(IAS PLANNER) The Mantra to Crack Civil Services Exam

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The Mantra to Crack Civil Services Exam

  •  Planned studies, hard work and inner motivation are the keys to success.
  • Strong willpower and focused approach and faith in God are stepping-stones to success.
  • Dedication, good planning and positive approach, time management and hard work are secrets of success.
  • Motivation and Self-confidence are the keys to success.
  • Patience, selection of optionals, hard work and good luck will land you in safe place.

Hard Work: Work hard as there is no short cut to success and hard work never goes unrewarded. Every drop of sweat of your brow through hard work adds to the splendour of your bright career. Remember that there is no substitute to hard work. No one will come and help you. You have to finish the entire course by yourself. Civil Service competition is like a marathon race. The aspirants of civil services are well educated and more than 50 per cent of the candidates are serious ones. One, who has the confidence that he can compete in this examination and succeed, only will appear. UPSC statistics also reveals that around 50% of the total applicants only appear in the Preliminary exam and could not be able to appear in the Mains Exam.

Among the 50 per cent of the serious candidates, more than 20 per cent are hard workers, i.e. more than 50, 000 candidates are competing, and who are really hard working. There are hardly around 900 posts in all. So, to make it to the 900, one has to be really put in real hard work, good writing skills, unique style all put together. One should understand that it is not a university examination. We can say the hard work one of the first pre-requisites for the success.

There is no short cut to success and hard work never goes unrewarded. There are many ups and downs during the course of preparation. It is the "downs" which need to be tackled more vigorously and skillfully - more so at the emotional and psychological level. Remember these lines - "what you build for years, may be broken down in a single moment - build anyway".

DEDICATION: Dedication towards your duty always pays in life. Be totally dedicated and focused in your studies. You have to sacrifice something like movies, parties, and entertainments etc. at this stage of your life to achieve bigger things. Just work day in and day out and go on and on. One should have dedication towards the goal otherwise it is very difficult to achieve.

PATIENCE: As the CSE preparation spans a minimum of one year, right from the Preliminary stage to the interview state, it requires a lot of patience to maintain your tempo. At times you may feel tired and sick of further studying during the course of your preparation. Maintain your cool and patience and so on to break the monotony of studies. Talk to friends and parents. They will provide with you with the much-needed emotional support. If you don't get through, don't get frustrated. Don't slow down your tempo and at the same time you should keep patience for another year to reap the fruits of success. So one should not lose patience and the tempo throughout the preparation period till success.

SELF-CONFIDENCE: Your self-confidence can make the difference. If you don't believe in yourself and your capacity to achieve then, no matter how hard you try. You will end up failing. So your self-confidence should be at an all-time high-always. You should be in the company of people, who can increase your motivational levels high and can inspire you. Form a group of close friends, who are as determined as you are to make it to the Civil Services Examination. Keep good friends, they are always a source of inspiration and motivation.

FAITH IN GOD/LUCK: Most of the candidates who have passed/cleared/topped the Civil Services add this as a major key to success. Still, remember there is no alternative to hard work. And also believe that God is on your side and go ahead with full determination and intelligent study and practice, which will bring success to you.

TIME MANAGEMENT: Time management is a tool to success. For the preliminaries, real-time testing is very important. Students state that constant testing - often with double the number of questions in the same amount of time - is the only way to crack the paper's code. The UPSC exam, among other things, tests one's skills in managing time, and organising work in a systematic and efficient manner.
We see many people around us who spend their time in a frenzy of activity but achieve very little because they are not concentrating on the right things. They are perpetually busy but it does not necessarily mean that they make optimum utilization of their time. So there is a great need for effective Time Management in our lives today.

We keep hearing the word "Busy" a lot. There are two kinds of busy, chaotic, disorganized busy and calm effective busy. It goes without saying that being the latter helps to pack in more productivity in your work. Improving our "effectiveness Quotient" calls for mastery of basic time management skills.

We constantly hear the refrain that we do not know where the time goes. Whether you are an executive, a student or a homemaker, you need to achieve more in every minute of the day and to enjoy each task that you take up. We will be well on our way to the top if we know how to squeeze the most out of even a minute.

The first thing to bear in mind is to question whether you have a personal sense of time or a time log. This helps you to keep track of how you spend each hour. There is a way to do this. Divide each day for a period of two weeks into one hour intervals and jot down what you do in them. You can sub divide the activities under such headings as business meetings, writing, making phone calls, reading, time spent with the family etc. At the end of the week, examine your time log.

What you may find is that very little time goes into top priority activities and more into activities such as phone calls, coffee breaks, chatting with friends etc. Now is the time to analyze what activities are a waste of time and what need more time. Try to cut down time spent on useless activities or stop doing them altogether. Once you have prioritized your time, you will find your efficiency level rising and the end result is that you will be an achiever!

Time and resource management is essential in the Civil Services Exam. In Mains sticking to the word limits in all questions is essential as devoting too much time to one particular question will mean that you miss out on others. Time management is important not just in writing the exam, but also while preparing for it. It is advisable to break up long study sessions into a few compact ones with more breaks to refresh oneself. For example, two four-hour sessions prove to be more beneficial than one long eight-hour stretch. Some students prefer to study in short bursts of two hours, with 15-minute breaks in between.

Ultimately it is up to the individual to find his or her own unique time management strategy. It is also possible to use "free time" effectively. Thus, time spent commuting, or relaxing can also be used to refresh concepts or read different, if not completely unrelated, books. However, it is important to "switch-off" for at least some time in a day.

Writing Skills:

Writing skills are perhaps the most essential requirement in the main examination sections of the UPSC exam. As the exam is also a test of an individual's analytical and interpretative ability, clear, coherent and well-written answers in simple, effective English (or Hindi) are essential. Most students who clear the preliminaries are extremely comfortable with their material, and are unlikely to add particularly unique or new information. The difference lies in the method of presentation - or the writing.

Examination Tactics:

Considering the general nature of the examination the tactics must be to focus on greater rather than intensive coverage. One is expected to know history, science, polity, geography, economy and other such disciplines, all at the same time. However, only basics of each of the disciplines is needed. Hence one must concentrate on basics and acquire as much facts about basics as possible but avoiding the element of over-kill in preparations.

While preparation for the Prelims large coverage is the key word. By going through large source of information it is expected that an image is built in the mind which will reflect the details. Do remember that human memory skills work better when there are less emotional in-puts or anxiety about inability to recall on account of exam-related stress.

Internet Surfing:

Those who have Internet access at home or office, make complete use of it. Internet is an ever-bulging ocean of information. All the NCERT Books are now available on it’s net. You can get India Year Book, Complete Budget and Economic Survey Book and Summary of all bilateral meetings. You can get almost any information from wikipedia website. For example complete information regarding India’s space program is available on it.

Addresses of Some Useful Websites:
• upsc.gov.in - For all official information regarding the exam at any stage.
• upscportal.com - For tips, Book list, suggestions, coaching information, etc.
• persmin.nic.in - Useful after selection
• ncert.nic.in/textbooks/testing/Index.htm - To download all NCERT
• goidirectory.nic.in/ - It connects to official websites of all Ministries and departments.
• meaindia.nic.in/ - External Affairs Ministry website useful for India-World relations
• indiacode.nic.in/ - Constitution of India, Central Acts, Supreme Court, etc.
• indiabudget.nic.in/ - For latest budget and Economic Survey
• publicationsdivision.nic.in/ - For latest India Year Book