Knowledge of previous years' questions is indispensable for channelising your studies in the right direction. Otherwise, you will simply grope in the dark.
The examiner is given a copy of the preceding years' question papers when he is asked to set the question paper for the current year.
If it is important for the examiner, you can appreciate how far more important it should be to you, the examinee.
Luckily, previous years' question papers, whether in solved or unsolved form, can be readily had.
In this respect, Competition Success Review and General Knowledge Today can certainly help you.
Once you have assessed the general scope and background of the subject as a whole, the next course to be followed is to analyse it in the light of the questions that have been asked in the past.
This will show you the important topics which, perhaps, attract a question every year, alternate year, and so on.
In the end, this will help you to determine the importance of topics in the order of priority and to work out a guess paper with reasonable accuracy, based on logical reasoning.
Making Out the Guess Paper
A comprehensive study of the previous years' question papers will give you an idea of the topics that recur.
It will also indicate the priority you should accord to different constituents of the syllabus.
Concentration on the subject of your study is extremely essential to get the maximum benefit in the minimum time.
Since you have drawn a time table, you have to make full use of your time by developing the ability to concentrate while you study your books or notes.
Concentration is not an ability we are born with. It can be easily acquired by some effort on your part. It springs from the emotional drive generated when you have an intense and burning desire to achieve something.
In short, it is related to the interest you have developed in the activity on which you wish to concentrate. The more the interest, the greater becomes your concentration. It comes as a by-product of interest.
Once you are interested in something, you can concentrate on it easily. You have, therefore, to find ways to develop and increase interest in the subject of study. Interest, in turn, is closely related to knowledge.
The greater the knowledge, the deeper becomes the interest. You can also develop and sustain interest through theprocess of motivation. Remind yourself often as to why you must succeed at the competitive examination in which you are appearing.
Think of the gains, power, position, prestige and status. Think of the bright and prosperous future you will have. Use your imagination and visualise the benefits. Whenever your interest slackens, obtain a fresh dose of enthusiasm and interest by thinking about your ultimate goal and by imagining how topping the list in this competitive examination is essential and how it will help you to attain that goal.
Isolation, calm and quiet environment help to build up concentration. Try and minimise the distracting factors. Concentration is also made easier with your time table.
If you plan your day and your week and if you perform each activity at the right time, you will find concentration coming to you automatically. Your plan, your daily programme and the habit of doing each task at its appointed hour will soon extend the time during which you can concentrate.
When you concentrate,you can understand and remember faster and better.
It is important that you remember what you read in order to write the best answers in the competitive examination. A study that leads to no lasting impression on the mind is all wasted.
Memory is, again, principally a question of interest. You will have no difficulty in remembering things which really interest you. You are emotionally involved with them.
Therefore, by various methods discussed here, you must create the necessary interest and involvement in the subjects of your study.
We learn the general rule that the more we know about anything, the more interesting it becomes. The cure for lack of interest is to keep learning more.
As your study develops, your wish to continue it strengthens. Next to interest, your memory depends on understanding.
It is much easier to remember something clearly understood than something which goes over your head. What you understand is easily remembered.
What you don't understand is an intolerable burden on the mind. Finally, concentration itself leads to absorption and retention.
You are likely to remember anything which you have studied with undivided attention or deep concentration.
Word-by-word memorisation is not the right answer, as the material and facts to be remembered are considerable. You should, therefore, remember the points to be covered under each paragraph.
When you think of answering a question, you must know in advance how many pages you are going to write and how many paragraphs are likely to be there.
The length of your answer is conditioned by the time factor and the marks allotted to the question. For the essay-type answers, you must remember the para headings.
In fact, para headings can be selected by you according to the facts you are going to write about in that paragraph.
Then, by arranging the first or second letters of the para headings, you can coin suitable catchwords which could be readily remembered.
For instance, if the first para is "Introduction", the first letter of the catchword can be T. If the title of the second para is "Nationalisation", 'N' becomes the second letter of the catchword.
By this process, you can coin words like "India", etc. In order to ensure that the significance of the catchwords stays in your memory, you must reduce them to writing. Besides, the writing should be repeated as often as possible so that there is no mix-up among many such catchwords you may have coined.
Working to a Timetable
While preparing for a competitive examination you must rigidly follow a time-table. The earlier you begin, the better it is. Start with your difficult subjects first. You can give a total of three months for the entire study.
For intensive study and preparation of guess paper, allot ten days for each subject. Thus, in two months you would have covered all the six subjects. Next, the intensive revision should start.
Now give three days to each subject, which means a total of 18 days. Then the third revision can be done with two days for each subject. Finally, revise each subject before the examination according to the examination schedule.