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Showing posts with label UPSC - Civil Services Preparation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label UPSC - Civil Services Preparation. Show all posts

UPSC - Civil Services


Mains PAPER-V Syllabus

General Studies- IV: Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude

This paper will include questions to test the candidates’ attitude and approach to issues relating to integrity, probity in public life and his problem solving approach to various issues and conflicts faced by him in dealing with society. Questions may utilise the case study approach to determine these aspects.

The following broad areas will be covered :

􀀀 Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in-human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics - in private and public relationships. Human Values - lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators; role of family society and educational institutions in inculcating values.

􀀀 Attitude: content, structure, function; its influence and relation with thought and behaviour; moral and political attitudes; social influence and persuasion.

􀀀 Aptitude and foundational values for Civil Service, integrity, impartiality and non-partisanship, objectivity, dedication to public service, empathy, tolerance and compassion towards the weaker-sections.

􀀀 Emotional intelligence-concepts, and their utilities and application in administration and governance.

􀀀 Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and world.

􀀀 Public/Civil service values and Ethics in Public administration: Status and problems; ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions; laws, rules, regulations and conscience as sources of ethical guidance; accountability and ethical governance; strengthening of ethical and moral values in governance; ethical issues in international relations and funding; corporate governance.

􀀀 Probity in Governance: Concept of public service; Philosophical basis of governance and probity; Information sharing and transparency in government, Right to Information, Codes of Ethics, Codes of Conduct, Citizen’s Charters, Work culture, Quality of service delivery, Utilization of public funds, challenges of corruption.

􀀀 Case Studies on above issues.


Mains PAPER-IV Syllabus

General Studies-III: Technology, Economic Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management

􀀀 Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment.

􀀀 Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.

􀀀 Government Budgeting.

􀀀 Major crops-cropping patterns in various parts of the country, - different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers.

􀀀 Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; Public Distribution System- objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security; Technology missions; economics of animal-rearing.

􀀀 Food processing and related industries in India- scope’ and significance, location, upstream and downstream requirements, supply chain management.

􀀀 Land reforms in India.

􀀀 Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.

􀀀 Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

􀀀 Investment models.

􀀀 Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.

􀀀 Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

􀀀 Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

􀀀 Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

􀀀 Disaster and disaster management.

􀀀 Linkages between development and spread of extremism.

􀀀 Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security.

􀀀 Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money-laundering and its prevention.

􀀀 Security challenges and their management in border areas - linkages of organized crime with terrorism.

􀀀 Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate.


Mains PAPER-III Syllabus

General Studies-II : Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations :

􀀀 Indian Constitution—historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

􀀀 Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.

􀀀 Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.

􀀀 Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries.

􀀀 Parliament and State legislatures—structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.

􀀀 Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary—Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity.

􀀀 Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act.

􀀀 Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.

􀀀 Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.

􀀀 Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

􀀀 Development processes and the development industry —the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders.

􀀀 Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

􀀀 Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

􀀀 Issues relating to poverty and hunger.

􀀀 Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governanceapplications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.

􀀀 Role of civil services in a democracy.

􀀀 India and its neighborhood- relations.

􀀀 Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

􀀀 Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

􀀀 Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.


Mains - PAPER-II - Syllabus

General Studies-I :

Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society. Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the presentsignificant events, personalities, issues.

The Freedom Struggle — its various stages and important contributors/contributions from different parts of the country.

Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the country.

History of the world will include events from 18th century such as industrial revolution, world wars, redrawal of national boundaries, colonization, decolonization, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc.— their forms and effect on the society.

Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.

Role of women and women’s organization, population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies.

Effects of globalization on Indian society.

Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism & secularism.

Salient features of world’s physical geography.

Distribution of key natural resources across the world (including South Asia and the Indian sub-continent); factors responsible for the location of primary, secondary, and tertiary sector industries in various parts of the world (including India).

Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc., geographical features and their location-changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.



The Examination shall comprise two compulsory papers of 200 marks each.

