Best Tips for Civil Service Aspirants to Crack IAS

May 15, 2024
civil service aspirants

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To crack the Civil Services Examination and achieve the prestigious Indian Administrative Service (IAS) demands a strategic and disciplined approach. Aspiring to be an IAS officer requires more than just academic prowess; it demands a comprehensive understanding of diverse subjects, effective time management, and an unwavering commitment to public service. 

The Civil Services Examination is renowned for its rigorous selection process, encompassing multiple stages such as the Preliminary, Main, and Interview rounds.To navigate this challenging path successfully, aspirants must cultivate a holistic approach that includes a deep understanding of current affairs, effective writing skills, and the ability to analyse complex issues. 

UPSC conducts its examination in three primary stages – Preliminary, Mains, and Interview. The exam is conducted to fill the vacancy for IAS, IFS, IPS, IRS, and several other government posts. This journey is not just about acquiring knowledge but also about honing critical thinking skills and developing a well-rounded personality.

This guide provides invaluable tips to equip civil service aspirants with the tools necessary to surmount the challenges and emerge victorious in the pursuit of an esteemed career in the Indian Administrative Service.

Steps for UPSC Preparation After 12th

Here are a few steps for civil service aspirants who want to know how to become an IAS officer after 12th.

STEP 1: Go Through Syllabus and Eligibility

Eligibility for UPSC Exam

  • Aspirants must be a graduate or in the final year of graduation and must be a citizen of India.
  • Candidate age should be minimum of 21 years and a maximum of 32 years (Gen), 35 years (OBC) and 37 years (SC, ST, PWD).
  • The attempt in the civil service exam is 6 (Gen), 9 (OBC & PwD) and unlimited for other SC & ST.

UPSC Syllabus for Civil Service Aspirants

There are three stages that civil services aspirants need to clear. Civil service aspirants can choose optional subjects depending on their interest to prepare for the main exam.

Let’s look at each stage briefly.

  • Preliminary Examination

It is conducted every year in June and the result comes in August. The exam consists of two exams: General Studies and CSAT, totalling 400 marks. The duration of each exam is 2 hours. The exam language offered for the exam is English & Hindi. Candidate has to score a minimum of 33% to be eligible for Mains.

  • Mains

This takes place in October every year and the result comes in January. Also, the main exam is of 9 subjective exams of 1750 marks with 3 hours duration each.

Exam 1- Indian Language

Exam 2- English

Exam 3- Essay Writing

Exam 4- General Studies – 1

Exam 5- General Studies – 2

Exam 6- General Studies – 3

Exam 7- General Studies – 4

Exam 8- Optional Paper 1

Exam 9- Optional Paper 2

  • Interview

The final stage is the personal interview. It is held in March at UPSC Bhavan in New Delhi & the final results come in May. After that, the training starts in September. The interviews test the personality, mental ability, etc.

STEP 2: Gather Study Material

After aspirants have gone through the syllabus they can start collecting the study material. The examination is very competitive and time-consuming and hence civil service aspirants must gather all the right study material to save time and prepare well.

They can collect notes from current affairs and NCERT books. NCERT covers a lot of subjects like political science, history, economics, mathematics, geography etc.

STEP 3: Make Notes

Once civil service aspirants collect all the study material, it is better to start making notes of all the subjects and their sub-topics. Making short notes in advance helps in quick revision and also saves time by skipping unimportant chapters.

STEP 4: Make a Timetable

The timetable is very important before starting the preparation. While preparing for the UPSC civil services exam a proper routine must be set. A timetable may include how much time to devote to each subject. The most important part that needs to be included in the timetable is the break time. Good sleep also helps in increasing memory power. So don’t forget to get a good amount of sleep.

STEP 5: Start Preparation

After the study material is collected, the timetable is prepared, now students can start preparing for the exam. Since the UPSC syllabus is lengthy, the students must start focusing and preparing for the exam after the 12th. While IAS preparation, civil service aspirants can also give other government exams after 12th.

Do’s & Don’ts of UPSC Preparation After 12th

Here are some dos and don’ts that civil services aspirants need to keep in mind while preparing for UPSC after 12th.

 Gather all study materials  Start preparing before going through the syllabus 
 Take notes of important topics  Prepare without gathering study materials 
 Make a proper study routine  Miss out on short or unimportant notes
 Study from previous years’ question papers  Not taking breaks between study
 Solve mock tests  Starting preparation late
 Take out time for revision  Not managing time properly
 Take rest  Not being updated with the changing syllabus or exam pattern 

Important Tips for Civil Services Examination

  • Civil Services aspirants must have a proper goal before starting the exam preparation.
  • You should collect all the information about the exam pattern, and syllabus to make a study plan.
  • Make a study timetable and routine.
  • Always stay updated with current events and make a habit of reading current affairs.
  • Also, it is advised to study from NCERT books from classes 6th to 12th. You can also take the help of other reference books.
  • Prepare from previous years’ question papers and also give mock tests.
  • You can also check various online and offline coaching.
  • Keep checking the latest IAS exam notification.
  • Stay updated with government policies, schemes etc.
  • Revise at the last minute.
  • Be positive and patient.

Earning Opportunity for Civil Service Aspirants

Civil service aspirants can work as subject experts at Chegg to strengthen their knowledge of various domains. You can choose subjects like business, engineering, science, mathematics, health care, earth science, etc. As a subject expert, you have to solve the queries of the students. With the easy selection process, you can earn a good amount of money for each query you solve, all while sitting at home.

A Part-time Job that Pays like Full-time

UPSC After 12th – Summary

Once civil services aspirants have decided to appear for UPSC, they should start preparing right after their 12th class. They can choose any stream from the science stream, commerce stream or arts stream as per their interest in 12th.

IAS preparation requires a lot of patience and dedication. Without a proper routine and study timetable, it will become difficult to crack the exam.

The candidates can also choose the subject of humanities in graduation or the subjects in which they wish to appear for the mains examination.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What should I study for the civil service exam?

Ans. There are a lot of optional subjects in UPSC that civil service aspirants can choose from. Whether you are from an art background, science background, or commerce stream, you can choose any subject as per your interest and depending on the difficulty level of each subject.

Some of the subjects are:

  • Agriculture
  • Civil Engineering
  • Economics
  • Geography
  • History
  • Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Sanskrit
  • Law
  • Mathematics
  • Management
  • Medical
  • Statistics
  • Zoology

Q2. Is 1 year enough to prepare for IAS?

Ans. If you start UPSC preparation after 12th then you can easily prepare for the exam in less time. With a proper study timetable and dedication, you can crack the IAS exam in one year.

You can easily cover half the syllabus while keeping yourself updated about important policies, schemes and current affairs. And the second part of the syllabus can be completed by choosing the best option subjects in which you have in-depth knowledge.

Q3. What is the first step to preparing for IAS?

Ans. The first step to prepare for the UPSC exam is to go through the entire syllabus. Understanding the syllabus for the exam helps civil service aspirants to collect the right material.

Once you have read the syllabus, start focusing on collecting the study material instead of starting the preparation directly. This will save you a lot of time during your final IAS preparation.

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