UPSC Civil Services Exam: How IAS Aspirants Can Get The Best Out Of Coaching Classesrepresentative image (M. Zhazo/ Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

As the UPSC prelims examination is over, aspirants are gearing up for the next attempt. Many are searching for coaching classes while others have already joined. Since the syllabus is huge and examination paper unpredictable, many candidates find themselves at loss at how to prepare for exam with good time management.

Often, students will join a coaching class, soon get disenchanted and change their track away from the class. Either they will stop going to the classes altogether, or they will not follow the class material but go to class. In both the cases, students are at loss.

First thing to remember while joining a coaching is to set our expectations realistically. Since the exam is quite subjective, different teachers will have different approaches. If you trust them and do the hard-work, you will find yourself in good grip of the subject. The class notes, materials suggested by teachers are almost similar, and the tipping point is often your own hard work. Following classes regularly, and reading and practising the material going on in the class will assure you a smooth preparation. The idea is to stick to a strategy and be consistent, instead of jumping off here and there, often as an excuse.

The other thing is time management. The coaching classes these days have more than 100 students, some even have more than 500 students. In such scenarios, the teacher student interaction is limited, and it is more of a one-way interaction where teacher just gives notes and students take notes. A good practice is to keep reading the subject the teacher is teaching at the same time in class, glancing at a book, or an article on the internet. This way, even is the teacher’s pace is slower than yours, you can make the best out of the time. When you read more, and encounter a doubt, you can clear it up at the same time in the class.

Many teachers give dictations to students, If nothing, this helps in writing-practice. But the ideal way to take notes is through keywords. However, students should try to revise, and improve upon the class notes given by the teacher. Say, leave a page blank after every topic, and when you’re revising it later, do a quick google search on what’s current news on that topic. New facts can be appended in the left space

Coaching class work can only provide a solid base on which you have to erect your own building. Students should be mindful that they don’t waste time before, during and after the class. Often, an hour or two is wasted in just chit-chatting and gossiping with friends. If one has to dedicate time to coaching class, as well as self-study, one needs to be careful against such wastage. Time spent in commute, say Delhi Metro, or waiting in line outside coaching classes, can be used to quickly do daily current affairs quizzes, or reading editorials. It is through these little things that one is able to successfully stick to his/her timetable.

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