Civil Service Examination Preparation Strategy: Long-term Planning

It is tough; no doubt about that. For the candidates planning to take a plunge in coming 1-2 years’ time-frame hope some of the suggestions listed in this Long-term planning would help them to plan out a strategy of their own. Instead of trying, gaining awareness by taking 1-2 attempts, prepare meticulously so that you achieve success in your first attempt and that too with high ranks.

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Those who believe in long-term consideration, as ‘Civil Services Examination’ demands, planned study is the best way to prepare effectively.

The first step is to outline the priorities based on: One, your educational background; Two, your intelligence and awareness level; Three, your familiarity with constituents (subjects) related to General Studies and optional subject; Four, availability of time; five, understanding of intricacies involved, six, if you are seeking guidance from your seniors, successful candidates or may be from any coaching institute.

As pattern for Preliminary as well as Main Examination has been transformed, you need to adopt a fresh approach for an effective preparation. Looking at the number of attempts available, some of the candidates, casual in approach consume one or two attempts just to acquaint themselves with the examination and what it necessitates.

In today’s fast paced world, you should be focused and instead of wasting time like that, you should devote 1-2 years’ time for an effective preparation so that you can perform up to examiners’ expectations and emerge successful.

You have taken a wise decision to plan and prepare well before taking examination. Put in your best as if this is the only opportunity you have. Your aim should be ‘hitting the bulls eye’ not just to have a try. This is what many toppers do and accomplish task in style in very first attempt. 

Long Term Planning

  • Being aware of the complete exam-plan, related requirements at each stage of examination, syllabus and a look at previous years’ question papers to understand the level and current trends is essential.
  • When you are investing so much of your time and energy in preparing, attain a level that you don’t need more attempts to achieve this. With self-assessment in the beginning, check out you requirements and decide how to move further.
  • This will help you in setting priorities in your preparation.
  • Looking at the present scenario, adopting an integrated approach is must and you should start preparation with Main Examination in focus. By doing so, the Preliminary Examination Paper I gets almost covered and you will be in a position to face Preliminary Examination with confidence.
  • For Preliminary Examination Paper II, you need to learn some mathematical/reasoning/linguistic skills which you can always plan along with your regular study-plan as mood changing activity.
  • Practice is the key to success. Practice gives grip over the subject matter you have read, improves recall, increase concentration and builds ability to handle exam stress thus perk up performance.
  • With the changes in domain of General Studies, General Studies has become the "worthy" from the "Less worthy" and all attention has shifted towards it.
  • With recent examination, now the trend is known and what UPSC expects; accordingly, plan your studies.
  • Look at the constituents of General Studies and if anyone is unfamiliar to you, require immediate attention, you should take these on priority to be familiar with the subjects. It is time to go for relevant, up-to-date study-material, books, magazines, syllabus, past years’ question papers and all that you require to begin preparation.
  • Be careful; initially grab those books which cover static, traditional information on the areas dynamic in nature as many questions are being asked from these topics.
  • As they exhaustively cover the examination requirements, maintain a balance between traditional areas and contemporary developments which influence issues related to topics listed in syllabus.
  • Civil Service Examination is all about making the right choices and you have to opt for particular optional subject. Earlier, Main Examination had become an optional subject’s play as General Studies is not contributing much to make an impact on overall aggregate. But, situation is completely reversed with General Studies gaining dominance.
  • No doubt, now pendulum has tilted in favour of General studies but, the recent results have shown the significant role Optional Subject marks have played in success of many candidates. So, don’t take it lightly.
  • Before selecting optional subject, you should undertake a serious evaluation and if you pick your own subject as optional it is absolutely fine. Before you decide about a subject that is new, you should clearly understand the specific requirements any particular optional subject demands.
  • Understand the examination requirements and achieve excellence in all directions. Growing knowledge level provides grasp over the subject and after a certain stage, you attain such comfort level that you start applying the accumulated knowledge effectively ensuring a better performance.
  • Understand the trends and current approach of UPSC and drift towards Application, Contemporary developments and Current Affairs. This requires updated content as well as a strong grip over basics since with solid foundation only you will be in a position to understand and advance with study-plan.
  • In the beginning itself, don’t go for Current Affairs Year-Books and books related to those areas where current developments change on day-to-day basis as by the time you approach examination, the information would be stale. Daily news updates from Newspapers backed up by Magazines will suffice the purpose in the beginning.
  • Choice relating to self-study or joining coaching institutes is absolutely yours. Not all in the merit-list had gone to coaching institutes. Every year lot many aspirants crack this examination based on self-study.
  • However, in the changing environment, if you really need to seek help from coaching institutes, you should plan it after ascertaining which areas/subjects need help from experts. Accordingly choose a suitable coaching institute.
  • If your decision is in favour of attending coaching institute, it is essential to devote at least 2-3 hours on revision and what you studied in class. It enables you to make note, enrich them with newly acquired knowledge and immediate follow-up gives you opportunity to spot some areas that require clarity or more expansion or additional information.
  • Make a group preferably with same optional subject aspirants. As you start, you may encounter few problems which stop you from moving further. List out all your apprehensions, queries related to preparation and reach out to people you trust to get these resolved.
  • As examination requires an analytical approach, updated information with flow of original ideas, devote some time to practise presentation techniques which can give you a competitive edge.
Last Update Thursday 2nd April 2015     

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