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Successfully Crack/Prepare for IAS General Studies: GS Exams- Best Tips from Toppers

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By: John

Once you have decided to appear for civil service exams, you are well on your way to a good future. The decision to appear for exams may be tough, but fully preparing to do well on the exams is no less difficult. This article explains what you need to know and do to successfully compete for a high ranking on the IAS Exam. 

To be successful on the IAS Examinations, one must prepare to face a wide variety of tough questions, and tougher competition. This where testing preparatory institutions (such as Chronicle IAS Academy) can help. Selective study based on previous years’ exams will not be sufficient, based on the unpredictability of the questions from one year to the next. You must study and understand a very broad range of knowledge if you hope to do well. What really matters is how your information and knowledge are updated to best meet the exam requirements. 

Use the following steps to ensure the best possible exam result… 

Understand the IAS (General Studies) GS Exam It is important to recognize that the prelims and mains are not as cut-and-dried as is commonly perceived. It is generally thought that the prelims are fact-based and the mains are analytical. The truth is that the prelims and mains are both some of each. Therefore your preparation must be thorough, complete, and must follow through to end of the exam process. Recognize the Competition Taking the exam are some of best minds in the country, so there little room for carelessness, complacency and overconfidence. Every mark is hard earned to remain a cut above the competition. 

The best strategy is to recognize the level of competition and work to be as good or better. This requires dedication, hard work, and sometimes a willingness to change the way you approach ideas. Perform a Self-Assessment 

The first step in designing a successful exam strategy is to know yourself and your capabilities. 

What are your strengths and weaknesses? What inspires you to be successful? What are your strong subjects and what needs more work? Asking these questions sheds light on your current status and looks forward to the best approach for success. From this self-assessment you will identify the areas that need most work and those that need review.
Clearly, those that need the most work should have the most time and resources budgeted in your preparation plan. Those that need review should not be neglected, but should receive less attention. It’s important to not assume you are ever fully prepared, as the final ranking is so important that one or two missed questions could be incredibly important to the final result. 
Make a Plan for Success Keeping in mind the vastness of the syllabus, you will be expected to know a very wide variety of information and topics. Consequently, you should be always looking out for information that could be of use. 

Anything and everything could be of use if you are prepared to put it in the right perspective. Instead of just learning facts and formulas, cultivate the habit of learning what, why, how in relation to every subject you come across. Developing this habit alone is half the work of preparing to face the IAS GS syllabus. 

A successful plan for coming out on top of the IAS GS includes: 

1. Developing an open and questioning mind. 

2. Trying to see things in a perspective, exploring the related concepts, and the associated interdisciplinary linkages. 

3. Focusing on current affairs and visualizing them in perspective. 

4. Giving utmost attention to the issues relevant to a bureaucrat, in terms of applicability and function, and which are of immediate concern to the people. 

5. Avoiding being bogged down in the fact-analysis dichotomy with respect to prelims and mains, respectively. 

6. Reading: If you are reading for the first time, go at a slower pace. Underline the relevant portions in the reading material. Second and subsequent reading should be faster. Use your discretion in sorting out important and non-important areas and give them proportionate attention. It helps immensely to go through previous year’s paper to track the orientation of the questions. 

7. Give greater attention and time to the areas in which you are weak. 

8. In the general studies paper of prelims, most of the questions center on the current news. The best preparation therefore is to stay abreast of current events and how they inter relate with society. 

9. Prepare a model paper. A model paper will give you a feeling of the actual questions in the examination. It will highlight your stronger and weaker spots.

10. Do your preparation work in a timely manner. Do not postpone your work for “later”. 

11. Try to stick to your plan and approach to the framework and approach, this will save time and energy in the long run. 

12. Obtain a good guidebook with comprehensive coverage of the Exam concepts. Be very careful with authenticity of the material you are studying. 

Do not hesitate to check any information you find questionable or dubious. Hopefully, the information given here will set you on your way to successfully preparing for and completing the IAS Prelims and Mains Exams.
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