IAS exam preparation is mostly considered as an expensive affair and many IAS aspirants have a proper savings plan before going for IAS preparation. But it should be mentioned that in the same scenario, there are aspirants (mainly students from a disadvantaged family) who clear this exam with nominal monetary resources.
In the following article, we have tried to devise a working strategy for the students who can’t afford the expenses of living in Delhi or joining IAS coaching etc.
Study at home
During the IAS preparation, living expenses in a new metropolitan city (Delhi or Bangalore) are the biggest expenditure. Moreover, adjusting to the lifestyle of a new city and adapting to the schedules of the coaching centres is very difficult to work if the students have never studied outside home town. The hefty fee of IAS coaching is not a factor for students studying from home.
The second most important factor is managing the food and amenities which is a task in itself. Then the other things like laundry, water and electricity bill and what not. Therefore, it is advised to make your room as the best place to study and work hard in the comfort of your home. The one and only responsibility of the IAS aspirant at home is to study well. Moreover, all the moral support which is needed during this stressful IAS preparation is available from family and friends in the hometown.
Go digital in all forms
E- Learning is a blessing for all the students who can’t afford the expenses of Delhi. Going online for all your queries and problems should be your priority and maintained digital notes should also be adapted to long term learning. For this type of learning all you need are a good laptop or tablet and an average speed internet connection. Ever note, e-notes and easy notes are some few platforms that should be vividly used by students to comprehensively consolidate the study material and make crisp notes.
There is no specific prerequisite for starting the IAS preparation, but one must be familiar and well informed about the content and the syllabus to cover. This will help you understand the subjects better and hence reducing your mental burden.
Newspaper: cheapest and most effective source
The most frequently asked questions during the self-study is how to arrange the vast, expensive study material both notes and books. To this question, it is suggestive to prefer newspapers and the government magazines which are a cheap and efficient source and get in the habit of reading on your laptop as much as possible. The newspaper is available in every corner of the country and hence maintains a level playing field for all students preparing from anywhere in the country.
Buy only NCERTS or standard books:
Books and study material should be always limited irrespective of money available as many IAS toppers have also suggested many times that IAS aspirants should repeat and revise the same limited books again and again.
To move in the right direction, you can select a standard book for each topic or subject rather than referring to multiple books for each topic. This will not only save your time but will help you get the right guidance. Although many books are available online in pdf format, still if the student has to buy then they should invest on NCERTs and one standard for core social science subjects like Laxmikant for Indian polity, D.R Kullar for Indian geography, Dutt and Sundaram for the Indian economy. If the students are comfortable to read digitally than even NCERTS are available on the e-pathshala platform.
Online portals should be the priority platform
IAS aspirants 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.
There are also several YouTube channels and lecture series which are free of cost available to the students, which can be easily availed by the IAS aspirants. Every student has their unique strengths and weaknesses and hence students should select they're the course which is suited to them rather than blindly going with the crowd to a coaching centre. In a nutshell, an aspirant is himself the creator of his/her IAS Preparation on online stage.
Make a good study group
Find people who are in your situation or in your organisation with them to utilise that time for discussion and you will have time to chill with friends who are serious about the IAS exam.
To make it easy on your own on the eve of an examination, making notes of the topics is undoubtedly a wise move. This will solve two purposes- one, it will give you an insight on the topics as you’ll go through the syllabus and two, it will save a good amount of time during the exam as you’ll not have to refer again and again to the same thing.
It is truly said that you require smart hard work to crack the IAS. If seen from a large horizon, it does not where and how you studied as far as you clear the UPSC civil service exam. In the recent years, many IAS toppers have revealed that they preferred studying at home and on digital platforms rather than the traditional paper approach. Many IAS toppers have posted their notes on Evernote and PDFs which shows that they also referred to the study material online and made notes at the same time.
IAS aspirants should definitely adopt self-study methods if they are preparing for IAS exam with limited monetary resources. While doing self study students should manage your time effectively, be disciplined, do selective reading, take mock, tests, have a good mix of books and self-made notes, make short notes and mind maps on a regular basis, use memory techniques that speed up your learning and most importantly believe that they can do it with limited money.