RAS 2016 examination is just approaching its end (Interview stage) and aspirants are waiting in anticipation for new notification of RAS 2017 Preliminary Examination. However, when we look at the history of examinations conducted by RPSC and the political-legal controversies pending in court related to examination, it puts doubts in minds of aspirants whether giving up everything else and preparing for RAS is worth it ? Additionally, majority of aspirants are actively involved one or other jobs and doing full-time preparation is not possible for them. Then there is a significant section of girls, housewives that cannot go to coaching for one or more reasons.
This post is for all such guys. In this post, we would discuss how can one prepare for RAS exams, without daily going to coaching or devoting 24*7 just to RAS Exam.
It is going to be a long-post and so buckle up.
Success in RAS/ IAS depends not just on what you read or from where you read, it depends on a lot of other factors including how you manage your personal life, financial resources, your family relations etc.
So would divide the post into major parts:
First, How to create an Environment for Success.
Second, the easy part, where to read, what to read and how to read.
How to create an an Environment for Success
Off and on, you would have come across news, like a person from very low financial resources cleared IAS, a house-wive & mother that did not had time to go for any coaching cleared UPSC from home, a person failing in 4 attempts to clear prelims but becoming IAS on fifth. What does it show, it shows the power of family support, without family and friends support, it becomes difficult to fight such a long battle. So, step one is to Take family support. Another way to look at this is, if you can’t convince people who have known you from start & love you that you can become an officer , it is going to be difficult to convince a board in 30 minutes with no emotions for you. Family support is also vital to tackle the failures and hardships, when your courage/will is low. It is there support which will infuse new energy in yourself.
Develop grounds for Success: Build Character
There are a thousand seeds that are planted or carried away by winds, each equally good but only few of them reach to plant stage and only fewer replicate to trees. It is because, each seed needs a definite environment and resources from time to time to turn out to be a tree. Success is similar, each of us aspires equally for success but only few of us provide environment for success to be born and even fewer provide long-term care and resources success needs. RAS or any other thing that you really want to succeed would not happen overnight and first of all you need to understand that. So give a good thought first of all that either you want to do this or not and once you decide never look back.
Think long-term or leave it now
For RAS or any job related exam, because of severe competition and other factors beyond your control, you cannot think of any attempt or preparation as first and last. On top of these personal life elements RAS exams have their own history of delay, repeated interference on account of court orders, lack of planning by RPSC board and other structural inefficiencies. Hence, any short-term is doom to fail. Under such circumstances best way forward is the child-time Tortoise Story. Slow and Steady approach.
Now long-term planning should not be just limited to completing the course in given time, it should count in your personal commitments as well as financial position. Example: lets say you plan to do self-study for now and join coaching in the last 3 months. So accordingly, plan for financial also from now itself like so much of money would be required for coaching, so much for rent etc and saving appropriately. This may divert your energies now but will help you focus only on study in those days.
Other than financial, another aspect is planning personal commitments, don’t commit your friends a vacation together or trip to Himalayas till you are not sure of dates of exam or you are not on schedule or you dont have extra cash.
Focus and Sacrifice:
Of all the ingredients that are essential for success in RAS exam or any other thing in “Focus and Sacrifice” are surely the most easy to understand and most difficult to follow qualities. These are the main difference creating parameters between brilliant students failing and average or below average students succeeding. You have to sacrifice your weekend at friends, or a late night movie if you want to keep up with your schedule of studies. Every time you get a call from friend, or see your friends post on FB you feel to be part of such event and try to read extra 1 hour daily and feel good than you completed your syllabus for the week and now you can also enjoy guilt-free. Its just about one evening. Well, it is never like that, the next time you see FB post, you are tempted more than before. And now, you already have your study more now route, you tend to make this routine. Before you know, you end up with a new schedule of 5 days study, 2 days fun model. It does not work (most cases), life is such. It is very hard to maintain focus and the only route is through sacrifice. You would have to sacrifice those extended weekends, get-togethers if you want to make it thorough.
Where to read, what to read and how to read
This is the easy part and actually has been dealt in few times on different pages and posts. So rathe than commenting on what & where, here, we would stress on HOW part.
Read: Prepare for RAS 2017 Prelims :for WHAT & WHERE part
How to read
Remember no one in any examination passes based on what or where he/she read but what he/she remembers. It does not matter how much you read but what matters is how much you remember. Hence, your focus should not be only to read more but equally to remember what you read. You see, new & equally important information is coming up daily and what usually happens is our focus is always on recent current events. Example, when a new rule or scheme comes, almost everyone is aware about the news but after 6 months the scheme goes in back burner and everyone loses track of it. However, one is surprised when their is question on that scheme in examination. So what is solution.
The solution is simple: Read not just learn but also to remember. When you just read a NCERT book you learn but when you highlight important paragraphs and make a revision plan then follow your plan and revise regularly you remember. Remembering is a basic two step process.
- Compile information such that it is easy to remember
- Revise regularly.
The first point means that, lets say, you read about a new government scheme from 3 sources. Now after 6 days, newspaper came up with an important update. Because it is 6 day event, you vividly remember what you read in three sources but you need to plan for 6 months/1 year from now when the same scheme comes in mains examination. Hence, it becomes your duty to rewrite the summary in your personal notes and update it regularly, each time you revise with new information. There are no marks for the number of newspaper or the books you read but only for answers you write. So read not just for learning but to remember and reproduce the improved version in writing.
Second, while a lot of aspirants lay stress on reading, making notes for revision also. They tend to forget the importance of answer writing. Answer writing improves your skill in multiple ways more than you can imagine. It not only improves your writing speed, but also brings coherence to your thoughts, develops your style and improves your ability of brain to recall information collected over period of time in a snap second. It is not required to write the old papers or question answers, one can start by just reading the article in newspaper and writing its summary in own words. Then, one can upgrade to writing 5-6 answers per day and when completion and as per his/her own schedule attempt old paper and attempt new test series.
These are just few starting points, articles on such topics can never be complete or cover entire spectrum of events. But, we hope that helps a step in guiding you to right direction.