Becoming a civil servant, one of the most prestigious job profiles in India, is the dream of many parents and students alike. With the increasing competition in past few years many aspirant are starting their UPSC journey vary early. Every year more and more dedicated and hard working aspirants in college are the starting IAS exam preparation by joining UPSC coaching institutes in Chandigarh.
We at O2 IAS Academy believe that it never too soon to start preparing for IAS exam. Since it is a well known that an early start is always good for any journey. College going students have more energy due to their young age and have the sharpness of the student’s mind. Thus they can utilise this to clear the UPSC exam. But students have to ensure that their preparation is focused. For this they require right guidance and strategies. Since lack of proper guidance or erroneous strategy may lead to the loss of precious attempts. Thus, aspirants should never let this happen. In this blog we will discuss tips which will help aspirants looking for right guidance to prepare for UPSC exam while in college after their 12th.
If you are in college and you want to become IFS? IAS/IPS, you should know that UPSC involves three rounds of selection:
So, all aspirants have to plan according to it. During graduation while starting your preparation for UPSC following tips will aid you in your journey:
The eligibility criteria for UPSC Civil Service Exam (CSE) as per their guidelines are: 21 years and a graduation in any subject. In addition final year students can apply for IAS Prelims. But due to lack of awareness, many candidates miss out on this early opportunity. Since, they start UPSC Civil Service Exam preparation very late. This is reflected in the data which shows that the average age of candidates who make it into the final UPSC CSE rank list is 28 years.
If you start your civil service exam preparation early then you will reap many advantages. Undoubtedly aspirants who start their preparation early can clear IAS exam without losing out the joy and happiness of college life. And start their career as a young bureaucrat after clearing UPSC exam. However you need proper guidance to make your UP journey smooth and easy.
While preparing for UPSC examinations as a student you cannot prepare for this exam full time like many other aspirants who can dedicate a full year for UPSC preparation. Since the students who are preparing for both UPSC CSE and their graduation exams will have time constraints. Thus it is very crucial for you to learn the art of time management and to prioritize tasks. You should do only what is important and relevant to your UPSC journey and not waste time n frivolous things.
Next step should be to read the question papers and to understand the pattern. You should try to analyse how UPSC pre and mains questions are is different from your college/university question papers.
You should read the UPSC syllabus multiple times and be familiar with the topics and sub topics. Going through the previous year UPSC CSE question papers of pre and mains and the syllabus. This will give your preparation right direction and keep it focussed.
Then next step in your preparation should be reading basic books like NCERTs. When you read them for the first time, you should just try to understand what is being said and make yourself familiar with different subjects. Do not mark and underline or try to learn the lines word to word. Just read them once fully page to page without stressing about learning them.
For your convenience we are listing below a few books you should start with:
You can appear for UPSC Preliminary Exam only after 1-2 years, but enrolling in a mock test series early will benefit you. Attempting mocks regularly will aid in learning difficult concepts and long term retention. Mock tests will also help you in understanding the UPSC pattern of questions. In addition, you need not to worry about the marks you score. They should be taken regularly and religiously as an opportunity for learning. You may or may not get direct/ indirect questions from test series in UPSC exams. But their main purpose is to help you in revision and retention.
During your college years if you get free time then you should utilize the time in a constructive way. For example, you can read e-newspaper online, watch Rajya sabha or Lok sabha news and discussions online on youtube etc. Thus you should use the free time wisely by taking advantage of the free resources provided on online platforms – whether you are sitting in the library or waiting for a bus.
During your graduation year’s one of the most important skills and habits that you should cultivate is newspaper reading. If you have not been a regular follower of current affairs before this then there is no need to panic. You need not start with THE HINDU newspaper from day 1 if you are you are not yet comfortable with it.
Starting with a newspaper you cannot understand will make you feel demotivated. Thus instead you can take the baby steps first. You may start from The Times of India or The Indian express or any local newspaper. The main goal should be on understanding, getting a broader idea of an issue, whether in English or in your mother tongue.
Instead of watching sensationalised news on TV you should shift your focus to Rajya Sabha TV(The Big Picture Debate), AIR(9pm news), Doordarshan news . Start by watching any one debate from these channels and watch it regularly. This will aid your understanding of complex issues.
In addition start with issues you are comfortable with and later give importance to editorials and op-ed articles. Start with issues like gender equality or any social issue, elections in states or country, governance etc. Regularly reading news articles of your choice will build up your interest to learn further. Then you can slowly expand your reading horizons to other areas like political, international relations, economic , etc
In UPSC CSE, the art of writing is very important. As pre marks are not counted while making the final list. Only mains exams and interview marks are considered while declaration of results. College going students have ample amount of time to practise answer writing and to hone their analytical skills. Regularly writing essays and answers will slowly build up your acumen and analytical skills.
Thus during your preparation you must focus on this aspect of UPSC examination if you wish to score a rank in top 200.
While preparing for UPSC CSE along with graduation you need not stop all chit-chat. We recognize that long conversations, debates and at times healthy gossip are all part of college life. But at the same time you should avoid wasting too much time on frivolous gossip. It is advisable to develop a small friend’s circle of like minded individuals. What we mean by like minded is people who are as dedicated, focussed and hard working as you are and, with whom you can discuss current issues and have an informative discussion
We believe that peer learning is one of the most essential aspects that aid many aspirants in IAS exam. Thus it is important to build groups right from the college.
We strongly recommend finishing the optional subject during semester breaks during college. Then after wrapping up your optional paper you can concentrate whole heartedly on General Studies (GS) and current affairs after graduation.
The role of a mentor is a pivotal one during any journey. This stands true for UPSC journey as well. During your UPSC CSE preparation at various stages you will require a source of inspiration/guidance. During you preparation find out if there are any IAS officers whom you can approach (your college alumni or your family friend/relative) or any teacher who can guide you through. List out various potential coaching institutes in your area and after scrutiny join the institute that you find the best. Joining a UPSC coaching institute in Chandigarh will provide you with best quality study material, guidance and mentorship for all stages of your UPSC journey.
We hope that these tips will help you. These were our views and opinions on Top Tips for Students to Prepare for IAS Exam while in College. What are your thoughts and inputs or queries on this topic? Comment below and share your views with us. We would be happy to assist you in your UPSC preparation battles and answer your queries.