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10 Ways to Success in Competitive Examinations

Updated on October 24, 2014
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How to Prepare for a Competitive Exam

Do you plan to take a competitive exam in the near future?

If so, this article will help you make a good strategic plan to prepare for your exam.

Governments, agencies, colleges, and other entities deluged with millions of candidates use examinations to find a way to pick from among them in a way that at least seems fair and objective. There's always a fair amount of luck involved in a mass examination, but there is also always plenty of preparation you can do.

In various countries and contexts, competitive written exams may test for reasoning ability; mathematical ability; reading and comprehension; writing ability; or the fundamental knowledge of a subject area. Interviews may test for knowledge of current events, general knowledge about the job or qualification one is applying for, the ability to give an account of one's past or future or talents, or the ability to say something sensible about a controversial or complicated issue.

Ten Tips on Preparing for an Examination

1. Make Sure This Test Is for You

Before investing time in preparing for an exam, decide whether the work is worth it. Study the exam announcement and ask questions if necessary. Make sure you meet requirements like:

  • Educational level or experience needed to qualify to take the exam;
  • Percentage of marks, or grade point average;
  • Any maximum or minimum age limit that applies to your exam.

2. Go Back to Your Fundamentals

Once you know you qualify for your exam, your next step should be to decide how to brush up on fundamentals you haven't practiced recently. Depending on the test, this may be math fundamentals you last looked at in grade school, principles of grammar, or the fundamentals of your science or engineering discipline. Dig out your old textbooks and put them where you can see them.

3. Get Up to Date

If it's applicable to your test, as it is in the Indian Civil Service, work on your general knowledge and keep it updated. You will want to be ready to discuss the current events that affect the government, school, or bureaucracy you aim to join. If you don't already, take a daily look at news media on current events.

4. Consider Paying for Coaching ("Joint Coaching Institutes")

You don't have to pay a company or institute for competitive examination preparation. Many do well without such coaching. But the right test preparation agency can offer you:

  • counseling
  • reassurance
  • study materials with which to structure your time

Do investigate your chosen agency, and make sure it's not a scam; there are scammers out there.

5. Set Realistic Goals

Consider how much time you have until the test date, and how many other things you want to do in life—including fun things. Consider your level of ability, and the resources you have. Then set realistic, modest, and achievable goals and deadlines for finishing the different steps of your preparation. Manage your time so that your preparation includes each section of the test, with more time allotted to sections where you think you may be weaker.

6. Create a Support Group

Create a circle of friends who are interested in preparing for the same or similar examination. It will be very helpful in keeping up your morale. It will remind you that you are not struggling alone with an arbitrary, zero-sum world; many other people long for success, just like you do (see the numerous comments below). Though you may not all succeed the first time, you can at least support each other without hurting your own chances.

7. Be Positive

You should be positive and have faith in yourself. There is no guarantee that you will pass any exam on the first attempt, though there is no reason to assume you will fail. Be patient and support yourself over the long haul.

8. Take Mock Tests

It may not be difficult to answer all the questions on a test, but it's generally very difficult to answer them all in the allotted time. Obtain sample written tests from previous test occasions and time yourself as you take them. Understand how they are scored: whether it's to your advantage to guess at answers you aren't sure of, or whether you should skip these questions. Understand how fast you have to work to answer every question that has a chance of increasing your score. This kind of practice is very helpful.

9. Do Mock Interviews

Find sample interview questions (for example, in the library, in magazines, on the web) and write them down on cards, along with any other questions you can think of. Get your family or study group together, hand them the cards, and have them ask you the questions. It feels reassuring to be able to come up with something to say, even though it may not be perfect. Remember that it's quite likely you may be asked a question you don't know the answer to. If so, you can admit it; it's better not to guess or make something up. No one knows everything and there is no need to pretend to.

10. Go Easy on Yourself

Stay healthy while you prepare. Regular exercise and yoga boost your mental as well as physical strength. Do fun things during your study period, including on the night before the test. By that point, your preparation will be done--all except for showing up at the test, which is important in itself. Instead of trying to cram more information into your brain that night, why not watch a silly movie, or walk somewhere? Then, after arranging for your transportation and your breakfast, gathering up any documents or tools you need to bring, and laying out the clothes you plan to wear, go to sleep with a clear conscience. The result of the test will be out of your hands; you will have done all that you can do.


