- September 7, 2021
Indian Administrative Service is a dream job for many Indians, but very few have the patience and dedication to achieve it. Some might call it sheer luck. But we like to call it hours of committed studies, determination, and hard work. The position comes with a lot of attractions that draw people to become IAS aspirants at a certain point in life. Some of them might deviate their paths during the journey while others will stick to their IAS dream until they reach their destination. How to crack IAS still doesn’t have a written method, but aspirants can choose from the millions of tips their successors adopted during their preparations to be successful. Charles Cornwallis is known as the father of Indian Civil service. The concept of civil servants came into existence way back when the British were ruling India. And when years passed, the same system with timely modifications got carried forward, and it is what we see as the present IAS. The primary responsibilities of an IAS officer are to collect the revenue, to act as court officials, to maintain law and order, and many more.
In the present day, many institutions are giving strict training for IAS aspirants. They help their students to crack the ultimate mystery – how to prepare for IAS. The task might sometimes be tedious if not planned carefully and systematically. Students should cover every portion of the syllabus to answer the questions sensibly. The syllabus is vast, and some of it gets upgraded now and then. Current affairs is a consistently upgraded subject in IAS. Being aware of the happenings around us and across the globe might come handy during the exam as well the interview happening once the aspirant gets qualified in the preliminary as well as the main examinations.
How to start preparing for IAS is the biggest question that may come to anyone’s mind once they get a seed of inspiration to step into the paths of IAS aspirants. There are many institutions in India to give organized training for students. There are many factors to be considered while preparing for the exam as well as the interview. Proper time management, attending the mock test, choosing the right books for reference are some of the fundamental factors to be set right during the preparation. Just understanding the surface and ignoring the in-depth study will not turn out well when it comes to IAS. A deep understanding of every subject is mandatory for the preparation and to be successful with your ventures. The aspirants have to clear two examinations and an interview which will be evaluated strictly to clear the exams.
Basics of IAS (Syllabus)
Every examination is starting with learning. Don’t just misapprehend the learning as reading. As much as we are reading, that doesn’t mean that it will remain in our minds. Getting practical knowledge with the help of experts will be the suggested method to crack an exam like Civil Service. But all over that, what is essential is aspirants need to learn with a strategic method. And those strategies will be the solution for the questions like how to prepare for IAS without coaching. Every aspirant is looking at how to start preparing for IAS, but they aren’t familiar with the strategic planning and method of learning. All training institutes are trying to burn the spark in the minds of aspirants with ideas to reach their dream destination.
First of all, the aspirants need to understand and realize the UPSC exam for Civil Services is not just an examination like any other exams. It is having strict preparation methods and syllabus. One has to learn the IAS syllabus to understand the UPSC test. This allows minimizing unnecessary effort such as reading irrelevant articles leading to a time-loss and makes them compliant with the priorities of UPSC from day one. There is a prevailing UPSC syllabus development for services such as the Indian Administrative Service, the Indian Foreign Service, the Indian Police Service, the Indian Revenue Service (Customs and Central Excise), to name a few. However, various levels of the IAS exam have separate syllabi. The UPSC Prelims’ syllabus focuses on general and social information that is tested by objective type (MCQ) questions. As this phase comprises nine theory papers, the UPSC Mains syllabus is much more comprehensive.
The All India Examination is carried out in three steps, namely the Preliminary, Main Examination, and the Interview. An aspirant can learn the important topics listed in the IAS Exam Syllabus and proceed in the direction of his / her preparation. The Key exam includes nine sets of papers out of which two are qualifying language papers. UPSC conducting mainly 3 phases of examinations
Phase 1: Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination- Objective Type
Phase 2: Civil Services (Mains) Examination- Descriptive Type
Phase 3: Personal Interview- Personality Test
The Preliminary examination consists of two papers of objective type, each containing 200 marks (a total of 400 marks) and having a duration of two hours. In Phase 1 Prelims, it comprises two components.
