IAS Gyan



18th November, 2020 Miscellaneous


Many aspirants invest eight to nine hours daily in UPSC preparation. But even after having a very good routine and revision only a few make it to the final list. While dedication and discipline are not what they are lacking in, the strategy definitely is culpable in these cases.

“Lack of Practice” is the most common reasons behind the faltering growth in the preparation process. And a good Mock Test series may be the all you are missing from your preparation strategy.

Aspirants generally avoid attempting mock tests before exams. This makes them unaware of their level of preparation and the areas where they needed to focus more. Inarguably, Mock Test Series plays the most crucial role in this entire journey of the Civil Services Examination.

Practice for the inevitable

The more you practice in the Mock Tests, the more you make mistakes in these tests the more are the chances that you won’t repeat these mistakes in the D-Day. Merely slogging for hours and hours a day, just studying and not evaluating the input-output ratio won’t fetch tangible results.

Test Series will help you analyze your level of preparation frequently. It gives you the right exposure and lets you know the areas where you have to put more effort to get the job done.

They say practice makes perfect, and when you look to the habits of professional athletes, musicians and actors, it's easy to see why. Psychology writer Malcolm Gladwell once espoused the 10,000 hour rule: only after 10,000 hours of practice does a person become an expert in any field. While you may not need 10,000 hours of practice to get a high score in UPSC, there's no denying that completing Mock Tests diligently can help you achieve better results.

Makes you familiar with the exam pattern

UPSC keeps changing the exam pattern frequently to break the trend and make it tougher for the aspirants. Due to this dynamic pattern of UPSC CSE in the recent years, it is necessary to reorient your strategy to the changing needs of the examination.

The Research and development (R&D) Team of good Institutes have years of expertise in decoding these changing exam patterns. 

With its vast experience, APTI PLUS Academy has meticulously structured its Test Series Program with an in depth coverage of the syllabus. This is to make sure that aspirants can handle the different facets of the paper and be ready with all the ingenuities that are required to cope with any surprise that UPSC throws at them.

Develops Accuracy

There are tons of interviews where past year toppers claim that, had they missed just two questions in the Prelims only, they wouldn’t have made it to the Mains, forget about the final rank.

Another point that they emphasize is that, there can be n

o negotiations in terms of appearing Mock Test Series Programs. So, it can be concluded that the exam is so unpredictable that not even the topper knows all the answers correctly. Also, it is only through Mock Tests that one can sail through this examination.

It’s not that questions from Mock Tests are directly picked up by the UPSC Board and you will get all the questions in common. However, solving thousands of questions in Mock Tests helps in developing that accuracy which is needed to get through the cut off in Prelims and fetch good marks in Mains.

Mock Tests which are scientifically designed in the exact pattern of actual UPSC examination helps in mastering the art of elimination techniques and other hacks to clear the examination. The more you solve Mock tests the more these hacks get ingrained into your muscle memory.

Helps you overcome Exam-Phobia & Anxiety

According to researchers, at best IQ contributes about 20 percent to the factors that determine life success, which leaves 80 percent to other forces: forces grouped as emotional intelligence.

Exam phobia and anxiety are cited as the biggest emotional reasons for silly mistakes and poor performance in the examination.

One way to ensure maximum comfort and minimal anxiety is to practice. The more often you sit for a practice test, the more natural it will feel the day of the actual one. You'll have enough to think about on the big day. While it's normal to feel nervous about a high stakes exam, anxieties should be quelled the more practice tests you run.

Thus, the only way to tackle your emotional stress is to practice mock tests in real exam like situation. This allows you to let go of your fear and makes you more confident.

Helps to identify Knowledge Gaps

It's difficult to know what you don't know. That's where practice tests come into play. You may think you'll breeze through the exam, but if practice results reveal a less than stellar score, you can refocus your study efforts.

Confidence is good, but the results of multiple practice tests can confirm that you're as knowledgeable as you think you are - or that you need to step up your studying game.

