UPSC CSE Prelims 2021: With just two weeks left for the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) civil service exam (CSE) prelims, candidates are busy in their last leg of preparations. Revising previous year papers, attempting mock tests are important, experts say. The UPSC Prelims is scheduled to be conducted on October 10, and it will contain two papers - General Studies (Paper 1), CSAT (Paper 2).
The candidates who will clear the General Studies (Paper 1) will qualify in prelims, while CSAT (Paper 2) is qualifying in nature. The candidates need to get a minimum 33 per cent marks in CSAT paper.
UPSC 2019 topper Pradeep Singh shared preparation tips, important sections to focus on, and key areas to stress to boost the preparation strategy at the last minute and increase the chances of qualifying in the prestigious exam. The topper also shared preparation tips for Mains exam, and how to attempt the interview.
UPSC CSE Prelims 2021: Preparation tips from topper
The most important topics on UPSC prelims are- Polity, Economics, and Environment, apart from it, the candidates need to focus on current affairs, which is very important for this exam. According to UPSC CSE topper Pradeep Singh, "Focus on current affairs topics of the last one year, till August. As questions from current affairs are very unconventional, so focus on the concept and the background of an issue rather than only mugging up its informative details."
The questions in prelims are conceptual based, and it checks candidates' proper knowledge of the issues and better understanding of the topic. "One can solve these questions merely on the basis of logic and reason," UPSC topper Pradeep Singh said.
Regarding Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT), Singh said that the CSAT has been unconventionally difficult in last one or two years. "Last year, many candidates fail to qualify prelims because of CSAT though they were getting good scores in GS-1. So don't just ignore CSAT. Solve some mock test paper or previous year question papers," Pradeep said.
Previous year paper/ mock test
The candidates should attempt previous year question papers/ mock test at the last minute to get accustomed with the prelims paper. " One can get the idea of level of questions being asked in the exam. Further, solving these papers will also help in honing the elimination techniques," he advised.
Last-minute preparation tips
As merely 15 days left for the prelims exam, UPSC topper Pradeep Singh advised candidates to focus on short notes instead of very detailed study. "Don't focus on individual topics now. Try to cover the whole syllabus of the subject in one go. Try to have a broader view of the subject, and revise it accordingly," the topper said.
Singh advised candidates not to go through any new topic in the last few days. "Don't try to read any new book or magazine or source. Just revise what you have already covered. Remember it's not an exam of cramming up things, and thus can't be cleared with more source or information. It's an exam based on clear logic and reasoning," the topper informed.
How to prepare for Mains
He also advised the civil service aspirants to start preparing for the Mains exam, days after conclusion of prelims. "Mains is quite vast, one has to attempt nine papers, while papers on English and Hindi are qualifying in nature. The marks of seven paper will be calculated to get qualified in Mains," Pradeep Singh advised.
The candidates need to prepare writing skills, should focus on how to build good answers consulting books, available materials online, and reputed institutions. According to Pradeep, the Mains exam analyses candidates' depth and approach on topics.
To build good content, the topper of 2019 refer to online platforms like Telegram, Quora for recommendations. "Apart from books, or available notes in the market, I discuss answers with my friends and colleagues and also shared contents in online platforms for suggestions," the topper informed.
'View against government...': Can UPSC interview be cleared?
The UPSC interview checks candidates' personality, and confidence on the topic. "There are confusion among aspirants that if I criticise government's policy, I could not clear the UPSC interview. The concept is totally wrong, you may criticise the government's policy, but when asked, you have to explain why you are criticising such policy and what changes you want to make in such policies."
Sharing his experience, UPSC topper said that he was asked questions on agriculture, eduation, farmers, subsidy. "Do you support government's subsidy scheme on food, electricity? As an education, health secretary, what changes you want to bring in respective fields? Analyse it in comparison with government's ploicies on health and education?" he shared.
According to Pradeep Singh, "Confidence is the mantra for success in this exam." "This exam checks the ability of a person to deal with stressful situations, quick response mechanism and the clarity of understanding the issues of national and international importance. If you are confident, you will surely perform well in this exam and come out with flying colours," the topper suggested.
At present, Pradeep Singh is working as an Assistant Commissioner in Karnal, Haryana.