For my young friends who are planning to take the UPSC Civil Services Prelims Examination this October –
- Stop reading newspapers from D minus 20 day (that is, 20 days before the Prelims exam day).
- Don’t read new study materials (just because a friend or a mentor or a coaching institute guy recommends them). Stick to your original plan. Focus on your own notes and revise them regularly. Revision is more productive than reading new materials.
- If you find any particular topic a bit difficult to understand, go back to the basic books. The copy-paste materials won’t help you.
- Don’t worry about dates (history), statistics (economy) and numbers (science and technology). You won’t get too many questions involving them. Not worth your time and attention. Why is more important than what and when.
- Practice with last years’ questions. Practice with mock test papers. Practice under exam-like conditions. Practice like Virat Kohli.
- Prelims is about elimination. Focus on the two least probable choices out of four. No need to try every single permutation and combination. That saves time.
- Use internet to your advantage. Don’t let it ruin your schedule.
- Sleep by 10.30 PM and wake up early. Use your mornings wisely. The exams are a day-light affair. Train your mind and body accordingly. Watch your screen time. Protect your sleep (and mornings) from your devices.
- Don’t listen to music while studying. They won’t give you headphones and earphones in your exam hall.
- Don’t neglect your fitness, both physical and mental. Mental health is very important for your preparation. Don’t take it lightly. Reach out to an expert if you’re a bit stressed out.
- Factor in negative marking while trying to solve questions that you are NOT exactly confident about. Play a percentage game. Play like Sampras. Not like Agassi.
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