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UPSC IAS Preparation Strategy Tips 2020

Strategy for IAS Mains Exam

Well formulated strategy along with optimum time management is the only way to prepare for the Mains exam. So it's very important to formulate your own strategy as it pays to be yourself. However, for the general guidance to tackle this examination, we are giving some tips which may be help to the aspirant to achieve success.

Tips for Civil Service Exam

1. UPSC Preparation Strategy

  • Go through the syllabus and the previous question papers: 
  • It is the most important part of your strategy to invest your time to go through the Mains syllabus thoroughly and also the previous years question papers. 
  • A thorough insight of the past question papers will solve two purposes. 
  • One it will appraise you about the portions of the syllabus from where the questions are regularly being asked and second you may also understand the nature of the question being asked. 
  • This two factors will constantly guide you throughout your preparation of the Mains exam. 
  • So go through the question papers and identify the pattern and select the topics which are asked very frequently. Identify those topics which are particularly being asked for conventional essay type questions that require analatical abitlites and those questions which requires facts and figures. 
  • Once you have clearly demarcated the topics, the rest of the preparation will be an easy task.

2. IAS Guidelines

  • Resourcing Reading Material: It is advised not to go through a lot of books, instead rely on one standard book on each topic which deals with the basic concepts. 
  • Standard books not only save your time but also enrich you with right knowledge. 
  • So always rely on one quality book and not on many books. 
  • Also it is advisable to collect various books on different topics in advance to save time and the last minute blues.

3.IAS Exam Strategy

  • Make your own notes: It is always advisable to make notes of the related topics as you go through the books and other study material. 
  • A well drafted note solves two purposes. One it takes you through the entire syllabus and second your own notes will be of immense help for the revision of the syllabus. 
  • Prepare short notes of important topics with relevant points and always rely on your self-prepared notes. 
  • Go through your short notes rigorously.Rely on your prior preparation that alone will help you.

4.Guide for UPSC Preparation

  • Mind your Handwriting: Since Mains examination is all abbout handwriting, so try to practice writing as much as you can. you must practice how to write answers in the limited space given in the answer sheet, which will be provided to you during the Mains exams. 
  • This is something you must develop as a habit from now onwards and always stick to the word count that would be given to you to write answers. 
  • You must see to it that your answer should not exceed the word count or spill over the box given as you may be penalized for any such lapses. 
  • While practicing this activity, you must be careful about other facets of handwriting as well. You try to develop writing legibly that can be read by the examiner without any difficulty. 
  • In the same vein, you must pay attention to the spelling and grammar too. You see to it that your answers are free from such mistakes and your handwriting appeals to the examiner.

