This year civil services preliminary examination, due on May 20, 2012, will be the second based on the new pattern. It will consist of two objective-type question papers. Paper
1 (general studies, or GS) and Paper 2 (GS/ CSAT) are of 200 marks each. Here is a very brief and practical checklist of dos and don’ts for you:
* Final preparation must start by testing yourself with the revision-type model test papers.
* Do not get discouraged by your initial low scores.
* Put more emphasis on your weak spots.
* Keep on testing yourself at regular intervals of time.
* Make a mental note of areas that you have covered and what remains to be done.
* Be analytical in your response.
* Revise your study material.
* A calm mental state in the examination hall is most important.
* In the first round, darken only those answers (ovals) about which you are absolutely sure.
* Since there is negative marking, in the second round, attempt only those questions in which out of the four probable answers you are sure about two, so that there is a 50% chance that the answer marked by you is correct.
The author is director, Rau’s IAS Study Circle, New Delhi