Let’s say that you want to learn how to make tea. You start with watching all YouTube videos and tutorials.
Equipped with all relevant information, you decide to test your skills on the very day when you are hosting guests for lunch.
What do you think would be the outcome?
Well, in more than 90% of the case, you would end up with a tea which is no where closer to your expectation.
The above short case study is a classic case of what happens when you only concentrate on studying books for the exam and not focusing on practicing what you have learnt. As a result on the day of the exam, even while knowing the content for an answer, your answers would be of below average level.
To overcome this problem, you must practice giving mock tests by enrolling in a test series. This is all the more relevant for those students who are appearing for the first time. Enrolling for test series gives you the following advantages:
- You get to know about your strengths and weaknesses well in advance.
- You tend to avoid silly mistakes in the examination hall.
- Test series gives you an opportunity to experiment. For instance, you can chose to attempt all questions in one test and then try attempting only 80% questions in the next and then evaluate the difference in marks. Similarly you can fiddle with different writing style and length of your essays.
How many test series to join?
Today there is no dearth of online test series both for prelims and mains. It’s not advisable to join too many of them. At max, pick up 2 for prelim and 1 for mains and stick to them. The aim should be to inculcate a sense of discipline by attempting the questions as if you are actually sitting in the exam hall.
Ideal time to join?
For prelim you should start attempting mock tests 3 – 4 months before your prelim exam. This will give you sufficient time to analyse your shortcomings and rectify them.
Joining the test series very early into preparation is counterproductive since you are not thorough with your syllabus at that time and you end up with poor marks which further acts as a demoralizing factor.
For mains, you should start writing test series after your prelims for these 3 papers.
- General Studies
The reason why Essay is emphasized is because of the fact that generally students commit the mistake of writing their first essay on the day of exam only. This is nothing less than a blunder.
Remember that no other GS paper has to potential to fetch even 125 marks in mains, whereas with little effort you can get 150+ marks in Essay alone.
In the next blog article, we will discuss about: how to effectively utilize test series, relevance of marks in these tests etc.