JPS officer Vikas Chandra Srivastava mentors underprivileged students for competitive examinations through his YouTube channel. He shares five tips and strategies for UPSC CSE aspirants.

Analyse the last five years’ question papers The JPS officer advises aspirants to spend quality time analysing the question papers of the last five years.

“Almost 60% of the questions will be from the previous question papers in some form. If aspirants go through them, they certainly have a better chance of cracking the exam,” he says.

Understand ‘tail’ words and answer accordingly A tail word gives a direction to the answer. Vikas advises aspirants to read the question thoroughly to understand what is being asked.

“Words like analyse, criticise, evaluate and opine are important, and one must understand the nuanced differences between each. Those aspirants who understand that stand to do better,” he shares.

Learn to see beyond the textbooks “The exam questions are a test of how well you are able to apply a concept or idea to the given question. While preparing, keep this mindset to be able to answer accordingly,” he recommends.

Learn the art of presentation The officer says that it is important for aspirants to be on the lookout for ways to improve their presentation skills.

“Find new ways to present your ideas and thoughts to the examiner. While using diagrams and maps is one way, making flowcharts and mind maps may also work,” says Vikas.

Use the newspaper for more than just news Other than being a great source for current affairs, news is also an efficient way to improve your writing and vocabulary skills.

“Make a note of the way words are used and how sentences are effectively constructed,” he advises.