“Live as if you were to die tomorrow; learn as if you were to live forever”

Gandhi’s impact ful words have a place in every education sphere, one such sphere where it holds significant place is the network of aspirants who take the courage and hopes to crack one of the toughest exams of our country – the UPSC Civil Services Examination (CSE).

In this article, you will learn how to prepare for UPSC exams, follow the below mentioned points with heart & soul and you will never feel unprepared for any exam!

Mind your Routine

Enough emphasis can never be put on the importance of time management. The three stages of UPSC exam i.e. the Preliminary, Mains & the Interview. Each has a brief syllabus and the exam extends up to a year. Hence time management will be a huge deciding factor between someone who cracks the exam & someone who doesn’t.

Your whole day should be divided into three core parts-

  • Gathering the information
  • Assimilating the information
  • Revisions

Breaking the code- Understanding the Exam Pattern

The UPSC exams are designed in a certain manner that they not only test the in-depth knowledge but also the comprehensive awareness of an individual about the key topics.

Understanding is more important than exact knowledge about a subject.

Syllabus must be understood very clearly so that nothing skips your mind while preparation.

Prelims Exam Pattern:

Paper Type No. of questions Marks Duration Negative marks
General Studies I Objective 100 200 2 hours Yes
General Studies II (CSAT) Objective 80 200 2 hours Yes

Main Exam Pattern:

Paper Subject Duration Total marks
Paper A Compulsory Indian language 3 hours 300
Paper B English 3 hours 300
Paper I Essay 3 hours 250
Paper II General Studies I 3 hours 250
Paper III General Studies II 3 hours 250
Paper IV General Studies III 3 hours 250
Paper V General Studies IV 3 hours 250
Paper VI Optional I 3 hours 250
Paper VII Optional II 3 hours 250

Structure your study sessions

The volume of information that needs to be consumed can be mind boggling. So we will suggest you to start from the basics. It is always a good idea to gather as much books as possible which can help you grasp the basic ideas clearly. UPSC exams can’t be cleared with just sheer will, structured approach has to be taken.

The basic layout of each study session should somewhat look like this:

  • Researching the right source of information
  • Understanding the basics
  • Gain different perspective on the basics
  • Shift towards complex problems
  • Attempt to solve complex problems
  • Check the results & see where you went wrong
  • Revise the basics again
  • Move on to the next subject

Test yourself

There are plenty of mock tests and previous year question paper/test materials that you can find over the internet. Take at least 2 hours out of your day on a daily basis just to test your existing knowledge and to familiarize yourself with the exam pattern.

Set strict time limits and adhere to them as much as possible.

The UPSC website itself has a huge database of question papers and study materials from where you can test yourself out.

The only way to judge the required understanding is to constantly test your knowledge & understanding.

Few other methods to test yourself are:

  • Meetup with other aspirants & engage in healthy conversations
  • Test each other
  • Hold group Q&A sessions

Make revision a priority

Everyday your primary focus should not be picking up new topics or subjects to study but to revise and polish your existing knowledge base, that’s the only way to ensure that you do not face any significant information loss on a daily basis while assimilating more & more information.

Our brain can never capture any information in a qualitative manner unless it is being revised frequently. So mark your calendar & set aside fixed days for revision purposes only.

  • Fix specific hours daily to test what you’ve learnt today.
  • Set weekly revision sessions
  • Set monthly revision & test sessions
Train your mind for receiving information

This is the most important step that I can share with you through this piece of article, what training your mind means is that you setup your mindset in such a way that even when you are not actually studying, you are learning something new, discovering & understanding. Your brain should be actively engaged in perceiving knowledge as much as possible.

Wherever you go & whatever you do, you should be analysing the reason behind the occurrence of events around you.

Stay Healthy

Don’t let excess studies trap you into a sedentary lifestyle. Go for short walks between study sessions. Follow proper nutrition. Make a workout routine for yourself. Never skip a meal.

A healthy mind & body can give you several rewards than a tired mind ever can.

  • Write your goals
  • Follow proper diet
  • Make a healthy workout regimen
  • Take proper sleep
  • Meditate
  • Go for walks

So make a wholistic lifestyle your priority with a singular goal of cracking the UPSC exam in your mind.

Wish you all the luck for those who are aspiring & working hard to prepare for the UPSC exams

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