Preparing for UPSC Exam is a job in itself. We all have been accustomed to the strategies adopted in the colleges to crack the exam, popularly known as “one night games”. Unfortunately, the replication of the same strategy in UPSC Exam is a sure recipe for disaster. How? Let us have a look!
Consider if you were supposed to know the undergraduate level of Political Science, along with Geography, History, Economics, English, Mathematics, Disaster Management, Ethics, and Master’s level of any one subject, for just one test. Do you think such an examination can be cracked with the preparation of one night, or a week, or a month as well? Couple this fact with the selection ratio of 0.2% overall, meaning just 1 person in every 500 gets selected. The answer is a resounding no!
It is not really impossible to crack UPSC Exam. After all almost a thousand people do it successfully every year. What one needs is a solid plan which has enough foresight to understand the importance of topics and allocate them adequate time to be able to cover them properly, along with proper practice and revision.
At UPSC Pathshala, we have created that ideal plan for you. The plan ensures that you are on top of your preparation throughout the year and keep finishing the topics off one by one, thus gaining confidence. We have assumed that you start your preparation on August 15th for UPSC Exam and can devote at least 4-6 dedicated hours to study every day. Here is the plan:
|Start Date||End Date||Subjects||Practice||Daily Hours required|
|15 August||15 November||General Studies (Static Parts)||Writing practice||4-6|
|Optional (Paper 1)|
|Write one answer of optional every week|
|November 15||15 January||Current Affairs of July to December||Writing practice||4-6|
|Optional (Paper 1 and 2 chapters of Paper 2)|
|15 January||15 March||Only prelims preparation||MCQ practice||8|
|General Studies (Revision and new additions in the course, only the Pre syllabus)|
|15 March||15 May||Only prelims preparation||8|
|Current Affairs (July to December, revision and rest in real time)|
|CSAT: Daily 1 hour practice|
|15 May||1 June||Revision, topics which need to be remembered||MCQ practice||4-6|
|2 June||2 June||REST|
|3 June||3 June||Prelims|
|4 June||10 June||BREAK|
|11 June||10 July||Optional Paper 2 (Complete)||Writing practice||8|
|11 July||31 July||Optional Paper 1 (Revision)||Writing practice||8|
|1 August||25 September||GS Preparation for Mains (Equal time for all 4 papers: 14 days each)||Writing practice||8|
|Essay: Write 1 essay everyday||Writing practice|
|Write 2 answers everyday||Writing practice|
|25 September||29 September||Checking for missing topics||6|
|30 September||30 September||REST|
|1 October||6 October||Mains|
Let’s discuss the plan phase-wise:
- 15th August to 15th November: This is the beginning phase of your preparation. You must spend more and more time in understanding the static part of General Studies, like History, Geography, Polity, Economics etc. Don’t worry too much about the Current Affairs, as without having a good command over GS, you will not be able to understand much of them anyway. Make your own targets but you must finish the static part once within these three months.
- Along with this, you must start preparing for your optional subject (if you have not decided on one, decide immediately). Devote around 20% of your time to the optional subject and try to cover the major parts of Paper 1 of the optional. You must start writing answers from the very beginning and write at least one answer every week. Remember, this stage will become the foundation of your preparation, so take it seriously!
- November 15 to 15th January: Having done enough of GS, now you are ready to jump into the Current Affairs. Start with the Current Affairs of July to December completely. Please refer to the videos properly and keep making notes of them. Without that practice it will be absolutely impossible to recollect the news and events you are reading about. You must become really comfortable and habituated with the idea of using atlas as well by this time. This is also the time for you to finish off the remaining part of Paper 1 of your optional. In case you are left with some time, it will be wise to start with first two chapters of the Paper 2 of the optional subject.
Remember, you will not get enough time to study in detail between Prelims and Mains. In the meanwhile, your practice of writing answers regularly should not get interrupted in any case. This is the stage which will be your launch pad into the examination mode formally.
- 15th January to 15th March: Welcome to the formal examination mode. Now you have jumped into a full throttled Prelims preparation mode. As of now, pack all your notes, books, videos, lectures of Mains syllabus and put them away from your sight. You must not even look at them for the next few months. Most of the good candidates fail, because they tend to take Prelims too lightly. You must totally orient your GS preparation for the exam now. So, You must critically start revising the GS along with the previous year questions. You must keep reading new material, wherever you find gaps in your preparation plan. This is absolutely important. At this stage you need to start practicing as many MCQs as possible.
- 15th March to 15th May: Being really close to the examination, now you must start revising all the Current Affairs as well. Please note that if the examination is on 3rd June, you need to be through with Current Affairs of upto 3rd May. Revising Current Affairs and studying the new Current Affairs in the real time should take almost half of your time.
- The rest half must go to practicing CSAT. In CSAT, it is just practice that could make you comfortable. So, be regular with the practice.
