This article has been written with the intention to help students to prepare for the IAS examination in the best possible way. There is about the best strategy for UPSC/IAS examination. It all depends upon the students but still, there are certain habits and steps which every serious aspirant follows or should follow.
First Step: Undoubtedly the first step of strategy for UPSC examination is one which every aspirant who want to prepare for UPSC, have to follow is to start reading Newspaper. A newspaper study is an integral part of the Civil Services examination. Either you are in graduation or a job when you have made your mind for this examination then start reading a newspaper as soon as possible. Reading a newspaper on a regular basis will raise your awareness level.
Second Step: The Second step for this examination which every aspirant should follow is to read NCERT Books. NCERT is the core of this examination. NCERT Books will give you a fundamental understanding of a subject matter. In some subjects, NCERT books are most helpful like History, Geography, Polity, Environment, and Ecology.
If you are in graduation then read NCERT books from class VI to XII.
And if you are already graduated or are in a job then read NCERT of Class XI and XII. But if you find it difficult to understand then you can go for lower-class books.
Reading NCERT books will give you a good amount of knowledge about various subjects. You must read NCERT books at least 2 to 3 times before joining any coaching institute or reading other sources of matter
Third Step: the Third step of strategy for UPSC examination is that your preparation should be to cover the Optional Subject in a comprehensive way. Reading newspaper and NCERT books will help you to decide about the Optional Subject. The optional Subject is very critical in deciding your final selection. Chose your Optional Subject very carefully. Prepare your optional subject before applying for the Civil Services Examination (in February). You can prepare yourself or with the help of a coaching institute.
Finish your optional subject before joining any institute for General Studies.
Fourth Step: The next step you should follow is to start preparation for General Studies. For the preparation of General Studies, you can either chose the Self-study/ Offline / Online /Postal Course of a Coaching Class.
To know about some of the best coaching institutes.
1. Best coaching institute in India: Offline Classroom
2. Best Coaching Institute in India: Online Classroom
3. Best Coaching Institute in India: Postal Course
Chose any good coaching class or material for your preparation.
Fifth Step: This is the last and most important step of the strategy to prepare for the UPSC examination, which will decide your performance in the examination. Practice the previous year question papers as well as Mock tests before appearing for the final examination.
Solve at least five years Previous year question papers.
Practice as many Mock Test as possible: At least 30 Mock Tests(for Prelims)
Practice will sharp your knowledge, help in revision, help in covering all left topics, helps you to develop various methods of solving questions like guessing, elimination method.
For Mains Examination also join any good institute as well as takes the help of a question bank. Mains answer writing practice will help you to write the answer as per the demand of the question. It will improve your writing speed as well as presentation.
Apart from these steps, there are certain habits that sincere aspirants should develop to crack this examination.
1. Write short notes and Review of every topic which you have studied.
2. Revise notes on a regular basis.
3. Try to co-relate with real-world whatever you have studied.
4. Analyze or think critically about the topic which you have studied.
5. Be realistic, do not write a utopian answer to the question.
Is it possible to crack UPSC without coaching?
It is very much possible to crack the IAS examination without joining a coaching institute. If you follow four schedules rigorously then you can crack this examination without a coaching institute. For peer pressure and motivation, you can make a group of civil service aspirants that will also help in Group Discussion.
Syllabus and Previous year question papers should be your sole guide. Complete your syllabus and whatever you study to try to solve previous year questions related to that topic. If you are able to solve these questions then your preparation is on track.
During your preparation, you can take the help of any good study material. That could be either of coaching institute or others. Read NCERT Books at least 3 times. Read newspapers regularly and write a review on an issue that has been covered in the newspaper.
But the problem with most of us is that we are not able to follow our schedule without the pressure that’s why most of the students opt for a coaching institute. There is nothing wrong with joining any good coaching institute if possible.
Remember coaching institute also provide very limited help to the students.
Why you should join a coaching institute for IAS examination?
There is certain help which good coaching is able to provide.
2. Peer Pressure : Coaching institute provide an competitive environment. Where you able to know where you stand in competition.
3. Schedule Maintaining: Since during coaching class you have to follow a schedule, that will help you to maintain overall schedule of your preparation.
4. Understanding Concept: Coaching institute will help you understand basic concepts in the least effort.
5. Practice: Any good coaching institute will conduct a test on a regular basis that will help you to practice answer writing and Mock tests for Prelims.
Disadvantages of a Coaching institute?
There are some disadvantages to a coaching institute that harm students’ performance in the examination. You can minimize these negative impacts if you will be aware of that.
1. It makes you the part of the herd: Since any good coaching institutes have a number of students in the 1000’s. And all are getting the same content and methodology. In such a scenario you will have not to edge over others which are must in competition. So do some extra effort and develop your own ideas and methods.
2. Schedule: Till the time you will attend a coaching institute you will have to make your schedule as per the schedule of Coaching. It will give very little freedom to make your own study plan. For some students, it becomes very problematic.
3. Inhibit Development of Thinking Ability: Since coaching institutes provide a ready-made solution to every problem and question which inhibits students to develop their own solutions. So in a sense, it prevents the development of thinking ability.
4. Loss of Time and Money: Since you have to pay a hefty fee to these coaching classes. If the coaching institute does not suit your requirements them all the time and money will go in vain.
Since IAS examination is all about innovative and indigenous thinking and analytical ability. If you will focus on critical thinking on every information which has been provided to you will help you to develop your own thought and opinion. So always try to add something extra and innovative in every topic.
Is IAS Examination is tough?
UPSC Civil Services Examination is considered as one of the toughest examinations of the world. This is so because of some factors:
1. Number and type of applicant.
3. Types of questions being asked.
The number of applicants: It is around one million which is ever-increasing for 1000 seats approx. So out of 1000 candidates, one has to get selected. This ratio makes this competition very difficult. Apart from that, the candidates who apply for this job are one of the best brains of this country from a different academic background.
Syllabus: Syllabus of this examination is equal to the combination of three graduation papers even more. Which makes it tedious to complete the syllabus (comprehend and memorize the basic facts).
Types of questions being asked and marking Pattern: The types of questions being asked are new, innovative and analytical. During the prelims examination, objective questions are no possible to answer if you do not have conceptual clarity.
During mains, questions are asked which will make you relate theoretical knowledge with the real world.
Marks are awarded based on the innovative and realistic solutions provided by students. UPSC marking pattern in mains discourages the students to write the bookish language.
But still, some students are able to crack this examination in very first attempt due to their hard work and better strategy.
Summary of Strategy for UPSC examination
- Start reading the newspaper at least six months before joining the Coaching Institute.
- Read relevant NCERT books before joining the Coaching that will help you to better understand in the coaching class. It will also save your time to give more attention to current affairs and practice answer writing.
- Give special attention to Optional Subject: Complete Optional subject at least three months before writing Prelims.
- Make answer writing practice as an integral part of your preparation.
- Revise your notes on a regular basis.
If you will follow these steps then definitely able to crack this exam in the first attempt or two.
The strategy you will make depends upon your current situation as well as your Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, Threat (SWOT). You should always keep in mind while making a strategy that keeps enough time for revision as well as practice.
To appear in the IAS examination a candidate must have a graduation degree.
Current affairs are important in the IAS examination at every step. Prelims, Mains and Interview.