There are good chances that whatever NEW materials you read in the last 15 days may not add further value to your Mains marks.
Still, you and everyone else appearing for Mains would do it. Reason? For the sake of satisfaction. After all, we are normal human beings, and we FEAR! It is normal for an aspirant to take external help to overcome this FEAR. Starting group studies, running after new materials, making new friends, exploring a new strategy etc. being some of them. These ventures may backfire. A candidate used to score good marks in Ethics paper. In the last week he thought of further improving the marks by imitating a topper’s strategy. He scored 67/250 in Ethics paper. Hence…
…It is time to BE YOURSELF!
- Syllabus would never be covered completely: It may be futile to try to complete the syllabus at the cost of revision. Last 15 days should be devoted more to revision. You are expected to reproduce facts and theories, unlike in Prelims where you just have to select the correct option. This requires multiple revision of your notes/books etc.
- Tune in your daily schedule: It is time to get used to the exam schedule. Make sure you are studying from 9 a.m. to 12 noon AND from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Our body is the most intelligent machine on planet. It needs to be tuned in for a particular job. This will yield rich dividends in your Mains marks.
- Spend time with yourself: It is now time to reduce spending time outside in completing test series, going for group discussions, scanning new arrivals on book shops etc. In short, control your urges! Spend more time with yourself. It will prepare you for unexpected questions and help you in applying the concepts and facts you have learnt. Also, there is a scope for giving a unique touch to almost every answer. For example, some ethics questions may ask for an innovative solution – it is possible when you sit and ponder over a topic on your own.
- Get the required stuffs beforehand: The exam requires you to write 6 hours daily. For some candidates, it become painful after a couple of days. Do keep sprays to relieve you from pain. It is equally important to stay hydrated. You must keep your own water bottles with you. You may use glucose etc. to keep you energised. Remember, second shift of exam expects the same energy level as that in first shift. You may keep chocolates, energy bars etc. to recharge your batteries. A word of caution. Try them beforehand; before actually using them during exams. Carry a bed sheet so that you can rest before second shift, a bag to contain your stuffs and study notes, an umbrella for the worst situation (it rained in Delhi in December during 2014 Mains)
- Red Bull has its side effects: Many candidates cite various reasons to use red bull on examination days. They are not entirely wrong. However, you must also be aware of the negatives of using red bull. It is true that it gives instant boost to your energy levels. However, the decline in energy level is also steep after 2 hours. So, the third hour of your exam may be hit if you take red bull. Also, there are complaints of constipation, sleeplessness etc.
- How about a power nap? We normally think only hours of sleep can give us relief. That’s not always the case. You may consider taking a quick 15 minutes nap after the first shift is over. Trust me, it will help you turnaround for the next shift with renewed energy. An active mind is way more important in the current pattern than last minute running through notes.
- Do keep a watch with you: You need to manage time smartly. You cannot afford to write for 15 minutes on a question you know everything about. Also, you cannot completely skip questions you know little about. So, keep a watch with you. People may tell you that there are clocks in examination hall – ignore them. What if the clock is blocked by a pillar? Additionally, you cannot afford to raise your head after every single question. It is better to keep a watch on the table itself.
- Go through YOUR test papers: You must have taken a number of tests. It is now time to extract benefits. Go through your own papers – not of toppers. Keep an eye on the comments you have received. Your areas of strengths would be etched in your mind. Also, chances of repeating a mistake would reduce.
- Become a FIRE AND FORGET missile: Suppose you appeared for GS 1 and GS 2 on day 1 of examination. Do not get overjoyed if your exam was good. Do not get depressed if it was not good. FORGET about the exam the moment you step out of examination hall. Thinking about how your paper was would be the best way to waste your time. Remember it is a subjective paper. The marks you get depends on a range of subjective factors. I know it is better said than done. However, the few who manage to do it find their names in THE PDF.
- Your state of health – (physical and mental) is paramount: Your sleep should not be sacrificed for the sake of anything else – revision, relatives, friends whatever it may be. Do not look at computer/ mobile screens at least 2 hours before sleep. Stay away from people/things that may affect your positivity. Keep reminding yourself of the good things that you have done in past. How you developed your own study plans in your school/college days? These will help you boost your confidence level. This is THE MOST important factor at this stage!
A right frame of mind is the most important preparation tool at this stage – do not be under-confident; do not be over-confident. If you are feeling nervous or anxious, that means you are normal. Just try to manage the nervousness rationally. Everyone of you has all the required ammunition in your arsenal. How smartly you use them would make the difference!
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Until next time!
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