UPSC Civil Services Exam: Preparation Tips For Undergraduate Level

There is immense passion among the youth to pursue civil services as it is one of the most coveted examinations in India. The magnitude of reach, power and status linked with the civil services is a major driving factor. Every year lakhs of candidates take up this examination and it indeed is no child’s play. The preparation needs a good amount of time and dedication. Hence it is crucial to start preparing right from the schooling/college days with proper guidance and support, because the earlier you get your foundations right the more likelihood of your success in the IAS Exam.

This article will highlight some of the tips for those still in their undergraduate courses.

Preparing for the IAS Exam during Under graduation

Now there are no clear cut methods to prepare for the IAS exam, but below are some of the tried and tested measures:

Identifying your passion

Most students during their undergraduate years face a dilemma with regard to their career choices. While a plush corporate job seems like an obvious choice, many of them feel that there is a higher calling. If this is motivated by one’s desire to serve the nation and concerned about the general well-being of the nation at large, then the civil services represents the perfect platform. By contemplation and introspection, if a student feels he is destined for this then he/she should start laying the foundation for the road ahead.

Understanding the exam

Undergraduate students are blessed with ample time and considering how vast the UPSC syllabus is and the limited time available at later stages of civil services exam, it is wise to start early. First, it is important to develop curiosity and understand as to what the UPSC will be like as expected from an aspiring civil servant. Once you are focussed and you have clarity of goal, this uphill task seems less daunting.

You can start by understanding the UPSC exam pattern, eligibility criteria, syllabus and the format of the exam. Rote learning should not be a part of one’s preparation as the recruiters will expect a candidate to have strong analytical abilities, sound judgement, good knowledge of current issues with an ability to coherently put across his/her message. Once an aspirant has a good idea about the exam syllabus and scope, he/she can start preparing at the right pace.

Piquing your interest

Before diving into the actual syllabus and CSE books, it is essential to develop a habit of reading relevant newspapers like Hindu and Indian Express which is vital for current affairs preparation in CSE. This builds general awareness and opens one up to a whole new world. It is a rational practice to keep a log of the important articles in the newspaper. Selective reading should be practised on a regular basis which will help in the long run. Editorials in Hindu contain a good analysis of contemporary issues and prove to be of great value from the exam point of view.

Laying a strong foundation

Reading NCERT’s solution is very important for understanding the basics and gaining conceptual clarity. Effective reading of NCERT books is extremely essential to kick-start one’s preparation. Multiple readings over a span of time will ensure a sound foundation and a student can move to other standard books gradually. The first reading should be such that, one should get a feel of the content while reading. Second reading involves conscious effort to understand the nuances and introspection. 

Delving Deeper

This is the part where one can pick books related to India written by visionary authors for supplementary reading during leisure time. Government websites and news portals are one of the best sources to get accurate and up to date information about the policies of the government. 

Optional Selection

Optional subject for UPSC mains has to be chosen at the initial stages of preparation itself. If the subjects offered during the undergraduate level are a part of the main syllabus in the civil service exam, one can analyse the parts that overlap and start preparing accordingly. This can save one a significant time during the actual preparation. Even if the subjects offered don’t overlap, pick an optional which interests you and start with basic research.

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