Do’s and Don’ts in UPSC preparation for self-study students 2017-2018

Do’s and Don’ts in UPSC preparation for self-study students

UPSC CSE exam is a difficult task yet an exciting journey. UPSC CSE exam is unlike other competitive exams. The exam tries to assess your knowledge, attitude, opinion on various issues of governance, leadership abilities, ability to stick to your decision and your uniqueness.

These are qualities, which no coaching institutes can teach you; these have to be developed by an aspirant on his own. What you miss by not joining a coaching institute is the knowledge component but certainly, if you feel you can manage to own your own, it reflects your self-belief and confidence.

Having said about the essential qualities needed for the exam let me enumerate some the Do’s and Don’ts for a self-studying aspirant.

Some essential Do’s that you must follow for IAS Exam

1. Follow a Daily routine
The daily routine is an essential component for a student preparing on his own. You must read the entire syllabus and break the syllabus into daily, weekly and monthly targets. Try to mix different subject in your daily plan so that you do not get bored and maintain a decent concentration level. The daily routine will help you keep track on your progress and ultimately you do not need to rush your preparation during the final weeks of the exam.

2. Use authentic Study material
Since you are doing self-study you may have some doubts about study materials and its resource. To begin with, you have to start with NCERT books, NCERT books are easily available on www. which will help build your foundation. Later you can follow reference books on relevant topics of the exam. You can buy those books using online portals.

3. Cultivate a habit of Notes making
Notes making is essential as when you write notes you simplify the topic and it also helps you develop an understanding of a given topic. The other thing which comes handy with a proper note is a revision, you can easily revise multiple time, which strengthens your knowledge base.

4. Use Internet wisely
The Internet has become an important tool to prepare for UPSC CSE exam, you can follow daily newspaper, current affair analysis, videos for doubt resolution, daily quiz practice, and answer writing practice and also for availing free study material. But one thing you should be cautious about does not overuse it. Your books and notes are your essentials, the Internet is just supplementary.

5. Form a Peer group
Try to form a peer group of like-minded people either online or with close friends with similar goals. This will help you to clear doubts or keeping up your motivation when you feel low.

6. Join mock test both for prelims as well as mains stage
Writing mock test helps you understand your preparation level, your understanding of a given topic, time management, the pattern of the exam and highlights your weak areas. These are valuable investments as all aspirants begin somewhere and develop expertise with practice.

7. Develop a Hobby and indulge in some extracurricular activities
Hobby and extracurricular activities help you develop an all-round personality, which is an essential quality UPSC interview board looks for. Since you are just starting your preparation try to dedicate some to develop a hobby.

Some don’ts that you must avoid for Civil Services Exam

1. Overuse of social media
Limit the use of social media like Facebook and What’s up, even when you are using try to use it, do it productively by subscribing to pages relevant to UPSC preparation and groups related to UPSC preparation.

2. Excessive dependence on online source
Use online resources judiciously, there is no point being online 24X7 as it will definitely distract you and hamper your preparation. Limit your time for internet uses. Secondly, books, newspaper, and notes are your mainstay for UPSC preparation. This is where you have to devote maximum timing.

3. Fall for Internet debate
Do not fall for an internet debate, which aspirants invariably fall for when they have given their opinion on certain topics. This leads to lots of wastage of time and sometimes becomes a habit, which completely jeopardizes your preparation.

4. Follow a number of resource for one subject
Many aspirants think that if they follow more resources for a subject they will have better knowledge content and they will be at an advantage but the truth is opposite, following minimum resources and revising it regularly helps in more knowledge retention which finally helps in the exam.

5. Compare yourself with your batch-mates
This happens to every aspirant at some point of time during the UPSC journey. A few failed attempts and we start questioning our decision to prepare for the exam, we start comparing our journey with our friends which is a useless exercise. It invariably a self-sabotage exercise with no benefit. Do not compare, your journey is different and its result will also be.

6. Procrastinate on daily plans and writing practice
Never procrastinate on your daily plan and keep buffer time, as perfect execution is not always possible. During buffer period, finish up your backlogs. Secondly, do not procrastinate on writing practice as finally, your success depends on your mains exam.

Every UPSC aspirant has its own journey and they are the best judge of their abilities and weakness. But at any point of time, you feel that you are losing track and finding it difficult to concentrate do seek help from your peers, some senior preparing for the exam or even coaching institutes. Because at the end what matters is whether you achieved your goals or not.
Best of Luck!!


Author:Anish Passi

This is a guest post by Anish Passi. Anish is the Director at Neostencil, an Ed-Tech startup funded by the Times Group.Anish has extensive experience in the Education industry, with past exposure to investment banking, technology, real estate, and retail consulting. He is an Engineer from McMaster University, Canada and an MBA from IIM, Ahmedabad.


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