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Effective time table for IAS exam preparation

IMPORTANCE OF TIME MANAGEMENT

The importance of Time Management cannot be underestimated if one has to prepare for the UPSC exam due in the month of June. The exorbitant syllabus that one needs to complete for the UPSC exam mandates one to have a detailed plan of action, failure to do so would lead to goodbye to your dreams of making an elite Administrative career. The vast and elaborate requires a candidate to follow stringently a laid out study time table. Most of the successful candidates have expressed that following a fixed time table not only led them to complete the syllabus on time but also provided them with some relaxation time that further stimulated their memory and enabled them to retain the concepts better. Also following a fixed time table becomes handy as a candidate can segregate the time of studying and strengthening the concepts through following practice mock test.The mock test besides strengthening the concepts also provide an opportunity to the candidate the time management skills during the exam. The article elucidates the importance of Time Table especially from the point of view of a candidate preparing for the challenging IAS exam.  
 
IS A TIME TABLE REALLY NEEDED FOR IAS EXAM PREPARATION ?
 
Before going in-depth into the factors necessary for designing an effective Time Table, it is vital to understand if there is a necessity of one. It is a known fact that many UPSC candidates in spite of putting up an ardent study regime fail in the exam simply because of the lack of a targeted strategy and randomly followed exam preparation techniques. Though there is no magical time table that holds good for all the candidates, yet we strongly believe that the time table should be designed taking into consideration three critical points:
  • Humungous UPSC Syllabus
  • Time Table should be designed well in advance about a year or so.
  • Provide one ample amount of Practice followed by Relaxation time.
 
BENEFITS OF HAVING A TIME TABLE FOR IAS EXAM PREPARATION
 
Following a dedicated and focussed time table goes a long way in bringing you closer to clearing the tough exam. Listed below are 10 of the key benefits of having a laid out time table for IAS exam preparation:
 
i) Provides the candidate with a sense of direction especially when one has to browse through so many options such as lecture series, Coaching, Reference Books and Study Material.
ii) Enables the candidates to accomplish the task of not only finishing the syllabus on time but also provides sufficient relaxation time.
iii) The candidate can distribute time to all the subjects thus enabling him to have exhaustive coverage of the syllabus and saves you from panicking as the exam approaches
iv) Candidate can have a stressfree approach towards preparation by the division of the task and side by side evaluation through the mock test. The weaknesses can be given more time as compared to other topics. 
v) One can segregate the subject and even topic wise the difficult and comparative easy subjects. Having a laid out IAS study time table, one can focus the subjective keeping in mind their level of difficulty.
vi) Following a time table can help the candidate to increase the retention power.
vii) Time Table when stringently followed helps elevate productivity owing to better retention and well-streamlined study pattern.
viii) It is amazing that the time on hand in fact increases after following a time table as one understands and follows stringently the study time and break time. Thus it not only helps you to accomplish your goal but also helps you do that in a stipulated time frame.
ix) Appearing for mock tests and topic tests provides one an idea of the way his preparation level is concerned. This is essential from the perspective of self-evaluation of a candidate's for his strengths and weaknesses.
x)It is proven that a human mind cannot continuously concentrate beyond 45 minutes and thus an effective time table lets you take breaks enabling you for effective results. Also, a time table lets you have some relaxation time and meal time which is essential to keep a sound physical and a mental strength
 
 
AN IDEAL TIME TABLE FOR IAS EXAMINATION STARTING A YEAR IN ADVANCE
 
Though the concept of an Ideal Table Time is a myth from the actual experiences of the successful candidates that aced this herculean exam, one is required to have the following personality traits for achieving effective results.
 
INTEGRITY
 
One of the essential traits of a successful candidate is, that he should be meticulous and full of integrity. The arduous journey requires one to work diligently according to the the given time schedule without fail. The key to success is being honest to oneself and understand weaknesses and strengths. Also, the candidate should be ready to face failures and again be ready to face the new challenges. ALWAYS REMEMBER FAILURES ARE THE STEPPING STONES TO SUCCESS.
 
