“If you have the belief to choose your road to change the world;
If you have the courage to stay on it;
If you have the firm conviction to surmount the rough stretches;
If you do…..
You will begin to see that road begins to follow you”
The above lines are for those who aspire to be a transformer and changers and for many, IAS is that dream career path through which they can achieve the goal. It is a rare chance for any individual to change the destiny of people and to bring sea-change in their lives. An IAS can do that. It is the highest platform for the policy formulation and implementation which will impact millions of lives. If that “change the world spirit” is in you, you will surely do whatever it takes, to achieve your dream. This dream is different from all your dreams as it needs a continuous nourishment, encouragement and a self drive to overcome lacunaes and shortcomings. The job of an IAS officer is totally different from a normal (10-5) job, and so does its preparation and challenges.
The requirement and demand of the exam can be summed up in quotes of Darwin: “ It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent but the one most responsive to change.” Preparation for change is achieved only when one is prepared for change. So this preparation of change is attained through hard work, perseverance and with some ingredient called smart work.
- There is no substitute for hard work and consistency.Consistency is the vital requirement which will provide the edge in the long run. . However, if it is equipped with right guidance at right time and proper planning , success is certain. Many students study harder but without the right strategy for each stage of exam.Notes making, revising, answer writing, selection of sources all of which forms a part of a successful result.
- First of all , one should have complete understanding of the plan , pattern and scheme of the exam. Read the document with its real and intended meaning. Example: UPSC in 2014 notification changed the word essay to essays. In the essay paper of 2014, multiple essays had to be attempted while previously there was single essay.
- Ideally your preparation should start at least 1 year prior to Preliminary exam ( conducted every year in JUNE ) . Integrated preparation i.e. pre- cum- main would be the most suitable . If you join any institute then foundation course should be given top priority .
- Along with the preparation you must refer , as often as possible , to the prescribed syllabus and previous years’ question papers for both prelims as well as main exam . Syllabus should be assimilated in your mind as it will help you to co-relate while reading any new source and will provide you with better analysing sense. Interaction with seniors / mentoring by institute will be of immense help . Such exercise will empower you with changing trend and pattern of the examination .
- Keeping syllabus and pattern in mind , you can begin with NCERTs ( 6 – 10 std) . It will make a good foundation . Gradually one can move to the recommended books / newspapers / websites .
- Selection of optional subject is very crucial and decisive in the preparation of civil service examination . Its importance has been further enhanced in the new pattern where only one optional subject is to be taken . So , students are advised to take decision after ample brainstorming . In this regard counseling sessions conducted by our institute will be very fruitful especially for the beginners . However , main guiding factors for the selection of subject should be short syllabus , high scoring potentiality , add-on advantages . easy to understand , availability of good guidance , etc .
- Study hours of 6-7 hrs daily is ideally suitable and should be undertaken without any excuse .
- Another area of great importance is number of revisions and writing practice ( by writing practice it does not mean simply making notes , rather , it is solving previous years’ questions / writing test series – getting evaluated by concerned teacher and finally working on the feedback given by your teacher ) .
- There is tendency among aspirants to collect notes as much as possible . However , it is of no use. Rather , one should focus on recommended books / notes , understanding & revising . As Buddha says: “ All that we are is the result of what we have thought”. Our aim should be to raise our knowledge and our thinking as per the requisite of the exam. You should be conscious and aware of every event that occurs around you, and link it with the syllabus. Contemplating on the issue will certainly give you an edge in terms of opinions and analysis which will eventually reflect in your answers in mains and interview. Your time distribution of (Reading:Writing: Contemplation) ratio should be 50: 30:20 .
And finally, this exam is all about the right and positive attitude. Always remember this statement as you will require it throughout your preparation.
“If you think you can, you can. If you think you can’t, you won’t. But in both ways you are right” – Henry Ford
First attempt is the golden attempt . Never take it in a casual / unprepared manner .