- General Studies (200 Marks)
- CSAT – Civil Service Aptitude Test (200 Marks)
The first paper of the preliminary examination is General Studies evaluation. The goal of this examination is to test the general knowledge of a candidate on a wide range of topics including Indian Polity, Geography, History, Indian Economy, Science and Technology, Environment and Ecology, Foreign Relations, and related current UPSC matters.
Syllabus for General Studies (Prelims Paper 1)
Events of current national and international interest.
Indian history including the Indian National Movement
Indian Constitution, Constitutional Structures, Panchayati Raj, Right Problems, Public Policy, etc.
Economic and social growth-Sustainable growth, education, equality, employment, programs in the social sector, etc.
General Environmental Ecology, Biodiversity, and Climate Change problems, which do not require specialization in the subject.
Syllabus for CSAT
Logical and analytical reasoning
Problem-solving and decision making
Basics of numeracy such as number relations, orders of magnitude, and data interpretation
This UPSC Prelims syllabus for CSAT seeks to test the candidate’s ability to solve ‘Reasoning and Logical’ problems aside from ‘Reading Comprehension’ and the ‘Decision Making’ problems that are sometimes posed. In addition, the questions focused on ‘Decision Making’ are excluded from negative tests.
Phase 2 consists of the UPSC Main exam of 1750 marks. The applicants will only be authorized to write the IAS Mains after the successful qualification in the prelims test. The Mains exam extensively explores the intellectual talent of the applicant and his / her capacity to convey his / her understanding in a time-bound manner according to the requirements of the question. The Mains consists of nine papers, out of which two are 300-mark qualifying papers each.
- Any Indian Language Paper as per the candidate
- English Language Paper
Syllabus for UPSC Mains (250 Marks per paper)
Essay (any language as per candidate’s convenience)
General Studies – I (Indian Heritage & Culture, History & Geography of the World & Society)
General Studies – II (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice & International Relations)
General Studies – III (Technology, Economic Development, Biodiversity, Security & Disaster Management)
General Studies – IV (Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude)
Optional Subject – Paper I
Optional Subject – Paper II
The qualified candidates from the UPSC main exams will have to further attend the Personality Test/Interview by the board appointed by the UPSC. This interview is performed to verify and evaluate a candidate’s suitability to a Civil Service career. It is more than just an interview. It will be a healthy conversation between the board and the candidate to check the mental and analytical ability of the candidate. A total out of 2025 marks, based on which the final list will be prepared and published.
The success factor behind the UPSC Civil Service examination is a combination of good efforts and the right strategy. Every examination policy is to prepare the syllabus thoroughly, but as in the case of the Civil Service examination, you should also acquire a few valuable skills to be a good fare. When you are studying for the IAS test, always note that your aim should only be to clear the IAS and not to learn knowledge of a subject. You should prepare for knowledge while you study at university; but when you study for the IAS, you should study purely to clear up the UPSC test. This mind-set and concentration can make an immense difference in your exam planning and results.
The syllabus has divided into subjects for both prelims and mains exams. That will ease one’s IAS Exam planning. For multiple issues, the aspirant needs to follow a particular approach. This should be developed according to the subject’s existence. They need to consider their complicated or lengthy topics along with so that the aspirant can invest more time in it.
You can start to prepare for the IAS from home itself if you are strict on the needful strategies.
1. Self -Preparation
Before starting preparation for the preliminary examination, prepare your mind-set towards the journey to IAS. Every aspirant is looking for the question of how to become an IAS officer? But it needs several strategies beyond your expectations. Prepare for the exam mentally and physically before beginning the training. Set goals and successfully allocate time. If you’re working and you’ve chosen not to leave your career, evaluate how you’d invest time in analysis, and plan a strategy. With technologies such as the internet nowadays, planning and work can be balanced with ease.
