UPSC Civil Services exam’s preparation requires a lot of hard-work. The Mains examination itself requires aspirants to sit-through three hours and write continuously at a fast pace, a total of 6-hours writing with a break in between.
Therefore, candidates have to practice maintaining their concentration and efficiency for a long period of time. There are some techniques that can help students do this easily.
First, fix a spot where you sit and study, and only study. It could be a room, or just a table chair. Maintain a habit of just studying when you-re sitting there. Place the table near a window with nice view. So that you can relax your eyes in between. Keep the table clean and organised. If you always study and only study here, it will slowly become a habit.
Maintain consistency in your study routine. Wake up at the same time, say, 7 am, everyday, even if it’s Sunday. Try to devote three hours straight in the morning to studies. If you finish a substantial amount of daily target in the morning, you will feel motivated and energised through out the day.
If you feel like your mind is running around, use Pomodoro technique. Set up a timer, first for 25 minutes, that you will study straight for 25 minutes and then do something rewarding for next five minutes- eating ice-cream, watching a 5 minute-long music video/ sports. Next increase the timer to 45 minutes, and do the same thing. This technique helps you concentrate when you’re having trouble in doing so.
Keep your electronics away when you sit to study. Our mobile phones, social media platforms are designed in a way to keep increasing our screen time. It is better that one deactivates unnecessary social media profiles. One should fix a time for talking to important people in one’s life, like parents etc. Do not feel shy in putting the phone in do-not-disturb mode when you’re studying, and reject all unimportant calls with a message that you will call them later.
Establish boundaries with your friends. If they expect you to hang-out with them everyday, or do activities that you cannot afford to, say no. Be faithful to your plans. It is possible that in the beginning they resent you and call you selfish, or tease you for being a ‘bookworm’, but they will slowly begin to respect you for sticking your ground.
To avoid procrastination, make a rule that you will never put down a subject you’re studying before at least 20 minutes. Our brain slowly overcomes procrastination when we start doing the job. Chances are, if you survived through 20 minutes of the subject, you will gather enough interest and motivation to finish the rest.
Take little breaks in-between studying to just de-focus, look at the material from a distant, bird’s eye view, and revise what you have just studied. Studies should follow this cycle of focused studies for an hour and then five minutes de-focused thinking about what you have just studied. This helps fit the content into a pattern in our brains, so that we can remember it easily. It also helps to connect the fresh content with what we have already studied.