IAS Preparation without Coaching

The growing popularity and craze of civil services examination have led to the establishment as well as propagation of a few myths.

Created On: Dec 24, 2015 15:38 IST
Modified On: Dec 28, 2015 13:07 IST

The growing popularity and craze of civil services examination have led to the establishment as well as propagation of a few myths. The most common among these is the myth about coaching classes. Today, the first that a candidate beginning its IAS exam preparation thinks about is joining a reputed coaching class in order to crack this much-coveted examination. The hype around the IAS coaching classes is so strong that many candidates have started considering it an imperative requirement to clear the civil services examination. Especially in cities like Delhi, which is considered to be the Mecca of IAS preparation, coaching classes have sprung up in every nook and corner of the city attracting aspirants from across the country.

IAS coaching institutes certainly do help students in their preparation process, especially for students who are just starting out. But it is not possible for all IAS aspirants to be able to afford IAS coaching classes. If you are one such student, worry not! IAS coaching is not mandatory to clear the civil services examination. Every year many aspirants clear the IAS exam without any help from coaching institutes, which should give you enough confidence to attempt the same.

Although, joining an IAS institute remains a personal choice, if you are planning to attempt the IAS examination without coaching or are unable to afford coaching facilities; the following points should help to craft an effective IAS preparation strategy.

Self Study

Despite the tall claims put forth by the IAS coaching institutes, the majority of aspirants clear the civil services examination due to self study. Coaching classes can provide information, guidance and understanding, but at the end of the day, it all comes down to self-study for the aspirants. Until and unless you are able to teach yourself the things you need to study, you will never be able to truly master the subjects.

One of the most common problems faced by the IAS aspirants studying through coaching classes is of the pace of study. In order to cover a maximum number of topics and concepts in the given time, the majority of coaching classes are known to rush through the syllabus without actually giving heed to student’s ability to grasp it. However, in the case of self-study you can adjust the pace of study as and when required depending upon the requirements.

Hard Work & Smart Work

Hard work is the second most important factor that is going to help you prepare for IAS examination without coaching classes. However, in addition to this, you will also need to exhibit smart work to be able to prepare well for the IAS examination on your own. As far as studying without coaching classes is concerned, you should not only look at completing the entire syllabus prescribed for the respective subjects, but also point out important topics and sub-topics that are likely to attract the most number of questions in the final examination. The most common way of doing so is by screening the previous year question papers and mapping questions according to topics. This will help you draft a priority graph for different subjects and topics that you should focus upon.

While the majority of students today depend upon IAS study material provided by coaching classes, it may not work in your favour in the long term. In order to develop a deeper understanding about different concepts and topics, you should try and prepare your notes that are written in a manner that is easy for you to understand. Such self-prepared notes will help you study these topics at a glance.


The civil services examination is the toughest examination in the world and it deserves the respect and attention accordingly. Therefore, half-hearted or haphazard approach to the IAS examination is not going to help you in any way. IAS exam preparation requires tremendous commitment from the aspirants in order to be able to prepare well. Commitment includes following tough and rigorous daily time schedule, achieving prescribed study goals for the day/week/month, self-evaluating your preparation and making adjustments if necessary and most of all keep yourself motivated to study despite all the odds.

Many have argued that the students who enrol for coaching institutes have some degree of advantage. This is because they have to compulsorily sit and attend the classes. However, such forced commitment is not going to help them crack the exam.


The last and probably the most important thing that every IAS aspirants should possess is confidence. However, this becomes, even more, important for aspirants who are not planning to join any IAS coaching centres. IAS aspirants need to exhibit confidence not only in their ability to crack the much-coveted examination but also in the plan and strategy they have designed to do so. Confidence will help aspirants in keeping a positive frame of mind and avoid negativity that will directly affect their preparation process.

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