UPSC CSE Prelim Exam 2021: Union Public Service Commission Civil Services (UPSC) Civil Services Exam (CSE) Prelims 2021 is going to be held on October 10. It is one of the most prestigious and also one of the toughest examinations in India. The civil services preliminary exam was earlier scheduled to be held on June 27, which has to be postponed due to the devastating second wave of Covid-19.
Here are some important tips to prepare better for the upcoming UPSC CSE Prelim 2021:
- Revision: It is time to maintain a tunnel view. So, just focus on revision without attempting to read or study anything new right now. Revise as many times as possible, what you have already covered as part of your preparation. Pay more attention to numbers and facts because one is more prone to forget those.
- CSAT Conundrum: Aspirants from a Maths or Engineering backgrounds tend to pay less attention to the CSAT paper. Make note that the CSAT paper in the last couple of years has been tricky and taking it lightly might backfire. It is a qualifying paper and we have seen aspirants who have done very well in GS paper but failed to qualify CSAT. So, make sure to solve at least three to four previous years’ CSAT papers.
- Theory ‘O’: Many students tend to feel underconfident just before the exam. They fear forgetting everything that they have learned so far. There is just one way to counter the problem - Maintain Optimism and trust your preparation. Nervousness can lead to blunders. To the extent that some candidates, despite knowing the answers, mark the wrong option!
- Circadian Rhythm: You may have burnt the midnight oil all these months but now is the time to get your sleep cycle back on track. Sleep early and wake up early so that your mind is fresh and alert for the day-long Prelims exam. Not tired and foggy. The adage ‘health is wealth’ holds true more than ever.
- Work out the logistics: This is not the exam where you leave anything to chance. So, work out the logistics to reach the center on time. And, also, get your watch, pencils, pens and the rest of the stationery in order. When you have 100 tough questions to attempt in two hours, every second matters. The last thing you want to struggle with, at the exam hall, is a broken nib. It is actually a good idea to even practice filling the OMR sheets.
- Calm Quest: There is a gap of three hours between the GS and the CSAT paper. Do not discuss the GS papers with others and avoid looking up answers on the internet. You will only end up wasting your time and adding to your anxiety. Maintain your calm because that’s what you’ll need most in the next exam.
- Qualifier: Remember that Prelims is a qualifying exam and its marks are not counted in the final tally. Ira Singhal, CSE 2014 AIR 1, Anmol Sher Singh, CSE 2016, AIR 2, scored marginally above cut-off marks but end up getting very good ranks. For a general category aspirant, 85+ in GS is considered to be a safe attempt.
- The Strategy: In the first iteration, attempt the questions that you are 100 per cent sure of. Mark the OMR sheet. In the second iteration, mark the questions that you are 60-70 per cent sure of. Almost half the paper is about intelligent guesswork. And that dictum holds true even for toppers. Satyam Gandhi who scored AIR 10 in CSE 2020 also attempted 86 questions. When he scanned the first 10 questions, he was only sure of one answer. Rest nine he was completely clueless about. However, he maintained his cool composure and proceeded with confidence. So, apply common sense and avoid careless mistakes. Read every question and each of its options carefully because every mark counts.
Out of over 10 lakhs who fill the form, only 50 per cent dare to appear in the exam. So, if you have decided to sit for the exam, you have the courage and confidence. Just maintain the optimism. Remember that UPSC is here to select candidates, you just have to prove your ability.
Article by Shubhra Ranjan Co-Founder & Executive Director, Shubhra Viraj EduTech Private Ltd.