Every aspirant is unique in his/her unique way, and so one must find the tune that allows them to achieve their goal in the UPSC CSE exam. With that said, there are a few things that are common to every candidate that they must adopt to have success. Here are the ten good habits I would like to recommend.
- Get the basics right- My humble request to every aspirant is to get your basics right in every subject you study before you proceed. Learn to swim in a small pool before jumping into the ocean of information. Get used to the pool water and see how the information around you makes sense to you. The ill-effects of jumping straight into the ocean will be devastating as UPSC tests your basics and not the jargons that you find in advanced books.
- Timetable- Following a timetable is infinitely more difficult than making one. A good timetable allows you to finish portions on time and also allows you to see which areas are pending. This, in turn, will enable you to adjust your timetable according to your strengths and weaknesses. Also, make sure you are well aware of what the syllabus is. Knowing the syllabus is very important for making the right timetable
- Revision- Rather than reading multiple books, be the master of what you read. In UPSC, practising by reading minimal books and attaining mastery over it is needed. Do not try to read multiple books as it will result in wastage of time and incoherence.
- Optional Subject- Choose what interests you and not what others say. Also, give the needed importance to your optional subject. Many students forget to provide due attention to their optional while they go overboard with their GS.
- Regular reading of newspaper- Preferably the Hindu newspaper should be your first and foremost weapon in getting information on current affairs. Aspirants must focus on not just the news they deliver, but also the editorials and opinions by various persons. This helps them get an all-round awareness about a topic which is needed when you write a mains answer and in the interview.
- Test yourself- The knowledge that you gain is one thing, but testing yourself is another game entirely. Be it prelims or mains; you have to improve your knowledge and sharpen your skills by taking multiple tests. Your presence of mind is the most potent weapon in your prelims. Sharpen your mind by taking multiple tests. The same goes for the Mains exam as you have to test yourself countless times till you are adept in the art of writing an answer and finishing it in time.
- Learn from UPSC- It is very important to learn history as “History repeats itself”. Go through the previous years’ question papers of UPSC to understand how the questions are formed. This goes for both prelims and mains. Understanding the crucial areas will save your preparation time and also will allow you to prepare well on the selected topics. Get acclimated to the patterns, and it will help you have more confidence while you write the exam.
- Learn from others- There might be subjects or answers that are giving you fewer marks in the mock exams. Try to learn why your marks were low or why the question is tough to understand. Go through the sample answers of toppers who have cleared this exam and combine your knowledge with that. This fills the potholes and allows you to understand the how-to of getting better marks in the actual exam.
- Say NO to social media- Use technology for the right reason and not for investing in social media. Spending time on social media will not give you any vital information to crack UPSC. Instead, it will take away your much-needed peace and fill your head with pointless distractions.
- Say YES to good sleep- Nothing good comes out of depriving yourself of sleep. UPSC is a long journey and information has to be processed and stored for long term retention. Depriving yourself of sleep may give you a few extra hours for a few days but affects your memory. Also, avoid using your phones before you sleep as the use of electronics before sleeping is linked to disturbed sleep.
Following these habits could help streamline your preparation away from distractions and into a more productive manner of preparing.Take advantage of every little bit of help as it is these small habits that form the cornerstone to success.