IAS Naveen Kumar Chandra, who secured an All India Rank of 490 in the UPSC Civil Service Examination (CSE) 2017, shares last-minute preparation and revision techniques for aspirants.

Find patterns in mock tests: “Make sure you practise as many similar questions as you can. Actively look for such patterns in the mock papers,” he says.

Extrapolate from mock questions: Do not solve mock papers just to see where you stand; extrapolate from each question as much as you can.

“While attempting the mock paper, aspirants check for answers and move on. This is a mistake,” cautions Naveen.

There is a reason why a certain type of question is repeated across mock papers. It would be advantageous to keep a note of such questions and practice accordingly, he says.

Utilise ‘grace’ period well: “There is bound to be some topic of the syllabus that you may have left out during your preparation time. Now would be a good time to revisit it,” he says.

“If there are such portions of the syllabus in your preparation, utilise this time to go through it, even if it is just a quick read-through,” he adds.

Spend time analysing your mock paper test: Often aspirants move on to the questions they got wrong, but time must be spent on analysing the ones they got right also, and see how much information they have about them.

Focus on the UPSC prelims for now: “Try and stay focussed only on the prelims at this point. While it may be very tempting to pick up and study your optional subject as well, do not do that,” he says.

An aspirant should focus on revising at least 15–20 days' worth of current affairs daily, one subject from the general studies paper, and solving at least 40–50 mock papers beforehand.

Focus on your weakness: Playing to your strengths is always the game plan, but working on your weaknesses will definitely help you in the endgame, says Naveen.