IAS Preparation Strategy for UPSC Prelims Mains and Optional Exam.
Having a proper study plan and a well-articulated strategy becomes quintessential for an IAS aspirant to get through the Civil Services Exam. Here we put across some successful IAS Preparation strategies that have been utilized by our previous year’s IAS Toppers. You may ingrain a few from amongst the following to excel in the IAS exam. The contents include a Step by step IAS Preparation Strategy for UPSC Prelims, Mains, and Optional subjects.
Following a right strategy, which works for you, is of great significance to crack the Preliminary stage of this examination.
Gateway to UPSC Exam
You can write the UPSC Mains exam (2nd stage of the process) only upon clearing the Preliminary exam (1st stage). Underestimating the significance of UPSC Prelims would end the journey even before it has started. Less than 3% of the candidates who sit for prelims actually make it to the Main Exam by getting over the cut-off line. In recent years, the ‘Prelims Hurdle’ needs more effort to get through than Main Exam.
Many serious candidates lose out in the Prelims stage itself as they will have focused too much on planning beyond Prelims.
Focus on Prelims: Go with the UPSC cycle
In the months that fall between January and May, devote at least 70% of your time to Prelims Topics and solving the questions from previous Years, and analyzing them. Also, make sure that you are able to complete the paper in 1 hour and 40 mins.
Such an emphasis on Prelims during the above prescribed months will be clearly in sync with the UPSC civil services exam cycle.
Why You Need for IAS Preparation Strategy
To clear this exam, the candidate has to have a cogent and a coherent i.e, a right strategy. Often, candidates who put in the hard work as well as the candidates who are academically strong, find this first stage of the Preliminary Exam as a difficult encounter. The sole reason behind this inability to realize their potential is the lack of or adoption of a strategy that doesn’t suit the person in question.
Here are some of the strategies whose adoption might come in handy. You may call them Success/Winning strategies. You may ingrain one of them as a strategy or make a combination that really works for you. But always keep in mind that others’ strategies, including topper’s strategies, do not completely work for you. A simple logic behind this is that there exist Individual differences—be it intellectually, emotionally, socially, or otherwise.
Success Strategy 1 – Gain insights from Previous Year Papers
To get an idea about the Exam, it essential for you to go about all the previous year’s papers, especially post 2011. This gives you some understanding of the trends in questioning.
Further analysis of each question is suggested because such an exercise will guide your study habits towards those concepts and points on the lines of which UPSC has prepared the questions and the statements that ensue.
Success Strategy 2 – Run with the Test Series
You can just follow Legacy IAS test Series. This approach is more of an integrated approach and that is why it qualifies as the best strategy.
The approach is not about taking frequent tests and evaluating oneself on a periodic basis. The Test Series has a schedule that clearly mentions the topics that would be covered in each test. The Test Series is planned in such a way that all relevant portions and reference books, alongside previous year Question papers are covered too.
The best part is the discussion on the tests and clarification of the doubts in the classroom, in a dedicated session. Further, explanations to the options will be provided comprehensively to help the student to have a holistic understanding of the underlying concepts.
Advantages of Legacy IAS test series in a nutshell:
- Coverage of all the relevant textbooks and online study material within a timeframe.
- Every month Current Affairs test will be separate
- Get an idea about the exam setting. Analysis of performance, which serves as feedback, even as one gets to know the strengths and weaknesses across subjects.
- A simple way to course-correct your preparation
- Serves as a revision of crucial topics that you have studied from the textbooks/Material
- High chances of getting the same/similar questions in the actual UPSC Prelims exam
Success Strategy 3 – NCERT Texts’ coverage and beyond
NCERT textbooks from Class 6-12 are quintessential in UPSC exam Preparation. These are the basic books upon which information other sources can be utilized. These “other sources” are aplenty, offline as well as online.
Given that NCERTs alone cannot get you over the line, you must see to it that NCERTs are covered as early as possible. It is preferable to complete them in the initial days of preparation, say 3 months. To revise them later, handy notes are to be made or use the Explanations of Legacy Daily Static Quiz, which encompasses over 1200 MCQs based on NCERTs
Success Strategy 4 – Bringing Current Affairs into focus
This is the Best IAS Preparation strategy that is to be supplemented with other strategies which you embrace. Legacy IAS publishes Current Affairs under various sections and compilations:
- Daily Current Affairs which includes
- Analyses of important Editorials from various Newspapers (Monthly Compilation available too)
- PIB summaries on a daily basis (Monthly Compilation available too)
- “Prelims Booster” with topics only relevant to Prelims but not for Main Exam (Monthly Compilation available too)
- Daily Quiz—both Static and Current Affairs based (Monthly Compilation available too)
- Infographics for bolstering retention of current events
Success Strategy 5 – Don’t let Paper-2 (CSAT) play the Spoilsport
In the years starting from 2015, the difficulty level of Paper-2 of Prelims Exam has been gradually increasing. Many students’ dreams are dashed just because of the lack of time in attempting the requisite number of questions to cross the Minimum cut-off of 33%. Side-lining this paper by assuming that you are good at Mathematics and English is like inviting a disaster.
Though one needs to score just 66 marks out of 200, you have to work for it. The right way ahead to be comfortable with this paper is to solve the previous years’ papers and Legacy IAS CSAT papers. Those students who lag in solving Aptitude questions can attend the sessions at Legacy IAS Academy, where certain tricks and shortcuts will be taught to get over the line.
Success Strategy 6 – Study based on ROI
The investments made during the preparation are Time, Effort, and Study Material.
Returns on each front must be in accordance with the investments made. The Pareto principle, also known as the 80/20 rule, is a management theory which states that 80 percent of the output from a given situation is determined by 20 percent of the input.
Always first put effort in those areas, which yield maximum results. Keep the less Return on Investment (ROI) areas to be handled later.