Paper I - (200 marks) Duration : Two hours
  • Current events of national and international importance.
  • History of India and Indian National Movement.
  • Indian and World Geography - Physical, Social, Economic Geography of India and the World.
  • Indian Polity and Governance - Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc.
  • Economic and Social Development - Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector initiatives, etc.
  • General issues on Environmental Ecology, Bio-diversity and Climate Change - that do not require subject specialisation
  • General Science.

Paper II- (200 marks) Duration: Two hours
  • Comprehension
  • Interpersonal skills including communication skills;
  • Logical reasoning and analytical ability
  • Decision-making and problemsolving 
  • General mental ability
  • Basic numeracy (numbers and their relations, orders of magnitude, etc.) (Class X level), Data interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency etc. - Class X level)

Note 1 :Paper-II of the Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination will be a qualifying paper with minimum qualifying marks fixed at 33%.

Note 2 : The questions will be of multiple choice, objective type.

Note 3: It is mandatory for the candidate to appear in both the Papers of Civil Services (Prelim) Examination for the purpose of evaluation. Therefore a candidate will be disqualified in case he/she does not appear in both the papers of Civil Services (Prelim) Examination.


Mains Syllabus

The main Examination is intended to assess the overall intellectual traits and depth of understanding of candidates rather than merely the range of their information and memory.

The nature and standard of questions in the General Studies papers (Paper II to Paper V) will be such that a well-educated person will be able to answer them without any specialized study. The questions will be such as to test a candidate’s general awareness of a variety of subjects, which will have relevance for a career in Civil Services. The questions are likely to test the candidate’s basic understanding of all relevant issues, and ability to analyze, and take a view on conflicting socio-economic goals, objectives and demands. The candidates must give relevant, meaningful and succinct answers.

The scope of the syllabus for optional subject papers (Paper VI and Paper VII) for the examination is broadly of the honours degree 1evel i.e. a level higher than the bachelors’ degree and lower than the masters’ degree. In the case of Engineering, Medical Science and law, the level corresponds to the bachelors’ degree.

Syllabi of the papers included in the scheme of Civil Services (Main) Examination are given as follows :

The aim of the paper is to test the candidates’ ability to read and understand serious discursive prose, and to express his ideas clearly and correctly, in English and Indian language concerned. The pattern of questions would be broadly as follows :
(i) Comprehension of given passages.
(ii) Precis Writing.
(iii) Usage and Vocabulary.
(iv) Short Essays.

Indian Languages:—
(i) comprehension of given passages.
(ii) Précis Writing.
(iii) Usage and Vocabulary.
(iv) Short Essays.
(v) Translation from English to the Indian Language and vice-versa.

Note 1: The papers on Indian Languages and English will be of Matriculation or equivalent standard and will be of qualifying nature only. The marks obtained in these papers will not be counted for ranking.

Note 2: The candidates will have to answer the English and Indian Languages papers in English and the respective Indian language (except where translation is involved).


Essay: Candidates may be required to write essays on multiple topics. They will be expected to keep closely to the subject of the essay to arrange their ideas in orderly fashion, and to write concisely. Credit will be given for effective and exact expression.


Plan of Examination

The competitive examination comprises two successive stages :

(i) Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination (Objective Type) for the selection of candidates for Main Examination; and

(ii) Civil Services (Main) Examination (Written and Interview) for the selection of candidates for the various Services and posts.

The Preliminary Examination will consist of two papers of Objective type (multiple choice questions) and carry a maximum of 400 marks. This examination is meant to serve as a screening test only; the marks obtained in the Preliminary Examination by the candidates who are declared qualified for admission to the Main Examination will not be counted for determining their final order of merit.

The number of candidates to be admitted to the Main Examination will be about twelve to thirteen times the total approximate number of vacancies to be filled in the year through this examination.

Only those candidates who are declared by the Commission to have qualified in the Preliminary Examination in the year will be eligible for admission to the Main Examination of that year provided they are otherwise eligible for admission, to the Main Examination.

Prelims exam :

(i) There are four alternatives for the answers to every question. For each question for which a wrong answer has been given by the candidate, one-third (0.33) of the marks assigned to that question will be deducted as penalty.

