Expenses incorporated while preparing for IAS are ever-increasing yet the craze for civil services is unmatched. It is surprising to see that the hefty fees of IAS coaching and disguised overhead living expenses in metro cities do not seem to discourage the IAS aspirants from coming to these exam hubs for preparation.
The major reason behind the success of all IAS agglomerate educational hubs is the long-term attractive fruits attached with the civil services. If a cost-benefit analysis is done on civil services preparation in major cities, the categorisation of expenses is done on the basis of the place (city) to study, type of guidance (coaching or without coaching) and number of attempts.
Let’s analyse the basic or the most minimal cost incurred to initiate the preparation of the most prestigious exam of the nation.
EXPENSES VARY WITH PLACE OF PREPARATION
Depending on the place or the city you choose to initiate your IAS preparation, the cost incurred will vary. For example, the expenses of common necessities like room rent, three-time meal, electricity, water supply and transportation are expensive in a metro city like New Delhi and Lucknow as compared to cities like Indore, Jaipur or Chandigarh.
The major agglomerate areas for IAS preparation in New Delhi are mostly colonies with posh localities and hence the living expenses are very high. If we take an average, a single room near the coaching centre (to compensate travelling expenses) in New Rajinder Nagar (if you are appearing in the exam in English medium) including all necessary amenities will be worth 15k plus library and internet connection charges.
On the other hand, in Mukherjee Nagar (mostly IAS Aspirants with the Hindi language as their medium) and other places, a single room with all amenities (rent plus food plus electricity plus water expenses) might be around 10k.
Meanwhile, if you decide to prepare from cities other than the capital, you might save some money like in Allahabad, Jaipur, Ahmedabad and Indore. Apart from the expenses in living in a new city, there are certain other expenses like a good coaching, transportation and extracurricular activities.
One more attractive option is to prepare from home. Many aspirants have opted for this option in the past few years as it is convenient for a student to concentrate more on studies if all the other basic facilities like food and all are taken care of. While preparing for IAS from home all an aspirant requires is a good internet connection and will to work hard.
Moreover, you can opt for online coaching which is usually cheaper than going all the way to a new city to take coaching. A good postal course, study material and a comprehensive test series all can be adapted as per the time and nature of preparation permits. In a nutshell, an aspirant is himself the creator of his/her IAS Preparation.
EXPENCES VARY WITH TYPE OF IAS COACHING (OR WITHOUT COACHING)
There are numerous coaching institutes in India for IAS examination, but very few of them provide a proper guidance and teaching of the whole syllabus of civil services. On the other hand, many of them are just passing the time and earning the money. If you are coming all the way from your home to study in a different city, it is usually because of better coaching facilities, so you would want to join a top rated coaching institute.
And if you analyse about the fee structure of all these coaching institutes then you will not find out every major course coaching demands more than 1 lakh and 50000 INR with the entire study material. And the fee structure in some other courses like the essay, test series and current affairs keeps about 40-50000 INR for the complete study.
Coaching includes the following pointers
• Complete Course for Both IAS Prelims and IAS Main Examination: 70k-1.5 lakh
• Optional subject coaching: 30k-50k
• Test series of IAS Prelims as well as mains: 10k-20k
• Separate coaching for certain courses like the essay, csat, compulsory paper of English and regional language: 10k-20k
• Some special course on current affairs and magazines: 5k-10k
The fee structure might vary from place to place, but if a range needs to be set, the whole coaching for UPSC combined with all the above relevant courses should range between 1.5 lakh to 2 lakh.
All the above expenses included are only the fee charged by the coaching institutes, it should be complemented by study material like all standard books, monthly and yearly magazines with a daily newspaper subscription, printed notes and solved papers for all subjects.
EXPENCES VARY WITH THE NO OF ATTEMPTS
The first attempt is always the best attempt. The energy and enthusiasm decrease per attempt and so do the expenses. When you are a beginner, you need more guidance as you are totally new to the concept of preparing for the toughest examination in the nation. Hence, the major expenses like living alone away from home and coaching for general studies plus optional is usually incurred in the first attempt.
By the time you reach your second attempt or third attempt, most of the aspirants choose to move back home and continue their studies from there. This time, money is spent on test series, latest current affairs material and some small course to brush up the skills before the examination. Some aspirant might also opt for some crash courses of online courses to keep their IAS preparation streamlined with the new trend. This is seen in the fourth or fifth attempt.
Although, there is no essential need to spend anything except time and hard work in the IAS preparation, but it depends on you how serious you are for preparing for UPSC. If you have a good internet facility, you don't even need coaching.
Cost-benefit analysis is there is every career, but the aspirants need to analyse whether it’s worth the pain. Irrespective of all the costs and hard times which come with the IAS Preparation journey, it does give a lot of personal satisfaction and sense of accomplishment especially if you intend to serve the people. Civil Service is an unparalleled career in the country in all aspects. The benefits outweigh all the cost.