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If you are planning to crack competitive exams and want your bright and secure future, this blog definitely will help you out. The season of competitive examination is coming. The government is recruiting employees in different departments. Banks and Insurance sectors are also looking for suitable candidates as everyone can see a huge demand in their respective sectors after this Covid -19 pandemic. So if you are planning then this is the best time to crack exams but you need to follow some good habits. Yes, you need to study but it should be a smart study with full proof planning. Remember, only book study won’t work; it should be a mixture of book study, extracurricular activities, and group discussions.
This blog will help you to prepare for competitive exams and self-grooming also. A survey report says that because of not proper guiding, most of the candidate fails even they are intelligent. If they get a guide to guide them, they can easily crack any examinations. So this article will help in your preparation for competitive exams. You will also learn how you can do well for yourself by doing the right things.
So, here are some of the useful tips on how to prepare for competitive exams:
Planning: - Whatever we do in our life is depends on our planning. If planning is perfect, the half battle is done so before starting for preparation, make a plan. Here planning means - preparing yourself for examination, planning for study, time for food, and your sleep. If you go with your plan, no one can stop you.
Set Goals: - You need to set your goals and here goal means your daily goals, your weekly goals, or your fortnightly goals and you should be focused on your goals. Remember one thing that your goals should be SMART (Specific – Measurable - Achievable – Relevant – Time-Bound). If your planning is good and you are focused on your set goals, you are very close to your success.
Choose Subjects Wisely: - This is a very important point otherwise we have seen many people who failed because they choose incorrect or wrong subjects. Always choose those subjects where you are comfortable and you have mastery in that subject. Do not run behind someone.
Understand the Syllabus: - Again this is also a very important point. Once you have selected your favourite subjects, understand the syllabus. All the competitive examination has a defined syllabus that you need to understand. You can refer to the previous year's examination papers so that can help you to understand the pattern and the level of examination.
Have a shorter study period: - Rome is not built in a day so if you study 24 hours regularly, there is no guarantee of success but yes, it will give you stress, exhaustion, and confusion. So it is always advisable to study for two hours straight and then take a break then get back again. This break will give rest to your mind, eyes, and your body then again these will energize. So taking breaks is very important in all aspects.
Be Positive & Confident: - It is very important to remain positive and self-confident. Self-motivation also helps a lot. All these things not only will help in the preparation for competitive exams, but it will also help you in your personal life. Do not take tension and don’t over think. Tension will decrease your energy.
Regular study of your favourite subjects in a planned way will lead you to your goals. No one can stop you to reach there. Preparation for competitive examination is a matter of your strategy and your execution. No one can help you with this, you need to help yourself. Have faith in yourself and be positive.
When should one start preparation for the Civil Services Examination? This is the most commonly asked question by the IAS aspirants.
Well according to the UPSC board a candidate needs to complete 21 years of minimum age to take the civil services examination.
Yet young aspirants have doubt about right age to commence preparation. As a matter of fact there isn't any ideal age for this. But since the board gives age criterion serious aspirants can begin gathering background information about the examination details and such during their under graduation time and by the time they graduate from the University their priorities are cut and they have a solid idea if they'd want to take up the CSE. It otherwise totally depends on individuals. There are success stories starting in the early 20s and even in 30s.
With the Indian Administrative Services gaining quite a lot of attention from youth, it should be noted that super serious ones begin their preparation right from their schooling. And many start seriously contemplate about taking IAS during their bachelor’s.
Each individual’s thought process is different as also their respective strategy of preparation for the examination.
However, if you have dreams of taking the IAS since childhood it is good to begin preparation after tenth grade. That is a actually a smart way to go because the aspirant can take choice of mains subject in eleventh grade itself. Further, UPSC keeps changing the pattern of the examination and someone who starts early has the advantage of understanding these patterns really quickly. That being said, with novice experience an aspirant who gives exam at ages early like 21 and 22 may not attain the competence levels and hence may not be able to clear the exam in their first attempt. Also because of lack of maturity to handle failures at that tender age, he or she may sulk and/or go into depression.
But an aspirant can start preparation as early as 18 and then get into serious mode by the age of 22 and very serious mode at 24. In fact, taking a subject of interest in Bachelors would be a good step too. With six years prep time and serious studying even if the first attempt is given at 24 or 25 the likelihood of selection will be very high.
Remember that right choice at the right age brings right results. Since the syllabus for UPSC examination syllabus is vast a decision of taking up the exam at the age of 18 will give ample time for study. Further exam after bachelor’s gives time advantage. Since subjects studied in bachelor’s are fresh the time can be invested in studying the current affairs and optional subjects
Additionally there are examples of some serious aspirants who after completing bachelor’s go for masters in the subject of their optional. How’s that? Smart, isn’t it? Such people are more often than not rank holders.
With all that being said average age of IAS qualifiers or age of aspirants who crack the IAS examination is 26.9 years. So early is the merry!!