(ii) If a candidate gives more than one answer, it will be treated as a wrong answer even if one of the given answers happen to be correct and there will be same penalty as above for that question.

(iii) If a question is left blank i.e. no answer is given by the candidate, there will be no penalty for that question.

Main Exam :

The Main Examination will consist of written examination and an interview test.

The written examination will consist of 9 papers of conventional essay type in the subjects out of which two papers will be of qualifying in nature.

Marks obtained for all the compulsory papers (Paper-I to Paper-VII) and Marks obtained in Interview for Personality Test will be counted for ranking.

Candidates who obtain such minimum qualifying marks in the written part of the Main Examination as may be fixed by the Commission at their discretion, shall be summoned by them for an interview for a Personality Test.

The number of candidates to be summoned for interview will be about twice of the number of vacancies to be filled. The interview will carry 275 marks (with no minimum qualifying marks).

Marks thus obtained by the candidates in the Main Examination (written part as well as interview) would determine their final ranking. Candidates will be allotted to the various Services keeping in view their ranks in the examination and the preferences expressed by them for the various Services and posts.

Note I : The Commission will draw a list of candidates to be qualified for Civil Services (Main) Examination based on the criterion of minimum qualifying marks of 33% in General Studies Paper-II of Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination and total qualifying marks of General Studies Paper-I of Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination as may be determined by the Commission.

Note II : There will be negative marking for incorrect answers (as detailed below) for all questions except some of the questions where the negative marking will be inbuilt in the form of different marks being awarded to the most appropriate and not so appropriate answer for such questions.


Number of attempts :

Every candidate appearing at the examination, who is otherwise eligible, shall be permitted six attempts at the examination.

Provided that this restriction on the number of attempts will not apply in the case of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes candidates who are otherwise eligible.

Provided further that the number of attempts permissible to candidates belonging to Other Backward Classes, who are otherwise eligible, shall be nine.

The relaxation will be available to the candidates who are eligible to avail of reservation applicable to such candidates :

Provided further that candidates of Persons with Benchmark Disability will get as many attempts as are available to other candidates who do not belong to Persons with Benchmark Disability of his or her community, subject to the condition that a candidate of Persons with Benchmark Disability belonging to the General Category shall be eligible for nine attempts.

Necessary action to make corresponding changes in respective Rules/regulations pertaining to various services is being taken separately.

Note :

(1) An attempt at a Preliminary Examination shall be deemed to be an attempt at the Civil Services Examination.

(2) If a candidate actually appears in any one paper in the Preliminary Examination, he/she shall be deemed to have made an attempt at the Examination.

(3) Not withstanding the disqualification/cancellation of candidature, the fact of appearance of the candidate at the examination will count as an attempt.


Preparation to Prelims

The time has come to sit down and start preparing for the most competitive exam in India. Aptitude tests have become an integral part of any competitive examination, especially if it is meant to select the people who would be the drivers of the Great Indian Growth Story.

Civil Services Aptitude Test, the new pattern of the Civil Services Preliminary exam, conducted by UPSC, need not cause heartburn among the lakhs of candidates who are set to appear for it. A first step in any preparation should invariably involve understanding the syllabus. Now it is time to shore up your skills with some tips and tricks.

General mental ability

General mental ability is a basic measure of IQ which is used by psychologists the world over and is commonly found in most competitive exams. It involves tests of verbal and non-verbal ability. 

Verbal ability is generally measured by means of verbal analogy where the relationships between words are tested. For example, if word A is related to word B, then word C is related to what? It is necessary first to determine the relationship between A and B and apply the same to C. Here a good knowledge of synonyms and antonyms of standard words is required.

But now is not the time to start gobbling up that dictionary. Most tests only involve words of general usage. While reading the newspaper next time, try to understand words with the help of their context and usage.

Non-verbal ability may be tested by means of visual tests which involve choosing the picture which comes next in a sequence or which fits best in the given picture. Many such questions based on visual ability are available in standard books on mental ability.

