The Ultimate Guide for APPSC Preparation Tips to Help You Succeed
Today, government jobs have become a preferred career option for many. The demand seems to rise day by day in every state of the country, and to enrol in a government job; one has to clear the examinations provided by the public sector. The APPSC is one such exam that is conducted by the State Government of Andhra Pradesh.
The APPSC exam is designed to check your knowledge in specific areas. And to clear the exam, you need to have a strategy. Note that the APPSC Group 1 exam is not much different than the UPSC Civil Services exams. Both follow a similar scheme and syllabus while conducting the tests. However, the syllabus for the APPSC Group I exam is more state-related, and the UPSC Civil Services offers one optional paper. The following post explains how to crack APPSC Group 1 in the first attempt.
Clearing APPSC Exam: Your First Step Towards A Bright Career
After you have made up your mind to prepare for APPSC and secure a job in a particular sector, the first and foremost thing you need to do is to chalk out a plan. You need to be well-informed about when the exam is conducted in a particular year, the syllabus, and how much time you have got to prepare for it.
Clearing any competitive exam requires the presence of mind. You have to study hard as well as smart. You also have to ensure that you are not studying until the last moment. That will only lead to unnecessary stress and exhaustion.
There are three stages in an APPSC Group 1 Services Exam – Prelims, Mains, and Interview. The Preliminary examination is a screening test consisting of two papers for a total of 240 marks. There is negative marking as well. Candidates can go for the Mains once they clear Prelims.
For the Mains, candidates have to prepare seven theory papers. It is a written and descriptive type exam and consists of two qualifying papers – Telugu and English. The final merit list will be based on the candidate's score in the Mains and Interview out of a total of 835 marks.
- Stage 1: Prelims
As mentioned earlier, the preliminary exam will have two papers. They are General Studies and General Aptitude. Each paper will give you 120 objective or MCQ type questions bearing 120 marks. Every wrong answer will result in a deduction of one-third of the marks prescribed for the question.
The syllabus pattern for Paper I – General Studies is as follows:
1. History and Culture
2. Constitution, Social Justice, and International Relations
3. Indian Economy and Andhra Pradesh Economy and Planning
Each section will carry 30 marks.
The syllabus pattern for Paper-II – General Aptitude is as follows:
1. General Mental Ability and Administrative and Psychological Abilities
2. Science & Technology
3. Current affairs - Regional, national, and international
Paper I and Paper II are conducted on the same day in offline mode.
- Stage 2: Mains
The exam pattern for APPSC Mains consists of seven papers – 2 qualifying papers and five for merit ranking. Each paper is conducted for 180 minutes and carries 150 marks.
The minimum marks required to clear the qualifying papers are 40% for OC, 35% for BC, and 30% for SC/ST/PH.
Syllabus for merit ranking papers –
1. Paper 1 – Essay on contemporary themes and issues of regional, national, and international importance
2. Paper 2 – History, Culture, and Geography of India and Andhra Pradesh
3. Paper 3 – Constitution, Polity, Governance, Law, and Ethics
4. Paper 4 – Economy and Development of India and Andhra Pradesh
5. Paper 5 – Science, Technology, and Environmental Issues
Once the candidate clears the Mains stage, the APPSC board calls them for an interview.
Books and Resources for APPSC Group 1 Preparation Plan
Once you have a clear sense of the syllabus, you must make a list of the books or study material that you would require for the exam. Selecting the appropriate books and resources is a wise thing to do to crack the APPSC Group 1 examination. Below mentioned is a list of APPSC Group 1 preparation books that you can refer. Don't be overwhelmed with the long list. All you have to do is follow the syllabus instead of completing the entire book.
Preliminary Examination Paper-I General Studies
(A) History and Culture
Ancient India by RS Sharma, Medieval India by Satish Chandra, Modern India by Grover & Grover
Indian National Movement by Bipin Chandra
History of Modern Andhra Pradesh, History and Culture of Andhra Pradesh, History of Andhra (Modern, Medieval, and Ancient) authored by PR Rao.
The Andhra Pradesh Reorganization Act, 2014 Official Document
(B) Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International Relations
Indian Polity – M. Laxmikanth
Current Affairs regarding Social Justice and International Relations
(C) Indian and Andhra Pradesh Economy and Planning
For Indian Economic Development, Introductory Macroeconomics, Introductory Microeconomics, you can refer NCERT books for class XI and XII.
You can learn about AP Economy from any SCERT or Telugu Academy Books.
Keep track of the latest information regarding the latest Budget of India and AP, the Socio-Economic Survey of AP, as well as the Economic Survey of India
Fundamentals of Physical Geography – NCERT class XI
Fundamentals of Human Geography – NCERT Class XII
Indian Physical Geography – NCERT Class XI (India Physical Environment)
Indian Human Geography – NCERT Class XII (India – People and Economy)
Certificate Physical and Human Geography – Goh Cheng Leong
AP Geography – SCERT or Telugu Academy Books
Preliminary Examination Paper-II General Aptitude
(A) General Mental and Psychological Abilities
Quantum CAT by Sarvesh Kumar
Quantitative Aptitude by R.S. Agarwal
Logical Reasoning by R.S. Agarwal
Lexicon for Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude – Chronicle (Civil Services Chronicle Edition)
(B) Science and Technology
NCERT Class VI to X – General Science Books
Ecology – You can only focus on the last four chapters of NCERT Class XII Biology
(C) Current events of regional, national and international importance
Staying updated with every major current event is vital. Make it a habit to watch news channels and read newspapers.