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    • profile image

      abc 2 months ago

      @rks

      Thanks! All the best for prelims!

    • profile image

      rkc 2 months ago

      Hi all!

      And, congrats @abc. Accessed this blog after a long long time; so got to know today itself that you cleared for Tehsildar.

      Seems as if this blog has died a slow death. Folks, how is ur prep for this years Prelims?

    • profile image

      Surender 6 months ago

      @abc

      Congratulations . You may now tell your real name because now you are not abc but now you are VIP.

    • profile image

      abc 7 months ago

      @surender

      It was positive , selected for tehsil dar. Thank you!

    • profile image

      Surender 7 months ago

      @abc

      How was the result?

    • profile image

      abc 8 months ago

      @surender

      Thanks! You have been very encouraging throughout. I hope the hardwork is enough to see me through, only then it will be truly repaid.

    • profile image

      Surender 8 months ago

      @abc

      Congratulations. Your hard work ultimately paid. All the best.

    • profile image

      abc 8 months ago

      @sulochana

      Congratulations ! I have also cleared. If you don't mind kindly tell if you belong to general category or reserved one? Thanks!

    • profile image

      sulochna 8 months ago

      @all

      i cleared mains

      does anyone else

    • profile image

      123 9 months ago

      @SDM

      By the end of this month .......last week maybe!

      What were ur optionals?

    • profile image

      SDM 9 months ago

      When are the results expected ? Sulochna & 123 how are u guys preparing for interview part? All the best !

    • profile image

      123 9 months ago

      @sulochana

      Hi! Happy diwali to u and forum members!

      My sanskrit paperI was ok-ok., lost out time so could not attempt essay properly. Paper II was pretty ok. Being my 1st attempt with sanskrit I don't know how to predict my score.

      How many times did u appear for interview?

    • profile image

      123 10 months ago

      @sulochana

      Hi! My optionals geography and sanskrit went average in my opinion. What do u think of gs and essay, which essay did u attempt? Overall is it ur 1st attempt?

    • profile image

      abc 12 months ago

      @surender

      Hello! I qualified and u?

    • profile image

      Surender 12 months ago

      How is the result? All the best.

    • profile image

      abc 13 months ago

      @rkc

      Hope for the best! Any guesses for cut off ?

    • profile image

      rkc 13 months ago

      Honestly, I didn't! My Paper-I went disaster, Paper-II can be saviour. But, I'm almost sure not to make it to mains, still waiting for key.

    • profile image

      abc 14 months ago

      @rkc

      Sorry for late reply. The exam was on similar lines yet gs a bit tricky, whereas the aptitude as always a little lengthy for me. I m sceptical of various answer keys on the net and the wait for the official key seems unending. Have u started with mains preparations? Which optionals will you opt for?

    • profile image

      rkc 14 months ago

      @abc: exam was pretty ok. Seems like cut-off would be around 200!

      How about u?

    • profile image

      abc 14 months ago

      How was the exam.....

    • profile image

      Surender 15 months ago

      @All my friends

      This forum is a beautiful forum for all those who are trying to achieve something . They can interact and share in seconds anything in their mind and in turn get guidance which certainly is very beneficial. This is my personal experience on this forum. We used to share our experiences on regular basis and many of the participants achieved great success . This blog had a great role in their success. I request all the aspirants to please keep this forum alive for their future success . They can discuss their strategy for preparation, syllabus , method of studying, techniques of giving interview, study material, results, marks, trends and what not. Choice is yours.

    • profile image

      rkc 16 months ago

      seems as if..this blog is dead!

      anyone alive out here..

    • profile image

      abhi 18 months ago

      Fucklkkkk off

      Injustice to outsiders

    • profile image

      abc 18 months ago

      @vishrut

      Can you please throw light on interview cut off? How did pub and fare this time?

    • profile image

      smartkeeda 19 months ago

      You have done excellent work for all competitive aspirants.It is useful for aspirants.

      Regard

      Smartkeeda

    • profile image

      Aditya 19 months ago

    • profile image

      vishrut 19 months ago

      thank u all for ur best wishes

    • profile image

      vishrut 19 months ago

      thank u all for ur best wishes

    • profile image

      abc 19 months ago

      @surender Sir

      Thanks.....Best wishes to U too.

    • profile image

      Surender 19 months ago

      @abc

      Never mind. Focus on future plans. Just remember H.A.S. is not end of the world.All the best.

