Becoming an IAS is a dream come true for any UPSC aspirant but one must know exact way and methods to achieve such a goal. Dedication, Consistency and Hard work are the ultimate keys to crack the most difficult exam of the country. To realise this dream one should know how to go for the preparation.
1) Pattern of the Exam:
The Examination shall comprise of two compulsory Papers of 200 marks each.
(i) Both the question papers are of the objective type (multiple choice questions).
(ii) The General Studies Paper-II of the Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination is a qualifying paper with minimum qualifying marks fixed at 33%.
The mains Examination comprises of written exams. The written examination consist of 9 papers; all subjective in nature.
Candidates obtaining minimum qualifying marks in Mains Examination are eligible for the Personal Interview or Personality Test
2) Syllabus of the Exam-Preliminary
Syllabus for the preliminary Exam is being provided below:
Part A-Preliminary Examination
Paper I – (200 marks)
- Current events of national and international importance.
- History of India and Indian National Movement.
- Indian and World Geography-Physical, Social, Economic Geography of India and the World.
- Indian Polity and Governance-Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc.
- Economic and Social Development-Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector Initiatives, etc.
- General issues on Environmental ecology, Bio-diversity and Climate Change – that do not require subject specialization.
- General Science.
Paper II-(200 marks)
- Interpersonal skills including communication skills;
- Logical reasoning and analytical ability;
- Decision making and problem solving;
- General mental ability;
- Basic numeracy (numbers and their relations, orders of magnitude, etc.) (Class X level)
3) How to prepare for general studies
*Reading any of National Daily everyday is mandatory for a UPSC aspirant preferably THE HINDU
*Do Subscribe to PIB (Press Information Bureau) as it will help you with major policies and schemes of various ministries
Try making notes of national news, international news, and science and technology and editorial section daily for a year (For instance you aim for CSE 2019 then you should start making notes from January 2018). This will help you throughout your examination. It will be handy for prelims, give you an overview of previous year’s current affairs at a glance for mains and will remain with you for the interview as well.
For the preparation of General studies or otherwise, called as the Preliminary test you need to actually cover everything present under the sun. You have to master a number of subjects and areas, to qualify this and reach up to mains Examination.
There are 100 questions to be answered in two hours, each question carries two marks. It means there will be around 80 seconds to answer each question. So speed and accuracy is essential to tackle this examination. While the correct answer will fetch 2 marks, a wrong answer means a loss of 0.66 marks.
4) Syllabus for Mains Examination
- Qualifying papers on Indian languages and English
- Paper 1: Essay
- Paper 2: General Studies-I: Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society.
- Paper 3: General Studies- II: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations.
- Paper 4: General Studies-III: Technology, Economic Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management
- Paper 5: General Studies- IV: Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude
- Paper 6 and Paper 7: Optional Subjects Paper 1 and paper 2
5) How to prepare for Mains Examination
It can be divided into Ancient Indian History, Medieval Indian History and Modern Indian History. Most of the questions in Preliminary Test come from Modern India and Art and Culture. Therefore one must focus on Struggle for independence and Art and Culture part.
To begin with, start reading NCERTs of Class 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th
For further details and better understanding one must refer to:
- Bipin Chandra for modern Indian History and
- Satish Chandra for medieval Indian History and
- Indian Art and Culture by Nitin Singhania
From UPSC perspective Indian Geography as well as World Geography has to be understood well.
Indian Geography can be divided into:
- Soil and types of soil in India
- Human Geography
- Economic Geography
World Geography includes understanding of Maps and major relief features of the world
Cramming up things doesn’t work here. Logical reasoning is required to answer questions asked in Mains as they check your application of concept and not direct definitions from the text.
- To begin with start reading NCERTs of Class 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th
Once you are through with geography, topics like Environment and Disaster Management becomes very easy for you.
A number of questions have been asked from this section also. Here reading topics as the table of content goes is not necessary. You can begin with any of the topics to develop your interest. Like, Fundamental Rights and Duties can be started even before reading Making of the Indian Constitution
- D.Basu and
- Wizard Polity
These are preferred books for reading and understanding polity. It covers everything that has been asked in the exam. Current topics and news on bills, amendments, and policies must be followed, since the questions asked are static as well as dynamic in nature.
This subject may seem very difficult in the beginning. However economics is the only field where you get some relief from cramming up stuff. A lot of logical reasoning is required. Mind it prior knowledge of economics is not mandatory for UPSC.
NCERTs of class 11th and 12th only Macroeconomics
- Budget of the current financial year and
- Economic Survey of current as well as previous financial year is to be studied well.
- India’s Year Book
Make quick and handy notes of budget from Prime Minister’s as well as President’s speech in the Joint Session in Parliament. It gives you a brief idea about all the prevalent schemes and upcoming schemes of the Government.
Economic Survey tells you about rationale behind every policy decision, comparative analysis, important welfare schemes and roadmap for the future of the Indian Economy.
Science and Technology:
For scoring well in Science and technology basics are to be cleared first. Questions asked from this topic check your analytical ability. A lot of questions hold relevance because the event is happening around us. They are asked from recent development and researches going on around the world. Here conceptual knowledge is required to be applied along with latest developments in Science, to answer the questions.
- ICSE books from class 7th to 10th gives you a very basic understanding
- GS Manuals (any publisher)
- Follow Ministry of Science and Technology for regular updates and Science and technology Section of The Hindu.
Environment is a topic most of aspirants get confused with. It doesn’t have a study material which can be thought of as concrete or complete in itself. Ever since Indian Forest Services has been included in the Civil Services Prelims it can’t be overlooked by aspirants because of the increased weightage.
- Shankar IAS Environment Book
- India’s Year Book
- Annual Reports from website: Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
Since past two years number of questions asked from Current affairs has increased. Daily notes of Science Technology section and Economy section of the National Daily preferably The Hindu is necessary.
- Yojana Magazine
- The Hindu
- Do practice previous year question papers so that your time is not wasted on surfing internet for type of questions asked.
- Reading from a large number of sources doesn’t create a difference. What is important is read from a single trusted source but read it a number of times i.e. till the time you become comfortable with the topic.
- Consistency is required. Revise everything that you study because if you don’t, then it somehow skips from your mind.