2. Proper Time Table
Creating a timetable will simplify and streamline the planning. You’d work well for deadlines, and finish the syllabus quicker. A well-organized daily routine is the main characteristic of an IAS officer. You need a comfort time table for the preparation and make sure that you stick into it. This daily routine will reflect in your interviews and make you one step ahead of your companions.
A syllabus is the backbone of any exam. Without thorough knowledge in the syllabus, it will be the factor to fail in exams even if the candidate has the right expertise in the subject. Before you go into the books, learning the syllabus is the foremost thing to do. The UPSC has extensively given the syllabus for the Civil Services Preliminary and Main exam. Knowing the syllabus would encourage you to pick suitable research materials, prioritize the topics, etc.
4. Be updated with current affairs
Civil services examinations are there to measure the in-depth awareness of an aspirant about the society in which he/she remains. The questions raised in the Civil Services Examination are directly or indirectly relevant to current affairs. Among the candidates, it is a widespread misconception that they should be well aware of what is happening at the global level. Awareness regarding international events is indeed needed, but understanding one’s village, city, state, and country can be used as the basis for one’s planning.
5. Read Newspapers
How to read newspapers for IAS is a common question arising from the candidates. All need to understand that the most significant part of the IAS examination is the newspapers. The moment one fills out the civil service examination form, one is recommended to read newspapers daily. It is recommended to read English newspapers with considerable focus. After all, reading English as well as other regional language newspapers is very relevant for aspirants to the civil service exams. The idea here is more to be well educated than to learn minimal information. Hence, it is imperative to follow the relevant news items in your daily newspaper.
6. Choosing Optional
In the UPSC final tally, the optional subject accounts for 500 marks. Therefore, you can select an optional subject carefully as you have in mind, after a careful review of the pros and cons of the topics. But before you choose the subject, you should consider some factors. Because even if you are selecting the subject, you should be an extremely knowledgeable person in that particular subject. Prior knowledge in academic background, availability of coaching, and study material are few to think before you go for the optional subject.
7. Basic Concepts
Since those who seek to participate in nation-building via civil service need to know precisely what it takes to pass those tests, they should be well aware of the country and current trends. To be appropriately qualified for the tests, comprehensive knowledge of the history, community, and language of your country is a necessity. So planning doesn’t mean you’re going to be a bookworm but an aspirant with the realistic experience of his environment.
8. Referring NCERT
The NCERT textbooks in school days are playing a significant role in IAS exam preparation. By referring properly, the aspirant will get the basic concepts and theories in all subjects. These books are very cohesive in presenting the details. Besides, they’re also accurate since the government itself is the source. UPSC has raised concerns specifically from NCERT textbooks in previous years. Therefore, NCERTs are the best books to launch your IAS preparation.
9. Make Notes
How to prepare IAS without coaching? One fundamental truth that any aspirant to civil service should know is that if one is not mentally trained and committed enough to understand a core subject, even attending coaching classes can’t be effective.
Create short notes as you go over the syllabus. This will allow you to study and understand the subjects of concerned topics. Anyone who believes that only coaching courses can provide them with helpful training tips can join. However, instead of planning for the sake of the name, it is often best to research each and every subject in-depth with proper comprehension.
10. Revision on Previous Question Papers
Solving question papers from previous years are relevant. At least five years of solved question papers are suggested to be reviewed. This sort of activity gives you an understanding of the layout of the question papers, and what types of questions in the upcoming examinations can be asked. Many sites affiliated with public services have valuable question banks at your disposal. So go ahead and make good use of them, and you’ll feel the jump that brings your personality from being vacant to being focused and optimistic. It can also allow you to understand which areas in a given topic are the most relevant. Finally, it is a thriving source of self-assessment in preparation for your IAS.
11. Writing Practice
The main exam papers are descriptive. It is focused on your analytical, critical, and communication abilities. It demands that you think with intellectual consistency and flawlessly coordinates your perceptions, beliefs, and feelings. Candidates thus have to answer the questions immediately and efficiently and in minimal words. Without appropriate writing practice, this is not feasible.
