For beginners or second/ third-time candidates, there is one thing that is fundamental about civil services exam – understanding of all the requirements. Knowing who is eligible for the test and how to prepare for it can become the recipe of success. Plus, preparation for the IAS exam should always be in alignment with the test cycle set by the UPSC. To this end, given below is all the essential information an IAS aspirant may need for the examination.
- The Stages
Admission to the Civil Services is based on the clearing of three stages. Each of which generally falls on the same months as the schedule is pre-fixed.
- Preliminary: June-August
- Mains: Nov-Dec
- Interview: March-April
- The Eligibility
The criteria for eligibility to the test differ for different factions like SC/ST, General, and other quotas. The minimum to maximum age range for a candidate under the general category is 21 to 32 year. Number of attempts a general category person can give is 6.
- The Subjects
The IAS exam covers a comprehensive syllabus because it admits people into a career path that governs the nation. Some of the disciplines that need to be studied for the civil service test are:
- Indian Polity
- Current Affairs
- Indian History
- Science & Technology
These were topics that are questioned in the Prelims. For Mains, an IAS aspirant needs to have the study material on
- World History
- Indian Society
- Foreign Relations
- International Affairs
- Internal Security
- Disaster Management
The Right Time To Start IAS Preparation
1000 aspirants clear the IAS interview, the 3rd stage of the test, out of the 3000 that clear the Mains. These 3000 are selected from the 17000 students who pass the Prelims which is taken by 4.5 Lakhs people and double that number register at the start of the examination. These are statistics for a single year. The numbers prove that a competitor needs to seriously commence preparing for the exam at the right time to reach the final phase.
For some individuals, preparation for the IAS test begins when they are in 10th class. For others, it commences after they clear 12th standard or reach college. Most experts believe that studying for the test while completing graduation is the apt time. It is because with a little hard work almost 70% of the Exam syllabus can be covered during these years. The precise time to initiate civil services studying is important but more vital are the following changes:
- UPSC becomes the core of existence.
- A daily schedule is set around it.
- Milestones are created and worked upon.
- A mentor is found.
2 Routes To Studying For Civil Services
Though an aspirant can study for the exam at home, it is always recommended to attend coaching classes. The classes can be taken via the internet or offline.
- Conventional IAS Coaching:
There is no denying that the offline classes for UPSC exam can offer the best direction and mastery, especially to beginners. The coaching centre will know the exact requirements of the test and will aid you in walking the track to success. Teachers, mentors, and peers always give aspirants a competitive edge. Furthermore, queries can be solved in real time and in-depth discussion on previous years’ question papers can take place. This helps in grasping concepts and patterns in a better manner.
The disadvantage of brick and mortar IAS coaching classes is that they can weigh on the pocket and put constraints on the student. One has to cover the set distance from home to centre every day at the fixed time. Another negative aspect that can arise is misguidance if the right coaching centre is not engaged.
- Online IAS Coaching:
The other way to prepare for civil services is to register on an online IAS guidance website. These sites offer latest study materials to the student that can be learned at home at the pace the person wants. These are highly affordable options for IAS aspirants and have no issues related to time travelling. People who are working professionals or are attempting the paper a third or fourth time can benefit significantly from online classes. Such candidates don’t need constant supervision and are better off with self-preparation.
The Last Few Tips To Achieving The Goal
Being thorough with the syllabus is one factor of IAS preparation, but books alone cannot lead to success when it comes to civil services. There are a few extra efforts and steps that a candidate is required to take. Listed below are 3 tips to achieving the goal of UPSC exam and passing with flying colours.
- Reading the newspaper is mandatory. Pick up The Hindu and read it religiously. If not front to back, then at least the critical sections of it.
- Keep a diary that makes notes of all the important global events. This diary can be used at the 11th hour to revise news and General Knowledge. A trick that can be employed is to divide the news into categories like:
- Government Policies
- International Relations
- The NCERT volumes starting from standard 6 and ending at standard 10 are the books of IAS syllabus. Read them from cover to cover to get an essence of the curriculum. Once the basic concepts are crystal clear it more comfortable to delve deeper.