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Tips on Starting Your IAS Preparation During Graduation

Getting ready for the IAS exam takes time and effort. Starting early with good coaching can help. Even if you’re still in college, you can begin your IAS Preparation. Decide which year you want to take the exam and start preparing from there. Break your goals into smaller tasks to tackle each day or week. Make a study schedule that’s easy to follow. Learn about important topics like Indian history and geography. This will help you build a strong foundation for the exam.

Tips on Starting Your IAS Preparation During Graduation

This guide is here to help you start preparing for the IAS exam while you’re still in college. We’ll take you through each step, from understanding what UPSC is all about to creating a daily study plan.

Familiarise yourself with UPSC Exam

First things first, you need to understand what UPSC is. UPSC, which stands for Union Public Service Commission, is the organization that conducts various exams, including the Civil Services Examination (CSE). This exam is for recruiting officers for central services like IAS, IPS, IFS, and more.

Know the UPSC Exam Dates

Once you understand UPSC, it’s important to know when the exams are. This helps you plan your preparation. The UPSC has released the exam schedule for this year 2024. The UPSC Prelims exam is set for 16 June 2024.

Understanding the UPSC Civil Services Exam Pattern

The UPSC CSE is divided into three stages, and each stage filters out candidates who don’t pass. Here are the three stages:

The prelims have two exams:
i) General Studies Paper I
ii) General Studies Paper II (CSAT)

Exam Total Marks Number of Questions Duration (Hrs)
GS Paper I 200 100 2
CSAT 200 80 2

Both papers are multiple-choice questions. Wrong answers carry negative marks. To learn more about UPSC marking and how to handle negative marks, click below.

The CSAT paper is just for qualifying, and you need to score at least 33% in it. Then your GS Paper I will be graded. The merit ranking for mains eligibility is based on a total of 200 marks from GS Paper I prelims.

If you pass the UPSC prelims, you can take the mains exam. It has 9 papers, all written. Here are the papers:

Paper A: Modern Indian Language – 300 marks (Check the list of Indian languages for UPSC Paper A here)
Paper B: English – 300 marks
Paper I: Essay – 250 marks (You can write this paper in your exam language or a language you choose.)
Paper-II: General Studies I – 250 marks (Topics: Indian Heritage and Culture, World History and Geography, Society)
Paper III: General Studies II – 250 marks (Topics: Governance, Polity, Social Justice, International Relations)
Paper IV: General Studies III – 250 marks (Topics: Technology, Economics, Biodiversity, Environment, Security, Disaster Management)
Paper V: General Studies IV – 250 marks (Topics: Ethics, Integrity, Aptitude)
Paper VI: Optional Subject Paper I – 250 marks (You can choose a subject, even if you didn’t study it in college.)
Paper VII: Optional Subject Paper II – 250 marks

The English and Indian language papers are just for passing; their marks don’t count in the total. So, the total marks for the mains exam are out of 1750.

3) UPSC Interview/Personality Test

If you pass the UPSC mains, you’ll have an interview. In this, a panel evaluates your knowledge, personality, leadership skills, clarity of expression, reasoning, awareness of social issues, and more.

Check Your Eligibility

Before you start preparing for the IAS exams, ensure you meet the eligibility criteria.

Know the UPSC Syllabus Well

To do well in the UPSC exams, it’s crucial to know the UPSC syllabus inside out. Understanding the syllabus, including its topics and sub-topics, makes up a significant portion of your preparation, nearly 20% for the Civil Services Exam.

Decide to Join an IAS Coaching Centre or self-study

Your next step is choosing between joining an IAS coaching centre or studying for the exams on your own. With the UPSC exams covering a wide array of topics, it’s wise to seek some form of guidance. You could attend classroom coaching sessions after your college hours or opt for online classes that offer expert lectures from home.

If you prefer to prepare for the IAS exams independently, you can still find valuable tips and strategies. Resources are available to help you crack the civil services exam, including preparation strategies for prelims, mains, and interviews. You’ll also find necessary resources like daily news analysis for UPSC Current Affairs and free NCERT books to support you in achieving your goal.

Make a Daily Study Schedule

Once you’ve grasped the basics of UPSC and its exams, it’s time to create a daily study plan for your IAS preparation. Balancing both college and IAS prep requires efficient time management. Plan your day, week, and month, and stick to your schedule if you’re serious about realizing your IAS aspirations.

Select Your Optional Subject

You’ll need to pick your optional subject. Since you’re in college, it’s wise to choose a subject related to your current field of study. This approach can save you time and effort since you’re already familiar with the subject matter. Make a firm decision when selecting your optional subject. If you’re still uncertain, refer to the following guide to help you choose the most suitable optional subject.

Guidelines for Choosing Optional Subject for UPSC Mains

  • Gather Essential Study Materials: Having the correct study materials is vital for your UPSC preparation. While there are many resources available, you don’t need to collect them all. Choose a few quality books and study them thoroughly. Learn more about recommended books.
  • Begin Your IAS Studies: Once you have all the necessary resources, don’t hesitate! Start studying! Fully engage yourself in your studies and strive to achieve your goal.
  • Regularly Evaluate Your Progress: Regular assessments help you understand your preparation level and make any necessary adjustments. Join an All-India Mains Test Series to give your IAS preparation a boost.

Preparing for UPSC IAS Exam While in College

Advantages of Starting Your IAS Preparation During Graduation:

  1. Your ongoing education enhances your ability to understand new concepts and study for longer hours compared to others.
  2. Choosing an optional subject aligned with your graduation field can save you time by overlapping with UPSC exam papers.
  3. College resources like free internet and access to necessary books in the library can be fully utilized.
  4. Financial support from family during your graduation reduces the financial burden faced by other IAS aspirants.
  5. You have the advantage of youth and time; make the most of it!

Points to Keep in Mind:

  • Ignore any criticism or teasing from college peers about your serious preparation.
  • Stay focused on your goal of becoming an IAS/IPS officer.
  • Maintain a checklist of short and long-term goals, and mark them off as you achieve them.
  • Take occasional breaks to refresh yourself.
  • You don’t have to sacrifice your social life to crack the UPSC exam; find a balance that suits you.
  • Feeling overwhelmed is normal; take a breather and relax during such times.

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What are the benefits of starting IAS preparation during graduation?

Starting IAS preparation during graduation helps in better grasping power, efficient use of college facilities, financial support from family, and saving time if graduation subject overlaps with UPSC exam subject.

What are the stages in the UPSC Civil Services Exam?

The UPSC Civil Services Exam is conducted in three stages - UPSC Prelims, UPSC Mains, and UPSC Board Interview/Personality Test.

When is the 2024 UPSC prelims exam scheduled?

The 2024 UPSC prelims exam is scheduled to be held onJune 16, 2024

How to start IAS preparation during graduation?

IAS Preparation Tips for Beginners
Everything you should know about UPSC.
Know the UPSC Examination Date.
UPSC Civil Services Exam Pattern.
Check your eligibility.
Know and understand the vast syllabus of UPSC.
Decide on joining IAS Coaching Centre or Studying on Own.
Plan your daily regimen.
Choose your optional subject.

Which graduation is best for IAS?

The best degree to become an IAS officer is a Bachelor of Arts (BA), as it covers many of the topics in the UPSC CSE syllabus. Many BA programs focus on humanities and social sciences, which are directly relevant to the syllabus.

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