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How to manage stress during UPSC CSE Mains 2023

The Civil Services Exam conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) is regarded as one of the toughest exams to crack in India. Clearing the UPSC exam requires dedicated preparation. The high level of competition, extensive syllabus, and intense long hours of preparation necessary for the exam can take a toll on applicants’ mental and emotional well-being.
In UPSC Prelims of 2023, 13 lakh students appeared for the exam, which took place across 79 exam centres throughout India. However, when we consider the limited vacancies available, totaling 1,255 positions, the competition becomes evident.
According to official data published by the UPSC, of this massive candidate pool, only 14,624 students managed to achieve scores above the cutoff, making them eligible to sit for the Mains round.
Here are a few effective techniques to stay calm and composed during the stressful period of the exams:
Dealing with exam stress
Managing stress during the UPSC exam is crucial to perform at your best. Here are some strategies to help you stay calm and composed:
Prepare well in advance
Avoid last-minute cramming by staying on top of your studies consistently. This reduces anxiety and helps you feel more confident.
Perspective is key
Remember that the exam does not define your worth as a person. Over-investing your self-worth in the exam can create unnecessary stress.
Prioritise sleep
Ensure you get a good night’s sleep before the exam. Rested minds perform better, so aim for at least 4-5 hours of sleep.
Stop studying beforehand
Use the hour before the exam to relax and visualise yourself calmly answering questions. It’s not the time to learn new material.
Be punctual
Know the exam’s time and place and arrive with plenty of time to spare. This eliminates the stress of being late and ensures you’re well-prepared.
Positive self-talk
Replace negative thoughts with positive ones. Instead of thinking you’ll fail, focus on doing your best.
Avoid pre-exam discussions
Don’t engage in discussions with peers that may increase your anxiety just before the exam.
Staying composed during the exam
To maintain composure while answering questions in the examination hall, follow these tips:
Read carefully and plan
Take a few minutes to understand how marks are distributed for each question and plan your approach.
Seek clarification
If you’re unsure about instructions, don’t hesitate to ask for clarification. Avoid wasting time due to confusion.
Don’t get stuck
If your mind goes blank on a question, move on to another one. Jot down any relevant thoughts to stimulate your memory.
Relax when anxious
If anxiety strikes, pause, close your eyes, and take slow, deep breaths. Focus solely on your breathing before returning to the exam.
Stay present
Concentrate solely on the exam, avoiding thoughts about what you should have done or how others are performing.
Annotate your question paper
Make notes on your copy of the question paper to help understand and organise your thoughts before answering questions.

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