    • profile image

      Rahul 19 months ago

      Daily Current Affairs Quiz for Banking, UPSC SSC and HPAS is available at http://currentaffairs.gosarkari.com/daily-current-... . Daily Questions added

    • profile image

      abc 19 months ago

      @surender Sir

      I could not clear the interview....

    • profile image

      Surender 19 months ago

      @abc

      Happy New Year. What about your result.

    • profile image

      abc 19 months ago

      @vishrut

      Many congratulations and best wishes!

      Please do share your final score as well as your analysis of final result. Thanks.

      @all members... Best wishes for a happy and successful 2016 !

    • profile image

      Surender 19 months ago

      @ Vishrut

      Many many congratulations on your success in H.A.S.

    • profile image

      abc 20 months ago

      Plz anyone do guide about dress code in general for hpas interview especially for ladies......very confused.

    • profile image

      Vijeta 20 months ago

      @All

      guys any idea when the notification for CDPO & Naib Tehsildar would be out

    • profile image

      Ramesh 21 months ago

      Has mains result out. How many got selected

    • profile image

      shankar 21 months ago

      Though all 10 points are important for preparation. There is one more, students need to know the success strategy. http://www.kinindia.net you can get feedbacks from seniors who already appeared for that exam.

    • profile image

      Sunil 21 months ago

      Result ke kaya khabar hai bhaiyo

    • profile image

      manu 22 months ago

      expecting it to be out by second week.....probably after Diwali..

    • profile image

      Jaguar 22 months ago

      Whats up friends? Any update on mains result? Though it should be out in nov only

    • profile image

      Ashish 22 months ago

      @manu

      May be by 1st or 2nd week of november

    • profile image

      manu 22 months ago

      when is the main result going to be declared???? any idea????

    • profile image

      Ashish 22 months ago

      @rkc

      Check ur email id

      @others

      Kindly please active

    • profile image

      Ashish 22 months ago

      @rkc

      Check ur email id

      @others

      Kindly please active

    • profile image

      rkc 22 months ago

      Ashish: Hi, can i've ur e-mail id? Else, mail me at u.insa

      tiable@gmail.com

    • profile image

      suraj 22 months ago

      history was easier than last year

    • profile image

      Ashish 22 months ago

      @lamb @ arthur

      Give some views about ur HPAS mains attempt about different papers and optionals.

      cut off scneraio

      etc. etc..

      Daqer come up and share ur precious views.

    • profile image

      lamb 22 months ago

      @mohit

      only two people with forestry with philo.

      they r my freinds.

      one from himachal and other from up.

      i have list.

      we dont discuss with fake people.

      yaha pe bhi safed jhut bolte hai yaar log.

    • profile image

      mohit 22 months ago

      @arthur

      it means u knw me better than me.i m basically frm punjab.thats it.i thnk no need 2 give my ancestral history here.

      discuss ur point of view abt hppsc.

    • profile image

      arthur 22 months ago

      @mohit

      there r only two candidates with philo n forestry.

      no one from punjab

      fake

    • profile image

      mohit 22 months ago

      i m frm punjab sir

    • profile image

      Ashish 22 months ago

      @mohit

      I never shortlisted for interviews.

      but this is my 5th consecutive mains.

      According to me cut-off would hover around 460.

      I m from Himachal (hamirpur).

      And to which state and district u belong?

    • profile image

      mohit 22 months ago

      @ ashish

      sir r u frm himacal or from other states

    • profile image

      mohit 22 months ago

      @ashish

      both papers went well.forestry marking is always lenient so i m expecting high scores in dat.philosophy is ok this year.expecting around 190- 200 in that as well.

      dear, do you appear in intervws earlier.how many times u appear in mains?.what according to you would be the cut off this year?

    • profile image

      Ashish 22 months ago

      @mohit

      I have appeared ist time with sanskrit and agriculture.

      Both papers went well and i m expecting around 200 each in both.

      GS went well around 80 plus i m expecting.

      Mohit also shares ur experience with both optionals and ur past experiences with these optionals.

