When it comes to competitive and government exams, the ideal approach towards preparation is to start as early as possible. Those school or college students who get cracking sooner have more time to broaden their preparations and carry out additional research.
Choice openings such as SBI clerk or SBI SO, for example, are particularly sought after and the competition for such exams is especially fierce.
2020 saw a tremendous disruption in the plans and schedules of students who were preparing for many upcoming government exams. Many such competitive exams were indefinitely delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
While the early preppers no doubt took advantage of the extra time to further improve their preparations, there are those who left it till the last minute. It is very difficult to make up for the lost time and scoring a good result is an uphill task but not impossible.
Regardless of which category you fall into, we have come up with some tips to help you prepare for government and competitive exams:
The first step is to be thoroughly aware of your exam’s syllabus and the primary challenges you will face.
Ensure that the subjects that you hold the most knowledge about are included in the exam you opt for.
Once you have decided on which competitive exam you want to attempt, begin sorting the topics on the basis of difficulty.
Topics that you are strong at should ideally be tackled first, as these are your best shot at a good result, and will take less time to prepare as well.
With your strong topics selected, gather the question papers for those topics from the previous years’ exams.
Solving past question papers will give you a good idea of how you stack up and which areas you still need to brush upon.
Also, look through at least the last five years’ papers and pick out a pattern of questioning. There are usually a few questions on certain subtopics that are repeated every year or every two years and so on. Make a note of these questioning patterns, especially those where the marks weightage is heavy.
Once you’ve solved some previous years’ papers, time yourself and start attempting mock tests.
See how well you fare in solving these tests within a realistic time limit. If you go over the time limit, figure out where you slowed down the most and focus on addressing those areas first.
Once you have your preparation for strong topics out of the way, move on to the topics you are weakest at.
Sort these weak topics based on their weightages. We recommend starting with getting the basics cleared first before moving on to the more complex aspects of these topics.
After that is done, follow the same method as with the strong topics to pick up your speed and confidence with the topics.
With about two weeks to go to the exam, your preparation should only include mock tests. Ideally, you should solve at least two mock tests a day during this period.
At this stage, it’s unwise to dive into something new. Instead, take a good look at where your preparations have been strongest and focus on fine-tuning your speed and accuracy in these areas.
Once you’ve arrived at the exam hall, relax and remember that it’s not all that different from the many other exams you’ve tackled so far in your studies to this point.
As always, do a quick but thorough scan of the question paper and pick out the easier questions to answer first. After that, move on to the challenging ones and do another quick scan to see which among those you can tackle the best.
Competitive exams often have negative marking, and if that’s the case, avoid any questions that you have the slightest doubt about. Using guesswork for such questions is the same as gambling and it’s not something we recommend.
Make sure the time is constantly at the back of your mind. Nothing hurts more than being unable to attempt questions you know you could’ve answered correctly but the final bell rang before you were done.
Competitive exams are the culmination of all your educational efforts till that point. Aside from the hard work, dedication, and hours you’ve spent in your studies, there are also the monetary expenditures you’ve incurred along the way, such as extracurricular tuition fees and specialized books.
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