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UPSC Preparation

UPSC Preparation

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Published by: anshu185 on Jul 17, 2012
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How To Prepare For Prelims (CSAT)
 The Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) includes two objectivetype question papers of two hundred marks and two hourstime duration for each paper. One is on General Studies andthe other is General Aptitude Paper( which has now replacedthe optional subject that was there earlier). With the Civil
Service exam having very limited seats it’s a very difficult
exam to crack. Many students appear multiple times to clearit.Changes in formats of question papers always tend to createa lot of mental discomfort in students. Many students arefearful of subjects like mathematics. This fear may bebaseless considering the changes lay greater emphasis on the
“aptitude” which mainly involves reasoning skills and not
 just mathematics. The civil services examination is basically a test to choosesuitable administrators. It tests the candidate right from thestage when one starts the preparation. One commonmisconception about the prelims is that it is a test of factsand figures. That was never so and specially now. Acandidate should have the right frame of mind and the willpower to succeed in the exam. A proper action plan is neededfor the preparation itself since he /she will be tested for someessential qualities like power of retention, clarity of concepts,ability to identify the correct alternatives with efficiency andaccuracy. All this requires a quick decision making power.With the new pattern, more stress is on language skills andanalysis and decision making capacities, so work on these ona consistent basis as these are skills that are developed over years and not just in a few months. It would be advisabble tostart focusing on your problem solving and language skills assooon as you decide to take these exams.
Paper 1 is on General Studies
 This includes areas like1.
Indian National Movement, Indian Polity, Basic EconomicUnderstanding, Geography 2.
While the dynamic part includes current affairs, GK andhas no proper definition and syllabus making quite vast.
Paper 2
includes English, mathematics, reasoning, analyticalability, and interpersonal skills. Unlike paper 1 which has astatic part this paper provides no such respite.
Unlike paper 1 where quantity of questions is a majordeterminant for the static section paper 2 cannot be tamedwithout solving quality questions, though few in numberSince the preliminary exam in particular is a test of endurance the candidate needs to prepare himself on thephysical as well as mental level. The main constraint is thetime one gets to answer questions. On an average one getsaround 40 seconds for each question. Added to this timeconstraint is the fact that the exam is conducted in themonth of May which is usually the hottest month all over thecountry. Most of the centres for the exam do not have properfacilities which adds to the stress. One sure way of dealingwith this stress is to count numbers or to take a few deepbreaths. Meditation and Yoga also help in dealing with stressto a great extent.Now we come to the actual preparation for the prelims exam.Since it is a multiple choice question paper, it needs adifferent preparation and a proper strategy. The first thing acandidate needs to bear in mind is that the examination isdesigned to evaluate certain qualities like a sharp memory and basic retention power. There are ways to increase one'smemory like preparing charts. One gets confused when facedwith mind boggling facts and figures. Important facts andfigures can be simplified and represented on charts and they can arranged in the form of tables or graphs. Another thingto remember is to make short and brief notes on each topicso that the entire syllabus can be revised a day before theexam.It is better to use diagrams and link words which make iteasier to understand difficult concepts. One more techniqueto help in retaining information is the use of abbreviations.Since the syllabus involves exhaustive informationabbreviations help you to remember it better. It is a goodmethod to remember dates, facts and figures in a pictureformat and to break up complex names and places intosmaller and simpler words. The last and the most importanttechnique is doing regular revision. This helps in retainingthe maximum information. A separate time slot should begiven to doing not only regular but multiple revisions likedaily, weekly, monthly etc.Many candidates make a mistake of overloading themselveswith lots of information and end up remembering nothing.One should be able to differentiate between relevant andirrelevant information. Since the preliminary exam is an
elimination round the candidate should also learn to focusonly on the information needed and filter out the rest. Ithelps to discuss with friends and teachers but the mostreliable way is to solve past years question papers. Oneshould also keep abreast with current events and informationrelated to them.An important thing to remember is that for this exam it is just enough to remember information but to understand theconcepts well instead of memorizing facts and figures. Thequestions asked are of 10+2 level. Therefore emphasis has tobe on conceptual clarity. Any concept has to be understoodwith its origin, merits and de-merits, then it needs to beanalysed with other relevant topics and lastly it has to becorrelated with the events that have taken place during the year. The preliminary exam requires candidates who have theacumen and the ability to choose the right option of many given options. This needs a proper method of elimination. Itis a good idea to go through previous years and modelquestion papers and solve as many as possible. Taking amock test of a certain number of G.S. questions andmathematics and general ability questions would be a goodpractice and help to pick out the most appropriate option.Each prelims paper is for two hours but a lot of time iswasted in signing attendance sheets etc, therefore there is alot of need for effective Time Management not only for theexam but in the preparation as well. It is not enough to knowthe right answer but it has to be marked correctly on theanswer sheet. Speed and Accuracy are important, so solvingmodel question papers on a regular basis would be a greathelp.A good presence of mind is needed to eliminate the leastappropriate options and arrive at the right one. Howeverbeware of negative marking so it is better to mark only sureshot answers than making guesses. Throughout the preparation for the prelims exam, it isimportant to remember that any topic or concept should notbe studied in isolation. It is better to understand andestablish a correlation between related concepts from othersubjects and current events and happenings.Even with all this preparation, it is necessary to have apositive attitude and a great amount of will power to succeedto achieve your goal, that of getting through the civil services

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