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How to clear UPSC in first attempt?

UPSC exam is considered as one of the toughest exams of the country; for some it might be a dream to clear this exam in first attempt. Surely, there is no magic formula for clearing UPSC exam in the very first attempt. It is very much POSSIBLE to clear this exam with a mix of proper planning, strategy, passion, hard work and with a bit of guidance. If studied in a well planned manner with adequate amount of time and content, it is even possible without any coaching. There are cases students waste their first opportunity just for the sake of writing the prelims exam. Should never be done. Remember the first attempt of the candidate is a very crucial one and that is the attempt in which we can give the attempt with the full fire. The ideal time to start preparing for the exam is from April to June. Here in this blog we have put across thoughts and opinion of toppers and candidates who have cleared this exam in very first attempt.

Finalize an optional subject?

This is the first question faced by any aspirant in the initial phase of preparation for UPSC exam. A lot of thought process has to be put in before deciding an Optional Subject, as it carries 500 marks in the Mains. We have often heard people saying “Every optional is scoring”. But before we jump upon certain conclusion, aware yourself with certain facts, figures, historical trend and lot more. There are many Science subjects and humanities subjects, one has to figure it out as per their own strength, interest, coaching availability, content availability, trend, etc.

Detailed analysis for choosing optional subject.

Syllabus and Exam Pattern

First and foremost one has to go through Syllabus and Exam pattern of UPSC. As all the preparation plans and strategies has to be inclined with the syllabus and exam pattern.

Detailed syllabus and exam pattern for UPSC exam

Whether to opt for coaching class? 

This is a very common dilemma which every aspirant faces during the initial time of preparation. Remember that your hard work and dedication will help you in clearing the exam. Coaching classes cant ensure your selection in this exam. This is very subjective issue. If you have absolutely no idea about the exam and you have just started, then it is advisable to go for coaching. Now a days, almost everything is available on the internet, so it is definitely possible to clear the exam without coaching also. Ifa student feel that little bit of guidance is required then there is no harm in joining a coaching center. But before joining, a proper research should be done about your requirement and the center’s expertise.

Complete optional before 3 to 4 month from prelims

If someone is planning to clear this exam in the very first attempt, then completing your optional subject by January or February is a must. As you won’t be getting enough time after your prelims exam. You will only be able to revise optional subject after prelims. However, in this case you really need to be really focused for the prelims as you will be having very limited time for prelims. So, it is always advisable to give a lots of mock tests.

Breadth vrs Depth for any topic

This is an examination to recruit someone who has basic knowledge related to various topics instead of having deep knowledge related to some specific topic. They don’t need scholars on some subject. Therefore, there is no point in studying or actually wasting too much time on a certain topics. It is highly recommended to read from a single source. You can refer to some other sources in case you are not able to understand a certain topic. This is a very common mistake that I have seen students covering a subject from various books and in the end amassing as much knowledge in the subject as a PhD holder in that subject would have. So it is the breadth that matters not the depth of a certain subject.

Proper routine and Time Management

As we all know that UPSC has a very extensive syllabus. There are aspirants who are full time students and there are few who are working. It is always advisable to make a time table and follow it sincerely.  So, it is you who is your best judge to decide how much time is required for various subjects as per your strengths and weaknesses. You will have to come up with plans for a day, a week and a month.  Regular study has to be done and it should be scheduled in a way so that all the subjects i.e. GS part, optional part, essays, etc are getting enough time. You also need to assign proper time for revision which has to be done on daily basis.

Importance of newspaper

As there are lots of questions in UPSC prelims and mains which are related to what is happening in India as well as the world. There is nothing better than newspaper to keep you updated regarding all that. Ideally a student should start his day by reading newspaper. It's best to read newspaper in the morning as your mind is fresh and ready to absorb all the new information. It helps in evolving your opinions and will help you in analyzing a given situation from various perspectives. This will help you during your mains and interview stages. You can make short notes of the daily newspaper and it will come in handy for your current affairs part.

Importance of mock test

Mock tests are highly important for every stage of this exam. These are recommended for prelims, mains and interview. You can improve your efficiency and maximize the score by giving a lot of mocks for prelims and mains. Some people prioritize the accuracy some go for number of attempts. So by giving a lot of mocks, you can strategies accordingly.  Mocks come in very handy for the mains part as mains is not about how much you know that matters, but how well you can articulate and put across the content n the limited time which is available during the exams. So it is possible to clear prelims without giving any mock but it is practically not possible to clear mains without mocks. One has to put a lot of efforts in improve the writing skills and that has to be done in the mock environment itself.

Stay Motivated

It is very important to be motivated and to maintain your health during the preparation time. You can talk to your friends, family members, seniors, faculty members and seek support and guidance from time to time. It is not advisable to isolate yourself during the preparation time. Hence, follow this approach whether you want to crack the IAS exam in the first attempt or in subsequent attempts.

Regular Self-assessment and analyzing your performance

This is a must thing, you just cant ignore this. In case you have joined a mock series, it would give you far bit of idea about how you preparation is going on. It will help you in identifying your weak areas. Once you know your weak areas, you will have to allot extra time to that. Most tests should be given regularly with a lot of emphasis on analyzing your performance.

Carry handbooks while travelling

This is also a very good approach for someone who spends more than 2 hours in travelling. What you can do is always carry handbooks, short notes with you while travelling. In case you get time in a metro, bus or at some other free time you can revise something or read some random but relevant text.

Finally, it’s you who has to crack the UPSC exam. So, it is not advisable to follow something which was followed by your seniors of some topper. However, you can listen or take guidance from them but finally it is your decision. You are the best judge of what is good for you and what is not. For example, while choosing for your optional subject, never choose because a topper or some senior did so. You should choose the subject which in interested for you, for which you have some background. You need to make all those decision after doing proper research by taking guidance from your seniors.