- May 15 to 1st June: Now is the time to start taking it easy. Revise lightly for a few days, If there are certain topics, which you feel need to be crammed up, this is the time. Just go through your notes once again. Do not try to learn new things. Most importantly, do not discuss your preparation with other candidates.2nd June:
- Do not even try to open the books or notes. Relax for the day. Watch a movie, go for a walk, play some sport. Have fun
- 3rd June: The exam day. Reach the centre at least an hour before the exam. Make sure you have a good breakfast. Do not carry any gadgets (even mobile phone) with you as they will not be allowed in the examination hall. You will see students studying frantically outside the center. Do not talk to them at all. Stay alone for that specific day.
- 4th June to 10th June: You have successfully finished the most stressful part of the examination. You must have tallied your score with some answer keys and must have gotten a fair idea of your chances of selection. Irrespective of whatever those chances are, you must start preparing for the Mains immediately. You must not be caught by surprise, if the cutoff is lower and you end up being in list but without any preparation.
- So, till the tile the result comes out you must behave as if you are getting selected. In the meanwhile, it is important that you take good rest for a week before plunging into the Mains mode. So, take this one week off and enjoy yourself.
- 11th June to 10th July: In this time, focus entirely on your remaining part of Optional Paper 2. You must finish it within this one month. As practice, you must start writing one answer of your optional everyday in this period.
- July 11 to 31st July: By the time July ends, you must be absolutely on top of your optional. In order to do that, you must dedicate these 20 days to finish revising the parts of the optional you have done earlier. Make sure this revision is detailed and try filling your knowledge with recent case studies and examples.
- Writing practice of Optional answer should not stop at this point as well.
- 1st August to 25th September: This is the most critical phase of your Mains preparation. For this period, try to find longer hours. You have 8 weeks to finish remaining parts of General Studies. Now, for some papers the syllabus of Pre and Mains is the same. The topics which are exclusively for Mains. So do it properly.
- But make sure that the task has to be finished within this timeline only. At this time, your emphasis on writing must also increase. You must devote at least 2 hours every day to writing, writing one essay and two answers everyday without fail.
- 25th September to 29th September: Now, you have completed your preparation properly. Now is the time to tally with the syllabus that by mistake, you must not have missed any important topic. Have a look, and if you find any such topic, study that in brief without panicking.
- 30th September: Rest for the day. Do not speak to other candidates. Do not even think about exam. Relax and have fun.
- 1st October onward: The final written examination. Do not burden yourself with pulling all nighters. Reach early, and sleep on time. Do it!
Also, You can see that with this calendar, if you have adequate guidance, in terms of material and assistance, you can easily master the entire syllabus for UPSC Exam well in time. The plan looks tight, but it is easily doable. If you are planning to prepare seriously for the next year, you must start acting on this plan today. We are here to help you in every way we can.
How to implement this plan?
Now comes the million dollar question that how are you going to implement this plan. Without the adequate resources, it might be just like those time tables we all used to make in school but never adhered to.
There are a number of methods you may adopt for preparation. So, You may choose to do self study via books, but that is going to take way longer than the time mentioned in the plan. So, For example, just for economics, you need to study at least 3-4 books. Overall, the entire syllabus might demand reading of around 50-60 books.
Also, Is it possible for you to read, understand and revise those many books, in a matter of months? Your answer has to be no!
So, You may join a coaching institution, but that will most likely be for one specific part of syllabus. They will be concerned about finishing that part only and will not care about taking care of your study calendar.
What you need is a source of assistance which takes charge of your entire preparation calendar. Also, with resources that are designed to prepare you in the best manner and most importantly, in time.So,we need assistance in terms of evaluation of your answers. You need access to relevant test series at a regular interval. At UPSC Pathshala’s “Integrated Program for UPSC 2018” we are doing just that. So, The program offers you the best quality videos covering the entire syllabus of General Studies, time to time videos of Current Affairs and support of a dedicated mentor. Also, it also gives you tests every 15 days to ensure the adequacy of your preparation for UPSC Exam.
It also trains you in the best course in India on one of the easiest and the most popular optional, Sociology. So, Opting for Integrated Program for UPSC Exam will ensure that your preparation is commensurate with the plan and the quality is nowhere anything less than the best!
As I said in the beginning, this exam is a test of sincerity and dedication. The hard thing is that sincerity has to be displayed by actions. Stick to the plan and no one will doubt your sincerity towards this UPSC Exam; not even you!
Author: Akshay Palande
Akshay Palande is a passionate teacher helping hundreds of students in their UPSC preparation. With a degree in Mechanical Engineering and double masters in Public Administration and Economics, he has experience of teaching UPSC aspirants for 5 years. His subject of expertise are Geography, Polity, Economics and Environment and Ecology.