    • profile image

      mohit 22 months ago

      ashish sir, i am appearing with forestry and philosophy

      both paper went well

      expecting 520-540 in total.

      sir, hw much ur expected scores in sanskrit and agriculture.how was ur GS.i m expecting 70 in GS

    • profile image

      Ashish 22 months ago

      @all

      Guys come up and comment about ur views about hpas and about expected marks.

      i have appeared from sanskrit and agriculture

      agriculture went well and so did sanskrit

    • profile image

      Ragani Srivastava 22 months ago

      The above tips for competitive exams are very useful, I will definitely follow these tips in the future. While searching on the Internet, I have found one more good website, which offer competitive exam books at discounted prices. You can get upto 40% off. Use this code: PROZO-C5. Share this with your friends. http://www.prozo.com/competitive-exam-books

    • profile image

      Viru 22 months ago

      Fender ---- All the best man.....i think you should make it this time... until and unless your are from some other state bcos the interview is biased in favour of local candidates... thats for sure.....

    • profile image

      fender 22 months ago

      @all

      one need 540 in mains and above 610 for a definate seat. HPPSC play lot of games in interview.

      last year i scored 502 +85=587 and short by 6 marks from final merit.3 candidates having less marks than me got selected only on the basis of intervw.

      this time again dnt able to score high to reach 540.so fingers crossed again.lets see how the marking happens.

    • profile image

      viru 23 months ago

      @fender...thats a great score. you are definately in with that kind of score.

    • profile image

      Viper 23 months ago

      I think its the quality of your answers which matters. Only issue is that if subjects like forestry, vet science, botany, zoology click no body has got any chance. So fingers crossed. lets c how it goes. Arts students can just pray and hope that marking is good in thier respective subjects.

    • profile image

      fender 23 months ago

      i thnk cut off will be 470 around.

      mine expected scores would be

      GS-85 (41 Correct out of first 70)

      Essay-55

      PsychI-80

      PsychII-100

      Geog I- 100

      Geog II- 100

      Total 520

      tight marking of anthro,agriculture and high scoring science optionals is must.othrwise pub ad and geog students have no chance.last year geog students are around 250.this year 260. so large number doesnot matter.only quality of answer matters.those who write quality answers always fetch high marks in any optional

    • profile image

      AK 23 months ago

      @all

      guys come up and share your views regarding HAS mains this year

      about options essay english hindi gk and all other wat u know

      dont make this platform which was once very interested so boring

      come up share ur views

      well I think cut off of this year wud go low below 460

      and geography students are not going to score well due to easy ness and large number of candidates appeared in exam

      but pub ad this year scores average.

    • profile image

      Viru 23 months ago

      Geography was not that difficult. Questions were very general. But nothing can be said about the marking. I think the avg score should be around 85-95 in Geography.......

    • profile image

      tarun 23 months ago

      @all

      how was the geography paper? what would be expected range of scores in both paperthis year if marking is good.plz contribute ur thoughts

    • profile image

      manoj 23 months ago

      @ashish.

      i heard it only frm othr sanskrit students.may i will be wrong.sory dear...my appologies

    • profile image

      Ashish 23 months ago

      @manoj

      Its ur whim dear

      One can easily manage 90 in paper 1 in sanskrit

      and 110 plus in paper 11 in sanskrit

      i myself manage 32 out of 40 in grammar in paper 1

      How cud u say about sanskrit optional students have u appeared from sanskrit?

    • profile image

      Ragini Sharma 23 months ago

      I am preparing for the SSC exam & it will be held in the month of November. This is very useful tips for the preparation of all competitive exam. I will use this method in the future. I found one more educational website related to the Competitive Exams Preparation. Check it out.

      http://bit.do/prozo

    • profile image

      rkc 23 months ago

      anyone appearing from agriculture optional?

    • profile image

      manoj kumar 23 months ago

      sanskrit paper was toughest in the history.out of psyllabus paper, grammer is post graduate or p.hd. level.those who score 230-240 last year only reach 150-160 this year. uda diya sanskrit walon ko. 17 candidates of sanskrit are all out of the race now.

      zoology exam was easier.so the again score high marks.

    • profile image

      Abc 23 months ago

      @abhi

      Your score seems nice. I hav not calculated but i feel about 20-25 one word ques maybe correct for me.

      Your essay topic was comprehensive . it was bound to reach 20 pages. For tjst matter even i hav worded a 21 page essay.

    • profile image

      abhi 23 months ago

      @abc

      my score in first 70 is 38.i thnk reach upto 80-85 in total.how much u score in first 70.

      i wrote on land water air contamination.but one worry for me as well.i wrote 20 pages essay which is too much.i think examiner cutt my marks for that as well.

