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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Tips For Success in IAS / UPSC Civil Services Examination - Analyzing the Question Paper

IAS / UPSC Civil Services Examination is an examination like no other examination as it tests not only the knowledge base of the candidate but also the mental make-up of the candidate. The UPSC Civil Services Examination continues for one year and keeps the aspirants on tenterhooks at all times and one is always on the lookout for the best book or the best material for covering various parts of the syllabus.  But quite often, the IAS aspirants miss out on the elementary things that they need to keep in mind for achieving success in UPSC Civil Services Examination and these small mistakes may turn out to be very costly. 

A very common mistake that civil services aspirants make is 'not analysing' the previous years UPSC Question Papers as they are a rich source of information plus they give you an insight into the mindset of IAS/UPSC Examination paper-setter. I will share below some of the strategies that I used and which paid rich dividends especially for General Studies paper in IAS / UPSC Civil Services prelims examination:

1. Attempting the UPSC Question Paper -  To test one's preparation one must attempt previous years UPSC question papers and to get the best output one should try to attempt it in a surrounding which is as close to examination hall. For example one should make sure that one will not be disturbed in those 2 hours by anyone and switch off your cell phones etc. The idea behind this exercise is to stimulate yourself into thinking that this is not just practice but the real exam. This will benefit you in several ways as it will give you a very close idea of how good your preparation is and also improve your responses in actual exam, be it improving the time that you take for eliminating options or for darkening the circles in OMR sheet etc.  

2. Scoring the UPSC Question Paper - Score the question paper you have just attempted honestly and if needed by being little more strict on yourself as giving yourself any false idea about your level of preparation will harm no one but yourself.  

3. Categorizing the Questions -  The next step would be to categorize all the questions into the following:
  • Number of Questions for which you knew the correct answer ( do not include those question you managed to get right by guessing or stroke of luck etc)
  • Number of Questions for which you knew the correct answer but still marked it incorrectly due to some or the other reason viz. not reading the question stem properly etc
  • Number of Questions about which you had read but did not remember the exact point or had missed reading a critical information that had been asked 
  • Number of Questions for which you could eliminate two wrong options (50-50 chance) and further sub-divide this into questions you ultimately got right or wrong from the 50-50 point.
  • Number of Questions about which you simply had no idea ( all four options did not make any sense)
This categorization of questions will give you a very good idea about your preparation for this exam and which are the areas where you need to improve and how to direct your effort towards specific areas which can improve your overall score.

4.  Collecting and Collating Information - Nobody can predict UPSC questions as well as UPSC itself, so the idea should be to note down all the facts and other useful information contained in the questions that you have just now attempted. For instance if there was a question which had asked about 'Tenth Schedule of the Constitution' and what does it deal with - one should note down not only what does this particular schedule deals with but also what the other schedules in the constitution deal with and maybe also the articles, so that when one is revising all the information is at one place. These notes will be very handy from examination point of view and will also help you in discriminating what information is relevant and what is not from UPSC examination point of view.

5. Reading the Instructions Carefully -  This may seem very obvious but so many times one fails to read the instruction carefully and ends up committing blunders in examination hall. Please do invest the 2-3 minutes that are required to read through all the instructions as you never know when UPSC might decide to spring a surprise on the candidates. Also read the question stem very carefully and do not try to aim only for speed in the exam as speed with accuracy is required in this exam and only speed without a sense of direction will be counterproductive.

So here is wishing all the readers happy reading and as civil services mains (2013) is approaching I will be discussing few important GS topics in my subsequent posts. All the very best ! 


Anonymous said...

How can I get study material for upsc civil services preliminary exam book

Unknown said...

Well tips you have shared. With hard preparation and also following these steps really very helpful to success the IAS examination. Thank you for sharing this great tips.

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