Coding and decoding is another type of question you might encounter which involves use of letters, numbers or symbols in a code that is to be deciphered. So, give a free rein to all your aspirations to be a spy! But you don't have to be a James Bond to solve them. All it requires close attention to the symbols given.

It also helps to write out the whole alphabet and number the letters in a rough sheet so as to avoid careless mistakes. Finding the odd one out in a given set of letters or words again involves first determining the relationship between the given set and choosing the one that does not belong to this set.

Other types of questions could be direction sense, time sequence and blood relation questions. One trick in solving these types of questions is to fit in all the information in the question into diagrams and tree models and then draw inferences from the same. 

Logical reasoning and analytical ability

These kinds of questions are part of logic which involves statements, conclusions and rules to arrive at the conclusions. You should arrive at the given conclusion based on the statements or state whether a given conclusion can be inferred from the statements.

Some basic rules should be kept in mind solving such questions. Never make any assumption other than what is already stated in the questions, however logical it might seem. Choose only the conclusion which must definitely follow from the question, not that which seems “most likely”, and pay close attention to key words like “some”, “all” etc. You might even use Venn diagrams to solve some of them. Extensive practice will help you crack these questions.

Numerical ability and data interpretation

Numerical ability can be brushed up by refreshing knowledge of basic mathematics from school textbooks, starting from Class VI if required. Topics such as calculus and algebra can be safely ignored. Number sequence is a favourite in such tests.

Using simple arithmetic rules, a single or sometimes, two alternating number sequences are to be identified and the missing number chosen. Practising many such sequences would make it easy to identify them in tests. In recent years it has been noticed that general mental ability requires adequate knowledge of probability, permutation and combinations too.

This topic can be easily covered by referring to NCERT books for mathematics for Class XI and XII. Data interpretation skills can be improved by starting from the basics of statistics, which can be found in the NCERT statistics books, all of which are available online.

No preparation required

Interpersonal skills including communication skills cannot be easily tested in a written test. But the examiner can give real life situations and expect you to show your communication skills in choosing the right response by understanding the meaning conveyed in a passage.

Here the questions on comprehension, problem-solving and decision-making might easily overlap. In all such questions, it is important to read the hypothetical situation or an analysis of it carefully. It is necessary to use both common sense and knowledge of how a good leader and administrator might react. Always analyse each of the alternatives given and evaluate their consequences with respect to efficiency and propriety.

Needless to say, this section should not require you to burn the midnight oil. A cool head is all it needs. In reading comprehension questions, don't panic if you see a passage full of jargon. Ignore the technical words and try to understand the gist of the passage in the first read. Then read all the questions and with them in mind, read the passage again, this time identifying the relevant portions for the answers.

One key fact which should be kept in mind while answering is that no outside knowledge is required and all the answers are right in front of you. For improving reading comprehension skills, it is advisable to read daily at least for an hour articles from magazines, newspapers or books.

General tips for objective questions

One basic strategy that experts say should be part of your arsenal is the art of elimination. If a question seems difficult or if you are hard pressed for time, it is recommended that you try to eliminate as many alternatives as possible based on your analysis of the question. You should keep in mind the one-third negative marks applicable for a wrong answer. This means that out of four alternatives, if you have eliminated two, it's a safe bet to choose any one of the other two.

Another trick is a basic strategy of problem-solving in psychology. It involves working backwards from the question starting from each of the alternatives. The alternative which lets you arrive logically to the question statement is the correct choice. But this is possible only if you have enough time on your hands. Hence, it is imperative that while practising you identify your strengths and weaknesses in terms of the topics in the syllabus. Easiest first is a time-tested strategy that should be used to get a good score.


There are many standard texts available for reasoning and aptitude tests in the market. It is advisable to choose a comprehensive one and practise the questions repeatedly instead of trying to solve new problems each time. The trick is to solve a set and check the answers right away so as to correct the logical fallacies you have been using to solve them.

