The preliminary stage of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) exam or Union Public Service Commission civil services exam is just a month away. IAS officers in the making have applied and are waiting for the IAS admit card or UPSC CSE admit card. And this time, applicants have a significant opportunity to prepare for the exam away from all distractions with sheer focus on preparations.
The preliminary stage of the IAS 2020 exam is scheduled to be held on May 31, 2020. Conducted at the national level, there are few other competitive exams in India that match the level of the IAS except perhaps the other civil services such as IPS and IFS. Even after year-long preparations, candidates are often unable to crack the exam in their first attempt. However, this time, things might just be a little different. The lockdown has pushed everyone into a state of isolation and IAS aspirants must be striving to make the most of it, to achieve the ambitious goal of serving in the Indian Civil Services.
But how exactly can one make the most of this? There is absolutely no reason to step outside. Therefore, one can dedicate as many hours of the day for preparations as possible. A planned strategy can be the most productive during this time. So, devise a plan to study. Grab a pen and paper and draw out a timetable for 30 days of preparation. One must refer to the UPSC CSE syllabus and try to identify areas which need dedicated study and those which would need only some last-minute revisions. This timetable can serve to distribute the available time in terms of hours for preparation.
One can use this lockdown to use the extra hours to practice mathematics and reasoning. Most IAS aspirants complain that there is never enough time to practice mathematics, science numericals, reasoning and aptitude problems. Now, one can try to attempt these sections more. A simple strategy is to take up 2 to 3 typical problems of every type and solve them in a scrapbook. For the rest, work up the calculations in your mind to save time.
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An important subject of the IAS exam is current affairs. Tutors and academic coaches often suggest referring to the latest newspapers, magazines, and academic digests. Caught up in the busy schedule of everyday life, we never have so much time to look up to current affairs in a systematic manner. But during this lockdown, we have the opportunity to use the time to get updated on recent events. One must do their research diligently and be regular in this context.
This might sound like generic advice coming from everyone, but trust us when we say that previous year question papers and mock tests can do wonders to lift one’s preparations. Among some of the obvious advantages, previous years’ papers can help optimise preparations to get fruitful outcomes. At least, one will be armed with one or two common questions that get repeated every other year. But what is the relevance to utilising the lockdown effectively? Do not just learn, but analyse the papers. Analyse how the pattern might have changed and how marks are distributed across sections.
Lastly, take care of your health. There is no way that one can study all day. It is not long before this lockdown ends. Till then, it is important to stay fit so that when the exam day finally arrives, you are ready to give our best. Take breaks and reserve some part of the day when you do not study. Spend time with the family, go out on the balcony and enjoy some self-time.