To include this special part in our series of UPSC Civil Services Strategy, we intend to help all those working professionals-cum civil service aspirants who are seeking a guidance exclusively made for them.
We consider all those students as working professionals as well, who are currently busy in their post-graduation or PhD or any other kind of higher studies as they all have a busy schedule same as any working professional.
Many of you may be working either in government sector or in private sector. But all of you are experiencing almost the same kind of dilemma in your life. Your current job is not satisfying your prospects or aspirations and you all are dreaming of that magic apple which you find beyond your reach.
We are aware of the fact that you will have a very limited time at hand when it comes to preparing for the IAS exam after a long day at work. Time constraint is the single most or can say one & only tough hurdle every working guy faces.
At first sight, it seems hard to manage both job & exam at the same time but it can be made manageable by arranging the scattered moments of your daily routine. It’s the skill of time management, which immensely helps you in your entire preparation phase of exam and beyond.
Besides time constraints, there are some responsibilities always there which collectively make your journey quite tough. You have social occasions like party, wedding, cremation ceremonies etc. social or personal responsibilities like wife/husband and/or babies (if you are married), parents, relatives, etc. and professional responsibilities like target completion, company’s expectations etc.
All these responsibilities will persist all over your life and there never exists any scope for preparation of CSE. You must snatch the opportunity or create one.
The most important question, striking every working professional’s mind, is that ‘Is it possible to crack Civil Services Exam while doing job?’.
The answer is ‘YES’
It is not our self-proclaimed conclusion but it is evident from the previous years’ results that many working aspirants could manage to crack civil services while doing their job.
So, how can it be possible?
The answer is ‘Planning, Constant Guidance & Your Determination’
“One decision can change your life.”
It is not any dramatic dialogue only happens in unreal world. We firmly believe that your only one decision can really transform your life, sifting you from your current desk to India’s most prestigious post- IAS.
But this decision expects from you a firm determination- the determination to stick to your decision & the determination to overcome any kind of hurdles challenging you at successive stages of your preparation.
We like to quote here the slok of Bhagavat Gita:
(A confused mind leads to his own destruction)
Now be ready to read a strategy to pacify your anxious mind but only on one condition. If you believe that the below plan will work, it will definitely work. But if you have any doubt over the very basic fact: ‘it is possible to crack Civil Services Exam while doing job?’, you will never ever crack the exam while doing your job.
Arrangements before starting the preparation:
- Stick a copy of syllabus of Prelims & Mains on your soft board and read it at least one time a day. The reason for this practice is that the more you acquaint with topics and sub-topics of the syllabus, the better and the smarter your preparation would be.
- Prepare a complete roadmap of your preparation. Keep in mind below principles while preparing a strategy.
- Your planning should have an integrated approach of Prelims & Mains.
- Start your preparation with Mains as very few topics of Prelims have to be prepared exclusively. i.e. Ancient & Medieval History and General Science.
- Make a plan on two distinctive pillars. (i) What would you do before Prelims and (ii) What would you do between Prelims and Mains.
- Prepare a chart of milestones by splitting your plan. You should have monthly, weekly and daily milestones. On completing every milestone on their predefined timeframe, your confidence level will start increasing. This is the most necessary element for competitive and quite lengthy examination like Civil Services.
- If you have given any attempt in past, you should use your experiences here. Find out any loopholes or weak links of your preparation that led you to single or multiple failures.——
- Take a rational decision over the selection of your Optional subject. Right selection of Optional subject makes possible to a great extent your selection in final list. We have already discussed about the selection of Optional subject in our previous part. Click here.
- Avoid collection of too many books or resources on a single subject. Buy only appropriate books or study resources. Our previous parts of Strategy help you in selection of right choice of books or study resources.
- Save time on purchase of Newspapers or Magazines on daily basis. You should subscribe their e-copy and avoid wasting time on their physical purchase.
During the preparation:
- Try to wake up early morning (3:45 AM) and complete more than one half of your reading before going to your job.
- Spend every minute of your preparation with concentration and focus. The more you be conscious, the better your result would be.
- If you want to make notes, remember few things:
- You can use online tools to make notes
- When you are reading a book, you can try sticky notes or make notes by simply underlining or highlighting the important things.
- Never try to make a detailed notes like a full-time aspirant as you have a time-constraint.
- Approach to the examination is the most important element for guys like you who are running short of time and who don’t have extra time on trial and error. So, be precise in selection of books. Don’t feel panic on seeing other aspirants’ reference books or resources. Believe in yourself and your strategy.
- Be selected and focused while reading any subject. Find and understand concepts, strengthen your fundamentals by revise them multiple times and avoid mugging up details.
- ‘Should we read a newspaper?’- This is the most complex question for every working or regular aspirant. Reading newspaper is compulsory for everyone. But keeping in mind time-constraint of a working aspirant, it’s sometimes hard to manage reading newspaper or any single magazine. To solve this problem, IASToppers is running various initiatives free-of cost targeting current affairs for Prelims, Mains and Interview. Various initiatives include:
- Current Affairs Analysis (Daily Initiative): It covers wide range of newspapers viz. The Hindu (most important for Civil Services aspirant), Press Information Bureau (PIB), Indian Express, Times of India, Business Standard, LiveMint, Economic Times, etc. We are covering all important news/current events and also its analysis important from the point of view of Civil Services Examination. You just need to follow this on daily basis. If you still feel guilty of not reading newspaper on yourself, we suggest you to read only those news or current issues left to be covered by us but felt important by you. However, we assure you of our coverage of this initiative.
