First let me start with some general tips
The first and foremost thing in life is taking care of ones health even if you are preparing for the mother of all exams ,i.e. UPSC civil services exam. Have enough sleep everyday, do some regular exercises and take nutritious food. Civil Services Exam does not require a ‘24 X 365’ type of approach. Study for 5-6 hrs daily and regularly. This will help in preventing early burnouts which is a common syndrome among the C.S. aspirants.
Don’t go for lot of books unnecessarily. You are preparing just to clear an exam, not to get a PhD or masters in the subject chosen by you. Do keep it in mind. You just need to make your basics very strong.
Don’t read/study continuously for more than 45min/1hr. Our brain cannot concentrate for more than this time. Take a break of 20-30 minutes after every one hour, listen to music that you like, or read some periodicals or entertainment news in the news papers which relaxes your mind and then go for the next session.
Don’t read when you don’t feel like studying or are not able to concentrate. Be honest to yourself. Burning hours does not fetch results, what really matters is how much time you spent effectively. So, it is much better to spend 2-3 hours productively than merely sitting in front of book for 12 hours to prove to yourself and others that you are working hard.
Find sometime for your friends, talk with them regularly, gossip and relax……
.Do find some time to take a walk outside in the evenings or play some game which will keep you both physically and mentally fit.
Basic books(only aimed for prelims)
- Administrative Thinkers( Prasad and Prasad)
- Indian Administration ( Ramesh Arora and Rajni Goyal)
- Public Administration( any basic book which tells things in a simple way)
- Indian Constitution( Subash Kashyap)
- Indian Constitution (guide book-lakshmikanth)
- Coaching material from any good institute/teacher
- Question banks (eg..
Don’t try to read many foreign authors and waste your time. With the above mentioned books, one can easily pass the prelims.
First of all, read the basic text books and get an overview of the subject. Then keep the prelims syllabus near you and read chapter-wise from materials in your hand ( ie. text book, coaching material etc). Then attempt a mock /model Question paper of that particular chapter and try to complete with in the UPSC time-limits. Evaluate your performance and rectify your mistakes. Then only go to the next chapter and so on. Once you are finished with the individual chapters, then start attempting model Question papers, previous years prelims papers etc, that too with a time limit. Evaluate and repeat the exercise. The more number of sample questions you can practice, the better will be your confidence level to face the exams.( There is no need to go for mock tests conducted by coaching centres, do it yourself).If you do this you can surely cross the prelims hurdle with flying colors.
Remember what matters in the ultimate analysis is doing things differently and not just doing different things.
The strategy for mains preparations is an entirely different game which can be discussed later. Best of luck !!!
(98th Rank ,2005)