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Today's toppers , were yesterday's aspirants. They don't do different things. They just do the right things differently.Toppers Corner is your gateway to unravel the SUCCESS MANTRAS of the toppers.Explore their stories, strategies, analyse their copies, see how they got top scores, their profile and more!!

The Power of Strategic Analysis and Preparation by Asha Sharma, AIR-378, UPSC CSE-2023

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Asha Sharma, who achieved the All India Rank of 378 in the UPSC Civil Services Examination 2023, shares her meticulous approach to conquering the Prelims with a focus on strategic preparation and maintaining a positive mental outlook. Her journey is a testament to the importance of detailed planning and psychological readiness in handling the pressures of this competitive exam.

Asha's strategy for the Prelims revolves around an intensive review of previous years' questions, dating back to 1979 for subjects like Polity and History. This deep dive into past papers allowed her to familiarize herself with the question patterns, option framing, and common pitfalls in statement formulation, especially the use of extreme or specific words that can alter the meaning of a statement. She emphasizes the value of understanding these nuances, which are crucial under the intense pressure of the examination setting.

Moreover, Asha practiced these questions under exam conditions, timing herself to simulate the actual test environment, which she found invaluable for mental preparation. Just before the exam, reviewing these papers helped activate her memory and sharpen her focus, saving precious time that might otherwise be lost to initial disorientation in the actual exam setting.

Asha also discusses the importance of emotional resilience, particularly when faced with unexpected changes in the exam pattern, as was the case in 2023. She stresses the need to remember that such changes affect all candidates equally and should not lead to demotivation. Her anecdote about misjudging the difficulty of questions due to exam pressure underscores the critical nature of maintaining confidence and a clear head during the test.

Her insights extend beyond the Prelims. For the CSAT, she advocates for a strategic approach that plays to one's strengths, whether in comprehension or quantitative sections, and warns against letting ego drive the choice of questions to tackle. This practical advice is framed within a broader context of not allowing performance in the first paper (GS) to psychologically impact the CSAT.

Asha's narrative not only outlines effective strategies but also humanizes the experience of preparing for the UPSC exams. Her story reflects a journey marked by rigorous preparation, strategic testing, and an acute awareness of the psychological challenges posed by such a demanding undertaking. Through her sharing, Asha provides both practical strategies and motivational insights that can help future aspirants approach the UPSC exams with greater confidence and preparedness.

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