The changes made the UPSC in the syllabus and the pattern of the Prelim examination points towards change in the nature of questions being asked. Therefore it calls for a change in strategy and change in the tools of preparation.
Some Tips to Prepare for the Prelims Exam
One common misconception about the Prelims exam is that, it is a test of facts and figures. That was never so and specially now after the changed syllabus. A proper action plan is needed for the preparation of this exam. You will be tested for some essential qualities like; power of retention, clarity of concepts, ability to identify the correct alternatives etc.
This exam is all about making a quick decision and ticking the right answer in the given choices. Accuracy and speed is the hallmark of this exam. The main constraint in the exam is the time. One has to answer about 100 questions in 120 minutes. So on an average one gets around 40 seconds for each question.
Since the Prelims exam is a multiple choice answer test, it needs a proper strategy for its preparation. Remember the preliminary exam is an elimination round so during the preparation candidates should focus on how to filter out the rest of the answer and choose the correct one.
The preliminary exam requires the ability to choose the right option from given four options. This has to be done through a proper method of elimination. It is a good idea to go through previous years and model question papers and solve as many of them as possible.
Taking a mock test on each static portion of syllabus and also of current affair and general knowledge can give a good practice to pick up the most appropriate option. It is not enough to know the right answer but it has to be marked correctly on the answer sheet. So as part of your preparation you must solve the model question papers on a regular basis.
You should be aware of negative marking in the Prelims exam and so you must be very guarded while making wild guesses.
The questions asked in the Prelims exam are of Plus 2 level. Therefore such level books should be read properly. While doing the reading you must try to gain conceptual clarity as it will alone help to eliminate the wrong answer and you will be able tick the right answer.
Any concept has to be understood with its origin, merits and de-merits, then it needs to be analyzed with other relevant topics and has to be correlated with the events that have taken place. It is better to understand and establish a correlation between related concepts from other subjects and current events and other happenings. This Prelim exam is designed to evaluate qualities like a sharp memory and basic retention power. There are ways to increase one's memory and those techniques have to be followed.
A separate time slot has to be allocated for regular revisions and you have to take mock tests on weekly and daily basis to monitor your progress of your preparation. Since the preliminary exam is a test of endurance, candidate must prepare themselves mentally to adapt to the requirements of this test.
Even with all this preparation, it is necessary to have a positive attitude and a great amount of will power to succeed in this exam.