Many of the candidates are in a dilemma about how and when to start IAS preparation 2019. We are addressing the complex question “How to Prepare for IAS ” with a right approach and strategy. Cracking civil service exam is the dream of every Indian, as it offers a chance to serve the public, as well as to create an impact on the society.
UPSC is conducting civil service exam every year. The exam process is quite long almost it will take a year to complete the whole process. But right approach along with good IAS preparation enables you to fulfill the dream of becoming an IAS officer. As the exam process is long, it is well understood that you should spend lion’s share of your time in studying, so as to cover vast topics.
When to start your IAS Preparation?
A one and half year study strategy are essential for clearing the world’s one of the toughest exams. However, there are examples of candidates who cracked UPSC within six months of IAS Preparation. Further, there is only a minute probability that you will get through UPSC in initial attempt. You are going to invest crucial years of life for this.
Ideally, those are doing graduation can select their interesting subject as it will help in mains exams also. Mostly, aspirants begin their IAS preparation in June or July. But a proper understanding of syllabus will help to invest less time in preparation.
How to prepare for UPSC- Prelims cum Mains Approach
There are two approaches- prelims cum mains approach and prelims approach.
Those who have one year or more, they can schedule for prelims cum mains approach. For example, those who are aiming for next year IAS exam, and can start to prepare from now onwards. They can invest at least three months for completing their optional subjects and another five months for general studies papers followed by prelims preparation for the rest five months. Finally, last five months can be devoted to revisions mock test etc. Keep in mind to be on track with current affairs whole way throughout your preparation.
The main advantage of this method is that aspirants can get enough time for IAS preparation and revision. Moreover, they can identify their mistakes and sharpen themselves for the final test.
This is an appropriate method for working force, those who have limited time span etc. For instance, UPSC Prelims 2018 have hardly 203 days left, so start study from today for prelims along with current affairs. After prelims, focus on mains. Having a thorough understanding of upsc syllabus and smart work will ensure you to climb the ladder of UPSC within 203 days.
Remember, the preliminary level is the toughest part of all exams and once clearing it will enhance your confidence level and shine brightly for rest of the examination process.
Right idea about syllabus and exam pattern
Students should have a clear idea about the syllabus to be covered for prelims and mains.
Prelims consist of two papers that carry 200 marks each. Each paper is of 2 hours duration. Candidates should attempt both papers. CSAT is only qualifying paper, aspirants should score 33% or 66 marks. Paper one is going to decide your entry into mains but not going to decide your rank. GS Paper 1 also comprises of 200 marks with 2-hour duration.
General Studies Paper 1
- Indian History- ancient, medieval, modern. It is beneficial to focus more on ancient and modern history as more questions are triggered from here. Study art and culture along with history. Don’t view art and culture as well as history as separate subjects. Refer How to study Indian History for IAS Examination ?.
- Geography- physical [world], Indian geography, give more stress on Indian geography. Correlate current events of Indian landscape along with theory. For example, if some news came about the great northern plains, go thoroughly through great northern plains, its characteristics, significance areas covered and so on. Also, refer to How to study geography for IAS Exam.
- Indian Polity- correlate with the current scenario, as UPSC focus on logical aspects. Simple book reading is not sufficient for scoring from Indian polity. Also read: How to study Indian Polity for IAS exam?
- Indian Economy- read economic survey and union budget while preparing for Ithe Indian Economy. Economic survey is an inevitable part of IAS preparation. Also Check: How to prepare Indian Economy for IAS Exam?
- Environment and ecology-as IFS [Indian Forest Service] examination are conducted together with UPSC, an increased number of questions are being asked from this subject.
- Science and technology- various technological advancements in our country that’s of national and international importance. For instance, 2018 prelims can expect questions from ISRO’s recent PSLV launch.
- Current Affairs – This part should be covered by newspapers, magazines, government websites like PIB, IDSA, PRS etc. In recent years there are a lot of questions asked from current affairs. So the importance of current affairs can’t be neglected. We are also providing current affairs daily Quiz which is helpful for IAS preparation 2018.
Paper 2 CSAT (Civil Service Aptitude Test)
- Comprehension- mainly to assess your proficiency in English.
- Interpersonal skills that includes communication skills.
- Reasoning both logical and analytical
- Decision making and problem solving – this part do not carry negative marks, so that candidate can approach this part without fear of losing marks.
- General mental ability
- Data interpretation and basic numerical skills.
How to start IAS preparation ?
- Book collection – embark your IAS preparation by collecting authorized books for each subject. Hindi Medium aspirants can refer to IAS Books in Hindi Medium. NCERT books from class 6 to 12 can be considered as the holy books for IAS preparation. NCERT text books cannot be omitted for basic reading. Refer : List of Useful NCERT Books for UPSC Preparation
- News paper reading- read news paper on a pretty regular basis to correlate current affairs with each subject. Remember that UPSC will form questions on logical basis rather than direct questions. This article will help you on this topic How to read Hindu newspaper for IAS exam .
- Magazine reading- apart from news papers, magazines like yojana, kurushetra, the frontline etc plays a decisive role in improving your writing skills for mains. Refer: How to read Yojana for IAS Exam.
- Writing practice- practice answering questions from previous question papers. Set time limit for each question and practice more to improve writing skills.
- Question paper analysis- a complete analysis of previous years question papers will give you an idea about the recent trend of question formulation. In fact, there is no guarantee from UPSC or UPSC don’t set certain percentage for each subject.
- Mock tests and interpretation– attending mock test will enable to evaluate your strength and weakness. Simply attending mock test won’t work out, but the interpretation of mistakes and its correction will let you to quick march to your desired service.
- Decide your optional paper at an early stage- think of your optional and prepare it before prelims will reduce your pressure at mains stage. Useful read: How to select optional subject?
- Study general studies papers along with mains- along with prelims, study GS papers for mains. There are common papers for mains and prelims. Hence, it will save your time and energy also.
- Follow useful government websites– various governmental websites are a cluster of recent government policy and information.
Overall, it’s a myth that IAS cannot be clear without coaching. Proper guidance with the right attitude will aid you to climb the ladder of IAS. Remember that it is not the amount of time you spent for studies going to matter, rather how much smart work you did really decide your final rank.