FOCUSSED
 
An ideal candidate aspiring to become an IAS officer should be focussed solely on fulfilling his dreams. One should not even for a minute waiver his attention from his goal, and by following a schedule strictly makes you keep a track of your final destination all the time. Evaluating on a daily basis the target achieved set and achieved one is able to figure out how far away he is from the goal. Two of the most important factors making a candidate susceptible to FAILURE are:
a)RELYING ON LUCK
b)WASTING TIME
 
STRICTNESS
 
A common deterring factor for a candidate is the strictness in adhering to the time table. A casual approach can turn out to be catastrophic in your approach to succeed in the UPSC Exam. Follow the time table with your heart, mind and soul. This would go a long way in not only enable you to fulfil your dreams to become an IAS officer but also make you a better person who realizes the importance of time. 
 
UNYIELDING APPROACH
 
The serious candidates who are successful are aware of the fact that success doesn't come easy and requires them to have an unflinching and unyielding approach. The approach enables them to survive even the dejection of failure and encourages them to face the examination with more grit and energy.
 
HAVE THE TARGET IN YOUR MIND
 
While following and preparing your Time Table you should be clearly focussed on your final Target which is clearing the  IAS exam. The best way is to divide your goals into a set of small tasks and long term goals.All the strategies help the individual to clear the examination.
 
DON'T BURDEN YOURSELF WITH PRESSURE
 
Enjoying the process of preparation can help you in bringing you closer to your dream goal. One should have an in-depth understanding of the topic but selecting a topic that a person enjoys would automatically make a person grasp the concepts in a comprehensive way and less time spent. But care should be taken to not exceed the time as specified in the time table. Even in your UPSC preparation, enjoy the process, and pride in the knowledge you gain. The CRUX is not to consider STUDY as a BURDEN and a STRESSFUL CHORE.
 
COALESCE YOUR THOUGHTS
 
Distracted minds turn the focus away from the individual's intended goal. The most important point is to have an amalgamation of positive ideas which is essential from the examination point of view. The focus is the main key and failure to do so shall not put you in good standing. The focus can be increased by meditation, Yoga exercises or even relaxation for some time. However again care should be taken that the time table rules are not breached under any circumstances.
 
HAVE A GREAT LIFESTYLE
 
One must realize that the exam requires a strenuous mental effort on the part of the candidate and he can become prone to stress and fatigue in a short interval of time . This one is advised to maintain good physical and mental health; Incorporation of relaxation activities in time table is, in fact, the first stepping stone to any great height is good health. EAT RIGHT, SLEEP WELL, EXERCISE AND REMAIN STRESS-FREE.
 
BEING AN EARLY RISER COMES IN HANDY
 
Though each individual has their preferences of study timings where they can have the best concentration, the experts have revealed that the mind functions the best in the early hours of the morning. Being an early riser can add to wonders in helping you prepare for the exam.
 
EXAMPLE OF A TIME TABLE FOLLOWED BY A SUCCESSFUL IAS CANDIDATE
 
The candidate revealed that following a strict TIME TABLE proved to be extremely important in the preparation of the CSE. The syllabus being huge one requires following a  structured approach. However the preparation varies from individuals, level of exam attempted and the subject targeted. One of the basic Time Table for reference has been laid under:
 
June-Dec The candidate should dedicate to strengthening the fundamentals. This can be done through reading and making notes of important topics taken from NCERT books from middle school onwards The notes become handy as the day of the examination draws near and it aids the candidate immensely to retain such huge syllabus.
 
By January start with the preparation of Mock Tests. Also, start with important reference books and related articles on current affairs. Care should be taken not to skip the basics like writing practice, reading good newspapers- Hindu or Indian Express, a regular magazine like Yojana.
 
NOTE: Keep a note of how many topics you have at hand, to be covered and the number of days left for your UPSC exam. Allocate accordingly number of chapters to each day, in a way that you cover all the important topics by the day of your UPSC exam. Also, Current affairs play a dominant role in both UPSC prelims as well as UPSC Mains exam so it is extremely imperative to stay abreast with all the latest happenings around the world. Integrate into your routine the reading of a national daily like The Hindu or The Indian Express daily for at least one hour. Starting your day by reading a newspaper along with your daily cup of coffee will also help you kick start your day effectively.

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