    • profile image

      abhi 23 months ago

      38 in first 70. i thnk reach upto 80-85 in total. i wrote on land,air,water contamination.hw much u score at those 70 questions

    • profile image

      Abc 23 months ago

      @abhi

      My gs was avg. I think 40-45 may b avg score in one word ques. How was ur attempt? Which essay did u wrote?

    • profile image

      abhi 23 months ago

      u r awarded 5-7 marks less than ur essay deserves.not much of a worry... concentrate now on ur optionals dear.

      hw is ur GS paper.what u think is the expected average score in first 70 GS questions.

    • profile image

      Abc 23 months ago

      @all

      I have committed a factual blunder in 1st line of my essay, i hav mentioned world yoga day instead of international yoga day and date as 12july instead of june. What can be the repercussions ? Can any experienced candidate spare a thought? It would be really helpful. Thanks!

    • profile image

      Amit 23 months ago

      Best of luck

    • profile image

      saurabh 23 months ago

      So little time for Mains Prep. Seems HPPSC have selected the persons for the job. Total Bias. Guys, Lets all urge HPPSC to postpone the exams and give us adequate time for preparation. Lets sign and send a petition.

    • profile image

      Manoj Sharma 24 months ago

      date sheet is out....exams starting 12 sep .......all the best guys

    • profile image

      Jaguar 24 months ago

      Time table has been uploaded on website.. Finally

    • profile image

      amit 24 months ago

      Mains kab sae hai?

    • profile image

      amit 24 months ago

      Mains kab sae hai?

    • profile image

      Manoj Sharma 24 months ago

      same here...no time to study due to job constraints......hope the mains are held in Nov

    • profile image

      lalit mohan 24 months ago

      is there any chance of extending HAS mains exam? no preparation till now due to hectic job schedule

    • profile image

      Jaguar 24 months ago

      All the best friends who r going to appear for upsc pre tomorrow

    • profile image

      amit 2 years ago

      Plz do share your thoughts regarding mains

      Max ,nishant,surrender,vishrut

    • profile image

      priyank 2 years ago

      suraj bhai....kyu candidates ke emotions ke sath khel rahe ho....are u sure the source of information is authentic ?

      i think exam will be in sept only...if not on 12th but may be 10 to 15 days later but not more than that.exam will not take place in october due to departmental examination of himachal pradesh employees from 12th october to 22nd.

      in case hppsc not taking exam in sept then there will be a chance exam held in november but in no case it will held in october.

      but chances of exam to be postponed from september are rare becoz no clash with other exams in november and no festival season...so gear up guys for mains...only 34 days left

    • profile image

      Jaguar 2 years ago

      yesterday hppsc declared result for assistant engineer (civil).. this was my fourth interview.. i have been rejected continuosly despite scoring one of the highest marks in the written exam.. same is the case with few others.. me and my classmate come from one of the most prestigious govt engineering colleges of the country after iit s .. do not want to prove any point or accuse hppsc of malfunctioning.. just felt sharing with someone.. next step, Has mains :)

    • profile image

      Suraj 2 years ago

      HPAS MAINS will be in NOV 2015 for sure. I just called them and they said not before Nov but dates not fixed. So just Chill Everyone

    • profile image

      Mohan 2 years ago

      Where has it been given that 12 sep is the date???

    • profile image

      Cheerav 2 years ago

      What are the chances of Mains exams getting postponed ? Considering the fact that the date provided by HPAS is too early(12th Sept)..

    • profile image

      amit 2 years ago

      Thanks bro

      Good luck

    • profile image

      Reena 2 years ago

      what is the likely date of Mains???? it is confirmed to happen in Sep 15 or in Oct first week???

      How is Geography & Public Adm as an option. this is my first attempt. Pl advice. i have done MA in Geography.

    • profile image

      vishrut 2 years ago

      appearing in mains...task ahead again this time in a short span of time.....congrats amit bhai...all the best 4 mains

    • profile image

      amit 2 years ago

      In .congrats to all my brothers and sisters for clearing pre.now time for mains.those who not able to make this time have patience and work hard.

    • profile image

      abc 2 years ago

      What abt revised answer key???did hppsc publish the revised key

    • profile image

      Jaguar 2 years ago

      @cheerav .. Is forestry scoring?? take a look at last year's scores. It is not just scoring,but a confirmed ticket to final list, if they appoint the same person for checking the optional again