Top 5 points that need to be considered before starting IAS Preparation

IAS Preparation is a long term process. It is a long term affair of more than one year and it requires full dedication and constant motivation. To maintain constant motivation for such a long time, it is very important that the objective behind the IAS preparation is rock solid and internalized by the IAS aspirant.

Created On: Feb 8, 2017 13:32 IST
Modified On: Feb 14, 2017 14:28 IST

To become an IAS officer is the ultimate aim of the dedicated IAS aspirant. So before starting the IAS preparation, the IAS aspirants should understand the overall responsibilites and powers of an IAS Officer. IAS preparation involves a lot of dedication, commitment, time and risk. Considering the meagre 0.1% success rate vis-a-vis the number of candidates appearing in the exam, it becomes utmost vital to do cautious and meticulous planning. Therefore, before the IAS aspirant jumps into this massive preparation, he/she has to keep following things in her mind.

What are the powers of IAS Officer

IAS officers are the working organs of this country. The political executive, who are temporary in nature, are totally dependent upon this permanent executive. The whole country is governed, administered, served and taken care of by these officers only. Therefore, as the famous saying goes, these much responsibility also attach a lot of power to IAS officers. Some broad powers of an IAS Officer are:

  • Collection of revenue and function as Courts in revenue matters;
  • Maintenance of law and order;
  • Function as Executive Magistrate;
  • Function as Chief Development Officer (CDO)/District Development Commissioner;
  • Supervision of implementation of policies of State Government and Central Government;
  • Supervision of expenditure of public funds as per norms of financial propriety;

What will you do after becoming IAS Officer

"कर्मणये वाधिकारस्ते मां फलेषु कदाचन । मां कर्मफलहेतुर्भू: मांते संङगोस्त्वकर्मणि" ।।

This famous verse of Geeta aptly describes this situation. One needs to pay attention to the duty and the work and must be devoted to it rather than thinking about the positive fruits that shall come out of the work. Most of the aspirants are busy dreaming about the way she would utilize their power and status. A lot of time goes wasted chalking out the plans how to serve the nation, how to set the things right in the system and so on.

An ideal aspirant must not pay much attention to envision her life and work after being selected in Civil Services Examination. One should stick to the current preparation and live in the present. Thinking beyond a broad work ethos and professional ethics may hamper an aspirant's chance.

The motivation behind the IAS Preparation

A spark in life is very necessary to change the track and to initiate something substantial. Preparing for the civil services generally does not fit automatically to someone's academic plan. One has to have some goading, urge, motivation and spark to get in to IAS preparation. Though, such motivation is very personal in nature, but most commons can be enlisted as follows:

  • Parents themselves are civil servants and they want their wards to follow their career path.
  • Someone in the family or relative has been successful in recent times
  • Some friend or senior from the college or school cleared the exam which attracted one's attention
  • Aspirant got to hear some topper or met with a charismatic successful candidate.
  • Observing the plight of society, corruption in public offices, distress of marginal groups etc.
  • Monotonicity of the present work, unstable career, uncertainty of the future etc.

However, this list is not exhaustive and as mentioned above, it may vary from an individual to another.

What is the main reason behind your preparation

Any of the motivation mentioned above may surely spur the CSE preparation. However, to continue it with the same zeal and enthusiasm, one must find the true reason behind starting the preparation for CSE. The main reason behind one's preparation would be derived from the motivation, but it will also be attached to other factors. It is the some total of all the considerations, pros & cons, risks involved and the viability that the rational reason to prepare for the CSE gets evident.

An aspirant's main reason should not be confined to following:

  • Preparing for the CSE examination alleviates one's status in the society. It should be kept in the mind that success in this examination brings laurels not mere preparation
  • Since someone' s  relative or a friend is preparing she should also prepare
  • Prepare for CSE examination as there is nothing else to do.
  • Start preparing as your parents asked you to.
  • Prepare for CSE examination as it will help in attaining success in other government competitive examinations

Approach to IAS syllabus

Civil Service Examination is known for its enormous wide range of questions covering gargantuan syllabi. The syllabi spans from humanities to science, from current affairs to government's reports and from analysis to enlisting facts. In light of these, it becomes imperative for an aspirant to meticulously plan the strategies and the ways to deal with vast such syllabi. Following can be some of the ways to cover/approach the syllabi of CSE preparation:

  • Formulating a time table
  • Setting out short-term, mid-term and long-term targets
  • Starting with the most basic textbooks
  • Repetitive revision and note making
  • Less number of books for the same subject and more number of revision
  • Attempting a test or evaluation from the previous year's question paper once a topic or unit has been completed.
  • Emphasis and thrust should be on mastering the topic rather than completing the syllabus
  • Mixing the two or more subjects in a day to do away with the monotonicity

However, approaching the syllabus, an aspirant should be well aware of following three vital points.

