The IAS exams are one of the toughest and competitive exams in India. Cracking the IAS exams in the first attempt is not an easy job, though it’s a dream for many to achieve this feat. A clear and concise strategy shall help build one’s ladder towards in the very first attempt itself.
There have been many aspirants who have successfully done it, so with the right attitude and approach towards the examination, it could well be possible. Setting up a strategy to achieve positive results will help an aspirant to realize his dream in one attempt itself.
On a general note, any person appearing for the examination needs to have clarity about the exam pattern and the ins and outs of the examination. Minute details like the venue of the exam, timings, duration etc need to be kept in mind, much before the exam starts. When everything is in its right place, what needs focus next is the preparation and for that, the following things need to be kept in mind:
Approach to the Exam
The IAS exam is definitely one of the toughest exams in our country, but with the right approach, one can crack it in one attempt itself. Start your preparation everyday with a positive state of mind and set realistic goals in mind.
List out your advantage areas and sections that need more focus. Tell yourself you can clear it one attempt and put in all your hard work in a smart way to achieve your way towards success.
Study Management Techniques
After setting a plan with an initial road map, it is now time to act on it. Have an effective, working time table that is well planned out and tell you what to study on a particular day. Ideally, for a person to clear the exam in one attempt, it is very important to focus on the preliminary with the main examination.
Maybe you can start off with the prelims at the start, but the entire focus shouldn’t be the prelims alone. Equal weight-age should be provided for prelims and mains preparation as well. Do not forget training yourself for the interview as well.
Discussion with Previously Successful Candidates
Network well and find out from peers and previously successful candidates about how they prepared for the exam. Discuss the strategies and methodologies they adopted.
Try to identify the areas they covered in their preparation. Ask them for the mistakes they made and how they could overcome from them or how they rectified them.
It is also a good idea to talk about peers who couldn’t clear the examination because they would be able to tell you why they couldn’t clear the exam. But do not let their negative approaches, if any to come in the way of your preparation.
Give Importance to ‘Variety of Topics’ and not to ‘Depth of Topics’
Visualize the range and coverage of topics to be studied by keeping together a good curriculum cum syllabus reference. Try to identify what needs to be studied rather than focusing too much about how much needs to be studied.
Knowing something of everything works well for this exam. Knowing a few topics in too much detail may not be a good idea and it may reduce your chances of clearing the exam in one attempt.
Utilize Time Effectively
Do not underestimate the value of time. If you have ten months for the preparation of the exam, divide your time efficiently. Set aside time for the prelims, the mains plus revision time.
Know how much time you can spend on studying every single day and how much time you should allocate for which subject. Daily revision time is also a very good idea and helps you overcome the pressure in the last minute.
Developing the Habit of Writing Notes
For success in the first attempt, make your own good notes that are reliable and helps you in your last minute revision as well. From the time you start your preparation till the last minute before you wind up for the exam, your notes should be your best friend, guide and an all purpose reference.
Prepare crisp, concise and well-written notes. Write key points. Take care to write down facts and figures correctly. Highlight what is important. Revise your notes daily and as and when possible.
Mastering the Exam Pattern
Explanatory answers in the main paper require you to build a different approach from the multiple choice questions. Be well versed with the different types of questions that are asked in the exam. Know the marks allocation for the different types of questions. Know which sections have negative marking and how much would be effectively deducted in case of a wrong answer.
Answer the paper confidently and be sure of your answers before you mark them on your answer paper.
Be legible and write in good handwriting. Keep in mind to write what is required and leave out what is unnecessary. Answer briefly and to the point. Make it a habit to highlight key points and whatever you think is important.
Speed and Spontaneity Should be your Best Friends
Do not spend too much time on a single question. Ideally, you should distribute your time between different types of questions and know how to solve questions in that time frame.
Try not to exceed the limit you have set for each question. Be spontaneous enough to get clarity on the questions presented and do not form ambiguous thoughts in mind.
Refer Books and Attend Coaching by Experts
Yes, it’s always better to have a handful of books that would provide you with the required reference for your studies. Do not pile up too much of study material leaving you confused about what to study and where to start studying from. Instead, keep a ready list of the required material and stick to that material, irrespective of what your friends or peers are into.
Attend a good coaching centre that will give you professional and expert guidance to approach the exam in the right direction. Choose a coaching centre that is close to your place of stay to cut down wastage of time in daily travel.
Practice with Mock Tests
If clearing the IAS exam in the first attempt is above everything for you, and then take mock tests with a high priority. A good practice often helps the person gain high confidence about attempting the exam with success.
It also teaches you the right strategies one must adopt to clear the exam. It gives you a good idea of how the paper is actually going to be and gives you effective time management skills. Practice as much as you can and revise thoroughly.
A good mix of setting the right strategy, planning an effective time table, sticking to the schedule in the time table and covering up as much as you can in your studies gives you a big edge in clearing the exam in the first attempt. Take breaks in between studies.
Not attempting to learn anything new in the last minute and instead focusing on practicing and revising what you have already learned is the key to achieving good results in a single attempt. Approach the examination with good confidence and motivate yourself to crack it in the very first attempt.