There are many students who aspire to be an IAS officer right from their college days. They are always inquisitive to know, how should they start their preparation for IAS exam keeping in view the subjects to be selected in future. Here are some tips for such our young aspirants:
Firstly you need to understand the civil services or IAS exam. You need to go through its pattern, eligibility criteria and prelims syllabus, understand it, what is it all about. As you prepare for your school or college semesters and unit tests, in the same way, you should be preparing the Civil Services Exam. Develop curiosity about it and understand what UPSC demands from its aspiring civil servants.
Always keep checking the latest trends and changes in the pattern. UPSC expects high integrity, sound judgments and good knowledge of current issues from the IAS aspirants. It does not want any rote learners. In order to avoid to rote learners, the concept of optional paper in prelims has been completely removed. Weight age of general studies paper has been increased significantly. Now there are two GS papers common to all in Prelims and four compulsory GS papers in the Mains along with one optional subject.
GS commands huge importance in prelims up to 100% and for mains 70 %. It is advisable that you should start your GS topics when in colleges. It will help you to have proper knowledge beforehand and will prove you as a benefit when you actually start your preparation. You will find the topics very familiar while preparing for an exam.
Before indulging yourself into books, you should make it a regular practice to read The Hindu or Indian Express, Times of India is not so very important. Supplement your habit with a good magazine like COMPETITION WIZARD. This habit will help you to develop an interest in current issues happening around you. Build up your General Knowledge very well and make it strong. Go on expanding your General awareness. INDIA YEAR BOOK will be very beneficial for this book.It’s language is really simple to understand, the data and facts are highly reliable and most importantly it’s trusted by UPSC paper setters since many questions are routinely asked in the Prelims from this book. Start reading NCERT books from class 6 to 12. These are basic textbooks which will give you the gist of the subject and then you can go deeper and deeper into that subject. Move step by step. Next comes the preparation for Prelims, properly focus only at this first stage as it is the first gate.You should focus on the books for prelims for your IAS preparation in the right earnest .But do not forget your school or college studies. Don’t put the burden on yourself by getting all the books. You might not have enough time to go through all the books at this time.Rather get books that you can go through in your spare time like the Oxford Student Atlas it will also help you with your Geography studies. If you want to go even deeper, get the GS manual for paper 1 and paper 2 by TMH since this is a nice and reliable compilation of all the subjects and topics for prelims. Besides it is a good source of general awareness issues; not to mention they are really fun to read.
According to the new pattern, optional subjects come only in the Mains and NOT in Prelims. If you’re still in COLLEGE then you should not think about the optional subject at this stage. Just focus on the Prelims and follow the tips given above. If you are an undergraduate or a Postgraduate student then you need to check whether you subjects has been offered as optional subjects in the UPSC Mains or not. If it is given, then again even after that you have a wide range of options. It is not necessary that who should stick to only those subjects which you have in your Graduation or in post graduation. You can also choose some other subject which you are confident about, that it will gain you good marks. Subjects of graduation class are more advisable as it is that subject for which you have already prepared and have good knowledge on it. Still the choice of an optional subject depends upon person to person. After selecting your optional subject so through its syllabus and so you can stress on the part that overlaps with the UPSC syllabus. This way you can save significant time during your actual preparation.In case if you select the subject which is totally new and you are unable to prepare it along with your college subjects and not to worry wait till the time you can devote your full concentration for it. Don’t be too fast.
After that, you can worry about selection and preparation.IAS exam and its preparation are a layered process which requires constant effort and patience to complete. You have made the right choice by selecting the civil services as your career option early on during your school or college itself. Now you need to channelize your enthusiasm and make the best use of your time by following the strategy listed in this post. This way you will get a head start over others when you appear for your first attempt.