IAS Preparation Strategy Tips

Tip #1: Prepare Yourself
  • Before trying to understand how to start preparing for UPSC at home, you should prepare yourself for the journey.
  • Before starting your preparation, prepare mentally and physically for the examination. Set goals and devote time effectively.
  • Understand the UPSC exam pattern thoroughly, and pace your IAS preparation accordingly.
    1. The UPSC exam has three stages — prelims mains and the interview.
    2. To know more about the UPSC Prelims exam.
    3. To know more about the UPSC Mains exam.
  • If you are working and have decided not to quit your job, analyse how you would devote time for studies and chart a plan.
  • Today, with technology like the internet, it is possible to balance both preparation and a job with ease.
Tip #2: Make a Time Table
  • To become an IAS officer, it is necessary to be like an officer with a well-organized daily routine.
  • You should set a comfortable timetable before your preparation and stick to it.
  • Making a timetable will ease your preparation and make it more streamlined. With deadlines, you would work better and complete the syllabus faster.
Tip #3: Know the UPSC Syllabus
  • The syllabus is the soul of any exam. Knowing the syllabus is the foremost thing to do before you go through the books.
  • The UPSC has provided the syllabus for the Civil Services Preliminary and Main examination in an elaborate manner.
  • Aspirants should understand and follow the syllabus for UPSC civil service examination. Knowing the syllabus will help you to choose relevant study materials, prioritize the subjects, etc.
Tip #4: Newspaper Reading/Current Affairs for IAS
  • The newspapers are the most important aspect of the IAS exam.
  • If you do not read the daily newspaper or follow the daily news for the IAS exam, you cannot hope to clear this exam.
  • The questions asked in the civil services exam are directly or indirectly connected with current affairs. Hence, it is very important to follow the relevant news items in your daily newspaper. 
Tip #5: Choosing Optional
  • The optional subject accounts for 500 marks in the UPSC final tally.
  • Hence, you should choose an optional subject wisely and after a thorough think-through of the pros and cons of the subjects, you have in mind.
  • Some of the factors to keep in mind before selecting an optional are:
    • Interest in the subject
    • Prior knowledge in it/academic background
    • Overlap with the GS papers
    • Availability of coaching
    • Availability of study material
Tip #6: NCERTs
  • The NCERT textbooks from classes six to twelve play a very significant role in IAS exam preparation.
  • Aspirants can get basic concepts and theories from NCERT textbooks.
  • These books provide the information very coherently. Moreover, they are reliable too as the source is the government itself.
  • In previous years UPSC has asked questions directly from NCERT textbooks.
  • So, NCERTs are undoubtedly the best books to begin your IAS preparation with. 
  • Apart from the NCERTs, you should also follow a few other advanced textbooks.
You can also get NCERT Notes for UPSC from the table below:
Tip #7: Making Notes
  • It is helpful to make short notes during UPSC preparation.
  • Since the UPSC syllabus is very vast, it helps to keep track of the portions covered and also serves as a ready-reckoner for revision.
  • You can have separate files or notebooks for separate subjects. Files are preferred by many since they help adding notes to a topic easier. This is especially helpful in the case of adding current affairs-related news to a particular topic.
Tip #8: Answer Writing Practice
  • The IAS main exam papers are descriptive in nature.
  • It is mainly about testing your analytical, critical, and communicative abilities.
  • It demands you to think with conceptual clarity and organize your views, perceptions, and thoughts in a flawless manner.
  • Another thing to be kept in mind is the time and space constraint in the answer booklet.
  • Therefore, candidates have to answer the questions quickly and effectively and in minimum words.
  • This is not possible without adequate answer writing practice.
Tip #9: Solving Previous Years’ UPSC Question Papers
  • Previous question papers are the most reliable sources of UPSC pattern, difficulty level and question type.
  • You can judge the trends in the UPSC exam paper easily.
  • It will also help you understand which areas are the most important in a particular subject.
  • Lastly, it is a good source of self-assessment in your IAS preparation.
Tip #10: Mock Test Series
  • Self-assessment is an essential part of UPSC preparation.
  • It can help civil service aspirant in realizing and learning from mistakes, shaping what approach they need to follow in continuing the preparation and identifying strengths and weaknesses.
  • It is highly recommended to join mock test series, especially if you are preparing from home. This will help you to assess yourself and help you further.
Tip #11: Important Government Resources
  • Your ultimate aim when you are taking the IAS exam is to work for the Indian government.
  • Naturally, there are many government sources you can rely on during your preparation. Government websites like the PIB, PRS, and national television programmes featured on the Rajya Sabha TV are very helpful. We cover important PIB articles every day. 
  • We also cover important Gist of Rajya Sabha TV programmes for UPSC.
Tip #12: Revision
  • Revision is very important when you are facing an exam as tough as the UPSC exam.
  • Since the UPSC syllabus is vast and diverse, covering multifarious subjects, it is natural to forget things that you had studied earlier.
  • To avoid this, timely revision is a must.
Tip #13: UPSC Interview
  • As mentioned before, the final stage in the UPSC exam process is the UPSC interview or Personality Test.
  • This is an important stage in the process and here, it is something more than academics that will help you.
  • You will be assessed on qualities such as diplomatic skills, communication skills, presence of mind, reaction to stress, etc.
  • You will also be asked questions about your interests, hobbies, education and work experience, if any. So, you have to brush up on these aspects.
Tip #14: Relevant Magazines
  • Magazines like Yojana, Kurukshetra, Economic & Political Weekly, etc. are very important for the IAS exam.
  • They contain important information on topics like polity, governance, agriculture, economy, etc.
  • You can get a gist of the Yojana, Kurukshetra and EPW magazines in our website.
Click on the links below and read the gist of the latest issue of the magazines:
Tip #15: Stay Positive
  • The most important aspect of the entire UPSC journey is to stay positive.
  • There are times when it can get quite overwhelming and you will feel depressed.
  • Remove negative thoughts from your head and work on.

UPSC strictly adheres to the syllabus. Though sometimes it seems like questions are asked from outside of the syllabus, they are actually in some ways related to it.

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