‘How to start preparing for the IAS exam’ is a common question faced by many aspirants every time. The Indian Administrative Service (IAS) is the dream career of millions of aspirants and same is the case with services like Indian Police Service (IPS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS) etc. With a proper study plan and hard work, IAS aspirants can definitely achieve their dream.
An aggressive preparation is a must. One should also understand that it is not about quantitative preparation but what is required is qualitative preparation .Have a plan, be motivated always and persevere with all your heart , you will definitely achieve this dream.Ideally, there is no specific time to start preparing for IAS exam. Whenever you do decide , just work hard and be determined to succeed.
In an ideal situation, you can target two subjects every day or more depending on your time schedule. If you are really focused you can even start preparing for exams right from your school days .The core syllabus contains mostly of 6th to 12th standard books . You can keep making notes and sit for 10-12 hours to study , a year before the exam.Don’t sit memorizing for long hours but take short breaks in between .
Some important points to note for IAS preparation:-
- Understand the UPSC syllabus and exam pattern
The Preliminary exam for the UPSC Civil Services consists of two papers; Paper I is General Studies of 200 marks with 100 multiple choice questions and Paper II is an Aptitude test of 200 marks with 80 multiple choice questions.
- The Syllabus
The syllabus for Paper I consists of current affairs, history of India, Indian polity, Indian and world geography, Indian governance, economic and social development, general science and general issues on environmental ecology, biodiversity and climate change. The syllabus for Paper II includes comprehension, logical reasoning, basic numeracy, and decision making & problem-solving.
There are a total of 9 papers in the Mains examination, consisting of: 4 General Studies Papers, 1 Essay Paper, 2 Language Papers and 2 Optional Subject Papers. All 9 Papers are subjective-type and take place over a duration of 5 days.
2. Check out the UPSC Eligibility Criteria for IAS
As per the UPSC Civil Services Age Limit, the candidate should have completed 21 years as on 1st August 2020 (for the UPSC CSE 2020) and not completed 32 years as on 1st August 2020. The age limit is an important factor and candidates applying for UPSC Exam should check these details properly before filling the online application form.
3. Know some general facts about the UPSC exam
Every year the UPSC conducts the civil services exam to recruit candidates for various posts like IAS, IPS, IFS . Around 9 lakh candidates apply for the exam and about 4 lakh candidates appear for the exam. Of this only 15,000 odd candidates qualify to the UPSC Main exam and finally, around 2000 candidates clear the exam and are recruited in the civil services.
4. Go through the UPSC previous years’ question papers
Working out previous questions will help you understand how the pattern of questions are and answer them within the given time limit. They can also help you understand your weak areas and you can concentrate more on them.
5. Make a time -table and follow it strictly
This is very important as a systematic study schedule will only help for such competitive exams. Stick to the timetable and study so that you don’t miss any topic and adhering to deadlines will only help you finish the topics soon.
6.IAS Coaching Classes or Self-Study
After analyzing the syllabus and the exam pattern, make a decision as to whether you want coaching or if you can study by yourself.
Inculcate the habit of reading newspapers, watching the news, reading political magazines to get a wider perspective on current affairs. It should be part of your lifestyle also. Read popular newspapers like The Hindu and The Indian Express and top magazines such as The Economist and India Today.
8.Practice writing essays
The writing style is important for the UPSC exam. You don’t need extraordinary language but you need to write in an organized way. For this, you need to practice every day so that you gain that confidence. Practice writing on a daily basis and get your answers checked by a tutor so as to understand your weak points and improve.
9. Choose the right optional subject beforehand for IAS preparation
Choosing an optional subject for UPSC Mains Written exam is a big challenge, hence it is advised to decide the subject well in advance.
To plan your preparation strategy, it is very important to know the dates of the exam and the important notifications. Students can prepare a time table based on these dates and plan accordingly. Ample time for revision also should be given prior to the exams.
If you work hard, you can achieve anything in life. So start now, don’t waste your precious time and follow the above guidelines. There is no escaping hard work because there are no shortcuts to success. Be focused throughout and put your heart and soul into what you learn. All the best for IAS preparation!
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