Tips to prepare for Civil Services Exam while in college

With increasing competition and lesser job opportunities, youth in India have developed a closer inclination towards government jobs. For all the obvious reasons, government jobs are a coveted dream in India and the aspirants initiate their preparation from a very early stage. In fact, commencing preparation for the Civil Services Examination at an early stage, like the initial college years, is always in the best regards for serious students, who wish to leave no stone unturned. But to move ahead with the preparation in the right direction, proper guidance is a must! For the willing students, Chanakya IAS Academy has been a lending hand for the past 25 years, and we continue to do so, with all our might. So, if you are also a dedicated aspirant, and looking for some serious direction on preparing for India’s toughest exam from the very start of your graduation, you must read ahead.

  1. Early years are precious – This is a golden period to start off your preparation for Civil Services Exam! Utilise your graduation years with an effective study plan and for doing so you don’t necessarily need to sacrifice your campus fun and thrill. Rather, if you are sure of your graduation subject and have studied UPSC’s syllabus for the Civil Services Exam, you can simply plan a practical time-table to suit all your needs, in accord with your campus timings.
  2. Make the specialized stream of your graduation you strength to take forward as optional in Civil Services Exam – Though, it completely depends upon you whether you want to choose your specialized stream as your optional in Civil Services or not, as most of the candidates do while many don’t. So it is completely your choice. But in case you choose, for eg, you are doing graduation with Arts, or economics honours, or engineering or any other stream, you can use it as your strength in Civil Services by choosing the subject as your optional (If you have sound interest in the subject). In this case, try to do simultaneous preparation. Go through the syllabus and understand what all can be asked in optional and try to cover it simultaneously while covering your graduation subjects.
  3. Cover other GS subjects simultaneously – The way you cover the optional subject, similarly you can cover other GS subject simultaneously during your graduation if you have similar subjects. Like if you are doing graduation in Arts; then subjects like Geography, History, English, and Political science can be covered simultaneously. Similarly, if you are pursuing graduation with computer technical subjects, science & tech and subjects like these can be covered. And if you stream is entirely different, do prepare a timetable and give at least 4 to 5 hours every day to dedicatedly prepare for Civil Services Exam.
  4. Time Management is the key – As per UPSC’s guidelines, a candidate must at least be a graduate to attempt the Civil Services Exam, and hence giving your best to the same is a must. But then, unlike other exams, preparation for the Civil Services Exam also demands sincere attention. Here, time management will help you balance between both. Prioritise your time and focus on what is most important. A thorough understanding of UPSC’s syllabus for Civil Services Examination will help you focus in the right direction here!

To do so, during the graduation years, you will get to spare some good time post-college hours which can be utilised for taking up lengthy subjects. While your free moments like the ‘on the way to college’ time and those quick ‘in-between the classes’ time, take up news updates, read from your notes or simply talk to people, on topics of National & International Importance. Listen to toppers video’s, read their blogs and all the saved links that require a quick glance to go.

  1. Limit your study material – With an extensive syllabus to be completed at hand, you must limit the books and other reference material to only the most recommended ones. You will already have enough books to study for the graduation papers, and thus, refer only to the books referred by a true guide, could be an academy or a trusted source or a successful candidate. Start off with the basic NCERT’s for Civil Services Exam, and authors like Bipin Chandra book for History, Ramesh Singh for Economics and Laxmikant for the Polity.

#Important – As mentioned about, for subjects that are same for your graduation papers and the civil services exam, you can club your books and other study material, as per the relevance of the topics.

#Do not skip current affairs – Reading newspapers, magazines and other authentic sources of current affairs is a must for every Civil Services aspirant. Come what may, your encounter with daily current affairs should not be compromised on any grounds.

  1. Enrol for the Mock Tests – A good preparation can be perfected with constant ground checks of where you stand, after a certain point. Here, in this case, you will be attempting the actual exams in a year or two (or maybe three) but enrolling for Mock Tests will help you understand where you have reached, after a certain time in preparation. With Mock Tests, you always have ease of attempting the same, at your convenience (while also balancing your college classes), and get a strong hold on the current trend of questions asked in the Civil Services examination.

Click here to know more about Chanakya’s Prelims Test Series with answer evaluation by experts.

  1. Answer writing is a must – For time-bound papers like the Civil Services Exam, writing speed and clarity is something, an aspirant should master in the preparation phase itself. And graduation is the best period to excel in effective answer writing. Make sure, you make hand-made notes for each subject that you study during the college lectures and try to develop a decent writing speed. Also, focus on polishing the clarity of your handwriting so that at a later stage you can focus on writing effective answers and everything else is already in place.
  2. Indulge in discussions and debates – Intelligent discussions and meaningful debates are a must for an IAS aspirant. You must involve yourself in discussions with insightful people, like the peer, teachers and other senior people who can speak to you on important social topics. Such discussions not just help in broadening your horizon towards the topic, but also develop flair at understanding situations in different perspectives. You can talk about current issues, important happenings or even simple topics from your syllabus.

How to go about the preparation?

  • First and foremost, go through the entire syllabus well
  • Secondly, Begin with NCERTS to make a stronger foundation and keep it an integrated preparation
  • Take one by one subject, from difficult to the easier ones. Although, to make flow, in the beginning, try to take up 1-2 easier subjects and cover them and then slowly move to the difficult subject and try to cover them
  • Once you complete the NCERTs as per the given syllabus, then go for standard books
  • Practice answer writing as much as possible
  • Watch videos of past successful candidates
  • Simultaneously, keep a good tab on current affairs, read Newspaper every day, cover current affairs booklet which you will get online, read India Year Book, Economic Survey, Yojana Magazine and such other important things to keep you updated.
  • The start reading previous year question papers, as this is most important which will help you understand the exam pattern and will direct your preparation in the right direction.
  • Take mock tests
  • Take Mock interview

And you are done; all you need is just managing the time well!

Just simply make the best use of your time!



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