Are there any short-cuts to become an IAS Officer?
There is only one way to become an IAS officer, and it can be assumed to be the shortest as well as the longest. Civil Services examination conducted by Union Public Service Commission is considered to be the ultimate test of one’s abilities hence a very unique, dedicated, and persistent effort is needed to crack it. Apart from consistent and rigorous sessions of studies, it is equally pertinent to have positive frame of mind, self-belief, zeal, commitment, and attitude to be an IAS officer.
The most important and basic needs are consistency, honesty, dedication, and commitment towards studies. The preparation for IAS examination cannot be compared to the studies for college and university examinations. IAS preparation requires round the year studies; which majority of students avoid. Though the syllabus of IAS examination is defined, it’s not limited in range.
Even the UPSC wants a prospective IAS officer to be well-versed with general happenings. In other words, UPSC wants an IAS officer to be a “Specialist Generalist”. In light of these, consistency in studies round the year is of paramount importance. Apart from the basic text books, analysis of news, policies, and public policies must be done on daily basis, failing which a huge amount of information would accumulate in a single week.
Similarly, the enormous syllabi require efforts of longer hours in addition to repeated revisions. To sum up this paragraph, preparing for IAS examination is difficult to achieve in a span of few days or months. This should be done regularly, rigorously, uniformly, and persistently.
Moreover, it is the smart work, not the hard work which has scripted success in contemporary times. Similar and proportional approach is needed to define the easiest and the shortest ways to become an IAS officer.
Hard work may not be sufficient to crack this examination without the smart push. An aspirant must keep in mind that a desirable IAS officer must not be a specialist of any one subject, rather he/she must be acquainted enough to deal with almost all issues and subjects. Hence, a gentle preparation up to school level will suffice to take care of the general studies part. Moreover, even for the optional, PhD level knowledge is not mandatory.
Candidates might have devised their own shorter ways to crack the exam. However, in doing so, they already have put in lots of effort. Secondly, the method would absolutely be their own and may not cater to the preparation process in general perception. Even coaching institutes, no matter how renowned, fail to capture the pattern, trends, and expectations of UPSC. So they also teach students everything and anything. Popular advertisements claiming to customise the course within few months, guaranteed selections etc. are only commercial approach having negligible chances of reality.
In terms of duration, the examination process is too long to maintain consistent efforts. It requires iron will to constantly progress on the journey for such a long period. Even if one starts preparing for the IAS exam one year prior to the Preliminary Examination and cracks it in the very first attempt, the candidate will have to put in two years of effort to finish at the podium. Hence, in terms of time, two years can be considered to be the shortest duration.
In terms of the materials and books to be consulted, standard text books ranging from NCERT to various government reports are regarded as the least effort. Alternatively, precise, controlled, standard, and basic books play the bigger part as they deal with conceptual clarity.
Spoon feeding in the form of prepared and graspable materials should generally be avoided, as they impart superficial knowledge. Observing the previous papers, one may safely assume that majority of questions are like analytical types. Questions have been focussing more on the conceptual clarity rather than facts. These can be achieved by studying standard text books and government’s publications.
In monetary terms, you can save a good amount by avoiding too much of coaching institute’s guidance and purchasing unnecessary courseware of supporting books. One should avoid multiple books for the same topic. Practice of multiple choice questions really helps. While attending Test series, it is advisable to enrol for the mains test series as writing practice has become imperative to keep up the pace in mains examination.
However, test series for prelims can be avoided as the practice sets can be solved even at homes and answers can be matched from codes. During interview preparations, couple of mock interviews can be attended to figure out candidate’s weaknesses. Such management of resources will not prove dear to an aspirant.
It is not the shortest way which guarantees a candidate’s success; rather it is persistence. It is not the easiest way which will accomplish the goal of getting to the chair of IAS, rather it’s the smart and dedicated study blended with zeal which will facilitate a candidate to crack this examination.
The processes and ways become easy and lucid by default if an aspirant strives hard to attain success. It would not only be pretence but also a dishonest preparation if an aspirant looks out for the shortest and easiest ways to become an IAS officer. The aim and the ways are same for everyone; however, one needs to put in enormous effort to guide themselves through the standard way in order to reach the ultimate aim!