The syllabus is a bit lengthy in mains, and you can refer the same books for both the exams. However, to clear the English and Telugu paper, go through the following books thoroughly.
Word Power Made Easy by Norman Lewis and High School English by Wren and Martin
Matriculation Level SCERT or Telugu Academy Books
Opportunities for APPSC Aspirants
APPSC aspirants have multiple career opportunities after they clear the exams. Though vacancies may vary in different departments of the state based on notifications, the candidates may consider the following Group I posts.
- Deputy Collectors in A.P. Civil Service (Executive Branch)
- Deputy Superintendent of Police (Civil) Cat-2 in A.P. Police Service
- Commercial Tax Officers in A.P. Commercial Taxes Service
- District Registrar in A.P. Registration and Stamps Service
- Assistant Prohibition & Excise Superintendent in A.P. Prohibition & Excise Service
- Municipal Commissioner Grade-II in A.P. Municipal Administration Service
- Assistant Commissioner of Labor in A.P Labor Service
- District B.C. Welfare Officer in A.P B.C. Welfare Service
Strategy to Crack APPSC Exams
Planning and securing a job in the government sector in India is a tough task because more candidates are competing for fewer jobs. However, it's not something impossible. You have to create a strategy and work diligently towards achieving your goal.
1. Have a strong determination
You need to be dead sure that you will spend the next one or two years with books and newspapers. That doesn't mean you have to invest all the time you have towards your studies, but consistency is vital. You have to dedicate two to four hours a day on an average depending on your time. However, you need to plan those hours well. Certain qualities that you have to instil in yourself are discipline, determination, focus, dedication, and perseverance.
2. Build Awareness
Make yourself aware of the examination processes, eligibility criteria, necessary qualifications, exam pattern, syllabus and schema, posts and services, pay scales, salary, allowances, etc. The more familiar you are with APPSC, the better.
3. Select suitable books and resources
Curate a list of the standard books and resources that you can follow for the APPSC exams.
Once you are armed with all the information, you need to work on creating a pragmatic plan. Divide the syllabus into sections and allocate time to complete each concept. Sometimes, the plan may not work as decided. So, don't worry about it. Just give it a few tweaks and revise it based on your performance probably once in a month.
All work and no play make Jack a dull boy. So, set aside some time for entertainment, family, or meeting up with a friend. This reboots your brain and prepares it for the next target it has to achieve.
You shouldn't be afraid of committing mistakes, but they can surely be avoided. Making mistakes in the exam could be costly. You can fail with just one mark less to the cut-off. You will then have to wait for a long time to try again as the notifications are not regular. So, practice, practice, and practice!
Try solving APPSC Group 1 model papers and the question papers from previous years also. The following are a few extra tips that may help you through the exam.
- If you feel that a particular question doesn't have enough content, skip it. The time you have is limited. Don't waste it on that question.
- Sometimes, you might have a lot of thoughts running in your mind while answering a particular question. Organizing your answers becomes difficult. As a solution, remember your concepts and articles with keywords. They make it easier to recollect what you have studied.
- Spend the first ten minutes on scanning the question paper and organizing how to attempt the questions.
- Last but not least, calm yourself down. You will do much better in the exam if you are not tensed.
6.Revision Plan for Preliminary Examination
You have covered up the syllabus. What's next?
Now is the time to start revising the concepts that you have completed reading.
For Paper I, start with your areas of strength (Polity, History, Economy, or Geography) and revise them as soon as possible. You have to invest more time in the areas you find difficult. Revising Government schemes, census data, economic data, and articles-parts-schedules in Polity will help you score more marks.
For Paper II, start revising with the mathematical formulas for General Abilities Test. If you are good at Mathematics or come from an engineering background, memorizing the formulae won't take much time. You can devote more time to prepare for questions related to current affairs.
However, if you aren't confident about the General Abilities Test, revise the formulae again on the last day of your revision. This will help you retain the information through your exam.
7. Have everything in place
Keep everything you need during the exam at one place – pen, route map for exam location, transport details, hall ticket, identity card, etc.
8. Work on Personality Development
Spare some time to develop your personality while you are preparing for the exams. It is not something that can be done overnight.
9. Strategy for Main Exam
After you are done with the preliminary examination, it's time to prepare for the Mains. You may be waiting for the results, but a better utilization of the time would be to involve yourself in preparation for the Main examination.
Consider you have already cleared the exam and start preparing for the next. Even if you couldn't qualify, your preparation and efforts will be beneficial in the next attempt. As you have to go through the same books, you can follow your previous plan to revise the concepts. But, this time, you will have to prepare for writing descriptive answers.
Basic knowledge of everything will go a long way to help you. Here, you don't have to go through an in-depth analysis of everything. But you must thoroughly know and understand the basics of every topic.
