UPSC conducts the Civil Services Examination (CSE) for selecting suitable candidates for IAS, IFS, IPS, and various other allied services. This is not something that we are unaware of because, at this point, every Indian household has at least one person who aspires to crack the UPSC examination. But why UPSC? It’s not just the handsomely paid government job that attracts the people but the things that come along with it: the power, authority, social status, and service to the people of our country.
“How to prepare for IAS Exam” or “How to prepare for UPSC” or “How to crack UPSC exam in the first attempt”- these are some of the recent searches you have made, but how do I know that?? Because if it were not for that, you wouldn’t be here. So, not wasting any further of your time, let’s dive into the topic.
Know About The UPSC Exam
Nearly ten lakh aspirants enroll for the exam, of which only around one thousand crack all the three rounds of examination. The reason behind stating these statistics is not to scare anyone but to make you aware of the competition and the level of preparedness required to crack the UPSC examination. So, the selection can rightly be called ‘one in a million.
It is necessary to stay motivated throughout the journey because it is evident that you will face failures many times, and you should be ready for it. Facing the challenges and failures and overcoming them is a difficult task; once you can do that, nothing stops you from reaching your goal. You can also join the best UPSC coaching institute because coaching institutes have experienced faculty that will guide you in the right direction during your preparation. The Thought Tree is one such UPSC coaching in Jaipur.
If you are the kind of person who tends to drop the plan after a few setbacks, let me tell you, my dear friend, that this is not your piece of cake. The chances of candidates clearing the examination on the first attempt are less, but it is relatively higher in the second and third attempts. So be patient, prepare well and keep on trying.
The major reason why the UPSC examination is so tough to crack is the sheer length of the syllabus, unlike other competitive examinations like JEE, NEET, etc., which focus mostly on the understanding and intelligence of the applicant. UPSC exam syllabus also focuses on social awareness and many other aspects of society.
The UPSC examination is mainly conducted in three different stages: Prelims, Mains, and Interview.
The Prelims consists of two exams that are:
- General Studies-I
- General Studies-II
The Main Examination includes nine papers which are Essay Paper, 2 optional papers, 4 GS papers, and 2 language papers.
Personality Test or Interview:
The UPSC Personality Test is the climax of the UPSC Examination. The final result is declared based on the cumulative score of the Main Exam and the score obtained in the Interview round.
UPSC Preparation Strategy for Beginners
Finally, we are at the most important part which is preparing for the examination and honestly, this is also the most difficult thing to do. But whenever you feel like giving up, think about the bigger picture and that will give you the strength to be stronger than your excuses and strive towards your ultimate goal – UPSC.
Let’s take a look over the strategy for preparing for the examination:
1. Time Table
Create a proper timetable charting down your whole day and allotting an ample amount of time for studies (specifically for the UPSC examination). If you are a student or a working professional, it is necessary to figure out a good chunk of time out of your day and bring some discipline into your life by following this timetable.
Once you have created a strategy and timetable, it is very necessary that you stick to it and never try to change it. The timetable should be altered only under the circumstances when there is consistently no improvement in your performances which can be analyzed by giving mock tests regularly.
But few people aren’t that great supporter of creating timetables and following them, and if you are one of those, do what suits you the best and has given you results over the years.
2. Read the Basics
Strengthen the basics and, for this purpose, go through the NCERTs. They are considered the best source of information available to clear the basics and lay a strong foundation for the preparation of advanced topics. NCERTs clear the basic fundamental knowledge through a very easy-to-understand way, and also, the language used is very simple.
3. Read Newspaper and Current Affairs
Read newspapers or any other source of information which keeps you updated about the current affairs and everything going around you in society. As current affairs have good weightage in the UPSC examination, it is important to keep track of the constantly changing and evolving world and society.
4. Reference Books
Once you are done with NCERTs, go for reference books which are completely dedicated to the preparation of the UPSC examination. Try to stick with one particular book and complete it rather than changing the books just because you later learned that there is a better book available in the market. So, select the books wisely.
5. Use Internet
There is lots of information available online in this internet era. There are dedicated websites and YouTube channels that provide you with a great amount of information and knowledge with the sole focus on preparing for the UPSC examination.
6. Make Notes
You should inculcate the habit of making notes because it would be of great help during the time of revision as it is not advisable and possible to go through the whole book time and time again.
7. Answer Writing Practise
Answer writing practice becomes very crucial for the UPSC Mains examination. This deals with testing the candidate’s conceptual clarity, perception, thoughts, and critical and analytical abilities of the aspirant. Here the challenges faced by the candidates are firstly the lack of time, and second is the limited space provided in the booklet. This means that the candidate has to come up with a quick answer to the point and keep in mind the word count.
Revision is again a very important part of the preparation for any examination. As the portion for the UPSC examination is vast, it is difficult to keep everything in your memory and that shortcoming is fulfilled by the very effective tool called revision. Remember revision is as important as studying. The more the number of revisions you complete, the more are the chances of you qualifying for the examination.
9. Previous Year Questions
Solving previous year’s question papers will give you a good idea about the types and patterns of questions asked from specific topics. It will help you find out the important topics from which questions are asked frequently to focus more on them. Try solving the exam-keeping time limitations. This will help you to increase your speed while appearing for the examination.
10. Mock Test
Start appearing for mock tests and test series a month or two before the examination. There are many mock tests available conducted by different UPSC coaching’s, of which some are paid, and some are free of cost (available online). The paid ones are generally the better of both as they will provide you with detailed analysis on your result specifying the areas you need to focus more and improve depending upon your scores.
11. Interview Preparation
UPSC Interview or Personality test is the last piece in the jigsaw. Here the academics won’t be enough to qualify the round. At this stage, your pressure handling, diplomatic skills, and many other skills will be tested. And to tackle this round, you need to develop a great personality.
12. Healthy Body and Mind
Above all, eat and sleep well because a healthy mind and body are required to do any of the things discussed above.
Mentally prepare yourself. “How badly do you want it” ask this question to yourselves before beginning the journey and make your goal and path clear, or else you might someday end up at a place where you require additional external motivation or push to keep on going forward and that is not good. When you have hunger, it will keep you motivated to march towards your goal because it was rightly said that “where there is will there is a way.”
These were some preparation tips for the UPSC aspirants. Hope this article was helpful and it adds value to your knowledge.