1. Have the full syllabus for the papers before you as a reference. Divide the whole syllabus covering both the papers into about 20 portions covering about 20 days. The remaining 5 days are for slippages that may occur in executing your plan and certainly the last two days before the exam are meant for total relaxation and freewheeling.
2. Had you been in the habit of writing notes while preparing for the exam, have the notes before you. Go through each and every topic that you prepared for and you would find that many of the topics are very well known and easy. In some of them, you may find that a little bit of detail would be needed. Open the relevant portion of the book(s) and delve deep into it. It should give you a good understanding of the topic. If it still proves tricky, leave it at that and don’t bother. Move on with the other topics. Don’t get stuck with a chapter/topic or don’t be tempted to read extensively again. This would NOT be the time to do an extensive reading on anything. You typically had more than one year to do that.
3. If you are not the type that makes notes while reading, my point one above still remains the same. Just do the same with whatever material you prepared in the first place. It’s been my experience that people of this type usually have the habit of underlining what they have read, or making notes in the margins on the text books or material. Apportion those many chapters/topics that you can cover to a typical day and stick to the schedule religiously. Even if you are not able to implement your schedule for a day thoroughly, don’t carry forward a backlog. Get on with the planned schedule. Cover up the backlog in the extra days that you left blank.
4. In these 20 odd days, try to set apart a couple of hours for discussions with your friends. Choose your friends carefully – it is not necessary that your best buddies will be best study partners. Be ruthless there. Try to review and explain to each other what was studied or reviewed during the day. This gives you some practice of expressing yourself well, remembering points and analyzing them; qualities which will be very much in demand when you move on to the interview stage.
5. And don’t forget to attempt at least a mock test every alternate day. Work on the bits where you answered wrongly. Let not the totals scored by you in these tests get to your head – whether they are good or poor.
6. Enjoy and relax in the last two days before the exam. Remember: Civils is not the only thing life. There are people who are not successful there in the exam; but have succeeded extremely well in their life. Some very successful people in the exams have been miserable failures in the government and/or personal life. Let that not happen to you. This may look a bit philosophical; but ultimately there are times when you need philosophy more than what it needs you.
7. On the exam day, this should keep you in good stead.