As the UPSC 2018 answer key of the Civil Service Examination draws near, the aspiring candidates are driven closer to a frenzy. The exam is scheduled to be held on the 3rd of June this year. The CSE is one of the toughest competitive exams in the country, organised by the UPSC or the Union Public Service Commission, with only a fraction of candidates making it through. Clearing the exam in the first attempt may be extremely rare, but not impossible. Competitive exams themselves can be jarring and a method is essential in the madness that constitutes the preparation.
Seven lakh candidates are known to have taken the Civil Services Examination in 2017, out of whom only 15000 qualified for the main exam. The qualifying percentage in the UPSC exam is therefore dismal. And the percentage of people getting in on their first attempt is almost negligible. But against, not impossible. There are certain criteria that one should meet to make oneself eligible for such a feat.
An organised approach and self-discipline are extremely essential traits in any individual preparing to appear for a competitive exam, especially in an exam Like the CSE. Here are some detailed pointers on how to study prior to a competitive exam:
- A shorter study period
A shorter study period is much more effective in the absorption and retention of knowledge in the brain. Focus and concentration in our age of many distractions is difficult in general. And doing it for too long yields no results. Keeping a shorter attention span is an achievable goal. Besides, a longer study time tends to saturate our minds. Therefore, in order to excel, one must have much-needed intervals to really reflect on what has been studied so all of it can be taken in.
- Plan your study time
Plan what to do when you are studying. Start with short term goals with the idea to go through set number topics in a set period of time. Having a clear picture in your head about what you have set out to do right at the moment will help you focus and yield more results.
- Take small breaks
Make sure to accentuate your study time with breaks in between so as to keep your mind agile and active. Sitting with books all day will contribute no further to the preparation process unless you manage to do some real work. And it is easier to concentrate when there are intervals in between study time.
- Study in the early hours
While you might have a specific time of day when you are most productive, try and commit yourself to the early morning hours. In the morning, the mind is well rested after a night long sleep, and therefore more receptive of anything you decide study. Studying in the early hours helps sustain the knowledge for a long time. This is particularly advisable for topics that seem more difficult to you. Complicated chapters have a tendency of making sense when you look at them with the freshness of morning. Apply your fresh mind to the complex topics at hand.
- Stay healthy
It is unacceptable to devote all your focus on preparations and forget about health altogether. As you spend you days preparing for the exam, make sure you have a healthy regime as well to keep you hale and hearty. Nutrition rich meals at proper times is an essential aspect of keep and maintain your health so as to keep physically fit during the exam. Another key feature of staying healthy is indulging in some light exercise. This not only provides some much needed reprieve, but also helps in enlivening your mind, making it more receptive to more knowledge.
- No distractions
There exists too many distractions in the world today. Television may be one of them, but the most potent is the smartphone, equipped as it is with access to all forms of media that hampers time set for you to study. Switch off your phone and stay away from all kinds of distractions when you are studying. Tabs, TV, Computers are not to be used at all during the period you have set for studying
- Positive attitude
Maintaining a positive mental attitude before, during and after the examination is essential for any competitive exam. Anxiety and despair are never far away but to keep nervousness at bay, one must have a positive attitude. And the build to this positive attitude is through constructive preparation that exponentially boosts your confidence.
Anyone appearing for competitive exams must keep tabs on themselves and also pay attention to the seven points mentioned above to enhance chances of success. Having an easy study period in your day that is easy to follow helps ensure a consistent and systematised approach to your learning process that will definitely pay off when the time comes.