UPSC aspirants develop misconceptions and myths during their preparation and this not only affects their preparation but their outlook towards life in general. So it is advised that the aspirants refrain from buying into myths and get affected in the process. Here are the most common UPSC myths:
Study Time of 16 to 18 Hours a Day
This is the commonest myth that does rounds in colleges and universities. The figures of 16 to hours intimidate many people from taking a call on even trying. Come on people, you need to know that quality doesn’t equal quantity and vice versa. You could study in 6 hours what an X or Y could do in 16 hours and 18 hours, respectively. It really depends on how effectively the time has been put to use rather than how many hours of time went into studying.
Two Optional Subjects
By now, you should be aware that you are supposed to choose only one optional subject. There is no need to prepare two optional subjects. Do not buy into this myth and if in doubt, check the UPSC government portal for clarification.
Study All Of The NCERT Books
There is no doubt in saying that NCERT books give strong basics about all the subjects. However, you need not sit and study all the NCERT books. If your basics are strong why even invest so much time in studying from scratch. You could perhaps do a good revision and it is still good.
To read as many books to clear UPSC is the biggest myth. Think of it – so many books in your shelf could create chaos for you. Stick to the needed resources and you should be a good game. By resources we also mean including news dailies such as The Hindu and The New Indian Express newspapers as well. Stay updated with the latest happenings in the current affairs and also political developments in India and rest of the world.
UPSC Is Impossible
This is laugh worthy to say the least. If UPSC is an impossible to crack of an exam, you wouldn’t see so many people clearing the exam after all. But since having a graduation is the minimum criterion whether or not one is serious so many take up the exam to rake up the competition. Furthermore, in the last few years there have been a drop in the intake and that has made the competition even stiffer. That shouldn’t impress you as an impossible exam. Former President APJ Abdul Kalam had once nicely put, ‘the word impossible itself says I am possible.
Non-English Medium Aspirants Are At Huge Disadvantage
Who said that? This is quite a de-motivating myth that’s been there for long. What you need to remember is that UPSC does not give advantage to some and leave others. It gives people the option of choosing the language for writing the exam. Further to put things into perspective there are many who aren’t fluent in English like you, so don’t panic and give up before even starting your preparation. There are many IAS success stories of people coming from the most rural backgrounds clearing the exam in great merits.
People That Clear UPSC Exam Are Kings
UPSC is the most popular exam for entry to Indian Civil Services. Definitely the achievers are looked up as celebrity figures, but people, they aren’t Kings in the society. Law makers or politicians are the real kings. Can an IAS Officer take a call on petrol or diesel price rise? Think about it, people!
Mock Tests Are Time Waste
Whoever said mock tests are a waste of time surely had not cleared the UPSC CSE, for sure. As a matter of fact mock tests should be an important part of the preparation for the CSE. It gives an idea of where you are and where you have to be to beat the competition.
Don’t Waste on Attempts With Less Preparation
As quoted by Norman Schwarzkopf, the more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war. This applies to UPSC attempts as well.
UPSC Exam Is A Game Of Luck
No. As you sow, so shall you reap! It holds good for any exam or any work. People who fail to put in their best resort to blaming the luck. There is no short cut to success than hard work. So be it.
This is the question that hits every IAS aspirant. The answer, however, is not a simple YES or a NO, because it depends on individuals’ preferences. That being for those who are strongly motivated self preparation is the way to go.
If you should invest some time in search and research there are tones of videos and resource material one can get online for free, however people would encounter many challenges during self preparation.
Where to begin?
This is the first challenge. For people contemplating to start their preparation, if they are not certain of their optional yet, then challenge gets harder.
A good way to begin is with NCERT text books of 10th, 11th and 12th classes, respectively. History, Geography, Economics, Political Science, Physics, Chemistry and Biology text books to be exact. NCERT books should be taken as beginners Bibles The concepts are laid perfect and written well to get anyone introduced to the subject. After reading NCERT books, people can switch to standard reference books of same subjects.
If you are unable to finalize on the optional subjects you could meet fellow aspirants and borrow their optional books. After reading these for a week or 10 days you could check previous papers of the respective subjects and learn how the optional subjects performed. You could then pick the subject that you are most comfortable as well as the one that has been showing good performance in the previous years.
This is the biggest hurdle in the self preparation. The aspirants have to stay motivated 24x7x365. That is a gigantic task. There could be lows and highs in days of preparation, yet keeping up the tempo is critical lest finishing syllabus becomes impossible almost.
You could set a definite routine and strictly adhere to it come what may. Changing your sleep and study routines too often can jeopardize the tempo. Talk to fellow aspirants who have similar frequency and seriousness for the exam whenever you are off your tempo. Unwind and relax and it should help you.
How can you measure your performance?
According to some self preparation saves a lot of time. Agree. You could be religiously following a study routine and covering all the prescribed syllabus, staying motivated and all. But how do you know if you are at par with other serious aspirants? How do you know you are doing in an exam? Ultimately that’s the point of your preparation. Isn’t it? You will have no clue if you are beating your competition or you are in the race or not if you cannot measure your performance. This is one of the hugest challenges of self preparation.
