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Revision of Concepts is Key to Success in Prelims by Animesh Verma, AIR-38, UPSC CSE-2023

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In this video, Animesh Verma, who secured the 38th rank in the UPSC Civil Services Exam 2023, provides an insightful look into his Prelims preparation strategy. Anes's background includes being raised in Lakau, studying at Japura School, and completing a BTech in Electrical Engineering from IIT Delhi in 2022. His approach to tackling the Prelims, known for their complexity, is both practical and strategic

Animesh emphasizes that the goal in Prelims is not to achieve perfect scores but to comfortably surpass the cutoff by a manageable margin. He advocates for a thorough engagement with standard preparatory texts such as Laxmikanth for Polity and Spectrum for Modern History. His method involves consistent revisions of these materials to ensure a strong grasp of the content, which often forms the basis of many Prelims questions, particularly those of moderate difficulty.

Regarding current affairs, Animesh notes the decreasing weightage in recent years and suggests dedicating no more than 15-20% of study time to this area. This includes reading daily newspapers and selectively using current affairs magazines from various institutes, ensuring that the preparation remains focused and not overly broad.

Mock tests play a crucial role in Animesh's preparation. He encourages aspiring candidates to start these tests a few months before the actual Prelims. Despite the variations in mock test scores, which can be disheartening, Anes reassures that these fluctuations are normal due to the objective nature of the exam. A key takeaway from his experience is to remain resilient and not be discouraged by low scores in mocks, as they do not necessarily predict performance in the actual UPSC Prelims.

In terms of the CSAT paper, Anes discusses the variability in difficulty between years and advises candidates to tailor their strategy to their strengths, particularly when deciding the balance between tackling English comprehension and quantitative questions. He also details his personal approach to the GS paper, which includes tackling the paper in rounds to maximize accuracy and efficiency. Initially, he focuses on questions he is sure about, gradually moving to more challenging ones, and using intuitive guessing as a last resort, given the system of negative marking.

Animesh’s strategic insights into Prelims preparation provide a blueprint for effectively navigating this challenging stage of the UPSC exam. His emphasis on understanding and adapting strategies based on personal strengths and the nature of the exam highlights the importance of a tailored approach in achieving success.

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