I receive queries from interested aspirants for the Online Test Series Course whether it’s the right time to enrol for the course or should they wait longer before enrolling. The question comes down to when should you attempt mock/practice tests for Prelims and Mains exam?
Are You Preparing for Prelims or Mains Right Now?
Ask yourself this question first. Mock or practice tests should be attempted when actively preparing for IAS exam as I’ve mentioned in this post on IAS Preparation. Let’s say you plan to appear for Prelims 2015, then obviously you are preparing for it right now and so it is a good time and good strategy to attempt mock tests simultaneously rather than leaving it till the end for July or August 2015.
Why Should You Attempt Mock Tests While Preparing
Doing so helps in course correction at the right time. It helps you to know your strong and weak areas and go through the topics you feel you need to cover more thoroughly. Let’s say you are preparing Geography Maps using the Oxford Student Atlas, first focus on certain areas from the Atlas like important rivers and tributaries, the states through which these rivers cross, their source and deltas etc. Then attempt mock tests on Maps. If you are able to attempt all river-based questions satisfactorily, then you know you have covered this topic well.
But if you are unable to answer the majority of questions, you know you need to prepare the topic better and should go through the Atlas multiple times till you can answer the practice questions with confidence.
This is a proven approach to clear the Prelims. I have used it to clear the Prelims every time including the first. The moral of this discussion is that you should not leave attempting practice tests till the very end when it is not possible to learn anything new even if you are aware that you need more understanding of the topic.
Having said this, if you are not preparing for Prelims right now and plan to attempt it in 2016 or 2017 and will start preparing in 2015 then you should attempt mock tests that time. However, you should at least start building your GK base from right now itself as the latest trend shows that UPSC is asking many GK based questions in Prelims. In addition to this, you should develop the practice to read newspaper editorials and compile current affairs for Prelims and Mains.
Just for convenience sake, I am comparing the well-known test series courses available online so you can make an informed choice.
|IAS Kracker Test Series||Forum IAS Test Series||Insights Test Series||Vision IAS Test Series|
|Number of Tests||60+||30||32||35|
|Unlimited Attempts||Yes||No||Delivered in PDF Format||No|
|Current Affairs Included||Yes||No||No||Yes|
|Paper 1 and Paper 2||Yes||Yes (Only 4 Paper 2 tests)||Paper 1 only||Paper 1 only|
|Solutions Provided||Wherever required and on request||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Price||Rs 1490||Rs 5980||Rs 6440||Rs 14000|