Strategies for solving them can also be identified and kept at hand for reference later. Mock tests with a time limit can be taken for each type of question. Many sample questions and tests are available online. You need not be a math geek to qualify in the Preliminary exam. Anyone with the right amount of practice and a little common sense can do it. As Thomas Edison said, genius is 99 per cent perspiration and one per cent inspiration. So, time to hit those books, what say! 

Easiest topic first is a time-tested strategy that should be used to get a good score.

Newspaper is a textbook for IAS aspirants: expert

Reading a national newspaper is important for the aspirants of civil services/Competitive examinations, according to B. Ramasamy, social scientist and Director, RIAS Civil Services Academy, New Delhi. 

Delivering a special lecture at the IAS coaching programme said during his last 15 years of conducting coaching and training programme to civil service aspirants he had found that those who were familiar with day-to-day affairs had come up with flying colours in civil services examinations. 

They could be familiar with the current affairs only by reading national newspapers. It would be immensely useful in preliminary, main and interview stages. 

“For IAS aspirants, national newspaper is like a text book. If they undertake the reading in a dedicated manner, I think they have a bright chance,” Mr. Ramasamy said. 

Stating that the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) had effected a major change in the pattern of examinations for civil services, he said the pattern, which mostly benefited by the upper middleclass people particularly doctors, engineers during the last six decades, had been changed so to benefit all citizens of India.

All people irrespective of rich, poor, crossing barriers of caste, religion should come forward to reap the benefits of new pattern. 

Mr. Ramasamy said the second foremost important work for aspirants was to write extensively on various aspects. 

They must work hard to write so as to get good marks in descriptive aspects. 

If anyone wanted to become an IAS and IPS officer, he or she should preserve the school books and notes for reference. 

They would be immensely helpful to them for scoring good marks.

Finally you can get these  important news extracted from News Papers @ PREPARE GK


Revising the Topics

  • Revision is very important for the performance in the exam. 

  • The efficiency with which you do revision determines the grip on the subject matter. It should not be postponed till the last phase. 

  • As you keep preparing, some time should be spent in revising and consolidating what you read. Otherwise, when you start revision in the end, everything will appear new and lot of time has to be spent in deciphering the notes made. This will be very counter productive and all the hard work will be a waste.

  • So, revision should also become a part of your everyday schedule. Don’t think it’s a waste of time, since finally you will save a lot and the pressure will also reduce. Therefore, revise what you read next day. Then keep coming back to it at regular intervals.

  • Finally, before the exam you should keep two months for the revision. It has to be done again and again, as many times as possible. 

  • Be very careful while preparing notes, keeping in view the requirements of the revision.


Studying while doing a job

Civil Services/any competitive exam demand at least one and half year full time preparation. It is obviously difficult to prepare for exam while doing a job. It is even more difficult if you are doing a private job like software job. But, It is not impossible. 

There are many examples who have secured top ranks while doing job. Those who have financial constraints can definitely prepare while doing their job by following tips below.

Tips for those who are preparing while working:

1. Make sure that you get leave for at least 1 month before any competitive exam. And for Civils make sure to get leave for at least 1 month before Preliminary exam and 3 months before Mains Exam.

2. Make complete use of Internet at office. Simply exploit.

3. Evenings shall completely be devoted for preparation.

4. It is very important to have constant contacts with those who are preparing full time. Interact with them regularly.

5. Don’t get sentimental about Company if your boss motivates you to work more or when any job challenge is thrown at you. There is a danger of deviation if you get too much involved in the work. Never bring work home.

6. Your work for company should be impassionate.

7. Always remember that you are working only for financial support not for building a career in that company. If you eye for building a career in the company you will definitely be deviated from your cherished goal of Civil Services.



Timetable for preparation

  • Many candidates give their first attempt without even completing the syllabus. This is a wrong step, which will have severe consequences later on. Any exam can be cleared in the first attempt itself with focused preparation and solid approach. 

  • Mainly, the thought that the exam requires multiple attempts should be removed from the mind. With right information and proper material, and sustained hard work for and year, there is no reason why someone should not clear the exam in the first attempt.