One’s strong points

Everyone has the skill or ability, she feels adroit in. Such skills must be harnessed to optimum in order to perform efficiently. Some of the examples of such strong points can be good and fast handwriting, ability to retain facts, figures and concepts easily and quickly, quick learner, ability to present things crisp and concise and so on. Further enhancing it will go a long way helping an aspirant attain success in civil services examination.

One’s weak points

Similar to strong points, having the weak points are inevitable for an individual. Such weaknesses capable of destabilizing the CSE preparation must be curtailed in order to cover the syllabus and have strong preparation. Some examples of weal points can be addiction to bad habits consuming a lot of time, poor & slow handwriting, habit of excessive notes making, lack of consistency etc. It should be imperative for an aspirant to peter out such deficiencies in order to march on the path of success.

How to overcome the weaknesses

There can not be a definite formula to overcome any sort of weakness. It totally varies from an individual to another and from a weakness to another. However, some of the measures to overcome weaknesses can be following:

  • Having strong will power
  • Constantly reminding oneself of the motivation and true reason of CSE preparation
  • Persistent zeal to become successful

What can be the best suited time table

This again varies from individual to individual and from time of the preparation vis-a-vis the examination time. Every individual cannot have same waking up time, same level of concentration, same grasping power, same hobbies and so on. Therefore, the time table must be customized for every individual. However, following are some of the caveats one should keep in mind while preparing time table:

  • One sitting should not be more than 1.5 hours
  • Ample time should be given to pursue one's hobbies, playing, exercise etc.
  • There should not be any compromise with optimum sleeping
  • A realistic and rational time table is imperative to religiously follow and stick to it. For example, one should not indicate 16 hours for the daily study.
  • Anything between 8-10 hours is enough for year round study and 11-12 hours when the examination is in the vicinity
  • Some free time should be allotted after every study sitting for light leisure activities

What is the backup plan if not succeeded

Preparing for the CSE is a "High Risk High Reward" game. Attaining success in this exam after massive preparation is happy ending. However, things most often don’t go as per the plan and majority of the aspirants working very hard for CSE preparation have to face disappointment as they do not make it to the final list even after exhausting all of their attempts. Anyone may have to face such situation and therefore, it is prudent for everyone to have a sense of Plan B to arrange her career in unfortunate case of failure in this examination. One has to keep in mind that inability to attain success in the particular exam isn't the end of life, but merely end of an exam.

With a new hope and optimism, one should start working for alternate career path. However, it will be injustice to summarize the backup plan for everyone, as each individual in unequal with different sets of aspirations, different mindset, different enthusiasm, different priorities and different background. One should however always keep in mind that her knowledge has only been broadened up and enhanced in the recent past.

However, some common backup plan has been suggested below in light of the discussion in the paragraph above

  • There are other prestigious government competitive examinations, whose syllabus are very similar to that of CSE. With enormous knowledge and analytical power, an IAS aspirant may find it easier to sail through other exams compared to other candidates.
  • One should make endeavors to continue the profession, she was involved before start preparing for CSE
  • In case of professional degree and without substantial work experience, one should explore her own core field
  • There exists many coaching institutes valuing the people acquainted well with the processes of civil services examination
  • These institutes offer many positions ranging from content developer to faculty paying heftily and appropriately
  • One can also join NGOs working for the welfare of the country at large thereby realizing their dream of serving the nation.

The list is again not exhaustive and will depend upon the potential, caliber, background etc. of the candidate.

IAS preparation is a fruitful endeavour. If successful, one can become the IAS Officer, but if not still he is a changed man with whole lot of new ideas, changed perception about  the government policies and a man of deep understanding of the Ideas that is called India.

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