Tips for Staying Up to Date with Current Affairs
Keeping yourself updated with current affairs is crucial to scoring high marks in any competitive government examination. If you are wondering why you have to follow news and know about everything happening around the world, the answer is quite simple. As an administrative officer, you have to make many decisions from time to time that would benefit the common public and the state. Without enough knowledge of current affairs, their decision-making power remains limited. As a result, some of their decisions may not offer appropriate benefits to the social and economic conditions of a particular place.
For example, consider the rising environmental crisis. A major cause of environmental degradation is the extensive use of plastics. Some countries have already banned its usage. As an administrative officer, you may be required to prepare a report to reduce or eliminate the use of plastic to protect the environment. Thus, you cannot make a comprehensive report if you lack the knowledge of biodegradability, biodiversity, and the recent crisis the world is facing due to plastic usage.
You can update and refresh your knowledge on current affairs through the following sources.
Newspapers: They are your number one source for increasing your knowledge. Many people consider "The Hindu" newspaper as one of the best news providers in the country. If you don't have the habit of reading newspapers, you can start now with just the editorials. Gradually, try to cover the whole paper. You can skip any political news.
If you need to follow Telugu and State level news, Eenadu Newspaper is a good option.
TV/ Radio: Almost every state-level news is covered in ETV News. The channel also covers important government-related news. You can skip watching the news on TV if you prefer reading newspapers regularly.
If you are looking for a radio program, tune into AIR Spotlight at 9:15 PM. You can listen to debates on a particular topic every day from the experts. Listening to them gives you a different perspective and more insights on a specific burning issue. You can also check out RS TV Big Picture. It is available on RSTV YouTube Channel and is similar to AIR Spotlight. However, the duration is for thirty minutes only.
Government Programmes and reports: Go to PIB Portal to find all the latest initiatives from the government. It is available in regional languages as well. Another portal that covers the laws, budgets, and judgments is PRS India Portal.
The Key to Knowledge: Communication and Interaction Skills
Every APPSC candidate is aware that cracking the written exams in APPSC exams is one thing, but clearing the board interview is an entirely different game. Once the candidates clear the prelims and mains, they are called for an interview. The interview board may consist of three to five members depending on the availability.
The board will assess the candidates based on their overall personality, ability to handle stressful situations, leadership qualities, unbiased and balanced opinions on topics, etc. Therefore, it is essential to communicate effectively to the board. If you know all the answers, but can't get your points across, there's no use of that knowledge. Below mentioned are a few practical tips that can significantly increase your communication and interaction skills for the APPSC interview.
- Be a good listener: A good communicator is one who knows how to talk and how to listen. Listening to what is being told is the first thing one needs to learn to communicate effectively. In the interview, listen carefully to what is being asked before answering the question.
- Think twice before you speak: Before you attempt to answer the question, pause, collect your thoughts, and then frame your answer.
- Body language: Non-verbal communication is a crucial part of communication. Around 60 to 90 percent of communication is non-verbal. Therefore, make sure that your body, eyes, and gestures all communicate to the listener along with your words. Pay attention to how you sit, how you walk and carry yourself.
Learn to have a body language that complements your words and not contradict it.
- Make eye contact: Not making eye contact while talking to a person is considered rude by many. So, it's essential to make appropriate eye contact while speaking, otherwise you may come across as someone who's distracted, nervous, or lying.
- Understand your audience: You must know how to frame your words to suit the audience. The board members interviewing you will be highly qualified and experienced. Try to be sincere while talking to them.
- Be polite: Being polite makes people more receptive to what you are trying to say.
- Pay attention to your voice: You may not have a conventionally delightful voice, but you can surely work on improving it. Try to avoid speaking in a voice that's not too high-pitched or too low.
It is also important to slow down your words; otherwise, you may not be clear to the listener.
- Voice modulation: Talking in a monotone will bore the audience. You can modulate your voice and go up and down the scale to emphasize a certain concept. Also, utter every word with clarity.
- Work on your vocabulary and language: Try to learn new words every day. Use substitutes for words, and learn to use them right. Develop a habit of reading books, and you will become better with each passing day.
- Use the correct pronunciation: It is natural for your native accent to show up while you're talking. That is fine unless it's too heavy, but it's better if you work on it.
Sharpen Your Aptitude Skills
Certain individuals are naturally good with their aptitude skills. Even if you are not one of them, you can sharpen your aptitude skills with regular practice. Some of the ways to polish your aptitude solving capabilities are described below.
- Solve aptitude questions daily: There are many aptitude tests books available to help you understand several concepts and increase your confidence in solving the questions.
- Practice and practice: Practice similar problems again and again until you master them.
- Solve brain teasers: Solving brain teasers and puzzles can help you enhance your logical skills.
- Track the time: Keep a check on the time you take to solve a particular question. As the actual examination will have a time duration, solving the problems as fast as possible is vital.
The Bottom Line
Lakhs of candidates appear for the APPSC examinations, but only a few of them will make it to the top. You can be one of them if you are determined to work for it with dedication and commitment. Just put in your best efforts and wait to see the results.