The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) will conduct the civil services prelims exam on June 2. Cracking the Civil Service Exams (CSE) is definitely a daunting task.
In 2018, about 8 lakh candidates had applied for the CSE prelims, out of which only about 10,500 candidates have qualified for the main exams, all competing for a mere 780 vacancies.
However, with proper management of time, undeterred focus and a structured routine, even this mountain can be climbed. Once you are through, you will be eligible to get recruited in top Indian government services including Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS), and several other Group A and Group B jobs.
Where to start your journey of Civil Service Exams?
There are three stages of CSE- the prelims, the mains and the interview call. The candidate has to pass each stage before moving on to the next.
Let’s discuss some of the strategies you can take to noticeably increase your chances of cracking the exams.
1. Time is essential
There is no way you can cover the vast ocean of CSE syllabus if you do not have a schedule. Set aside a particular amount of time every day to study and try not to break this habit.
Give more time to difficult topics without compromising your other subjects. You might find this easier if you choose to join a good coaching institute that will compartmentalize and schedule your time.
2. What to study
The CSE syllabus is basically what you have learnt your entire life in school, all rolled into one. Topics will include General Studies such as, Indian national movements, Indian politics, basic economic understanding, Indian geography and world geography, current affairs, general knowledge, etc.
Apart from these, your English, mathematics, reasoning, analytical ability, interpersonal skills, etc will also be tested.
So buy your study materials very carefully. You can take help from a government job coaching institute that will provide previous years’ question papers to go through before buying any books.
Once bought make several notes and customise what you will study. Keep your ears open for educational videos, both national and international current affairs and general knowledge via the internet and daily news.
3. Does group study and coaching help
You can take special coaching classes for the preparation of CSE. This will help you immensely with time management, keep you under a proper schedule and will not let your focus go astray. Having a career counsellor or personalised study materials will let you catch on in anything you might have missed.
However, one can also prepare for the exams without a guide but in that case, it is important that you find yourself a set routine to follow.
4. Practice does make you perfect
Continuous revision and mock papers are what will save you. Select an app that lets you take multiple mock tests with a set timer and analyze where you stand. Work on the areas that need improvements.
5. The final push: Inside the exam hall
You have reached the examination hall, you have prepared well, and you are motivated. However, all of these will be of nought if you let stress take over you during the exam. Keep a calm mindset and prioritise.
Attempt the questions whose answers you are absolutely sure about, starting from easier to difficult, to earn as many marks as possible. Remember there are negative markings, therefore keep the guesswork away.
Do not spend too much time on one question and miss out on other questions. Whether you know the answer or not, divide your time in such a way that no questions are overlooked.
Do not make silly mistakes such as marking the wrong answer during the MCQs or misunderstanding a question, all because you were in a hurry. Once you take care of these big and small details you are good to go.