IPS officer shares do’s and don’ts to prepare for UPSC Civil Services Exam

Syed Waqar Raza, a 2007-batch Indian Police Service (IPS) officer of West Bengal cadre and the author of India’s Internal Security and Disaster Management recently published by Oxford University Press, lays out the fundamentals for aspirants preparing for the civil services exam. has shared.

UPSC Civil Services: Must Do

Read from less books, materials but revise more: Follow some standard textbooks for your optional as well as static parts of General Studies (GS). However, a serious candidate should aim for multiple revisions of the material. After reading once or twice, check previous years main questions and try to make up their answers in your mind. Practice writing some answers within the given word and time limit. This will help you develop your ability to frame your answers during the Mains exam.

Attempt all questions in Mains Exam: Candidates should aim to solve all the questions in the main exam. This is of vital importance. Missing a few questions can also mean missing out on the “cut-off” list. Begin writing as soon as time starts, making sure you understand the demands of the question.

While writing answers in mains exam, try to follow the time limit very strictly. The question of 10 marks should be approximately 150 words and should be completed within 7 minutes. Similarly questions of 15 marks should be of 250 words and should be completed within 10 minutes. As soon as this time limit is over, move on to the next question, even if you haven’t been able to write the previous answer to your satisfaction. This will help you to solve the entire question paper, which has more importance in the mains exam. You can also appear in Mains Test Series for GS and Optional Subjects to feel the pressure during the Mains Exam. It will build your endurance to sit for long hours writing answers and will help you to test your writing speed for the demands of the exam.

Write clear and to the point answers: Your answers should be clear, relevant and to the point. The ability to understand and analyze the issue from different angles, to express it coherently in concise language and to be able to make constructive suggestions wherever necessary will make your answers unique. You should also try to link your answers with the current developments related to the topic.

what not to do

Don’t be late after PT exam: A common mistake made by candidates is letting their guard down while waiting for the results, in the middle of the prelims exam. Avoid it. Take a short break of few days just after the prelims exam so that you can refresh yourself again. Soon after, start your Mains preparation without worrying about whether you will clear the Prelims or not.

Start with optional subject. If you have gone through the optional subject at least once from the preliminary exam, you should aim to revise it within the next 15-20 days. It is advisable to make short, to-the-point notes for all the subjects mentioned in the optional subject syllabus. This will help you to revise the topic later within a short span of time.

Once you are done with the optional subject, go for the parts in GS which are not covered in the preparatory syllabus, such as world history, post-independence India, ethics and integrity, internal security, disaster management, Etcetera. Aim to cover these topics. In the next 20 days, it depends on how much part you have covered before the prelims exam.

Your target should be to complete the optional papers and the GS parts not covered in the PT syllabus within 40 days of the prelims exam, till the release of the PT results. The time left till the mains exam should be utilized to cover the current affairs part and revision/consolidation of the topics covered for both GS and optional papers.

Don’t go through too many books/sources: Going for multiple books and sources is a common mistake that candidates make. They do this in the hope that citing various sources will enrich their knowledge. However, it will be very difficult to revise many of these sources before the exam. And it can be safely said, at least for the Civil Services Examination, that not revising a subject is tantamount to not studying it.

So, keep your sources limited and try to revise and consolidate them as per the daily/weekly revision schedule. For optional subject, you can make point wise notes for each subject in the syllabus and keep adding notes if you find any new point or development related to the subject. This way you will be able to easily do many revisions before the exam. For GS paper, try to outline textbooks and current affairs material and follow daily/weekly revision schedule with newspapers.

Don’t let the lows last long: There will come some days when you will feel sad and will not be able to study according to your satisfaction. It’s quite common. A successful aspirant is one who can keep his emotions under control and maintain a certain minimum level of studies even during those ‘low’ days. On days like these, you should just keep going (kind of mechanically) and be able to at least maintain a minimum level of study/progress. The key is not to allow ‘low’ to affect your progress. Once the phase is over and you are back to your masterful self, you will be ready for it.

Always keep a positive attitude in your preparation, donkey in life. Civil Services Exam is a test of your patience, perseverance and willingness to give your best even in adverse situations. Give it your best shot, because luck favors the well prepared.

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