The Civil Service Examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission is around the corner, less than a month away. Scheduled to be held on the 3rd of June, the 2018 Preliminary exam, aspirant candidates are in a nervous frenzy about the role that the exam is going to play in deciding their future. The UPSC conducted CSE is one of the toughest competitive exams in the country, and the common myth is that very few people can get through in the first attempt. In 2017, seven lakh people took the Civil Services Preliminary Exam, with only a handful qualifying for the Main exam. There may be some truth to the basis of the myth, but clearing the exam in one go is not impossible.
The major reason why most candidates cannot get through is poor planning which manifests in multiple ways during the course of preparation for the exam. No matter how hard you work, a basic planning and organized approach are necessary. Here is a list of 5 common mistakes that candidates are prone to, and must take care to avoid as they begin preparing for the CSE Prelims:
1. Preparing without a Plan
This is a common mistake that students can fall prey to while preparing for exams. If other exams can be managed with such an approach, the UPSC prelims answer key definitely cannot be. This is because the CSE is like the marathon compared to the sprints that other examinations are. To run the CSE successfully, one needs to have a proper study plan. This is also why IAS tuition centers seem to have worked over the years. While important study tips and questionnaires may be important, the best way in which they contribute is setting up an organized system of preparation for the candidates. With monthly targets, periodic assignments, they help to build a discipline in the studying process.
2. Ignoring Current Affairs
Most of the syllabus for the CSE exam is cramped in different books and can be studied from such books. What cannot be included in books is current affairs. Current affairs of the world and especially of the country are pertinent for the CSE exam that will test not only your knowledge but also your opinion, judgment and ideas. It is, therefore, important to stay adrift with what is currently happening in India and also the rest of the world. Regularly following up the news is the best way to go about it. In the age of the internet, online news portals are available with the convenience of instantaneous news. Reading newspapers is also advisable for language development skills.
3. Depending Only on Offline Material
Merely reading conventional books for your CSE preparation leaves a large gap to be filled. While these books are beyond helpful, with the internet, you have access to a variety of online resources to enrich and enhance your preparation. Read up on current opinions and issues to develop your own stand on issues, and learn to express them properly. Online resources and study apps can also help with the process of your preparation.
4. No Revision or Writing Practice
You might read up on anything extensively, but what matters ultimately is how much of it you can retain in your head. Revision ensures that you have most of what you read readily available to you during the exam. Writing practice is another important feature of the preparation that is significantly undervalued. Writing improves your cognitive faculty, helping you retain your knowledge in a way that is helpful for the exam. It also helps you get accustomed to the examination process. Any preparation without these two features is fundamentally flawed.
5. Selecting the Optional
Candidates often forget that the optional paper is where they can show their true knowledge, by choosing a subject they have done their higher studies in. Most people tend to select a subject which, according to common belief, is scoring. Therefore, they tend to lose out. Preparing a subject you know nothing about is a lot tougher especially in the level of a competitive exam. Choose your subject wisely and let your knowledge shine through.
It is imperative that you avoid these 5 mistakes and improve the state of your preparation. By drawing attention to them here, we seek to improve your chances, making sure you don’t make any of these mistakes. Choose the right source material and make the cut with flying colors.