Time Management for UPSC Preparation
Civil Services exams are the longest competitive exam in the country. Its actual time period extends to almost a year. The preparation for this exam begins even a few years in advance. As a result, there are often quires from the Civil Services aspirants as to how many hours one needs to put in to qualify these exams. How much time is needed in the lean time active time of the exam and how to schedule the time table of study etc.?
Well time management is very important in the Civil Services exam. The most crucial phase of time management is during the early preparation of the exam. Equally, time management is important during the period when you are actually writing the exam. Finally time management is also required when you are answering the question within the allotted time.
The preparation phase requires reading a lot of study material and in this phase you have make achievable target like; so many number of pages has to be read to cover certain portion of the syllabus and how much time can be allocated for doing that.
Similarly after reading, you also have to fix a schedule for making your own notes of the topics you have read. This in the beginning may look bit difficult, but once you fix your cock for the specific job and if you follow the time schedule very religiously, then things will become smooth gradually.
Try to make the study plan for four weeks. Review after that plan of action. How much you have been able to cover from the syllabus within the time frame you have allocated for that particular purpose. If you have not been able to achieve your target, make changes and adjustments to your study plan and bring it to more realistic and achievable target.
You can allocate a consistent reading time slot each day. Simultaneously, allocate a consistent time slot for making notes of the reading that you have done in the day. The ideal time allocation could be devoting three hours for reading and two hours for making notes each day.
No matter what happens, you have to spend five hours each day when you start your preparation and you must do this without fail each day. Focus on optimum time utilization, instead of maximum time consumption. How to read and how to take notes is a separate subject, go through it first, before you start your preparation for Civil Service exam.
Try to keep a check your progress and slowly increase the time of your preparation to give an extra push to achieve the target. Maybe the extra time can be utilized for revising all that you have read and made the notes. Remember unless you do not revise the day’s preparation, all efforts will go waste. Keep this in mind and make a study plan with time allotment for reading, making notes and revisions on a daily basis.
In the beginning if you are able to devote five to six hours each day it is enough for initial preparation. Follow a regular routine time schedule and do not make changes very often. Stick to your plan action.
Waking up early and after 15 minutes of walk or exercise you can put yourself to three hours of reading schedule at a stretch every day. Then you have two hours of session for making notes in the evening and one hour for revising your work of the day.
IAS preparation is not one day or week or months job, it has to be well planned and the entire syllabus has to be covered first even before you think of taking your prelim exam. An optimum level of preparation is must for both the Prelims and the Mains exam before you actual fills the application form to take the Prelim exam.
A totally different time schedule is required when you are going to take up the exam. A three months strict time schedule has to be put up for Prelims preparation. During this period concentrate on taking mock test on each section of the unit. If your scores are less, go back to the notes and if still it does not improve, go back to reading material. It’s the time to increase your time slot from 6 hours to 8 hours each day. The last one month start taking the actual mock test and see to it how you can manage the time to cover the entire question paper within the allocated time. Such rigorous practice schedule alone can make you confident to face the Prelim exam and you will not panic in the exam hall.
Similarly, after qualifying the Prelims put a new time schedule for the mains exam. Now practice of writing answers of the each paper is required for the Mains Exam. There are ‘Nine’ papers in the main exams and each of them require written answer. During this time you have to practice writing answer scripts that are free from spelling and grammar mistakes and in very legible hand writing. This has to be taken up seriously and make sure that all such errors are removed from your script
Writing excellent answers requires a lot of practice. It entails arrangements of thoughts for content and analysis with impressive opening, facts based middle and an opinionated conclusion. This cannot be accomplished in just one or two tries of practice of writing answers and to achieve perfection several attempts are required.
Again allocate one month for taking mock exam test for writing answers for the mains exam. You have to practice this in the allocated space provided in the actual kind of answer sheet and have to write within its margins. You also have to see that you finish writing the answers in the allocated time of the mains exam.
You must eat healthy food during the time preparation of your civil services exams. Avoid giving any mental or physical stress to yourself during your preparation. You must sleep 6 to 8 hours each day and do not cut your sleep time or eating time for the sake preparation.
You can carry on with normal routine activities during your early stage of IAS preparation. However, when you are writing Prelims, you have to be totally focused to qualify this part of the exam. When it comes to next stage, you have to totally devote yourself full time for the preparation of the Mains exam. Since the Mains syllabus is huge, you need to scale up your preparation time to minimum 10 hours every day.
The main thing is to manage time and focus on the time regime that you allocate for the preparation of the civil service exam. There could be many agonizing moments during the preparation but never compromise on your time schedule. The adage, fortunes favors the brave is best description who judiciously manage time for the preparation of the civil service exams.