Practise of Mock Exams simulating the exam atmosphere can help fix aspirants’ biological clock and reduce panic on the exam day, says Saranya Ramachandran who secured All India Rank 36 in UPSC Civil Services Examination (CSE) 2019.
Saranya is a registered user of ClearIAS Online Mock Exam platform from 2016.
She had enrolled in previous year UPSC Question Paper re-take program of ClearIAS. A big-time follower of ClearIAS Current Affairs Capsules (CCC), Sharanya regularly practised free mocks exams provided by ClearIAS. She had also enrolled in ClearIAS Interview Program.
Testimonial of Saranya Ramachandran (AIR 36, CSE 2019)
The online initiatives of ClearIAS were extremely useful for my Prelims Preparation. I constantly worked out ClearIAS Current-affairs Capsules which, matched the quality of questions asked in UPSC CSE Prelims. The free online Prelims mocks and the All India Ranking also aided in the preparation. Thanks to ClearIAS team.
Tips for Effective Prelims Preparation in the last 30 days
Sharanya kept two notebooks exclusively for UPSC Prelims.
The first notebook was about new concepts she came across in mock exams which she wanted to revise before exams. The second notebook was a ‘book of errors’. It had an exclusive collection of questions that she went wrong in practice tests (not all questions). It had both trivial ones (where she missed to read a word or where she went blatantly wrong in guessing) and ones that she had to learn (includes current affairs).
Here are the 6 Tips suggested by Sharnya for effective preparation in the last weeks.
1. Practise Mock Exams Daily
Daily Practice of Mock Tests is recommended between 9 to 11 AM every day, simulating exam conditions.
Give more importance to full-topic exams at this point in time, rather than subject-specific exams.
2. Analyse your exam performance
Right after completing the exam, analyse the questions that you went wrong, unanswered, or difficult to answer.
Make a note of repeated mistakes made – including negligence or carelessness in reading the question, weaker subjects or forgotten facts or chronology etc.
This approach is mostly neglected but can make a lot of difference.
3. Practise previous year UPSC Prelims Questions (and review answers with official key)
Practise at least the last 5 years UPSC prelims GS question papers.
Review it with the official key.
4. Stop learning completely new areas; revise what you learned
Stop learning entirely new areas or books.
Revise and consolidate what you already learned.
Ideally, make a timetable and schedule 30 days in advance. The Time Table will help you complete the revision of prelims specific subjects, and current affairs. The timetable should devote time to reading the newspapers, working mock exam, and reviewing the performance.
5. Do exam rehearsals
We may know many aspirants who performed extraordinarily well in mock tests but repeatedly failed in UPSC Prelims. This may be because they are not taking mock exams the right way. The below technique can be of use to any and specifically to them.
In the last 30 days, plan your mornings as you do on the day of UPSC prelims. Go to bed early, wake up early, have your shower and food early and be ready by 8.30 AM. Sit for your mock exam by 9 AM as you would do on the day of prelims.
This can fix your biological clock and reduce panic on the day.
6. Don’t neglect CSAT Paper
Don’t be complacent about CSAT (General Studies Paper 2) paper. Take this paper too seriously.