UPSC Civil Services Examination is regarded as one of the most prestigious recruitment examination of India. Conducted by Union Public Service Commission, IAS Exam requires both skill and ability to crack, both Prelims and Mains Examination. This is why it is advised that the best time to start preparing for UPSC Civil Services Examination is during your time in college as it gives you ample time to strengthen your concepts.
But, preparing for IAS Examination while you are still in college is not an easy task!
Most college students, especially the ones pursuing engineering, are stuck neck-deep with college projects, assignments, tests etc. An Examination as competitive as UPSC Civil Services Examination requires atleast 4-6 hours of rigorous study during weekdays and a detailed revision plan during the weekends.
To explain students on How to Prepare for UPSC Civil Services Examination while in college, here is a Concise Exam Preparation Strategy and Tips to Crack IAS Prelims 2016.
Preparation Guide to Crack UPSC Civil Services Examination for College Students
For any type of examination, the first step always begins with getting hold of essential information related to the written paper in terms of selection pattern, exam pattern and syllabus.
Understanding UPSC IAS Examination: The Indian Civil Services Examination is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission, commonly known as UPSC. Regarded as one of the toughest recruitment exams of the country, there are 3 levels of screening for every candidate appearing in IAS Examination.
- IAS Prelims Examination (Objective MCQ based)
- IAS Mains Examination (Written Test)
- Interview/ Personality Test
So, you should begin by preparing for UPSC IAS Prelims first. Here are a few preparation tips for cracking UPSC Civil Services Examination while you are still in college.
1. Get started with NCERT Books
NCERT books are a store house of sound knowledge presented in a simplified manner and are perfect for a beginner. These books help you to build a strong foundation of complex concepts that you might study later.
We recommend you maintain a notebook by jotting down important information from every book that you read, as it will help you understand the concepts better and will also come handy at the time of revision. After you go through NCERT Books from Class VI to XII, you can move ahead to more detailed study material. After the Basic NCERT Books you can graduate to more detailed books like Laxmikanth for Indian Polity, Bipan Chandra for Pre and Post-Independence Studies etc.
2. Daily Dose of Current Affairs and News Digest
There is no alternative to a good daily dose of News, as it makes you aware of the latest happenings around you. Magazines like Manorama and GIST provide you with concise analysis of the current affairs but nothing can come close to the benefits of reading newspaper daily as it improves your writing skills which will help you to write essays eventually and also lets the topics seep in your system over a period of time with repetitive reading about the subject. The Hindu and The Indian Express are much famed newspapers for IAS aspirants.
Recommended: UPSC IAS Prelims – Solve Papers
However, it is important that you must know the correct way of reading the newspaper i.e. selectively, focusing on the topics relevant to the IAS exam and leaving the rest.
We recommend you to maintain a separate notebook for newspaper where you write important flow of news on topics of prime importance. Divide the notebook into eight categories:
- International Relations (Asia and around)
- International Relations (Americas and the world)
- Government Policies and Schemes
- International Organizations
- Social Issues
- Economic Policies
This will help you keep a close track on latest happenings and to memorize them effortlessly.
3. Developing your own UNIQUE Style of Preparation
While it is all exciting to study for such a prestigious exam as the IAS, you should never overlook your responsibility towards your graduation period. UPSC appreciates good graduation grade. Your knowledge of your graduation subject can also come handy in the interview round. Clear focus in graduation course material can also help you make a fair choice for your optional subject.
To enhance your grasp over multiple concepts, you can read the following articles on how to prepare for Indian History, Polity, Economy, Ecology, Geography and Science and Technology.
- IAS Prelims 2016 – How to Prepare for Indian History: Read
- IAS Prelims 2016 – How to Prepare for Indian Polity: Read
- IAS Prelims 2016 – How to Prepare for Indian Economy: Read
- IAS Prelims 2016 – How to Prepare for Ecology and Biodiversity: Read
- IAS Prelims 2016 – How to Prepare for Science and Technology: Read
- IAS Prelims 2016 – How to Prepare for Geography: Read
Just the thought of preparing for IAS or sometimes even peer pressure may lead you into jumping at all the syllabus at once. You need to understand that such practice will only confuse you and discourage actual learning for the exam. Avoid multi-tasking and pick one subject at a time, giving it your complete focus and understanding. Multi-tasking with subjects can also destroy your concentration and lead to a below average result.
4. Selecting an Optional Subject
According to the exam pattern of the exam, you are required to choose an optional subject only for the main exam. College is the right time to decide what subject you want to choose as your optional subject for the mains.
Most students first check if their graduation/ post-graduation subject is offered as an optional subject in the mains. If so, then again they are free to choose their own graduation subject or any other depending on their interest. Here is a list of criteria for selecting optional subject:
- While you study for the GS paper (Prelims), you get a fair idea about your interest and understanding and this can help you choose a subject of your choice.
- After you shortlist a subject, you can go through previous year questions of that subject and make up your mind about it.
- When you start writing essays you will come to know about the writing style and thinking pattern required for a particular optional subject.
- Availability of study material and other resources is also a factor that determines the optional you choose.
- Weightage of an Optional subject in the GS paper can be another factor affecting your choice.
In Conclusion, as a College Student, you must realize that preparation for IAS exam is a lengthy and layered process which requires hard work and perseverance. While now is the right time to start studying for your goal of civil services, you must not lose motivation in this long process. All the Best!
Let us know if you have any doubts or queries in the comments section below. All the Best for UPSC IAS Civil Services Examination 2016.
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