The first step in the journey to success in an exam is conception of the thought of exam itself in our mind. It begins with a dream to succeed. From this dream it takes the form of a mission. When it becomes a mission, we channelize all available resources to turn our dream into a reality. While going through this process certain tips come handy in making your preparation even more effective. These are summed up as under:

Thorough knowledge and understanding of the syllabus

Thorough knowledge of the syllabus for the exam is essential to understand specific areas of study before jumping into the fray. It will help you to properly plan and distribute your study time more optimally. Periodic reference to the syllabus can save your time by skipping topics which are not covered in the syllabus. It can also help you to identifying areas of study where you are comfortable and where you are not.

Make best use of all available resources

Before you begin your preparation for an exam, you must identify and procure the required study material. To stay abreast on topics of current affairs, one shoud read at least one newspaper like The Hindu or Indian Express, and a magazine  like Pratiyogita Darpan, Yojana, Kurukshetra etc. You can also make good use of electronic media – Internet, television and even radio for your preparation. A lot of information is also available in the text books of NCERT, at Press Information Bureau website, and RSTV etc. which can be accessed through internet.

The Right Preparation Strategy

Strategy is the most crucial element in Defence Examinations. The importance of defining your preparation strategy cannot be exaggerated. A realistic assessment of your abilities and potential is necessary before you decide to go for the Defence examinations (NDA/CDS/AFCAT/AC). The basic thumb- rule is that you have to compete on the basis of the strengths and minimize the relative weaknesses that you may be having.

Quality, not Quantity of study is important

The basic criteria of study should be the quality of study and not quantity. It is not the number of books, the variety of study material or the number of pages you go through but the quality of your study i.e. the relevance and the depth of knowledge which makes the difference. It is important to focus on certain key areas which are vital for study than studying all areas. Your reading must be purposeful. While distinguishing between the important and the unimportant reading material, you must keep in mind what is useful from the examination point of view.

Clarity of thought

Clarity of thoughts is important to the Defence aspirants. To understand, grasp what you study or observe and present your ideas in a relevant, meaningful, and logical sequence, you need clarity of thought. This is especially important while writing your essay, paras (for CAPF) or at the time of interview.

Preparing notes

Writing notes is very helpful in preparing for an examination, especially when you study from different sources.

While writing notes the focus should be to note information in points so that it is easier for you to remember.  Notes help you in a quick revision later.

Never make notes in a hurry. One should not make the notes when reading the information for the first time. It leads to noting down too much which may amount to simply reproduction of the given information. It is important to understand what you read before you start making the notes. Make notes in your own words and language. Write your notes in a short form preferably in points.


You should keep at least one day in week for revision. It will help you review your progress and understand if you need to change the pace of your study. Periodical analysis and consolidation of what you have studied is very important. It helps you assess your strengths and weaknesses. Without periodical stop to revise you may forget what you had learned earlier.

Mock Test

Mock tests are important exercise to conduct after completing the syllabus and its revision. When conducted in proper way, a mock test will help you familiarize yourself with real exam environment.  It will also be helpful in reviewing preparation and identifying your weak and strong areas of subject.  Mock Tests also help in assessing your ability of time management.  Tides Academy conducts frequent mock tests for all Defence Services Examinations. You can register for these mock tests.

The Right Guidance/Coaching

When starting the preparation for exams for the first time, it can be baffling. One does not know where to start and how to organize their preparation efforts. Professional coaching from a good Institute can be very helpful at this time. You should choose an institute which provides you a detailed overview of syllabus along with preparation methods and schedule frequent tests to assess your progress.

A good institute will provide you periodic assessment on your knowledge and help you identify your strengths and weaknesses. Guidance from experienced counsellors can help you choose the right path for preparation based on your individual abilities.

Group study helps

Study with a fellow or a group of friends who are also preparing for the Defence examination. Regular discussions with such friends are very helpful. This way you not only revise what you have studied but also learn many points which you might have missed. Group Study makes your study efforts more interesting and competitive. But this needs to be followed with strict discipline as group studies can be equally unproductive if not channelized properly.