Well Begun is Half Done

It is said thatIndian Civil ServicesExam (CSE), popularly known as IAS/UPSC exam is one of the toughest examsin the world.The toughness of an exam being judged by the ratio between the number of aspirants who get selected to those who apply and this ratio is a tiny 0.001 for CSE.  Thence it becomes obvious that dedication and guidance are very important for the aspirants in order to crack this exam.

The syllabus prescribed by UPSC for General Studies (GS) is very vast. It requires in-depth knowledge of every topic apart fromthe basic capability of analyzing and understanding it. UPSC is very unpredictable in terms of the difficulty and distribution ofquestions across the syllabus and the format of the asked questions. Anything can be asked related to the topics mentioned in syllabus. So a specific skill has to be developed so that every question can be answered. Covering the whole syllabus along with current affairs while keeping focused on the most important parts is not a piece of cake.

The first step to qualify the CSE is to appear in thepreliminary exam (prelims). Although it does not contributeto final meritlist but without passing it one cannot appear in the next stage.It’s like the start of a journey which seems very easy to those who reach this stage in the first attempt but appears like climbing the Everestto those who cannot make it.

To start the Preparation

  • Start reading NCERT books of social sciences from 6 to 12th standard.
  • Start Reading a newspaper and makingbrief notes of it to improve general awareness
  • Listen to News and analysis on  All India Radio,TV channels. DD/BBC/CNN/Rajya Sabha channels should be preferred.

 To Understand the pattern of examination

  • Take the whole examination with an integrated approach.Do not waste your first attempt by thinking that you will clear the prelims first and then start preparing for the mains.More than 60 percent of the  topics are common in Prelims and Mains so prepare them comprehensively i.e. factual and analytical part at the same time.
  • Do not waste time thinking that there is a lot of it left. The syllabus is unfathomed so at least one year is needed to go through it and that too, with a targeted approach. More time saved means more number of revisions and more chances of clearing the exam.

Selectingthe optional Subject

  • Take into consideration the factors of your own academic background, interest, time available and access to resources and guidance before selecting the optional.
  • There is nothing like a good or bad, lengthy orshort optional subject. These perceptions vary from person to person depending upon the individual situation and capabilities.
  • Do not decide the optional on the basis of the success of others
  • Give sufficient time to yourself todecide the optional (normally it must take around 15 days to complete the whole process)
  • No optional is scoring or not scoring, it all depends upon how you have prepared for it.
  • The overlapping of an optional with theGS syllabus must also be considered when selecting an optional. For example, History is one such optional subject whose large part is covered in GS preparation itself.
  • Once decided, take responsibility of your decision and prepare religiously

Time management plan

  • Prepare the mains part before the prelimsi.e., the optional subjects should be prepared before prelims.
  • Fix time limits for every aspect of the preparation.
  • Newspapers should not be given more than an hour before prelims.
  • Select the study material carefully as sub-standard material may waste your time and demotivate you thereafter.

Selecting Study Material

  • Do not collect the material as it comes.
  • Take a conscious decision to consult an expert while choosing it or refer to past year papers.
  • There is no magical material available in the market.
  • Do not ignore studying standard text books

Begin this journey!From the beginning of the preparation to finding your name in the final list, it is a mixed bag of experiences but indeed enjoyable and enlightening. Hard work along with smart work and perseverance is the key to cracking this exam.

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