
Refresh the Structure of IAS exam
It is essential to be crystal clear about the structure of an IAS exam. This prestigious exam comprises two main stages – preliminary and mains. Those who clear both these stages get the chance to appear for the interview. Usually, there is a gap of about 100 days between the preliminary and mains exams.
The preliminary exam has two parts – a. General Awareness b. Civil Services Aptitude Test. The (b) portion is of qualifying nature. Aspirants require scoring only 33% in the CSAT part of prelims. It is a General Awareness test that is a bit tough and requires thorough knowledge and reading. The General Awareness part tests candidates’ expertise on topics like Indian Politics, Indian History, Indian Economics, Geography, Current Affairs, Art and Culture, General Science, Environment & Ecology, and Current Developments.
A candidate needs to do quite better in the General Awareness test. It is the performance in this part of prelims that decides whether you will succeed in your attempt.
Mains exam is the test of proficiency in the subjects you have selected for the IAS paper. The part aims at testing the level of learning that you have acquired in your subject area. It will require you to write essay-like answers. Most of the General Awareness topics are common to both the prelims and mains exams. The aspirant should read more thoroughly the common portions of both these exams. There are certain portions which may be exclusive to the mains exams. It is advisable to revise and devote all attention to those subjects after the prelims exam is over, i.e., in the gap time available between prelims and mains exams.
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How to divide the time for preparation of prelims and mains exams in the last leg
The preparations for the IAS exam begin well in advance. It takes about a year or two of hard work and perseverance to crack this exam having a distinct level of toughness. When the last leg of the preparations arrives, the aspirants have to shift a lot of focus to the prelims exam. You must assign about 65-70% of your study time to the prelim exam’s preparation. The rest of 30-35% of the time is to be devoted to the main exam. This schedule is apt for three months before the exam. Just one month before the exam, the whole focus should shift to the prelim exam.
Once the prelim exam is over, you can refresh the subjects exclusive to the mains part of the IAS exam. These subjects cover Internal Security, International Relations, and Ethics. Since these have nothing to do with the prelim exam, the candidate must revise them when the only main exam is left.
What should be the primary focus three months before the exam?
When only three months are to go for the IAS exam, the focus must be entirely on filling the gaps in your understanding. There are always some weak points or subject areas which the students could not master during the early phase of preparation. In the last stage, the student must go through these weak points more and develop comfort with these. By this time, the candidates must have revised all the topics. Next, they should concentrate more on mock tests and improve their speed and accuracy while solving the paper. Students should practice at least one mock test every day to check on the learning graph and difficulties they are facing.
Most importantly, the students must work towards their physical and mental fitness. They must remember that they will be scoring a success only when they are healthy and happy. So, do take time out to be with family, have some short recreation breaks to destress. Eating healthy and a bit of exercising can help in keeping good health too.
Last leg is all about staying healthy, prepared and most importantly, positive about the coming exam. So, leave no space for doubt and maintain good company to reinforce good vibes in the self and around.