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How to Prepare

STARTING WITH THE PREPARATION:

I, You, He, She, everybody loves to cherish dreams coming true, whenever we appear for Civil Services Examination – but only few stands with the time; vanishing and often breaking the hearts of thousands of others. How is this? Were we really prepared when we took the exam? Were we mentally tough enough to handle the pressure? Whether all the resources needed to crack the exam were in our hands? Or were we not competent enough, either lacking in knowledge, approach or any other area, which gave us a tag of ‘Civil Services Aspirants’ all through our life?
Popularly called the IAS Exam, the Civil Service Exams conducted by the Union Public Service Commission, is to select officers suitable to occupy the highest posts in bureaucracy. As we had seen in our school days in civics/social sciences that while the elected representatives of the people enact legislations, it is the Executive who implement them.

  • The job of legislation is mainly over with the passing of the Act in both the Houses of the Parliament. The Executive takes it over from there. Most of the key posts in the executive branch of the Government are held by those who clear this prestigious Exam. You might also be representing our country in the global discussions on environment, trade, human development etc.
  • You will also be the one who would be expected to lead from the front during the times of any crisis or calamities like cyclones. In addition to all these, other bodies like the RBI and regulators like the TRAI might also offer you their highest posts. Of course all this authority comes with a lot of responsibility. You will be answerable to many, including the public at large.

IS IAS THE DOMAIN OF INTELLECTUALS?

Most of us still think IAS is only for the brilliant few with extraordinary academic track record. If you too are of that opinion, just take out a few minutes to browse the internet or a few competition magazines featuring the annual IAS Exams results. Very soon your idea about this Exam will change you will realise that this Exam is not an exclusive property of the "genius" type.
Every year among the candidates selected for the IAS, the candidates who score very high ranks out of the 2 lakh-plus candidates appearing there are many candidates, who are from very normal background. For instance, we know a few of them who had done their schooling only in village schools, who had worked in very low-profile jobs like being an usherer in a cinema hall, many whose parents were not graduates, a few who did not have the chance to enroll in a regular college, many who did not have their education in English medium… the list goes on.
The deciding factor in this Exam is not your parent’s job or income, your schooling or the college you attended or you are a genius or not; it is just — what is in you?

  • Is your dream strong enough to make you complete this tiring race successfully?
  • Are you ready to give one hundred and one per cent commitment to this exam?
  • Are you open to learning new subjects and adapting to new situations? And above all — Do you believe in yourself?

            If your answer to these questions is "Yes!" then be prepared to append IAS or IPS or any Service of your choice to your name — that day is not far away.

RELEVANCE OF COACHING:

Due to the complex exam procedure, the coaching assumes a crucial role. Though not decisive, yet coaching has the following advantages:

  • Helps in understanding the requirements of the exam quickly, so that the preparation is focused.              
  • Reduces the efforts in preparation, as subject experts teach the topics in exam orientation. Anyhow, the candidate has to prepare for at least one new optional.
  • Helps in getting many contacts with co-aspirants; which is useful for exam related information. Never prepare for this exam in complete isolation. In any complex situation, information plays the key role.

PLEASE TAKE INTO ACCOUNT THE FOLLOWING POINTS WHILE JOINING ANY INSTITUTE:

  • Do not merely go by the advertisements, nor the claims made in magazines or the interviews supposedly given by the toppers.
  • Meet the successful candidates and the seniors who have taken coaching from that institute.
  • Do not go by the advice of only one person. It is better to contact as many as possible and get a general opinion.
  • Meet the teacher personally, ask for their programme details, results, etc, and assess yourself if it is worth joining there. If you are working somewhere or economically under privileged, and therefore, cannot go for coaching, please do not get discouraged. There are many people who cleared the exam without coaching. You can devise ways of getting the required information about the exam. But you should always be aware that you would have to work harder than others to clear the exam. So be prepared for that, and believe that hard work will always be paid back in the end.
  • No coaching institute can provide you better guidance in all subjects but no doubt there are some experts. Join the institute or teacher as per your requirement.
  • Free coaching for SCs, STs and Minorities for IAS-Free Coaching for IAS and other competitive exams are provided to reserved, minority and needy candidates. The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, GOI, apparently sponsors many such coaching facilities. At many places exclusive centers for them have been opened, at others reservations are available, and at a few places concessions are available. You should ask around relevant people to see if you have any such facility near your place of residence.

            The respect you command, if you are an honest and effective officer, is unmatched by most other careers. The society looks up to you if you are someone who is unbiased, efficient and sensitive. You will be a social leader. You will have immense power and influence to better things around you. And the kind of exposure and leadership opportunities such a career offers you at a very early stage is matched only by a few other jobs. Above all, there are not many careers that would give you such a deep sense of satisfaction at the end of a day’s work. So, are you really ready to take this exam?  

  • One has to choose subjects for the mains, for this you have to be very careful.  Public Administration, History and geography have been proved to be much scoring, go for subjects you think will help you score well. Prepare the syllabus well and thoroughly. Also while reading the syllabus, make sure the reading material is easily available and have proper guidance.
  • You cannot, by any chance pass the IAS exam if you are weak on the current affairs and general knowledge quotient. You have to read newspapers, magazines, listen to news, (DD News, LS& RS TV debates) be updated with the recent happenings and the important events and incidents that have taken place. If you are not sure, take as many quizzes as possible.
  • Newspaper reading habit and planned preparation help in a long term. Candidates must have an effective time management for clearing the nationwide competitive examinations such as general and civil services. You must have a plan and ready time management scheme to utilize best of your efforts.
  • Candidates must read at least three newspapers daily and two weekly magazines to update the knowledge. It feeds you with real information. You must better know what not to do than what to do, while writing the examination.

