Toppers’ strategy for facing the new-look Preliminary Examination

No doubt, the situation was tough when in 2011 the changes at Preliminary Examination were introduced as candidates were to face a completely new exam-plan. More so, they were surrounded by a lot of confusion relating to formation of question papers.

When some changes occur, it is very easy to get distracted and confused. But, that is not the correct approach to face the challenges; rather you should show courage to confront all problems that come in your way.

‘Dream big, achieve big’ with this motto a lot of capable candidates prepare and appear in Preliminary Examination every year. This is turf for optimists and being worried with unnecessary things would yield nothing but, impact your study-plan.

Despite of all odds, each year a lot of new ‘success’ stories are written as many conquer this tough exam that is demanding as well as exhaustive. It is time to learn from experience of successful candidates who accomplished the task in style by achieving top slots.

We bring out strategies and actions of some of the IAS achievers and how they positioned themselves to face the Preliminary Examination 2011 with completely new scheme.

Rukmani Riar (AIR 2, CSE 2011) says, “I took the change for preliminary Examination in my stride. There were apprehensions no doubt, but I did not let them deter me from working hard.” Rukmani paid extra attention to her weak area ‘Mathematics’ in Paper II by working on it with extra intensity.

Prince Dhawan (AIR 3, CSE 2011) took a serious note of the changes and the syllabus released by the UPSC for both the papers and based his preparation purely on this. Elaborating his preparation strategy, Prince says, “in Paper I (General Studies) I went for selective study while for Paper II (Aptitude Test) I focused on speed and accuracy.”

A lot of clarity emerged for Mangesh Kumar (AIR 4, CSE 2011) from the sample questions released by UPSC that helped him form some basic idea about the examination. Mangesh says, “So, taking support from those questions, I practiced a lot.” His advice - this new pattern requires a lot of practice of each and every section listed in the syllabus.

Certainly, there was a lot of anxiety and uncertainness about the questions that could be asked and other things says Aurangabadkar Amrutesh Kalidas (AIR 10, CSE 2011); but, I focused on holistic preparation and selective study.

As Neeraj Kumar Singh (AIR 11, CSE 2011) was taking first attempt, he was not perturbed with the change in Preliminary Examination pattern. Neeraj says, “I started my preparation for prelims after the notification for pattern change came. Honestly, I was quite relieved by the pattern change as I believed that could score good marks in the new pattern. I concentrated my preparation almost wholly on Paper I (General Studies) and did only minimal preparation for paper II (Aptitude Test).”

Commenting on these changes Nitika Pawar (AIR 18, CSE 2011) says that by the time I commenced preparation for my first encounter with Preliminary Examination, really a lot of apprehensions surrounded the new-look Preliminary Examination. She adds, “I did not devise any scientific strategy but ensured that I keep all the doubts and confusion at bay or else it would affect my studies negatively. So, I decided to keep myself focused on my preparation based on my own understanding and the guidance I got from my mentor.

No different strategy was needed by Neha Prakash (AIR 10, CSE 2011) as she was preparing for Civil Services Examination for the first time and had encountered similar pattern of examination in her educational background from schooling to engineering to an MBA degree. Neha had secured 99.7 percentile in the Common Admission Test (CAT) for admission to IIM Lucknow; so, this aptitude-based new Prelims was not a big deal.

In anticipation of positive outcome in my CSE 2010 attempt, I was eagerly waiting for my result and kept my Preliminary Examination preparation at bay recalls Ajay Katesaria (AIR 28, CSE 2011). “As I encountered an unpleasant result, it was not easy to go in for Prelims again. I had to make strategies to encounter new-look Prelims in very short span of time. I had this conviction that UPSC has planned common papers for all and that won’t be much difficult. So, I solved previous year papers only for few exams like MAT, CDS, CPF, SSC etc.”

It is your struggle, face it bravely
As you observe, all these successful candidates were in similar situation as you find yourself today. One thing that stands out is that sense of commitment and firm determination helped them face the new-look Preliminary Examination bravely.

Performance of all these candidates is brilliant particularly some of them who were facing this examination for the first time.

So, it is time to be inspired from successful candidates. You have an added advantage over them, this is the third edition of new-look Prelims and it would be quite easy for you to understand the requirements and prepare diligently for the examination.

All the best!

Last Update Thursday 25th April 2013     

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