But if you still want to stick to that you could join a test series of prelims as well as mains online and keep a track of how you are doing and how you could improve.
Finally self study doesn’t mean you should not take help when you need it. You could do bulk of your preparation and get some help for the areas you are lagging.
Bottom line, do not be harsh and do not stress yourself. Remember Vivekananda’s words of work incessantly but be not attached to it. Do your work and let things work!!
Clearing Civil Services Examination and getting into IAS is considered as one of the world’s toughest exams. In India it is the indeed the toughest exam that recruits officers into services including IAS, IPS, IFS and IRS. IITJEE is only second to CSE. So why is it regarded as a tough nut to crack?
Mind-blowing competition: With India being the second most populous country there are a whopping number of 11 to 12 lakh aspirants applying for the CSE when there are only 1000 vacancies in the UPSC. Hence the intake into UPSC become just a meanly 0.1%. This number itself tells how tough of an exam it is to crack.
Age restriction and fewer attempts: UPSC has a prescribed restriction for age as well as number of attempts a candidate gives. A general candidate is given 5 attempts and 32 years of upper age limit. There are many cases of people getting the idea of taking CSE at the age of 30 and this cuts down on the attempts and hurts the success chances of the candidate.
Unpredictable: Each year candidates see a huge change in the exam. Many aspirants struggle to predict the pattern, which eventually lead them to lackluster preparation. The exam is also getting more challenging by year making it a nightmare for aspirants.
Humongous Syllabus: The syllabus for UPSC is vaster than anyone can imagine. It encompasses all subjects and from A to Z like covering everything under the sun. From History to Geography to Polity to Economics to Science and Environment to Atmospheric science to Robotics, there are so many subject areas an aspirant needs to study to appear for the exam. Aspirants should study to acquire depth of knowledge in these. Many aspirants who prepare sans planning fail to cover the entire syllabus or leave out the subjects that are newer and/or difficult to grasp and this hampers their chance of getting selected.
Know-how: Sometimes candidates find it hard to get convincing answers to how/what/when/why during their preparation. It could be because they do not know the right strategy or have right study material.
Lengthy exam dilutes interest: With the exam pattern being the lengthiest involving three stages such as Prelims, Mains and the Personality Test about a year is taken for the entire selection procedure. Even if an aspirant qualifies in Prelims and fails in Mains he or she has to take the exam again right from stage one. This dilutes interest of some. There are people who quit their jobs for CSE. Such people lose confidence after failing to crack the exam in first attempt.
Does it mean all hope is lost? Actually no! There are people who put in three P’s namely planning, perseverance and patience and cracked the CSE with ease albeit some help for preparation. So can you too! Good luck!
RAS or Rajasthan Administrative Services exam is conducted by Rajasthan Public Service Commission and much like IAS it is the most prestigious examination in the state of Rajasthan.
The age limit of applicants for writing the RAS exam is 21 through 35 years with relaxation applicable for the respective reserved categories and PWD Candidates as per the state government norms.
RAS offers the highest administrative posts in Rajasthan. Exam scheme includes a pre exam which has objective type of questions and then there is subjective mains exam and a personality test.
An RAS aspirant needs to read the complete scheme carefully including the marks, no of questions and negative marking if any, etc. The scheme of evaluation has been changing and a student needs to have clear idea of the same before attempting. The exam is more Rajasthan centric with majority of questions based on the state of Rajasthan
As for the general paper pattern, here is how it goes:
General Studies I (200 marks)
General studies II (200 marks)
General studies III (200 marks)
General Hindi and General English (200 marks)
An aspirant has to prepare at least 4 major subjects including History, Geography
Polity, Economics, Science, Maths, Reasoning and all about Rajasthan. Questions in RAS Examination are state specific and questions will be asked from subjects including History, Geography, Political Science and Economics not to mention History, Geography Polity and Economy of Rajasthan.
Since the examination to selection takes good long six to eight months an aspirant needs to put in double the time for preparation for the exam. It starts with noting down the complete syllabus and investing in books and material to prepare for specific subjects. Rajasthan Gyankosh book is treasure chest of knowledge about the state and there is also Rajasthan Adhyayan book editions 1 through 4 by the BSER in class 9–12. The same are available as free download for those opting to write in Hindi medium.
To keep up to date with the current affairs, national and international reading The Hindu helps a lot. Then there are Rajasthan Patrika, SUJAS Patrika to keep up to date about the happenings and developments in the state. Having an atlas of the world, country and specifically of Rajasthan is essential.
NCERT books are more than good to help with preparation in subjects including Geography, History and Science. Emphasis should be given to modern History. There are smaller topics one needs to have good knowledge such as Robotics, Nano Technology, Space Science, Law, Sociology, Psychology etc. One need to do studying for acquiring knowledge. Improve lateral thinking while studying and make notes if needed.
Practicing MCQs and taking mock tests help a lot. There are many books available to help with these. Tests by coaching centres offer a great deal of help in this regard.
To sum up one has to familiarize with the syllabus of RAS preliminary examination, study NCERT books, solve previous years papers, take practice and mock tests.