First, you must know what to study, what not to study and how to study. You must polish your writing skills as you have to answer many questions in garnering information. Candidates must refer to study material, text Books for preparation of common papers such as history, geography, economics and political science. I would also emphasis on the importance of clarity because most of the questions in the exam would be opinion-based. You must be able to co-relate to the problems and sympathize with them.

  • The most important part is attitude to be confident and hold stand till the last. Interview tests a candidate’s honesty and integrity. 

 

  • A better way of using the social media by following Twitter and Facebook for Government offices’ news and other news channels. if utilized, social media can help in getting the real time update of important events, discussions, sharing materials etc. However, one must refrain from getting carried away by it and realizing the importance of the examination.

SOME IMPORTANT TIPS ARE :

  • Recognizing the strengths and weaknesses and working smart on them.
  • Creating strategy and following the same.
  • Studying with full devotion and dedication is important.
  • You must put hours of quality than hours of numbers. Avoid all sorts of distractions and   never deter from your path.
  • The candidates must have focus throughout the preparation. They must not lose     confidence and hope over the time.
  • They must have clarity of thought and determination to crack the examination.
  • You must keep on trying until you succeed. Never lose hope in the process.

TIPS TO PREPARE FOR IAS WHILE DOING A JOB:

IAS or Civil Services is perhaps the most prestigious careers one can have in India, a reason, just about everyone – a student, graduate, MBA, Engineer, Doctor all aspire for it. While those who prepare dedicatedly for the exam have a lot of time on them, but working people face a lot of problems when they intend to sit for the exam. Constraint of time, energy and focus are a few to name. However, we think the constraints can be overcome by a dedicated individual with correct planning and effort. Here we have listed below important tips to prepare for IAS while doing a job.

  • MAKE USE OF ALL THE POSSIBLE TIME AT HAND:

Yes, it’s the most obvious thing to do given the fact that you will have a very limited time at hand when it comes to preparing for the IAS exam after a long day at work. What we mean by utilizing the time to the fullest means being smart about the preparation and keeping an Atlas, newspaper and perhaps a year book handy and reading through it while travelling at lunch hours or as and when you have time. These are quick and well directed options to prepare for the preliminary exams.

 

  • STUDY ACCORDING TO THE PATTERN OF EXAM AND BE SELECTIVE:

As a working professional you will have limited time for preparation, so it is important that you don’t spend time reading and cramming something that isn’t in the course for the exam. It is therefore recommended that you be familiar with the pattern of the exam and study only what is required. You also will have to be very selective in what you study so that you don’t spend too much time on things that are of lesser relevance.

  • DEVELOP A ROUTINE AND ABIDE BY IT:

 

Considering the time constraints you need to be more focused with your preparation. It is therefore recommended that you plan out a routine for yourself. It may be to study for 2-3 hours in the night or in the calm and serene environment in the morning. A routine will enable you to focus and prepare the syllabus in time. If planning a routine is important, following the routine and sticking to the time table is equally important.

  • DO REGULAR STUDY:

If you have a plan in place and are following it judiciously then you’d certainly be doing a regular study. There is no short cut to the preparation for IAS, being very prestigious, it is also pretty demanding if preparation is faulty. The best way to prepare well for the exam is to be regular with your studies, newspapers and magazines should be a regular addition to other study material.

  • CHOOSE SUBJECTS CAREFULLY:

 

There are so many subjects to choose from that a person without a settled mind a focused frame wouldn’t know what to pick. So be judicious in picking the subjects that you think are easy for you to prepare and the subject which you can score a better grade. Starting from the prelims, which is the first gate to your IAS exam, you will face questions of various subjects, so you can’t leave anything out, but you have to be selective on what you can score better in.

  • STAY UPDATE WITH GENERAL KNOWLEDGE:

Preliminary exam for Civil Services is based on General Knowledge and aptitude. The idea of the exam is to test and individuals overall knowledge. Therefore, it is important to keep yourself updated with current affairs, history, geography, science, sports, mathematics, economy and other aspects of general knowledge to stand a fair chance to clear the exam. The easiest way for a working professional to do so is to be regular with newspapers, happenings etc.

  • PREPARE PERSONAL NOTES:

Studying by preparing notes is considered the best way to retain something in the memory for long. So even a working professional is advised to make notes of what he/she reads or observes. These personal notes will be your quick bites in the last few days of the preparation, when recollecting what you have studied is very important.

 

  • SAMPLE TEST PAPERS/ PREVIOUS YEAR QUESTION PAPERS:

Now, before sitting for the exam it is important to test your knowledge to gain confidence. This is when you should going in for solving previous year question papers and other sample test papers available on the internet and in the books.

  • HAVE A WILL TO DO IT:

Yes, the IAS exam is a demanding exam, but it isn’t as difficult as the full-time preparing individuals (who study for longer hours) make it to be. Frequent and wise preparation is all it takes to clear the exam. Focus is very important though, if you have focus and the determination, and have backed it with a good preparation, then you don’t have to fear anything. Have confidence in yourself and have to will that you can do it.

  • DON’T LEAVE THE JOB; IT’S A BLESSING IN DISGUISE:

The biggest fear that people preparing for years for the Civil Services exam have at the back of their mind is the feeling of insecurity. You have a job at hand and thus you have a fall back option. So, you won’t feel the blunt of unsuccessfulness so much. So, we recommend that you consider the aforementioned points and prepare accordingly. Don’t leave your job to prepare for the exam, you’re job is a blessing in disguise for you.

 

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