How to prepare for government exams
It is beyond any doubt that civil service jobs under the central government are the all-around best jobs you can get in India – reasonable working hours, fixed holidays, comfortable offices, high salaries, additional benefits and privileges for being a civil servant, and most importantly, job security. It is said that after you land a government job, you are settled for a life of security and stability.
But the caveat is that getting a government job is a daunting and difficult task – much more so compared to private sectors. In the latter, an impressive CV and a job experience, and a good personality fit for an interview all but confirm your chances, and when you add to that there are thousands of organizations that are always hiring, you will never run out of options.
If you want a government job, however, CV is irrelevant. Your merits are judged solely on the basis of your performance. These are challenging in the sheer scale of competition you will be facing when appearing for them. We are talking odds of one lakh candidates for one vacancy on average.
Here is the good news: you can surmount these odds just by knowing how to prepare. A carefully planned studying regime will almost surely net you a job in most of these exams. Here are some tips to help you gear up for them :
- A positive mindset
- Managing your time is the key
- Acquaint yourself well with your target syllabus
- Organize your material
This may sound a bit like a generic prep talk and as such seems vague and trivial, but bear with us. The universal application of this advice does not diminish its importance even one bit. You should always retain faith in your abilities. If you think it is impossible or that you are not eligible enough to push through it will only impede your progress. If you face a failure, do not let it get to your head, as statistically, hopelessness is the leading reason many people are unable to crack these exams despite sufficient capability to do it.
This is also an area where many candidates go amiss. Most exams need rigorous preparations – we are talking 6-10 hours of studying per day. But glossing over your study notes haphazardly at hours on end will get you nowhere. You need to manage your time in a smart way. Make a schedule that makes enough study time to cover all your necessary topics, but make it so as to not overwork yourself. You need an optimal amount of sleep, or you will underperform.
There are a plethora of government jobs – and although it is common for exams to have general overlaps in the syllabus, in some cases their thrust of focus can fall in different areas. Preparing for SSC CGL will prepare you for a handful of other exams, preparing Reasoning will come in handy in both bank and administrative jobs. But you must pick a set of exams that focus on one particular area and prepare accordingly. Identify your choice of the government sector, and then narrow down your area of study.
Speaking of narrowing down your area of study, it is also important to understand exactly what you will have to focus on. Mathematics and reasoning as such are reliant solely on how much you practice them and how efficiently and quickly you can do them. But the larger areas like general awareness have no syllabus as such, whereas history, civics, general science, et cetera will have a vast syllabus. Attempting to cover every nook and cranny is a fool’s plan. Most exams have a pattern in which areas are given precedence over others – one chapter gets more weight than another, for example. You need to identify this pattern. This can be done by yourself, but if you are not familiar with this kind of identification, it will take more time than you can afford.
So getting some kind of guideline is a good idea in all cases. If you have a mentor, all’s well and you can let them show you the ropes. If not, there are many coaching centers, and while most of them are better than doing it yourself, sometimes they can be too far from your home. A hectic commute on a daily basis can be detrimental to you and your studies – it brings physical exhaustion and mental disorientation if it does not click with your schedule. Luckily, if this is the case, you can take help from online resources. An added benefit is that these usually come with an in-built online test series that are important (self-assessment is vital for every exam – it shows you where you need improvement, and also gives your confidence a boost) There are also learning management systems (LMS) available online that make your organizing process a breeze. There are many equally good LMS, but for example’s sake, we will cite Keen Learning. If you look at it, you will see the keen app has the study material already organized for you in accordance with the exam you are taking. We suggest you check one of these, as it is very likely they will streamline your studying process.
The keynote is that key learning can help you, but only so much as you help yourself. It is you who will be the architect of your success. And with faith in yourself and your willpower, you can surely crack any government exam – remember, government exams may be difficult, but nothing is impossible. Best of luck to you!