UPSC Preparation: The Importance of Self-Assessment

“We can’t improve what we don’t assess.”     –    Michael S. Hyatt, Author & Blogger

Success in the UPSC civil services exam is dependent on innumerable factors. If you are aspiring to have a go at the June 2019 UPSC prelims, you should have started your IAS preparation by now. Hard work, dedication, the right guidance, best study material, previous year question papers – all lead to your clearing the civil services exam. Another key factor that contributes to your study is self-assessment.

What is self-assessment?

Self-assessment is a process in which a student assesses his weakness and strengths as well as evaluates his own preparation and makes the necessary correction to his/her study methodology or pace. Generally, a self-assessment can be done after taking a mock test. You should evaluate your answers against the answer key and grade yourself. This way you will know where you stand in terms of your preparedness.

Benefits of self-assessment

  • You can evaluate your knowledge and problem-solving ability.
  • You can identify your strengths and weaknesses. You can know what topics you are good in and what topics you need to work on.
  • You can identify discrepancies between existing and desired performance.
  • Especially helpful for the UPSC prelims as it has negative marks.
  • You can learn from your past mistakes through self-assessment.
  • You can assess whether you are meeting your set goals for the IAS preparation.
  • By taking periodic self-assessment tests, you will know whether your IAS preparation is correctly paced or not. You may need to speed-up your UPSC civil services preparation.

Reflection is vital to self-assessment

If you want to take the benefits of self-assessment, you must first learn to reflect upon your own learning and understanding. This is vital to self-assessment. When you reflect on your performance, you will be able to decide whether a course-correction is required in your UPSC civil services preparation; and act accordingly. By engaging in self-assessment you become a self-directed learner rather than a passive learner.

How to assess yourself

It is recommended that you enrol for BYJU’S Prelims Test Series 2017. Here, you can take the various MCQ tests and do a self-evaluation. Let us illustrate how to do a self-assessment after a mock GS prelims test.

  • Once you finish a test, check your answers with the answer key. Now, divide the questions into various sections, i.e., polity, history, geography, current affairs, etc.
  • Now, divide each section into subsections. For instance, polity questions can be subdivided into fundamental rights, parliament, DPSP, etc.
  • Now, check how many questions you have answered correctly under each subsection, how many you have guessed, how many you have answered wrong and how many you did not attempt. Also, check the questions for which you guessed the answers. Reflect on how you guessed – was it random or was it based on some logic?
  • Area-wise analysis: Once you get a clear picture of the answers, see what all sub-sections you are good at and what all sub-sections you failed to get the right answers.
  • Now based on your area-wise analysis, you can revise by focusing more on your weak areas.

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