IIf you are a candidate for the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), you know the importance of finding the right optional paper for the Public Service Examination (CSE).
As one of the toughest competitive exams in India, CSE requires aspirants to prepare extensively on a wide variety of subjects, especially in the general term papers. Given the enormous curriculum, choosing an appropriate elective can instill a sense of stability and confidence, which makes this decision extremely crucial for aspirants.
To help the aspirants be better prepared, Kajal Jawla (AIR-28) of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and Ankit Kumar (AIR-31) of the Indian Forest Service (IFS) were hired.
Choosing the right option
“One of the things to keep in mind when choosing your optional paper is familiarity with the subject. Ideally, choose a subject that you might have studied during your graduation, ”says Ankit.
Choosing a topic where the resource material is easily accessible is also an important point to keep in mind. In addition, an interest in the subject will help the aspirant maintain consistency and prepare in a more focused manner.
“It takes a good knowledge of the elective before the interview, so make sure you focus on choosing a suitable elective,” he adds.
Kajal encourages aspirants to spend time leafing through questionnaires from previous years before deciding on the optional contribution.
She says: “If you spend enough time analyzing the questionnaires from the last few years, a pattern begins to emerge. That’s what I found for my optional paper [Zoology], every other year there were topics that were repeated. By choosing to focus on these topics and improve my understanding, I have exerted some leverage to pay less attention to other topics. “
How to choose the option that works best for you
- First, try to access books from the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) for the subject you want to take as an elective. Read at least the first few chapters to assess whether or not you are interested in the subject.
- In addition, you can analyze what kind of questions are being asked, e.g. B. Does this require a lot of thought or is it more theoretical with simple questions?
- Choose an elective based on your strengths alone.
Create a personalized study plan
Although this varies from person to person, both Ankit and Kajal emphasize the importance of establishing a schedule that works best for the aspirant.
Kajal, who was preparing for the CSE while working full-time, says: “Every day I had to travel from Delhi to Gurgaon for work. But even then, I always made sure to write the curriculum that I wanted to complete in a given week. That helped me to plan my days better and to have a sense of achievement at the end of the week. “
“It’s important to devote almost 8 hours a day to dedicated preparation,” adds Ankit. He continues, “Identify a time of day that works best for you. For example, if you work during the day, make sure you have a few hours of study each morning before you go to work. “
Optimal use of time is crucial and the experts advise working people to make the most of their commuting time and lunch break to study.
Take smart study, notes, and resources
“Don’t take notes from newspapers. Take some time to understand what is important from an exam point of view and what topics should be covered, ”says Ankit. He adds that referring to the UPSC question papers from the past few years will further help aspirants make an informed decision.
In the event that aspirants choose to study only part of the curriculum, Kajal emphasizes the importance of revision as a key to success. “Even if you only managed to complete 60 percent of the serving, make sure you revise this part thoroughly and score as much as possible with that serving yourself,” says Kajal. In addition to the revision, keep working on mock tests. Analyze the results in the mock tests and work on your weak points accordingly.
Kajal also recommends using a resource book called Ghatna Chakra, which gives aspirants access to questionnaires from the past 20 years. These are structured according to various topics and give aspirants a good overview of what to expect.
“I’ve used this resource on history, politics, and geography. In addition to the questions, the resource also provides an answer key and an explanation for each answer. That helped both with factual questions and with consolidating the topics, ”she says.
(Edited by Ananya Barua)
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