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7 common doubts associated with civil services examination preparation

The article covers the common doubts aspirants generally have while preparing for Civil Services Exam along with experts' solutions to all those doubts and myths which often make aspirants feel directionless

Success Guru AK Mishra
25th Apr 2018
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While preparing for Civil Services exam, aspirants often hover around innumerable questions and doubts. For most questions, answers are searched over Books and Online sources, but there are certain basic for which they seek guidance from an expert or a right person in the field.

With such coveted aspirations, wisdom is the key to keep your path free of doubts & questions, irrespective of the intensity.In this article, we have compiled 7 common questions & doubts along with their answers, to help students traverse this terrain with a right approach.

1. What is the right time to start preparing for UPSC Civil Services Examination?

This is one question almost every IAS aspirant has in their mind. Practically a year is sufficient to crack Civil Services examination with dedicated preparation & focused approach. But we have more options for you

A) For students in 10th standard or lesser, You just need to focus on NCERTs. NCERT’s will strengthen your knowledge base and help you at the later stage during dedicated preparation for Civil Services Examination. And, writing practice will help you enhance your skills of expression through words, along with handwriting clarity & decent speed of writing. You must give priority to your syllabus at school curriculum.

B) For students in standard 11th & 12th, the basic strategy remains the same as mentioned above, and what adds for you is to start reading the newspaper daily and keep updated with current affairs with all reliable sources

C) For students pursuing graduation, apart from the basic strategy, as mentioned above, you can now start your full-time preparation for Civil Services examination. You could either plan yourself a preparation strategy in sync with your graduation subjects or enroll for a relevant 1/2/3 years long foundation course that serves as the one-stop solution to a dedicated preparation for civil services. Final year students must be very careful with balancing their studies for both the graduation & Civil Services Exam preparation.

D) For working professionals, now is the right time. You too can prepare yourself with a dedicated preparation strategy designed to suit your work & personal needs. Keeping your working hours, travel time & personal responsibilities in mind, you could find time for regular study schedule & utilize your weekends for comprehensive subjects & revision. However, for working professionals, weekend or evening/after office batches are advisable for a dedicated & focused preparation. Also, try to indulge into a healthy discussion with your colleagues and peers on topics of National & International Importance. This will help you understand broader perspectives of a topic and other person’s views on the same.

2. What should be my day-to-day preparation strategy?

Depending upon the year targeted to appear for Civil Services Examination, you must utilize every moment of the time left, judiciously. Say, you are aiming at UPSC 2019; you have one good whole year to prepare for the competitive examination, so you should follow right strategy for effective preparation.

First of all select your optional subject wisely considering your interest level, your academic background and your hold on the subject. Then take a look at Syllabus and get a fair understanding of the exact requirement of UPSC with each stage of an exam. Then begin with integrated preparation for both prelims and Mains with NCERT books, while developing a habit of Newspaper reading every day. Then take a look at previous year question papers to understand the exam pattern. Keep listening to the videos of toppers and then you must seek experts’ guidance or join a course in a right academy to devise a right strategy and preparation plan for yourself.

3. How long should I study daily to cover all my subjects well in time?

Although 8-10 hours of study is advisable, you don’t need to compulsory follow it. Your study must be qualitative and not quantitative. Keep your mind fresh, you can also take breaks and keep an easy day for yourself in the beginning, but gradually you will have to make habit of put dedicated hours into your study while sparing a good time to go out with the friend, watch movies and do other activities. Don’t become a bookworm while preparing for an exam like Civil Services which requires public dealing the most.

4. How to tame mental tiredness and boredom?

While preparing for Civil Services Examination, change of attitude towards the exam and a well-designed preparation strategy will not only make your journey more interesting but also boost your morale, leaps & bounds. You can frame your own creative ideas to make your learning more fun & interesting. Although we will recommend that while preparing for Civil Services Examination, you must do the following to stay up-spirited & positive:

Read success stories & motivational pieces

- Stick by the study schedule designed for Civil Services Examination preparation

- Don’t over-burden yourself with any sort of pressure

- Use revision as your ultimate tool for effective preparation

- If bored or tired of studying take an immediate break and indulge yourself into meaningful activities like watch Rajya Sabha TV, Lok Sabha TV or News Channels.

- Indulge in activities you love to do

- Spend quality time with family & close friends

- Involve into a healthy discussion with peers

- Listen to happy & light music

- Keep calm, stay positive & believe in yourself

Always remember, this is your life & only you can derive ways to fulfill your aspirations. Happily, or not, your choice!

5. What should I do to stop dithering and delaying my priorities in regarding with Civil Services Examination preparation?

It is very normal to procrastinate things for pure causes like getting bored of doing a thing for a longer period or other reasons. So whenever you feel like, always give yourself a positive boost by visualizing yourself at the position where you aspire to be, feel the pleasure associated with that position Rather. Visualize yourself becoming an IAS and serving your nation. A little push is always expected from the inner aspiring Administrator!

6. What is the best way to stay focused & committed to Civil Services Exam preparation?

Civil Services Examination is considered to be India’s most competitive & toughest examination and the choice to crack the same can only be made by a dedicated mind. If you truly have this burning desire to become IAS/IPS/IFS, you could utilize this motivation to maintain the momentum and stay focused to your preparation for CSE.

- To suffice your purpose, you could indulge in following:

- Stay Fit & Active with Yoga, Meditation, Healthy diet & a decent lifestyle

- Spend more time with people who support & motivate you towards your dreams

- Indulge in fun activities that help you stay relaxed

- Surround yourself with motivational quotes & sayings posted in your study space

- Be regular with watching success stories of IAS/IPS toppers

- Be open to learning new things as and when possible

7. How does one ensure remember everything they study while preparing for UPSC CSE?

UPSC Civil Services Examination has a vast syllabus and to retain every bit of studied portion is definitely a difficult task. Follow these 5-step memorizing tips to remember the most of it, effectively.

A) Make the first reading of any topic, a little louder: That is okay if you can’t memorize what you study, in the first attempt, just make sure you are audible to yourself while making the first reading of the selected topic. It will help your brain to remember it, easily.

B) Understand and not just read, the second time: Always ensure that you do a second reading of the topic, along with making a logical understanding of everything you are studying. For this very extensive preparation, it is advisable to start your preparations early. Good time and intellectual reading will help your brain retain the syllabus, in a better way.

C) Revise, Revise & Revise: Revision is the key to memorizing almost anything you study. Preparation, when clubbed with dedicated revision (thrice), does wonder. Now if you are wondering what we mean by revising thrice, we here mean that you should revise your topic once the same day as studied, once by the end of the week and focus on your Prelims centric revision one month before prelims exam & Mains specific a month prior to the Mains exam.

D) Solve Previous Year Papers: Answering previous year papers will help you recall the studied part and thus retain the same for a longer period. It will also help you develop writing practice and utilize the studied information effectively in your answers.

E) Take Test Series: In regard to recalling & retaining what you study, practicing with test series help you learn answer writing, effectively, within stipulated time-frame. The result of the test series is accompanied by a detailed review sheet which tells you the improvement areas and thus helps you work on the same. 

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