Helps in Time Management

Given the marathon-length exam procedures in UPSC, it's easy to lose track of time. The last thing you want is to realize the exam is almost over when you're only halfway. Pacing is important when you have a limited time to complete the examination. Taking multiple practice tests can give you a better feel for how long you should be devoting to each portion in Prelims and Mains. There are a lot of things out of your control on the day of the actual test and timing shouldn't be one of them.

Best Way to Revise

Syllabus of UPSC is so humongous that retaining all of it is a herculean task. You need to revise and revise. And Test Series Program is an extended segment of that very revision process.

Because you need to test yourself at regular intervals how much you are retaining after each revision. Otherwise the entire hard work goes in vain. Procrastination and delaying Test Series go hand in hand.

Studies consistently show that those studying in short, regular bursts retain more information than those who undergo marathon study sessions. Similarly, the information learned in the process of taking a practice test and reviewing the results will stick with you in a unique way. Practicing the act of calling specific facts and figures to mind will make it easier to retrieve such details during the actual exam.

Develops Consistency

Consistency is the key to success in UPSC. And giving Mock Tests keeps that momentum alive. It allows you gauge your level of preparation at regular intervals and pushes you to work on your strengths and weaknesses accordingly.

Helps in dealing with Negative Marking

The story of negative marking in competitive exams like UPSC takes the process to a whole different ballgame altogether. Mock tests help you understand the dynamics of negative marking by developing the skill of ‘what to pick’ and ‘what to skip’.

Aspirants are always up-heel giving in their best shot to learning and understanding the syllabus and its in-depth explanations. But one must be familiar with the pattern and style of questions and accordingly learn the tricks that will help eliminate chances of negative marking. To achieve this, mock tests are the key!

Helps in Tracking Progress

Reviewing the tests is of utmost importance in this process. Tracking your progress can be a great way to understand which study strategies are working for you and which should be abandoned.

A practice test can help you identify the problem areas. By discovering and confirming your strengths and weaknesses, you can devote more time to the weak areas.

Boosts up Confidence Level

Solving a good number of mock tests helps students not only to cover the entire syllabus and important topics efficiently, but also boost up the confidence level to go for the final quest as the test series are always designed in strict regard to that of UPSC civil services exam.

Improves the ranking

Often students complain that they knew the answer but couldn’t write in exam hall. If you practice well before the exam, you will not miss any common question. On solving mock tests the data gets engraved permanently in your brain.

In a Nutshell, Mock Test Series helps in

  • Overcoming fear psychosis.
  • Understanding the nuances of the exam.
  • Better manage the strategy for the real exam.
  • Understanding strengths and weaknesses.
  • getting extra vital information
  • Development of speed and refinement of the thought process
  • Tackling uncertainties, and improving one’s score and rank.

 The basic mantra for success in UPSC CSE is “Learn, Revise, Evaluate, Improve, and Succeed”.

What aspirants should do?

Every fortnight try to pick up one test paper, attempt it and read all the solutions, highlighting the important ones.

This will help you in memorizing the content as well as condition you to attempt appropriate number of questions. Further, these tests would also add up as your notes.

As prelims is largely an eliminating exam, so practice of making an intelligent guess is of utmost importance.

Practice Test papers as many as possible to hone this skill. This would give confidence and chance to do as many mistakes in mock tests itself and correct those mistakes well before actual UPSC prelims.

When it comes to Mains, make sure you have gathered enough content and you are able to apply the information and knowledge in the actual paper. This skill develops with Mock Tests only.

APTI PLUS Academy has structured its Prelims Test Series Program meticulously, with an in-depth coverage of the syllabus and scientifically designed Tests covering the entire static and current portions to ensure improved learning outcomes and enhanced scores of the students. A stage-wise approach starting from extensive in-depth coverage of GS syllabus moving towards thematic and current affairs based tests and finally CSE simulation through full length tests makes sure that aspirants are exam ready. The program helps aspirants not only exhaustively cover all the standard sources but also steps up their preparation and brings it to UPSC level by multiple revisions and personalized feedback.