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How to Prepare for The Examination

The preparation for IAS examination is different from other examinations mainly because of its focus not only on knowledge but also the ability to apply knowledge to the given situation. It means you are required to work systematically to strengthen your basic understanding of different subjects to begin with so that on the basis of such knowledge you could understand and analyze the developments taking place around you in different spheres of life. As for example, if you have basic understanding of economy and finance, its associated principles then only you can comment on the monetary policy and fiscal policy of the Government. Similarly, without any understanding of basic sciences in day-to-day life, you cannot at all think of understanding more complex space science, nuclear science and technology. It does not mean that you will have acquire over everything. It means what can be expected of a reasonably educated man with scientific temperament to know about history, culture, economy, polity etc. should be known to you.

This is what is applicable to all IAS aspirants in general but there are things which may differ from student to student. As for example, students having very strong academic background may not begin with NCERT books, rather they may go for standard text books straightway. Some students are working while others are not and accordingly, they might go for different strategies. Thus, we don’t have any hard and fast rules for success but all success stories have some commonalities.

You need to develop a multi-dimensional understanding of subjects and issues in question and secondly you are required to write answers with due relevance, clarity and precision. You need extensive as well as intensive approach to study for Prelims and Main examination respectively. Overall, you are required to develop an integrated approach to prepare for IAS examination.

If you are just beginning from scratch then you can follow these steps:

  • Work on basic General knowledge if it is not good enough. You can buy a good Year Book and Atlas etc.
  • Start reading a good newspaper, current affairs magazine etc. so as to develop an awareness and familiarity with issues in national, local and global arena.
  • Do study the syllabus of IAS Exam properly and break it into meaningful components means subjects, topics and issues; theoretical components and applied ones. Organize them properly.
  • Remember, you have to move from subjects and topic to ‘Books’ and not the vice versa. It is not about reading too many books, it is about knowing the what, how and why of every topic in nexus with current developments wherever applicable.
  • You don’t need to go through NCERT Books for history, geography, economy and polity etc. as a part of ritual. It is required if you have to develop basic understanding of any subject in the least possible time so that you could go for higher standard text books and materials for more substantive content.
  • Now you can begin with standard textbooks, materials, notes etc. to visit the wider domain of the syllabus with deeper understanding of concepts.
  • Here onwards, you can go for answer writing practice under proper guidance so as to learn to able to write with due relevance, clarity and precision.
  • It is within the broader bounds of Main syllabus that you prepare for Prelim’s syllabus known as integrated approach to avoid duplication of effort and to ensure more cohesive understanding of topics.
  • You can prepare your synoptic notes on various topics by writing down only root words and sentence if required with pictographic tools for better understanding, revision and remembrance.
  • Do not join coaching institutions on the basis of brand value, number of selections they boast off or on the basis of Toppers endorsement. Apply your mind. How can there be 500 selections from one institute only? How come most of the toppers are found to have studied in 5 and 6 institutions they have given their photographs to?
  • Last but not the least, you need to be emotionally firm and stable without which you might fail even if you are academically sound. Don’t compare with others but learn from others wherever possible. Life is so beautiful and precious that it can not be seen from the prism of any exam only howsoever big it may be.