- Read this thread only if
- REFORM IN EXAM System
- Optional subject (whether to prepare or not?)
- DO FINISH YOUR OPTIONAL SUBJECT’S SYLLABUS
- IGNORE SECOND OPTIONAL FOR THE TIME BEING?
- CRUCIAL GOLDEN TIME (NOVEMBER-DECEMBER)
- FINISHING THE SYLLABUS
- MAGIC PILLS
- CURRENT AFFAIRS
- TEST SERIES
- EXAM ORIENTED PREPARATION
- WORKING PROFESSIONALS (who’re yet to finish syllabus)
- You’ve never appeared in prelims before and are going to appear in 2010’s prelim for the first time in your life or if
- You’re yet to finish your syllabus
- You appeared in previous prelims but never qualified.
There is uncertainty about whether there will be optional subjects / aptitude test in 2010. But it’s certain that in either case there will be general studies with polity, geography, history, science, current affairs and mental ability. So don’t waste your time doing guess works and speculations – put it in preparation.
Every year there is talk of UPSC removing opt. subjects (I’m hearing that since 2007.) the only way to know is when UPSC issues the exam notification in December. So, if you’re completely new to this, then
- In case UPSC keeps the opt. system , then you’ll have to start preparing the opt. subject from January from scratch = you’ll lag behind in the race with “old timers”=those who have been giving trials – they’ve already gone through the entire syllabus- including of mains, hence its just ‘revision work’ for them.
- In case UPSC removes the optionals, you still gained some knowledge that can help you in G/S, mains and interview (for those with opt. like History, Geography, Public Administration, Political sci, socio etc etc.)
On the ideal conditions (i.e. the previous years when scheme of exam was status quo and everything was certain) , in those days you could prepare for 2nd opt till December / even upto February. But in the current scenario of uncertainty, (and Especially IF you’ve yet to finish the syllabus of G/S + 1st optional) then ignore the 2nd optional. I know some people who selected their 2nd opt. only after prelims and yet now they’re IAS. (Again this is all about individual’s hard work, and not the safe generalized principle of preparation.)
The time upto 31st December is golden time, when you can go through entire syllabus (including that of mains.) if you fail to utilize this opportunity on maximum capacity, the next months will be real hard for you. (January, February, March, April.)
One of the major reason for my failure in 2008’s prelim was failing to utilize this golden time. And then it started a chain reaction – spoiling the entire schedule of preparation.
Many people would advise you that you can finish the syllabus upto February and you’ll still be in the safe zone.Especially the coaching classes (so that they can run more batches) However I’m in the opinion that you can and should do it before 1-15th January, then you can work easy for the next months- concentrating on revision and test papers. If you finish the syllabus in February then you’ve very less time for revision and test papers compared to old timers.= lag behind in race / mental pressure + stress = reduced efficiency.
- If you believe there exists some coaching class or postal course or miracle material that can get you through this prelim, then you’re living in a fairy tale and digging your own grave.
- Many coaching classes / postal courses will claim they’ll finish your syllabus in just 1 month crash course. But this isn’t the proper / safe way for preparation.
- Such material / teaching is good for getting an idea of the subject when you’re complete newbie. But cracking prelims requires perfection that can’t be achieved by relying solely on such things.
- If you’ve not learned it yet, UPSC always makes sure no question from coaching classes’s imp stuff is asked.
- In subjects like Public Administration , geography and in topics like Economy, polity – everyday something new happens. So living on static coaching class material, not reading newspaper = = again digging your own grave (ADYOG)
- Magazines would fail to cover the subject specific current affairs details for Public Administration / Geography.
There is no better alternative
to the standard books, newspaper and your own handmade notes
it never was and never will.
- solely relying on magazines (Chronicle / Wizard / CST) for current affairs or the ‘special current affairs material from Delhi’ = again digging your own grave (ADYOG)
- Current affairs is not something that can be learned reading a book for 10 days or a month. it’s a continuous process that doesn’t and shouldn’t stop until you’re in final selection.
- In April 2010, everyone will publish current affairs books – if you believe you can safely ignore Current affairs now and will prepare it in april from those books, then you’d not be able to revise your optional subject + other topics of G/S during that time = ADYOG.
- Solve as many as you can (including previous years’ and of different classes). But don’t expect that UPSC will ask something from it.
- Yet this is important because it makes you aware about the negative marking.
Solve them only after you’ve finished particular topic / entire syllabus,
Otherwise it’ll demoralize you
and for the same reason – its necessary to finish the syllabus and revise it as soon as possible.
Don’t make excuses
if you don’t get good marks in such test series, don’t say that
- it was very hard
- outside syllabus
- UPSC won’t ask this etc.
ADMIT that there is some fault in your preparation – amend it and move ahead.
Theoretically, everything written on Wikipedia is imp. For G/S. but do you’ve time? Do you’ve the brain that can remember everything?
- What are the obstacles in Panchayati Raj?
- What reforms do you suggest for better implementation of E-gov / Disaster Management ?
In depth knowledge of such things is crucial for mains / interview but @ prelim point of view – you don’t have to do Ph.D on right now (else you’d not be able to finish syllabus properly). First of all concentrate on the core areas and basic facts – about everything.
Try to be jack of all trades rather than trying to be expert on few topics (for prelims)
You’re still in the Dilemma of
- whether leave the job /
- give the exam next year /
- take holidays /
- join some classes /
- Schedule of such classes not matching working hours.
Do following steps
- Gather up all the books / Xerox / material (AS SOON AS POSSIBLE)
- (if possible) Take a vacation of 7-10-15 day to 1 month.
- Finish the syllabus (don’t forget to make notes)
- Resume the job – keep revision – test papers.
- If you believe in magical “working professionals’ special crash classes / postal material”
- will ride you through this prelim=AD YOG