How to Use Exam Robot For Preparing a powerful strategy for IAS prelims
“How do I decide which topics are most important? Which topics should be studied in-depth? Which topics should be skimmed and which can be skipped altogether?”
A basic but highly effective approach of ascertaining the importance of topics is to see it through the lens of previous years’ questions. In such an approach, four results are possible.
1. Topics from where questions have been asked consistently and regularly in every single year’s examination paper.
Verdict: Most important topics- should be studied with top priority.
2. Topics from where no questions have ever been asked in the previous years’ examination papers.
Verdict: Nominal importance topics- You may leave this topic totally unless you are a master of the subject and have enough time left to prepare anything beyond the boundaries. (The probability of any questions being asked from a topic that has not been considered important for previous 30 years is extremely low.)
3. Topics from where questions have been asked previously but not recently.
Verdict: Limited importance topics- These are the topics that have lost importance in the current age. It is likely that the examiner feels that the knowledge in this area no longer bears any real significance in current world and thus becoming obsolete. You should devote average priority to these topics.
4. Topics which have become increasingly important in recent years but were not so in earlier years’ papers.
Verdict: Important topics- These are the emerging areas relevant to current times. Take ecology and environment, for example. Nowadays most government policies and decisions are made keeping the environment in consideration. Therefore questions from this field have become more frequent in recent years. Such topics showing upward trend are important and should be prepared thoroughly.
While studying History you come across the topic ‘Indian Feudalism’.
A normal approach of study would be to read this topic word by word as it is present in the book. but if there are tons of topics to be covered under the huge syllabus than this approach might not work for everything you are planing to cover , this may leave you short of time and adequate revision of what you have studied before exam .You will need to smartly modulate the intensity of effort/focus on various topics as you go on . Studying everything in syllabus is important , but if you have spent way too much time on a topics which are not considered important for exam or had shown low tendency in past with respect to exam , then you are unbalancing your preparation equation . you have spent lot of your precious time which could be used in other reliable topic for the exam . ( the assumption behind this approach is candidate wants to clear exam with optimal allocation of time on topics which have been more predictable for exam in past , rather than mastery of a particular topic)
Let’s ask examrobot to prepare a strategy for this topic before jumping headlong into studying it, Follow the steps as illustrated below :
Step 1 :
Step 2 :
Step 3 :
The graph prepared by examrobot reveals that there has been only one instance when a question has been asked from this topic, and that single appearance too was 10 years ago.
Verdict: Nominal importance topic. Study it only after completing all the other important topics in the syllabus.
Let’s now take the subtopic of Akbar, a popular one in the history syllabus. As per examrobot , many questions have been asked from this subtopic over the years but not many as of recently.
Verdict: Give it average priority. Last 4 years it has lost its relevance .There were at least 1-2 questions every year from this topic until year 2000 . From 2001 -2009 the average went down to mere 0.5 . From 2010-2013 it completely disappeared . Looking at the trend , it seems there is low probability that something can change drastically from this topic in the coming years .Even if the last 4 years trend is broken and a question appears , it is unlikely that the count will be high enough to make any significant impact . Study this topic , but don't get stuck in covering all possible fine details about Akbar .
Let’s take another subtopic, Buddhism/Jainism . As per the graph, there is a recent upward trend i.e. questions are being asked more and more often from it.
Verdict: Important topic. Prepare it thoroughly. Go deep into it . You should be able to answer questions from this topic no matter how difficult the question is.
Let’s check the broader trends under the History subject.
Now, instead of searching keyword(topics) , we will measure the subject , sub-subject as a whole . Follow the steps as illustrated below :
Trend of History :
Trend of Medieval History :
Trend of Ancient History :
Trend of Indian National Movement :
The graph charted reveals relative frequency of areas covered under it. We see that questions from Medieval History are declining (average priority area). Questions from Ancient History are becoming more frequent (important priority area), and questions from Indian National Movement appear every year (high priority area).
You can apply this analysis strategy to any subject, any topic for evaluation of their relative importance.
As you can see , it is now very easy to understand and relate all the topics covered under this vast syllabus with examination.
The next time you pick up a topic to study, let the examrobot reveal to you its trends and relative importance vis-à-vis the examination and thus help you decide the best possible and the most effective strategy for your chosen topic.