12. Personality and communication skills
The interview is one of the exam’s most significant sections. It’s essential that you specifically express your views to the interviewees. Focus on polishing your communication skills and body language, then. Candidates with little communication skills will approach useful guidance from others who have already served on the civil service examinations.
13. Mock Test
Self-assessment will help aspirant civil service understand and learn from failures, shaping the strategy they need to adopt in continuing preparation, and recognizing strengths and weaknesses. Joining the mock test series is highly recommended, mainly if you are practising from home. This will assist you in measuring yourself, and better help you.
14. Significant Government Resources
The ultimate aim when you begin the IAS goal is all about serving our nation at its best possible manner. Of course, there are many sources of government that you can rely on during your planning. Government websites such as the PIB, PRS, and national TV programs shown on Rajya Sabha TV are of great support. Make use of all the resources to acquire knowledge from the public.
15. Refer to relevant magazines
For the IAS test, magazines such as Yojana, Kurukshetra, Economic & Political Weekly, etc. are very important. They have important details on subjects such as politics, policy, agriculture, economics, etc. You will find a gist of the magazine’s Yojana, Kurukshetra, and EPW on our website.
Books for reference
The candidates must choose the right books for UPSC IAS preparation out of a multitude of research material available both online and offline. You should compile a list of the study material on the IAS after running through the syllabus. Starting with the NCERT books, since these contain material in a clear language, is a smart idea. You should move on to the advanced UPSC learning books after that.
There are two main portions of exams in IAS, Prelims, and Main. Both are having different books to refer to. Let us look for some of the useful reference books.
Books for IAS Prelims
NCERT XI, Economic Development & Policies in India, Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh
NCERT VI – X, NCERT XI & XII, World Atlas, Certificate Physical Geography
NCERT XI (Ancient & Medieval), NCERT XII (Modern Indian History), Facets of Indian Culture, India’s Struggle for Independence
NCERT XII, Current Affairs
Tata McGraw Hill CSAT Manual
CSAT II- Arihant, Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning
Books for IAS Mains
Geography [GS Paper 1]
Geography of India, World Geography by Majid Husain, World Atlas,
Certificate Physical and Human Geology, Fundamentals of Physical Geology
History, Indian Heritage & Culture
An Introduction to Indian Art part 1 Textbook in Fine Arts for Class XI,
History of medieval India, India after Independence
International Relation and Polity
Introduction to the Constitution of India by DD Basu
India’s Foreign Policy by Rajiv Sikri, Indian Polity by M. Laxmikanth
Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude for Civil Services Main Examination by Subba Rao and P.N. Roy Chaudary
How can Vedhik IAS Academy help you with IAS Preparation?
The Vedhik IAS Academy is actively guiding aspirants of the Civil Service to make and mould their careers solely on the route in examinations to the top ranks. We provide all solutions for aspirants who are looking for how to become IAS step by step. We have a great team of experienced professors and a very distinguished panel of professionals from the Civil Services Sector. We are focused on encouraging candidates to refine their intermediate skills and to boost their confidence in cracking the exams. As the most successful IAS Academy for candidates, the Vedhik IAS Academy pursuing a bright future in the Civil Service is aiming for the highest milestones by offering unique modes of education and system.
When millions of aspirants lock their horns in the Civil Services Examination, one should be special in getting ready to stand out from the crowd. Many good aspirants to the civil service claim that learning the topics of weightage at the initial level would be of great benefit.
In obtaining a successful score in the Civil Services Examination, the final stage of training plays a significant part.
The final stage of training is the last week and aspirants can leave no stone unturned to obtain a successful ranking. Both the planning techniques and holding disruptions at bay should be remembered, especially over the last week.
What you have to do is go over the syllabus and plot out an IAS research schedule. Starting early has a lot of benefits to it. You’ll have aged by your side because the age limit for IAS is going to be miles away.