  • The preparation with full momentum should start at least one year before the exam. Ideally, the preparation should be started in May and by December the mains syllabus should be completed to a large extent. Then from January, prelims preparation should be made, while consolidating the mains knowledge. 

  • After the prelims, the preparation should be continued with out any break. The next 5 months will be very crucial and the preparation should be at full momentum. The syllabus in any case should be completed by July. At least two months are required for the revisions.

  • After the mains exam, interview preparation should be started. Simultaneously, prelims preparation should also be made. This is important since the final result will be given only 4-5 days before next prelims. In case of failure, you should be in a position to give next prelims. So, from the beginning it is better to be prepared for this possibility.

  • After the mains result, more focus should be made on interview preparation.


Hobbies to be mentioned

While filling up the application form, there is a column for the hobbies and other interests. It is better to cultivate some hobby rather than leaving it blank. So be prepared for this aspect from the initial stages itself. It helps a lot in the interview if the questions are asked from your interest areas. 

You can also think of some peculiar hobbies to attract the interviewer. But be careful that you have a genuine interest in that area and do gather good information so as to answer any question.

Some of the hobbies of candidates are:

- reading books

- listening to music, even some specific variety say old songs.

- reading short stories

- Gandhism

- Introspection

- Philately and numismatics

- bird watching

- cooking

- conducting alcohol de-addiction camps

- social work

- teaching

- Learn and practice yoga and meditation

- weapon systems

- physical fitness, etc.


Importance of Health

The importance of good health should be understood very clearly. The aspirants are under severe psychological stress. 

If suppose you become sick at any stage, you will have to write the exam again and lose out an another year and half. So, it is very important to take care of the health throughout the exam preparation period. Remember - Healthy mind in a healthy body.

Please note the following points:

• Get up early in the morning. It is the best time to make the body vibrations in tune with that of the natures’.

• Spend the first few hours in fitness activities. This is not a waste of time, but an investment. It ensures that the whole day is active and focused.

• Take care of the water and the food that you eat. Do not eat junk food, which will not help in anyway.

• Learn and practice Yoga, Pranayama and Meditation. They will develop the mental fitness, which is most essential in studying for long with concentration, to excel in the exam.

An important dimension in life, which is grossly ignored, is the breath. A person can live for a few days without food or water, but cannot exist for a few minutes without air. We take unnecessary care about food and water, but ignore the breath. The more oxygen we take the better will be the burning efficiency of carbohydrates in the cells. 

With more energy, the cells perform to their maximum capacity and the body becomes very active. This is also important to have good focus on whatever we do. However, we use only 25% of the lung capacity. That is the reason why we do not function to our potential. In India, there were ancient techniques, which have been developed to increase the capacity of the lungs and to use them to their full potential. They are called the Pranayama techniques.

In fact, the breath can be used to control the emotions in the mind, like using a thread to control the kite. There is a direct relation between the breath and the emotions in the mind. Observe the breath as the emotions change. If you are angry or depressed, the breath is shallow, short and rapid. 

If you are in a cool and happy serene mood, then observe that the breath is deep and of long duration. Normally, the breath is involuntary and its rhythm depends on the emotions. But through some techniques, you can reverse the process. That is by controlling the rhythm of breath, you can control the emotions in the mind. 

It is important to learn these techniques since they help a lot in preparation for the exam. You will have to sit and study for long durations throughout the year. Above that there will be lot of pressures both social and psychological. To face them all, it is important to manage the emotions in the mind.


How to tackle negative marking?

UPSC/other banking sectors has taken a right step introducing negative marking to filter out candidates who get selected on the basis of smart guesses and luck. 

So, the serious candidates should cheer up now. Negative marking make paper more complex. But it is easy for a well prepared students and gives an extra benefit to a genuine candidates.

• Identify the areas of your strength in the question paper. Solve questions from these areas first. Solving easy question will boost your confidence.

• Don’t waste your time for particular questions. Leave time consuming questions to take up in the end.

• The definition of intelligent guessing changes now with negative marking. You should tick only those answers which you feel 70% correct.

• Don’t play any blind and stupid game of guessing.

