Every competitive exam comes with its own quirks and twists and the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) examination is no different. For the 1st time in the past thirty years, a revised format of the Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT), which is a preliminary round, will be held on June 12. Through this common test, candidates’ knowledge and proficiency will be measured. So, all students who are preparing for the UPSC exam this year should pull up their socks and get ready.
The preliminary round of the Civil Services Examination used to have two papers until previous year. Paper I which is common for all candidates featured 150 questions on general studies, to be answered in 120 minutes. Paper II, on the contrary, included the choice of 23 optional subjects for students. As far as the revised format is concerned, prelims will have two papers like before, but each paper will carry 200 marks to be attempted in 120 minutes each.
Paper I will have the same syllabus as per last years. Questions will be asked from the fields like general science, current affairs of national and international significance, geography of India and world, history of India and the national movement in India and Indian polity and governance. However, from this year, two more subjects have been introduced in the list such as general matters on environmental ecology, biodiversity and ecological change and economic and social development. So, candidates need to expand their knowledge horizon a bit more.
Though Paper I doesn’t include any major changes this year, but Paper II definitely has a different syllabus. Earlier, general mental ability was the part of Paper I. But, from this year, it will feature in Paper II. Under this section, questions will be based on comprehension (general & English), logical reasoning and interpersonal skills. In the section on interpersonal skills, candidates will be tested for their communication skills, analytical ability, basic numeracy and decision-making and problem-solving aptitude. This is also a common paper for all aspirants.
No doubt, this sudden change in the format is a surprise for the aspirants. But, it’s never too late. There is still ample time to incorporate changes in study plans. If you are determined and dedicated, these changes will not affect your performance. If you want to give your best, simply try to bring some methodical changes in your strategy. It will help you a big time. For help, you can take a look at the tips listed below.
Last minute preparation tips for CSAT
There are some very simple steps that you need to follow to tackle these last minute test surprises. These are:
1) Study for eight hours daily: Since it’s a competitive exam and that too a UPSC one, you just can’t afford to take any risks. Spending eight hour daily is the minimum requirement. For this, you can create an elaborate study plan and pre-define your targets to be reached at the determined interval of time. But, don’t forget that just making a plan is not self-sufficient. You need to stick to it.
2) Prepare for Paper I and Paper II: First paper basically tests the learning abilities of any candidate. So, for this one, you can collect necessary study materials and give them a thorough reading. Checking out newspapers, magazines and books/ articles on current events will be helpful. The second paper is designed to measure logical, analytical and conceptual abilities of the candidates. The paper will feature questions on the seven specified subjects. Therefore, it will be better to take up two to three subjects every day.
3) Assess yourself: Doing revisions on daily basis is important. But, you also need to check the status of your preparation. For this, you can opt for a process of self-assessment. Organize separate tests for every topic and try to solve your papers within a scheduled time of 30-35 minutes. Your focus should be on increasing the total scores. With the help of this self-assessment program, you will be able to spot your shortcomings and accordingly, improve them. When only one month is left to your exam, you should try to take as many mock tests as possible. If you are able to answer all the question papers within an overall exam like set-up, the chances of your passing the real CSAT will automatically increase.
It is worth remembering that time-management, patience and perseverance are the three essential components of any strategy building activity. If you are systematic and accurate in your approach, nothing can stop you from achieving success in this exam.