Since the lockdown restrictions have now been relaxed, most of the Government exams and bank exams which had been postponed earlier will resume shortly. While that’s great news, let’s not forget that lakhs of aspirants just like you are vying for that coveted bank/Government job. This article will guide you through the ideal way to prepare for any competitive exam, be it the IBPS PO, UPSC CSE, LIC AAO etc.
- Don’t just apply for one exam. Try your hand at multiple exams. This improves your overall chances of cracking an exam and eventually landing a good job. When we say, apply for multiple exams it doesn’t mean that you apply for CAT and UPSC CSE at the same time. Most Government exams and bank exams have similar eligibility criteria and syllabus. This means that with the same level of preparation, you can manage to do well in more than one exam. For example, the LIC AAO eligibility criteria is similar to that of the RRB NTPC. The syllabus and difficulty level of the SSC CGL exam are comparable to that of the IBPS PO or SBI PO.
- With the widespread outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of exams that were scheduled are bound to be postponed or cancelled. And most Government exams and bank exams expect the aspirants to carry hard copies of their admit card or call letter to the exam centre. Without the admit card, you won’t be allowed inside the exam hall. Even though this has nothing to do with your preparation, it is a crucial step in the process. For instance, the LIC AAO 2020 has been postponed which means that the LIC AAO admit card will be available for download at a much later stage. Keep close track of these things to ensure that all efforts don’t go to waste due to a technicality error.
- Analyze and understand the syllabus and exam pattern. Go over the previous year question papers and find out the frequently tested topics, the weightage that these topics usually carry, the sectional time limits & cutoffs and overall cutoff.
- Your goal should be to clear the overall cutoff and the sectional cutoff. Most preliminary rounds are just qualifying in nature. Conceptualize a realistic study plan (this is in bold for a reason) based on the number of days you have, your strengths and weaknesses. Don’t skip any topic unless you are confident of clearing the cutoffs comfortably.
- Use the right resources to prepare from. There are tons of free resources in the form of practice tests, live classes, on-demand video lectures, e-books etc and candidates get carried away and start to hoard resources. It’s advisable to just refer to the latest edition of one book for a subject or topic. You can refer to a maximum of two books – one for understanding the concepts and one for practising questions. Try to use exam-specific books or resources since this will ensure that you are solving problems of a higher difficulty or studying topics that won’t be tested.
- Practice questions of all possible types from each topic immediately after you learn it. This will help you internalize the topic and cement your understanding of it.
- Inculcate the habit of using the timer. Competitive exams are a test of your speed and accuracy. In most exams, you will be expected to solve a question in 40-60 seconds. Getting the right answer in under a minute is what matters. You’ll never truly know where you stand until and unless you start solving with a timer. This will also help you skip time-consuming questions in the actual exam. Let’s not forget that negative marking will be there in almost all the exams so it is wise to skip difficult and time-consuming questions.
- On the day of the exam, don’t start solving the questions immediately after you see the question paper. Give yourself a few minutes to read the entire paper. Mark the questions that are easy, medium and difficult in each section. Start solving the easy ones first followed by the medium difficulty questions and then the hard questions. Repeat this process until you are sure of clearing the sectional and overall-cutoffs.
- General awareness sections can’t be conquered overnight. This section needs a different approach altogether. Read the newspaper daily and make notes religiously. If you are preparing for a state PSC exam or a state-level recruitment process then read the local newspaper and note down the key issues that are plaguing your state. Consistent prep will pay off.
The same strategy or approach may not be ideal for everyone. Make changes to the aforementioned points to suit your style of learning!