After the notification for Civil Services Examination comes, the first stage of the exam Preliminary Examination comes on center-stage.
Crossing the first hurdle is a big challenge as the competition is getting stiffer and by keeping it simple and straight, the cut-off is rising each passing year.
There is curiosity around to know what works and what strategy one needs to adopt so that Preliminary Examination can be encountered successfully in the first attempt itself.
Back to the basics approach and by identifying the emerging needs one can come close to the success; but nothing is certain.
With multi-stage exam-plan, UPSC has signalled that candidates with suitable aptitude would be able to move ahead and understanding of complete exam-plan is essential.
You should give due importance to Preliminary Examination that it deserves and at any cost do not neglect it.
Although, it has become relatively easier for the candidates with competence, having intelligence as well as capacity to face such aptitude-based tests.
The situation is challenging with stiff competition and UPSC's intent to keep it unpredictable.
However, by pinning hopes on excellent performance in Prelims General Studies Paper 1 you can expect to move to next level. An excellent Main Examination oriented preparation and some smart play will pay dividends.
At the same time GS Paper 2 (Aptitude Test) also requires some attention as it is qualifying and without getting 67 marks out of total 200 marks in this paper you cannot expect to cross this hurdle.
How to tackle emerging situation?
First of all, remove all apprehension, if you have any, before you chart your strategies.
You are surrounded by such a trap that only a well-planned approach can help you get some positive outcome.
More than anything else, Preliminary Examination is all about presence of mind and common sense.
Having knowledge and awareness is good; but understanding and conceptual clarity is magical in handling multiple-choice timed tests.
The only thing that will be supportive in tackling question papers is ‘Practice’ as it evaluates your preparedness; analyze your strengths and weaknesses and makes you responsive to real examination pressures.
Above all, helps you build speed with accuracy.