IAS PT 2017: 10 common mistakes that can be easily avoided

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UPSC is all set to conduct the civil services preliminary examination on Sunday, June 18.

Lakhs of students appear for civil services examination and a handful of them find a place in the list of successful candidates. Preparation for the exam is a lengthy process involving one and of years of time for every attempt. Even trivial looking mistakes can ruin precious one year,so an aspirant should leave no room for mistakes.

Take syllabus as bible

  • Aspirants tend to deviate from the syllabus and this is the first and foremost mistake that the civil services aspirants commit. It is very important to cling to the syllabus prescribed by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and map out your preparation accordingly.
  • After selecting an optional and the general studies paper, the bible of every civil services aspirant should be the syllabus. Each and every word given in the syllabus should be given due importance and aspirants should closely monitor, which part of the syllabus draws maximum questions in the previous years questions
  • Each part of the syllabus should be covered methodically and then only you can set about full-fledged preparation.

Previous years question papers as a guide

  • Previous years question papers should be the guide for every civil services aspirant. An ideal preparation involves referring previous year questions throughout the preparation. The right approach is to keep previous years question papers in hand and referring them alongside your preparation

Choosing the right optional

  • Civil services aspirants commit most grievous mistake while choosing the right optional. Choosing the optional is the most critical decision. Most of the times, aspirants make hasty decisions and their decision to choose optional is influenced predominantly by friends. The right approach is to go through the syllabus and ask below mentioned questions to yourself and once you have a satisfactory answer, choose the optional

1. Whether you really like the subject, you intend to choose

2. Whether you will be able to spend 6-7 hours of the day with the subject

3. Whether you have any seniors who have actually passed with the subject successfully in the exam

4. Whether the study material is available for the subject

5. Whether subject is scoring

6. Whether you will be able to score well with the subjects

Only after analysing all these aspects and getting satisfactory answer you should choose the right optional.

Group Study

  • Should a group study be given preference over studying alone while preparing for civil services examination? Does the group study really add to your preparation? If the opinions of experts as well as top rankers are to be believed, group study with aspirants who are of the same wavelength elucidate doubts and give direction to our preparation
  • Most of the aspirants prefer to study in seclusion without knowing what is happening outside. It has also been noticed that group study always keeps motivation level high, so studying together for few hours with like-minded aspirants helps you cast aside despair and negative thoughts
  • Studying in a small group of 4 to 5 students is ideal. Group discussion and test sessions catapult confidence to imaginable heights and also help discern areas to be worked upon. So, it is prudent to form a group and meet once or thrice in a week. Most of the aspirants think that group discussion is wastage of time and end up with seclusion and depression.

Mingle with the seniors

  • Seniors can guide you on numerous unnoticed areas of weakness. Seniors can act as a philosopher, friend and a guide. You can consult them over the phone and ask for clarifications if any query turn up in your mind. Many successful candidates define it as a shortcut to success. So it’s prudent of civil services aspirants to remain in contact with seniors.

Writing test papers

  • There is an old adage — Writing makes a man perfect. It is while writing you come across your mistakes and take remedial measures to rectify them. Aspirants tend to ignore writing tests which are essential for preliminary and especially for Mains. Mostly their time is consumed in reading and studying, but not in writing. Only when you appear for the test, you write more and also get to know about your area of weakness
  • Writing test is vital and candidates should start this in the very preliminary stage (Six month before the Pre and Main examination). This is how you get attuned to the pattern of examination and do enough of writing practice as well.

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