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UPSC PREPARATION : There is an old English proverb – ‘Time flies’. It connotes, time passes very quickly in times of fun and frolic. It very aptly applies to the students aspiring for   UPSC PREPARATION . At the beginning of the preparation, a student takes 3-4 months’ time to adjust to the momentum of UPSC. If this time is not managed well, it will have cascading effect on the remaining period of preparation.

One of the most important factor in managing the time well, is valuing it. Most of us get carried away in the present and forget that time comes in a limited period offer. This time must be harnessed, to convert it into a weapon, that can even win battles for us.

Having an End Date in UPSC

For a UPSC aspirant, passing the exam, is no less than winning a battle. At the beginning of the preparation, one must decide on an end date. What is this end date, you may ask? This end date is the last attempt that you plan to give. Deciding on the end date, initially, will create a positive stress to value time and strategize your preparation.

The timing of foundation classes, timely completion of Optional, Daily Revision, comprehensively covering the daily current affairs, timely Kick-starting Mains Answer Writing, all these will automatically fall in place.

If at all there is one golden rule to pass UPSC, it has to be, “TIME IT WELL-TO END IT WELL”.

A Template on how to manage time while doing Foundation Classes

For most of the candidates, the journey of UPSC preparation begins with attending foundation classes. The duration of foundation varies from institute to institute. Generally, one can count 9-11 months as the duration of foundation classes.

While a student attends his/her foundation classes, the management of the time becomes extremely important. As a benchmark index, 4-6 hrs is the per day class a student attends. Once this is over, the planning of the left-over time assumes significance.

In a day of 24 hours, 10 hours of sleep and refreshing is straightaway deducted. This leaves a student with 14 hrs of time. Out of this, 6 hrs goes for the classes. This will leave a student with 8 hrs of time to plan, prepare and execute the preparation strategy.

One should deduct 2 hrs from this to cater for the travel time to-and-fro for the classes and breakfast, lunch and dinner breaks. This eventually leaves 6 hrs of time with the student.

Importance of Revision in UPSC

Topmost priority should be given to revision of the daily class notes. This is the most important element of a student’s preparation journey. The day-to-day revision of the class notes will help the students to establish connect with the ongoing class lectures.

It will also help them to improve upon certain facts and topics not covered in the class for paucity of time. Questions if any, from these extra bits can be clarified with the teacher the next day.

You can also use this to impress upon the teacher with extra knowledge that you boast in the classroom. This task may eat up close to 2 hrs every day. This leaves you with 4 more hours.

The Right Approach to NCERTs

If you are a complete fresher, then you must dedicate 2 hours every day for reading NCERTs from class 6. This exercise may take 3-4 months depending upon your reading speed and making notes. This will give a strong foundation for your basics and will immensely help you in mains answer writing in future.

Newspaper Reading

The last leg of 2 hours can be used to read through the newspaper. A word of caution – if you are completely new to UPSC, then don’t read current affairs from the newspaper directly. Instead, rely upon the current affairs study material provided by the institute.

The time duration while the foundation classes are going on is very crucial. Students generally don’t realize the importance of this time. They tend to get casual in their approach, thinking that, once the foundation is over, they can do things on their own. In reality, when the foundation classes ending gets closer, students start feeling the heat.

Time Management after the Foundation

Once the foundation is over, a student has more time to plan things well. In real sense, the preparation starts, only after the completion of Foundation Classes.

This is the time to consolidate your learning, sit back and make a graph of your strengths and weakness. It could be about a subject or even a level of exam.

Before starting the preparation after the foundation, one must make a deliberate attempt to peep through the past year question papers and try to understand the level of questions being asked, both in prelims and mains.

This knowledge will help a student to come on common grounds with UPSC. This will reduce the shock effect on the day of examination.

Use this period to go through the Standard Textbooks, enrich the class notes and get into the habit of writing answers every single day.

Taking Help of a Mentor

Taking help of a mentor can also reduce the time to prepare. A mentor can articulate your strengths and weakness to your advantage. He can contribute immensely to time management, revision structuring and progress evaluation. All this reduces the time to clear the exam.

Blog Writing

Blog writing on issues happening around, can be used as a strategy to enhance your thinking capacity and answer writing skills. This will help to develop a perspective of your own, that can be dovetailed to the needs of UPSC.

Topics of mains like Society, Social Justice, Governance will get a face lift in answer writing with the habit of blog writing.

“The bad news is time flies- the good news is you are the Pilot”

Jai Hind Credits Major SPS Oberoi Academic Adviser Ekam IAS Academy, Hyderabad

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