Time isn’t the main thing. It’s the only thing! – Miles Davis
Civil Services is a coveted dream of almost every Indian. Despite the vast syllabus and toughness of the exam, the prestige and perks are an unavoidable lure and thus every year thousands of Civil Services aspirants get in to try their luck with the Civil Services Exam. While dedication is the key to crack India’s toughest Civil Services Exam, time is the only ground on which you can sow the seeds of hard work and dedication for the desired fruit!
If you too aspire to be the part of the league with India’s topmost Administrative Officers, and aiming at Civil Services Exam 2020/21, this article is for you! The article is an initiative to help you with some simple but important tips on how to utilize your day well while preparing for Civil Services Exam. As, certain rivers must be crossed only under the guidance of field experts, this time-table is devised under the inputs and guidance of past successful candidates, subject experts and Mr. AK Mishra, Founder and Chairman of Chanakya IAS Academy, who has been guiding Civil Services aspirants to success for past more than 25 years.
#Important – Before moving ahead to planning and following this time-table, ask yourself a question, ‘why did you plan to start preparing for the Civil Services Exam at first?’ Write this question on a sheet and paste it in your room, and the answer, which only you know, will be a source of constant motivation!
Here’s your Daily Time Table
Now, moving, on, it is important for you to understand how you should go about the preparation.
Understanding the syllabus – Do not just read but learn the syllabus by heart. Giving it an entire day or two won’t harm and rather will help you get a sound understanding of the exact demand of UPSC, and will help you differentiate between the topics of your strength and areas that will require much homework.
Analysis Period – After understanding the entire syllabus, it’s time to analyse your strengths and weaknesses in the given subjects. For, say that you find History, Constitution or technology as the toughest subjects (these subjects can vary as per your interest and choices), and Polity, International Relations or the Environment as the easiest ones, you must make a note of it and use this identification to allot needful time to prepare each subject, as required.
Planning the time-table – While following the suggested time-table, make sure you consider the following points.
- Integrated preparation is the key – Start with a ground approach of understanding the subjects, in depth. You will get enough time to shift your preparation to stage-specific study sessions and hence, begin with an integrated preparation strategy for both the prelims and the mains stage in the initial stage.
- Start with the basics – NCERT textbooks are a must to frame a basic understanding of the subjects. You can read NCERT’s from 6th standard onwards and make notes, as you go with each topic/subject. Switch to the standard books for Civil Services Exam preparation, only after having completed the NCERT’s. However, NCERT textbooks will guide you throughout your preparation journey!
- Selecting the Optional Subject – A strong knowledge of the syllabus and the NCERT’s will help you ascertain which optional subject will be the best and can be used as your strength. Write down on a separate sheet about your interests in the given subject and then make the best choice, for, this subject can directly safeguard a big chunk of your score in the Civil Services Exam.
- Be a news bug – Recent updates on current happenings in different sections of the society are something an aspiring Civil Servant must be well aware of; not just to crack the exam but also to understand the society from an administrator’s perspective. However, not every news is meant to be read or discussed upon. But that can be filtered as per your understanding of topics that are relevant for Civil Services. Hence, you must prepare current affairs on a daily basis, without fail.
#Tip – Makes notes and pointers for every important update. This way you will not have to get back to reading the entire story at a later stage, and only refer to the crucial pointers. Include facts, dates, numbers and important names in your pointers.
Keep a close tab on updates from the RSTV, LSTV, AIR, PIB, Current Affairs booklets that are easily available in the market. Do not forget to tune in to the 9 pm Prime time news!
- Assess your preparation – Once you have completed the NCERT’s, you can start with solving previous year papers and mock tests, along with studying from the standard books. This will help you understand the UPSC’s pattern of asking questions and rectify your weakness & strengths, well in time.
- Time to switch to the Prelims-centric preparation – By the time you will complete the Standard books, you will be close to appear for Prelims Exam for the desired year and thus it is time to switch to the Prelims-centric preparation. 3-4 months is enough time to perfect Prelims preparation! Prelims, being the objective stage, can be best prepared with the current affairs updates and Prelims-specific revision of the subjective topics from NCERT’s and other reference material.
Also, do watch toppers videos or read from their experiences as to how can you perfect your preparation for the stage. Just be focused!
- Post prelims exam – Switch to the Mains-specific preparation, right after the Prelims. This, being a subjective stage, will require a lot of focus and dedication for each and every subject/topic, and especially the ones that are tough for your understanding. Plan this phase, smartly! Optional subject must be given a good amount of time here, along with GS subject, language paper and Essay writing practice.
- Polishing the personality for the Interviews – Post Mains exam, develop and polish the pre-requisite personality traits that you will be judged upon in the Interviews, apart from the academic knowledge, like Logical Analysis, Reasoning ability, leadership qualities, humble nature, etc. Indulge into healthy group discussions, keenly read from the current affairs updates, listen to toppers videos, listen to the Mock Interviews of successful candidates and enrol in one for you, and most importantly, fill and read your DAF very carefully! Make the best of this phase, until you face the actual Interview Panel!
In the world of increasing competition and decreasing opportunities, it is an absolute necessity that one excels in each aspect of their journey to success. Having understood the essence of how you should be taking your preparation ahead, keeping these above-mentioned points in mind, designate yourself a balanced timetable that is both, goal-oriented and practical to be followed. Now is the time to put your guards up and be ready for the dream to make it come true!