Willing to crack the UPSC Mains 2020? Every candidate preparing for the examination has their own style and strategy to crack the mains. Having the right mindset and plan is crucial to qualify to become an officer. While it is true that every person is different and everyone has a different mindset and so the technique and plan would also differ, there are a few rules of thumb everyone can follow to successfully crack the UPSC Main 2020.
Here is a step by step strategy you can follow to give you an edge over others while appearing for the competitive examination.
Check Previous Years’ Questionnaire
There is no necessity that a question once asked in UPSC exams will be repeated. At the same time, you can establish a pattern to find out how much weightage is given to which aspect of the syllabus. Also, by looking at previous years’ questions, you can try to guess the level of difficulty the UPSC Mains 2020 is likely to present.
Read Newspaper Correctly
Just reading the newspaper isn’t enough. One must also know how to read the newspaper while preparing for UPSC. Knowing which news to focus upon and which ones to let go of makes a lot of difference. Apart from just news and newspaper columns, the editorial section of the newspaper also offers important insights into what is going on in the nation.
The editorial section quite often features opinions of the newspaper’s editor, a senior journalist, or even a well-respected citizen. When opinions of people are published in a newspaper, we get to know what the people are thinking about current developments.
- Stay Up to Date on Current Affairs
While newspapers give you just news, current affairs are rather different than just news. Current affairs are more detailed and longer-lasting events. A new development in the state of affairs may become news. A piece of news may set off a chain of events that eventually may become one of the current affairs.
E.g. COVID-19 pandemic is a global situation currently and aptly describes the ‘current state of affairs’. Any changes in the situation, whether increment or decrement in cases, becomes news. The news of the first case of a bat-virus having made a mutational jump to infect humans became an event that set off the chain of reactions leading to today’s pandemic situation.
- Take Mock Tests and Apply for Test Series
Knowing what you should be expecting in the examination hall is essential for mental preparation. Having the first-hand experience about the kind of environment, type of questions and overall required level of preparation is a good mental exercise.
Once the mind knows what to expect, it becomes easier the next time around. Taking mock tests is one such way to train the mind to handle the stressful exam center weather.
Such a series of mock tests offer one more inherent advantage. These tests are mostly conducted by coaching centers and are focussed strictly on the UPSC exam pattern, both for paper setting and checking. The question asked in these tests are similar to what will be asked in the actual examination. Your mind will also be prepared to face similar questions in the mains exam.
- Focus on Improving Your Writing Skills
Writing answers is extremely important in the examination. Not only your score is dependent on your writing skills, your impression, based just upon your writing skill would also matter when you advance to the next round. 250 marks in the Mains are dependent upon how you pen down your essays. Apt use of vocabulary, accurate punctuation, and clarity of thoughts are factors with a lot of weightage.
Apart from essays, your writing of answers during other aspects will matter too. The ability to write fast without making the writing unreadable makes a lot of difference too.
Get Time Management on Track
As stated just now, one ought to be able to finish the exam paper in time. This would require a lot of time management preparation beforehand. Best way to make the mind stay aware of time is to prepare a timetable or yourself and then adhere to it. When one is habitual to do everything they do in a timely manner, it automatically trains the mind to do the assigned task in the specified amount of time.
Take the Return on Investment Approach
RoI is a business term used by experts to help them understand how their venture is doing. The concept is simple for every resource invested, what are you gaining in return? The same principle can be tweaked and applied to your study mechanism.
Consider time, syllabus and available study material at your disposal as available resources. The portion of your syllabus which has the most material available and can be mastered in the least amount of time would give you a good enough ‘return’ on ‘investment’.
In simpler terms, focus on those portions of your syllabus which can be completed in the most efficient manner first. This would help you cover maximum ground before the exam clock starts ticking.
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