The Indian Administrative Service (IAS) exam held by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) is considered as a curriculum heavy examination. Undertaken in a three-phase process including the prelims, mains and interview, cracking the IAS examination requires more than just studying the right material.
How To Prepare for IAS Exam
Prelims are only qualifying papers and your merit is based on mains and the interview. It is for this reason that aspirants are advised by teachers and toppers to start the UPSC preparation for main papers before the prelims. Also, the duration between prelims and mains is only 4 months and it is almost impossible to cover the syllabus at that time.
- Divide your preparation into two sessions and start studying at least one year in advance.
- It is recommended to start studying during June of the current year if you plan to give the prelims next year.
- It is ideal to study for the optional subjects from June to October, current year and for General Studies for both prelims and mains from June, current year to March, next year.
- Based on this preparation, one can give their prelims during May or June of the next year.
IAS Preparation Guide
- After the prelim exams, each student gets 4 months from June to October to revise their syllabus, study languages and prepare for the main exam.
- Alternatively, you can start studying for the IAS exam eight months in advance.
- This may suit only those students who are highly dedicated and can manage their time and schedule well. The above-mentioned timeline is for the students who are willing to prepare for the examination full time without taking up any employment.
- You may also use IAS preparation apps like Unacademy, Mrunal and Civilsdaily to understand how to prepare for UPSC exam better.
IAS Exams Myths Busted
IAS is ‘NOT’ the mother of all exams
IAS preparation books may make you dread the examination; however, the reality is that it is just like any other exam. Hard work and patience is the key to succeed. Failing the exam by no means makes your life worse. Take the exam with a mindset that it is a phase in your life and not your life itself.
IAS is totally for the faint hearted too
They say that IAS is not for the faint-hearted, however, it is totally untrue. If you start your preparation soon and give yourself enough time to study then you have nothing to dread.
You ‘DO NOT’ have to study for 20 hours every day for 365 days to top the exam
A topper in an interview mentioned that she studied for 20 hours every day for 365 days to top the exam. Perhaps she suffered from insomnia. If you exhaust yourself so much, you are bound to lose concentration. A good and healthy sleep is equally important to make you do well in the exams. 14 hours of study is the maximum you should stretch your preparation daily.
It is ‘NOT’ compulsory to study for 14 hours either
A planned study of at least 8 hours daily is required to keep you covered and well prepared. However, you are bound to have an advantage over others if you study more but do not compromise on your 6-8 hours of sound sleep in any case.
Poor English ‘DOES NOT’ make you step out of the race of giving or topping the IAS exams
Since you already know where you lack, you might as well want to work on it and strengthen that area. Basic English is good enough to make you succeed at the examination. You also have the option to write the papers and give the interview in Hindi. If you wish to better your English then you must practice listening to English news channels and also try writing in English.
Delhi is ‘NOT’ the only Mecca for IAS aspirants
With the advancement of technology and the easy availability of UPSC preparation books, the students can easily study in the comfort of their homes from anywhere.
It is easy to study for IAS at home
There are end number of online books available on the internet. All you need to do is plan to study those books well. They also need immense practice, only then will you be able to excel.
Luck is only a ‘PART’ of the exam
A famous quote states that success is one percent luck and ninety-nine percent perspiration. Master your 99% and that 1% is bound to come your way.
It is ‘OK’ to fail the Prelims
Many a times, students who fail in prelims lose hope in their lives. However, the thing to know is that it is completely fine to fail. The journey to success is not always that easy and most of the known names in this world have suffered failure before their rise. All you need to do is keep yourself dedicated to reach greater heights and things will fall in place sooner or later.
There is ‘NO’ corruption in the recruitment of IAS officers
The allegation of corruption in the recruitment process of IAS officers is entirely untrue. The whole examination is held in a transparent manner and can be trusted fully. Sometimes there can be loopholes in the way the examination is held or how a UPSC member is appointed.
Civil Services and IAS are ‘NOT’ exactly the same
Civil Services include the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS), Indian Police Service (IPS) and more. However, IAS is only one leg of the civil services.
Increasing the number of books read will ‘NOT’ perfect your notes
Scouting for too many sources to make those perfect notes will only make you lose your valuable time and leave you discontent. Time management is of most importance during the preparation stage. It is for this reason that you must stick to reading limited study material for each topic and revise it time and again.
IAS is the best job in India
If you want to make a positive impact on the lives of thousand living in India, the job of an IAS is the best for you. Your integrity and hard work can take you to the heights of success under this position.
Questions asked during the exam are ‘NOT’ out of syllabus
UPSC strictly adheres to the syllabus while preparing the question papers. Sometimes the questions may be framed in a manner that they appear to be taken from external sources but are sure to be related to the subject in some way or the other.
‘DO NOT’ buy all the magazines and coaching material for IAS
It is almost impossible to read every magazine and coaching material available for IAS preparation out there. The right way to buy the study material is to limit your purchase and start with one book at a time, finish it and then move on to the next one.
IAS Preparation Tips
Given below are the IAS preparation tips for beginners that are bound to help you prepare for your exams better.
Tip 1: Read the requirements of the UPSC examinations
Start off by understanding the UPSC syllabus and exam pattern to know how long you’ll take to prepare for it. Thereafter, move on to study the eligibility criteria for writing the exam so you do not make any mistakes. In case of any other query, you can explore the frequently asked questions on IAS exam preparation online.
Tip 2: Buy essential books
It is a given that compiling and investing in the best books for IAS preparation is a key factor to do well in the examination. Reading is of utmost importance since the syllabus is vast. One must buy a set of useful books along with old NCERT textbooks. Websites and online portals can also be used to discover study material.
Tip 3: Get a clear guidance by reading articles on UPSC exam guidelines
There are various articles available online that discuss in details about the requirements of each stage of the UPSC examination. You can also follow the guidelines of toppers’ interviews for a fast and smooth approach to clear IAS.
Tip 4: Always take mock tests
Technology gives you the opportunity to learn and compete with thousands of aspirants across India who are also trying to clear the exam. There are full-length time based online mock tests available online. You can also solve previous year question papers during the time of revision.
Tip 5: Choose your coaching institute wisely
Even though there are multiple IAS coaching centers that have a good reputation, many of them do not offer optimum services. Bad centers often misguide the students with advertisements and outdated notes. The right ones will lead to you to success. However, we suggest that in this era of digitalization, aspirants must use and build their analytical abilities rather than opting for spoon-feeding options.
Tip 6: Keep calm and do well
Always remember that knowledge never goes waste. Failing or winning, you have nothing to lose so keep yourself calm and confident before you sit for the examination.