The IAS exam is one of the most difficult exam conducted in the country for recruiting eligible candidates for the top ranks of administrative service in the Government of India. The IAS prelims 2020 will be conducted on October 4, 2020 and candidates have little less than a month to prepare. While the syllabus is huge, with proper time management and strategy, it will not be difficult to cover the major important parts within this time. Moreover, since the exam has been postponed by four months since its original date, candidates had time for preparation and the last one month is majorly for revision for most aspirants. On the other hands, the additional four months has added to the syllabus of current affairs and candidates still have a lot more new things to study in that segment. Current affairs at least till September 10, 2020 should be prepared to optimize your chances of making this segment the most scoring area for you. Also read- IAS current affairs preparation tips
Here are a few tips which will help you make the most of the last one month before the exam and be confident with your preparation:
This is not the time to start completely fresh topics but the time to brush up the subjects you have already covered. Keep revising your notes on every topic so that you do not forget vital information. Moreover, questions in IAS prelims are not always direct, so your preparation should be accordingly done. For every topic, make micro notes which cover all the important facts and theories about it along with events which are interconnected, to crack the questions better. It is important to have your conception about the topic clear.
Practice the previous year questions papers of IAS repeatedly as often the same questions are repeated or at least questions with the same pattern. The standards of the questions have remained constant over the years and hence when you practice the previous year papers, you will get a better idea about the actual exam. Solving the same paper repeatedly also help to increase your accuracy and recognize common questions during the exam. The best approach will be practicing at least previous 5 years question papers if not more.
The IAS prelims is a long drawn affair. There are two papers of two hours each with two hours break in between. This means you spent the whole day at the exam venue which can be exhausting. Following this same pattern to practice mock tests will also help you to somewhat get used to the process. Often exhaustion and impatience lead to making mistakes in the paper but when you get used to the exam pattern, this can be avoided as you are already well-prepared about a 6-hour long process.
Furthermore, make sure you evaluate your performance in the mock test papers thoroughly to get an idea about where you stand in terms of the preparation. Recognize the pattern of mistakes, if any to rectify as far as possible before the exam.
There are different theories and concepts related to different topics and often the reference books and the UPSC official answer key does not match, even though neither of them are wrong. Hence, it is best to consult the answer key of previous year questions to get a thorough idea about the answers UPSC IAS accepts as correct for specific questions. Hence, making mistakes simply out of confusion can be avoided. Moreover, the official answer key for the exam has insights about why the other three options are wrong. This explanation will further help in clarifying your concept so that the mistakes can be thoroughly avoided.
There is negative marking in UPSC IAS and hence candidates have to tread carefully and confidently while answering the paper. Make it a habit to skip questions you cannot remember or do not know at all instantly, instead of doing guess work. Many candidates incur high negative marks solely because they are unable to skip such questions hoping they will get it correct and attempting more questions means getting more marks. However, it is better to confidently attempt enough questions that will help you secure more than the maximum possible cut-off marks and leave out the rest, if you are not sure about them. Intelligent guessing based on logic and calculation can be attempted but try to restrict such practices to minimize losing marks from negative marking.
A great trick to find the right answer is by eliminating the prospective wrong answers and bring down the number of options. This is possible when your conception about the topic is clear. Out of the four option, there will always be at least two which are completely irrelevant. Your skill should be honed in recognizing these irrelevant options and then logically determining which will be the right option based on calculated guesswork. But definitely, do not attempt wild guessing.
To succeed in the IAS prelims also study the exam pattern and the cut-off trends from previous years so that you can have an estimate of the cut-off this year. This way, you will know how much marks to be attempted safely and can avoid resorting to guesswork just to increase the number of questions you can attempt.
Revision and practice is the key to strategizing last moment preparation for the IAS 2020 prelims. So, best of luck for the upcoming exam!
*The article might have information for the previous academic years, please refer the official website of the exam.