Not following the syllabus word to word
The biggest mistake is that the civil services aspirants do not look into the syllabus prescribed by UPSC. With the already vast syllabus, it becomes essential to know what to study and what not to. For this, every word in the syllabus has to be strictly followed. Keep referring to what topics have been mentioned in the syllabus, and questions from which topics have arisen in the previous year papers.
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Not taking mock tests for each topic
Mock tests is the most effective way for students to prepare for tests. With such a huge syllabus, it is best to test yourself after the completion of each topic. This will help you evaluate where you lack as well as thoroughly prep you up for the topic. This also helps in retaining the information learnt. Numerous studies have shown that students who take tests on the material they have studied remember the information better than students who don’t. Many students spend more time reviewing their notes than taking mock tests, which isn’t advisable.
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Not mingling with seniors and fellow aspirants
Another common mistake is not mingling with seniors and with other civil service aspirants. It is advisable to have a few seniors for every subject you cover. They will provide tremendous inputs and will act as your guide, friend, and provide inspiration. Along with seniors, you should be in touch with fellow aspirants and should frequently discuss queries appearing in your mind, and provide support to each other. This can be done through group study. Being in touch with seniors and fellow aspirants is crucial, which most fail to do.
Not practising answers by writing
The civil services Mains exam don’t seek only information in the answers, but look for the analysis backed with arguments to justify the answers. Knowing information is different from expressing it right. More often it is found that the candidate feels they know the answers well, but when expressing it on paper becomes difficult. Due to this, writing down the answers is an important aspect of the preparation. By doing this, it will enhance your abilities to understand what the examiner is asking.
After writing the answers down, If you do not have anyone to show these written answers, keep it away for a while and after a gap, read it again. You will discover many mistakes, which earlier were missed by you. Analyse your answers and identify how you can improve them. By re-analysis, your precision in answering to the point will increase.
By due planning, utilizing resources wisely, and constant practice, one may crack the UPSC in the first go. Discipline, though said by many, is as important as the number of times you hear it being said. You need to keep evaluating yourself from time to time. As said by an UPSC exam winner, "Process of self correction”, those are the golden words in the tips she provided.