Tips to Crack the UPSC exam 2020

The Union Public Service Commission is India's central recruiting agency. It is responsible for conducting recruitment examinations for All India Services and Central Services. The UPSC exams are the most sought after the exam in India which can make you land in the top positioned government services. The age limit for UPSC is 21-32 years and with a cap at 6 attempts.

Less than 1% of the candidates who take the Civil Services exam get selected for the IAS, IPS and the IPS. Passing the UPSC exams a true challenge. Here are some tips to crack the UPSC exams.

Explore your Reasons for Opting for a Civil Service Career

Preparation for the exam is only the first step for a civil service career. Identify and articulate your motivation for this pursuit. The exams alone will take a considerable amount of your time and effort. You will need to be single-minded and focused on what you're aiming to achieve in this highly competitive environment.

Identify how you would contribute to the country, which part of Civil Services are you interested in, what is your primary motivation for applying for civil services, what is your interest and capacity to learn & finally what is your vision post the exam. 

Understanding the Importance of the Entire Process

The 3 step process of prelims, main exams, and personality interview are 3 important steps each with a separate format and therefore preparation conditions.

  • UPSC Prelims exam is an objective and multiple-choice test on 2 papers of General Studies & CSAT or Civil Services Aptitude Test. The GS paper has 100 questions carrying two marks each while the CSAT has 80 questions carrying 2.5 marks each. There is a penalty of 33% marks, for every wrong answer, out of the allocated marks. The CSAT paper (paper 2) is evaluated first and only of those candidates who have qualified in Paper 2 or got 33% or 66 marks in CSAT, their GS Paper 1 will be evaluated. The candidates are shortlisted for the mains, on the basis of their scores in paper 1.
  • UPSC Mains Exam has 7 subjective papers comprising four General Studies, Essay, Compulsory English, Compulsory Indian Language, and Optional Subject I and II.
  • The objective of the personality interview is the assessment of the thoughts and overall personality of the candidate.

Set Specific Goals and Targets

Once you have understood your motivation and the format of the exams, start preparing for the exams. Create your own lesson and study plan and follow them. Another important factor to consider is to avoid irrelevant study materials.

Improve Time Management

Manage time effectively during the preparation and while attempting the exam. During the exam, it is essential to utilize time for reading the question paper and revise the answers. Likewise, post the prelim and mains exams, it is important to start preparing for the interview within a fortnight.

Time Management for IAS preparation is difficult and arduous due to the long and unstable timeline, so motivate yourself with treats and breaks. Meanwhile, schedule enough study time and research time to keep yourself ahead of the competition. Make a mind map of the different subjects to help you study better.

Identify your strengths and weakness and based on that classify the topics and subjects in big chunks. Schedule at least 2 subjects every day. On a daily basis, choose to save time, by looking at various options. Arm yourself with certain extra skills like speed reading to manage your time.

Practice and Revise

Practice the mock tests before the actual exam. Pour through old test papers and time yourself. Revision is another tool in the toolbox for preparing for the UPSC exams. While we may have already studied some subjects a quick revision will keep you confident as you approach the exam as it improves your ability to memorize and analyze.

Also Read: Revision Tips for UPSC IAS exam

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Learn from your Mistakes

If you have failed a couple of exams, then learn from the mistakes you have made. Explore the reasons for your failure and think of creative solutions for your problems. Another source of information and inspiration is the past Civil Servants who will provide a bouquet of ideas to resolve your issues in preparing for the exams.

Be a Trivia Magnet and News Lover

Being a lover of news is a necessary occupational hobby to pass the UPSC exams. Follow news from different media to understand the current political, economic, environmental, health and business climate in India and across the world.

Manage your Emotional Needs

Preparation and clearing exams will take anywhere between 1-12 years based on the no of attempts tried. It is imperative to be cognizant of your emotional needs. Recognize that life exists outside of the exams. Lean on your family and friends for a robust support system, to keep you motivated. Take up a hobby that is tactile and that you enjoy. The key is to have fun studying and achieving your goals.

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