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MOTIVATION: The Prelims strategy

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ias exam strategy, prelims strategy, MCQ strategy
INSPIRE99 – INSPIRING PEOPLE AND MOTIVATION

It is a pretty tricky situation about strategies and the way to approach a multiple choice question paper. There is never a right way and esp if you are a perfectionist, you are in for a whole load of challenges cos most of the answers or the questions don’t seem to be direct and the negative marking of course adds up to the challenge in a big way. What is your strategy to approach an exam of this width?

Understanding the question paper

Ideally in any MCQ paper, the rule of thumb is that there is a very observable split of questions. Atleast 40-50% of the questions will be easy and about 30% of them medium and the rest difficult. And sometimes the difficult ones are just about 10-20% with the rest falling in the above two categories.

Making sure that you don’t miss a question

It is said that the smartest approach is the one where you don’t miss out on your sure shot questions. It so happens that since the questions are well spread out, it is very possible that the easiest of the questions might fall in the end. It would be a huge mistake if you miss out on these ones. Esp since all questions carry equal marks, identifying the easiest ones first is going to make a huge difference to your score.

3 stage approach?

Some people suggest a 3 stage approach where you get through the easiest questions first. While doing so, mark the moderate ones. The moderate ones are the ones for which you get an answer but you know that you need to spend a little more time on the questions, you will get your answers. And the third one is where you know that it is a difficult question and it needs a little more time.

This way, you don’t miss out on the easy ones which can come a long way in deciding your entry, esp with GS and CSAT papers

– What is your accuracy level? 

It is usually a good idea to check on what your accuracy level is in both papers. This way, you will know how many questions you would need to answer on an average to clear this exam. However this would be a subjective idea since it is highly dependent on the general level of toughness for the paper. You can know this by taking a few mock tests earlier, before the test and time yourself accordingly. This way, you will know how much time to spend on the questions and how to pace yourself.

Even as we say this, I would strongly urge that each of your strategies is individual and is highly dependent on how you use it to the best of your strengths. The whole idea is to clear the exam and not worry about the details of the strategies. But it is good to have one 🙂

PS: If you need any generic suggestions, esp on motivation and mindset, do let us know below. Please direct all specific questions to doubts corner.

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