1. Be very particular about the subject you choose for prelims, as you will be
appearing for an objective type of paper. History, maths, geography may prove
to be very scoring. Choose subjects which have availability of books, reading
material and guidance. In recent years engineering subjects like civil and
electrical can be chosen, giving BEs and IITians an edge (yes! even here they
are giving the BAs and BScs a tough fight!)
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A D V E R T I S E M E N T
2. G.K. will definitely pay in your prelims. Reading newspapers, watching TV
news and of course quiz shows like KBC is a must.
3. If you have been lucky enough to reach the interview stage book knowledge
may not be the only thing you need. Your mental alertness will count as they
ask you questions like How many steps did you walk up to reach here? or
What is the colour of the wall behind you ? - So be prepared.
4. Enhance your personality because it will definitely be one of the criteria for
selection. For IPS physical wellbeing is of great importance, you should be
5. Improve your communication skills. IFS aspirants must be proficient in at
least one foreign language. So go ahead, have your say in this political
mess of our country and try to make it a better place.
TIPS on IAS
From Mr. Vaid of Vaid's ICS Coaching Center
It was in 1981 when I had my first encounters with UPSC through the aspirants (for IAS etc.) who sought my help to prepare for certain specific topics in GS and my parent discipline, i.e. Anthropology. Today, 13 years later, through regular interaction with the UPSC experts and students all over India, particularly at Delhi, Lucknow, Patna, Chandigarh and Hyderabad, I find myself in a favourable position to pen down my experiences and suggestions to the young aspirants.
In the early eighties, there were three (Delhi, Allahabad and Patna) major centre of UPSC related activities, while Hyderabad was coming up fast. There used to be 40 to 60 thousand contenders for the coveted posts. Today, while the number of aspirants has risen by over 200 percent, many new centres have come up in almost every state capital and many other major cities. In those days professionals did not see any merit in contention for these jobs, but recent years have witnessed a flood of such aspirants, at times sweeping the top positions in the merit list. In those days History, Sociology, Political Science etc. used to be the most popular optionals while today, many hitherto less known subjects have taken over. Besides, many states have changed their pattern of PCS examination in line with UPSC examination.
This change in the scenario, resultant of a number of factors, demands that the serious contenders to the job must adopt a more rational, more systematic strategy and approach, right from the moment they think of preparing for the civil services examination.
On the first thought of appearing in the Civil Services Examination (C.S.E.), the first issue is the selection of optionals. In a way, selection of right optionals is the most crucial step. Post-graduates in any discipline, generally prefer taking up their parent subject for Prelims. Though such selection is quite logical, aspirants with any science discipline as their base subject must ponder over the issue more seriously. Maths, Physics, Geology etc., optionals for Prelims must be opted for, only if one is out and out thorough with the subject. As UPSC ensures that 'some' candidates from every discipline must qualify for the Mains, aspirants with a science subject must judge themselves correctly regarding their own capability to be included in these 'some'. Some of the social sciences (e.g. History, Sociology and Public Administration) opted by quite a significant majority can, however, be a much safer bet, particularly for those (ordinary science graduates) who do not have any specific parent subject or for those who are not able to develop confidence in their parental subject. In either case, the formal preparation must start from the basic fundamentals, even if a person is already a post-graduate in that subject.
General Studies (GS) has to be prepared on quite a different plane because the content of this paper is too spread out and because any issue, major or minor, can be asked objectively. Traditionally, 10 + 2 level books of NCERT or any state education board had been covering a major part of the content but, these days, the items in news during the last one year or so, are being asked quite frequently. Problems are generally faced in everyday science (by the candidates with social sciences background) or in mental ability or in the fundamentals of economics. The most important aspect for the preparation of GS Prelims, therefore, is to identify the loop-holes and plug them urgently.
Many of you prepare a subject in terms of "reading" (once, twice, thrice etc.) with or without underlining the important facts. It results not only in longer time of preparation, but also many important points may skip. Also, even if you underline the highlighting points, most of you have the tendency to read the text in full while going for the subsequent readings. It is, therefore, advisable that texts must be read once and all important points (likely to be forgotten) recorded separately so that you need not study volumious texts again. This would save on your time and should result in greater efficiency.
For right approach, the preparation of Mains should start before or at least concurrent with Prelims. Just because you have to prepare for Essay, GS and the two optionals (English and a regional language, the one/two other compulsory, do not require a separate preparation) you never get enough time (to prepare for all these) after the declaration of Prelims' results. Further, while Prelims is only a screening test, it is on the basis of your performance in Mains, on which mainly depends the final outcome of your efforts. Strategically, therefore, the preparation for the examination should start about one year in advance and you should think about appearing in the Prelims only when you have had a strong grip over the Mains' subject matter.