• Practice…Practice…Practice…Mock tests reduce mistake in the exam and prepare you to face real environment in which you can tackle & solve the questions within time limit.

• Mock tests provide you a platform where you can check your own weakness, mistakes and errors and develop a better understanding for solving different types of questions.


How to answer the Main Examination ?

• Your answer in the exam is the only medium through which you can convey to the examiner. So you should always think as to how to impress the examiner with the answer. Your pen, handwriting, writing style, logical presentation, innovations, relevance to the question, etc, everything matters. Be careful about these aspects right from the beginning. 

• The final two months should be devoted to repeated revisions.

• The writing practice within time limit should be done from the beginning. This time limit. If you do this as the preparation progresses then the study will be will help in understanding what you can remember and reproduce within the exam-oriented. 

• Improve your handwriting if it is bad. Your handwriting should at least be easily legible.

• You can use colour pens when you draw figures, diagrams etc.

• While writing answers, focus on good introductions and conclusions. The presentation should be logical. The introduction should introduce the reader about the path he is about to take and whats in stored for him. It should raise the curiosity of the reader. While, the conclusion should sum up what the reader has gone through in the path. There should be a balanced judgement in the conclusions. (This is suggestible only for 30 and 60 marks questions)

• You need not have a very good vocabulary or scholarly writing style. It is sufficient if you can present your answer in a simple logical manner.

• Your aim should be to score equally well in all the papers. In general, you should get above 300 in optionals and the GS. Depending on your strong areas you should get more marks in some papers. The essay score should be above 100. In this way, if you can get around 1100, then the position will be very strong.

• The presentation is to be practiced well. Do not dump the information in the exam, but present it in a logical and attractive manner. The point form can be used only for some factual areas. Other wise, paragraph mode with good analysis should be used.

• Read the question carefully and grasp the aspect being asked. The answer should be relevant to what is being asked.


How should a fresh candidate approach the exam?

A new aspirant should keep in mind the following points:

• First try to understand the exam. Gather information from various sources, analyse the previous years’ papers, meet seniors and teachers, and think deeply about the exam and the way you should prepare.

• Choose the optionals very carefully.

• Settle down in some place where you can study without disturbances, it is better to be isolated for a year during the preparation.

Select the coaching centers carefully after enquiring from various sources. Do not merely go by the advertisements.

• Do not be in a hurry to buy all the material available in the market. Be selective and chose only the best, based on advise of right seniors.

• Establish good relation with the teachers and take complete advantage of their experience.

• Remember always that you are going to have a tough period for next two years. So be well prepared for all situations. Keep working hard right from the beginning without any distractions.

• Believe strongly that you will clear the exam in the first attempt itself and do not compromise at any stage. If required work harder than ever before.

• Take care of your health aspects.

• Do not be in a hurry to complete the syllabus. Go slow when you read new concepts. Do regular revisions.

• Make writing practice a part of your daily routine.

• The current affairs notes should be prepared every day.

• The preparation should be started at least a year ahead of the exam.

• Do not give the attempt unless you are confident of qualifying for the interview.

The first attempt should be the best one, so work hard with determination.

General Suggestions :

Long hours of study and lot of other sacrifices are needed. You should have a very determined mental make up and a never-say-die kind of spirit.

• The fortune favours the brave. So work hard with courage in spite of the failures. The final reward is bound to come. The luck factor does not help if you don’t work hard to your full capacity.

• To err is human, but the one who rectifies is a champion. So, do a lot of introspection as you progress in the preparation. This will help you in identifying the mistakes and rectifying them at the right time.

Devotion and Determination are the keys to the success. Be ready to work hard. But at the same time, ensure that your efforts are channelised in the right direction.

• Plan your study and try to work it out within schedule. Set weekly targets and at the end of the week, do a self-appraisal.

• There will be lots of temptation to give up the attempt, as you progress in the preparation. This is mainly due to the huge syllabus and the accumulating pressure. But be aware that these are the critical moments. You should face all these pressures with courage. Be determined to clear the exam in the first attempt.


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