- Editorial Notes (Daily Initiative): Importance of editorial reading is immense for your preparation. Under this initiative, we are providing on daily basis two or three editorials by simplifying and also analyzing its content. This is also a free initiative. The initiative is highly beneficial for Mains GS, Essay and Interview.
- Mains Articles (Almost Daily): Questions asked in Mains examination are based on important current issues. To fulfill this requirement, we pick up an important current issue on almost daily basis and give you a detailed analysis in more lucid language.
- Prelims MCQs (Daily): We are giving 5-10 MCQs on current affairs on daily basis, highly important for Preliminary Examination. Practice them on daily basis.
- Mains 2017 Writing Competition: It is a state-of the art platform for all serious aspirants to improve as well as sharpen their edge of writing skills. It is completely free initiative. It will remove your fear of writing and gives confidence over time.
- Flash Card (Almost Daily): UPSC Civil Services Examination demands a fundamental clarity of concepts. To fulfil this core objective, our Flash Card initiative is aimed to provide you fundamental concepts, which help you to revise your subjects intensively. Under this initiative, we cover wide range of concepts picking from all subjects of Prelims GS Paper-1 like History, Geography, Environment, Polity, Economy, General Science and Current Affairs. It helps to make complete your preparation. It is a revision-friendly tool. It is a premium content of IASToppers. You can check its content quality and coverage by clicking here.
Motive of these initiatives:
We are providing all important current issues by covering every possible diverse source of references. You just need to keep pace with all these initiatives and revise them periodically.]
Three-pronged Strategy to Clear Prelims in one go
Every year lakhs of aspirants appear for Preliminary examination and few thousands can clear it and become eligible for Mains. Your all preparation goes in vain if you are unable to clear the first stage of the examination. So, Prelims exam is the first challenge in your journey towards your dream destination. You must it happen at any cost.
We here introduce a three-pronged strategy to crack Prelims in one go.
- Conceptual clarity
- Practice lots of MCQs
- Revision, Revision and Re-revision
By considering the above three stages of Prelims strategy, IASToppers design its programme “Target IAS Topper 2017”.
Under this programme, we’ll give you a detailed schedule (Micro-Planning). This detailed schedule has four uniquely-crafted layers. Each layer targets every facet of your preparation.
- First, build your fundamentals with tests on NCERTs, ICSE, CCRT, and TN Board Books
- Second, enhance your understanding with tests on standard reference books.
- Third, sharpen your edges and remove your weaknesses with Section-wise mock tests and finally
- Fourth, practice the real time test papers before actual UPSC exam with full mock-length tests.
Under this programme, we are providing 32 Exclusive Tests of Prelims GS Paper-1 (each 100 questions) with detailed explanation. One more striking feature is that all these tests are available in English & Hindi Medium (Just like actual UPSC paper)
Apart from above micro-planning and 32 Bilingual Tests, this programme also provides an analysis of Economic Survey, summary of India Year Book 2017, monthly compilation of Current Affairs Analysis and Editorial Notes, and the last but not the least Flash Cards (2000+ Current and Conventional).
For more information about the programme, click here.
4-stages Strategy to secure a rank
Below four stages of our strategy helps you to secure a rank in the examination. These four stages show that in what manner you should prioritize your subjects of Mains examination.
First Stage: Optional subject
Out of 1750 marks of Mains written examination, your Optional subject covers 500 Marks. Generally, toppers score in the range of 275-325. So, we suggest you to focus on your Optional subject intensively and prepare to score as much as 300. This will be the game-changing strategy for you as it was the case for many toppers in the past years.
Second Stage: Essay & Ethics
Next, you should focus to score more in two papers of Mains i.e. Essay and G.S. Paper-4 ‘Ethics & Integrity’. For ethics paper, you can easily score in the range of 110-140 marks out of total 250 marks. This range of marks demands simply a clarity of concepts and their answer writing practice. You can easily score above range of marks with minimal efforts. For Essay paper, you just need to make stronger your General Studies preparation. You should religiously follow our every initiative targeting General Studies. At the end, you should practice by writing as many essays as possible.
Third Stage: GS Paper-1
General Studies Paper 1 of Mains is almost conventional in nature. It has many topics directly related to Prelims GS Paper-1 topics. So, prepare them by connecting Prelims and Mains topics. Here, you should score more than 100 marks in this paper. [We know how difficult this target is, but you should make it your targeted score and prepare accordingly.]
Fourth Stage: GS Paper-2 & 3
Lastly, the remaining papers of Mains i.e. General Studies Paper-2 and Paper-3 are almost current in nature. You just trust us for these papers. Religiously follow our every initiative and take part in answer writing competition (Daily initiative) on daily basis. Just follow this strategy and you can score more than 90 marks in each paper. [Again, we agree this is a difficult task, but you should make it your targeted score and prepare accordingly.]
We are happy to help you.
At IASToppers, we are running a Discussion Forum exclusively for serious aspirants. You can join forum and raise questions, answer questions & see other comments or start your own discussion.
You can get your query answered by any of us. Don’t feel alone. We are with you.
Click here to access Discussion Forum.
In this article, we hope we are successful to give all a working aspirant seeks. Before doing anything further, we suggest you to re-read whole article and then make strategy to your success.
Be confident and believe in yourself and your hardwork.
Best of Luck…