Ms Aswija BV was a UPSC Rank Holder in the year 2018. Her AIR was 423. In this interaction with UPSC Aspirant at Analog IAS, she talks about the different tips that are necessary for UPSC Prelims and Mains Examination. She also talks about the different strategies of studying one must follow. The interaction also brings about the tips that one must follow for UPSC Interviews.
Tips for UPSC prelims and mains
Following tips and strategies as illustrated by Ms Aswija would help the aspirants to manage their studies and emerge triumphant in the UPSC Prelims and Mains-
The first point that she talks about is overcoming the fear of the examination. A proper technique should be adopted to train the mind and the body. It is very difficult to crack the examination on the first attempt. Many UPSC aspirants are unable to overcome the fear of failure in the second instance. Therefore only after failing to secure a chance once, they do not make a second attempt. However, this should not be the attitude. Efforts must be made to attempt the examination. In such cases, there is no plan B. So a single-minded focus in such circumstances helps in qualifying through the examination.
Analysis of topics from different viewpoints
The topics in the curriculum for UPSC Prelims and Mains should be analyzed from different viewpoints. For example- one topic must be analyzed geographically, while another topic must be analyzed from a historical point of view. Being one-dimensional in the preparation and limiting the scope of study never helps. Therefore it is important to have a dynamic perspective about different events and circumstances. That would help in proper analysis and understanding of the different study topics. Therefore not only will there be an enhancement of the knowledge factor but also betterment in study pattern.
Practicing is necessary
Practice makes a man perfect- This maxim must be followed for UPSC Prelims and Mains Preparation. Writing practice is necessary for the UPSC examination. UPSC Examinations are long affairs. The first exam takes place from 9 am to 12 pm. The second set of examinations on the other papers allotted for the day takes place from 2 pm to 5 pm. Therefore possessing the habit of writing down, making notes is very important. You should discipline your mind and body to work cohesively so that more writing can help you sharpen your writing skills.
Creating an examination environment
Creating an examination environment is very important. Sit on chairs and prepare and study. Do not use the comfort of your bed and sofa. The more you relax your posture while studying and preparing the more problems you will face while appearing for the written examinations in the halls. Therefore create a vestibule examination environment. For this time your lessons and conduct writing practice by using a stopwatch. Keeping time would help you practice better and you will be able to finish your examinations in time.
Mock tests and test series practice
Finally, mock tests are an important part of the preparation process. Mock tests can be found in the different reference books allotted for UPSC Examinations. Test series is also available on the Internet. Be thorough with your mock test preparation. For example- everybody studies the question papers of the last 10 years. But for securing a rank in the UPSC Prelims and Mains Examination, you need to do something different. Therefore do not just mug up the things that are mentioned in the books. Apply your common sense and wisdom to the problems cited in the books. Moreover, reading articles from newspapers is also very important. They will help keep you informed about the different events taking place nationally and internationally.
Tips for UPSC interviews
Following are some of the essential tips for UPSC Interviews as mentioned by Ms Aswija in the interaction-
Be transparent with your thoughts
The first thing that the interviewer looks for in the candidates is clarity of thought. Whatever you say to the interviewer, speak distinctly and have clarity of thought. If you are speaking about the different geographical boundaries of India, supply full information about the same. Do not hesitate to speak your mind and let the interviewer know that you have a sense of clarity about your knowledge level. Moreover, It is appreciated that you are transparent and honest during the interview process. Speak with clarity and common sense because at times the interviewer will ask you tricky questions just to see if you are capable of keeping a sane state of mind.
Maintain a positive body language
Maintaining Positive Body Language is very important. Your gestures are scrutinized whenever you enter the interview room. Therefore maintain proper eye contact with the interviewer. Do not sit until you are offered a chair or are told to sit by the interviewer. Maintaining positive body language involves speaking only when being spoken to and maintaining proper interview gestures. Do not keep your hands on the table in front of which you are sitting. Always answer positively with a smile on your face. No interviewer wants to interview a candidate who has a sullen expression on their face. It comes across as a bad vibe for the organization. However, you must be aware of not showing any signs of overconfidence during the interview process.
Be honest and sincere in your approach
Finally, be honest and sincere in your approach. When you are asked about how long you generally study, be honest and answer the interviewer. Whatever you engage yourself in, do that with full concentration, joy and passion. This will reflect in your interview with you answering the questions asked by the interviewers. Answer the questions honestly and sincerely. This would create a positive impression about you in the minds of the board of interviewers.
Therefore the tips mentioned by Ms Aswija are practical and must be followed if you are to gain success as a UPSC Professional. However, remember that the preparation process is relative. There is no single formula or recipe for success in UPSC preparation. Adopt the approach that suits you the best. This will guarantee success for you.
Mock interviews always boost your confidence which results in a better performance of your actual IAS interview. Have you enrolled in our UPSC Interview Guidance Program? If not, click here
Also read: Original IAS Officer Stories