Clearing IAS is a dream of many. Young people who dream of serving the nation have to appear for the IAS exams. Every year, millions of students apply for the examination, while only a handful can make it to the top. What makes this so challenging? IAS exam has the reputation of being called ‘the writer’s exam.’
There are a wide variety of subjects present in the syllabus with gazillions of topics to cover. To top that, there are essay type questions in the question too. Students with exceptional writing skills get some edge over others. Nonetheless, everyone has to dedicate wholehearted efforts to pass with flying colors.
If you are a college student who wants to clear IAS, there are some tips that you should keep in mind. The preparation strategy would be somewhat different as you have to dedicate time to your college curriculum and UPSC preparation.
Things to Know Before Starting Your Preparation
Candidates must be well-informed about the eligibility criteria before applying for UPSC examinations.
- Age limit: Minimum age: 21 years Maximum age:32 years, on the year of examination.
- Educational Qualifications: Graduate degree from a recognized university.
- Nationality: Candidate must be a citizen of India, or a subject of Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan settled in India before 1st January 1962.
Top 10 Tips for Your Success
- Harnessing the early bird advantage: If you are pursuing a bachelor’s degree, you have already got 3 or 4 years at hand. The more time you get, the healthier you will be in your preparations.
Starting your preparation from the beginning of your college years is a brilliant decision. This is because you don’t have the piling syllabus weighing on you months before the exam. You can start studying in a spaced-out manner without comprising the fun of college life.
- Building the habit of reading newspapers: It is vital to building a consistent habit of reading newspapers to cover the current affairs section. Indian Express & The Hindu have preferred newspapers, which UPSC toppers suggest reading. Besides, you can also read magazines that have detailed information about current affairs. Yojana, Kurukshetra, Economic, and Political Weekly are popular magazines suggested by IAS coaching institutes.
- Utilizing the semester holidays: Semester holidays are usually a month long. You can use this period to cover one or two subjects that are in your grip. You can choose to cover the syllabus of General Studies (GS) or Optional Papers during this semester gap.
Know the syllabus inside out, collect the NCERT books, and research other books you can read. Utilizing these breaks will save much time in the long run.
- Building a sustainable writing practice: It cannot be stressed enough how much writing skills are essential for clearing UPSC-CSE examinations. Multiple essay-type questions appear in the examination. It should be kept in mind that the answers should not be redundant. It should be packed with information and well-written.
Practice writing daily. Look up the previous year’s questions and practice those or join any essay writing competitions to improve your skills. Make sure your grammatical efforts on point as well.
- Time management: Since you are a college student, you have to dodge your academics and exam preparation. Make a routine that is well-spaced. You should always make time for relaxation because all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy!
Plan out your daily activities accordingly. Build a sustainable studying plan that is monotonous and stick to it. This will prove to be highly effective in the long run, not just for IAS preparation but also in life.
- Enroll yourself in a test series: There are many test series that are available online. If you have started your preparation, you can always enroll in some online test series. Pick a platform that is well-reputed and is known to many people. Practice previous year’s problems to get an idea of how the question pattern is.
You can also read the free materials provided by the various online coaching institutes. They are also very informative. You should attend a mock test series and practice, practice, practice! Chalk out which areas are weak and revise the portions again to strengthen your preparation.
- Watch topper’s interviews: Interview fro IAS toppers are insightful. They will not only provide you with tips but also instill motivation if you feel like slacking off. These videos are available on different platforms across the Internet.
Watch them from time-to-time. It will give you an idea about everyone’s perspectives on this examination. It can help you to make changes in your routine. But it is advised not to get indulged too much into these. Otherwise, it might reduce the clarity of your study plan.
- Get the right guidance: If you feel puzzled about the examination, do not worry. You are not alone. It is very likely for beginners to feel that way because it is an entirely different journey. It is normal to get confused.
But in your final year, you can opt for coaching classes in institutes or online classes for IAS preparation. They will provide you with the right material and guidance to help you more with your exam preparation.
- Choosing the optional topics: Optional topics should be chosen early because it causes a lot of dilemmas. You can choose a subject that is relatively easy and scoring. There multiple optional subjects to choose from- Zoology, Mathematics, Agriculture, Geography, Law, Public Administration, and many more to choose from. Choose the subject that suits you best.
- Build your friend circle: Choose the right set of friends that think like you. If you fall into a bad company, it will do you more harm than good. Pick friends with whom you can discuss various topics related to the examination. Peers help a lot during exam preparation. This point is very underrated.
These are some of the tips that college students should follow—wishing aspirants all the good luck. Till then, work hard and study well.