UPSC Strategy for Working Professionals
Most graduates in our country aspire to be civil servants. But, many of them get bound in various personal and professional commitments. If one is really passionate about making one’s dreams come true, one has to make a strategy that works the best for him/her. Cracking the elite UPSC civil service exams demands utmost dedication and consistency in one’s efforts. Each day, one has to give a significant amount of time to prepare. For a working professional, this might seem to be a daunting task. So let’s work out a feasible strategy to help an aspirant develop a holistic approach to the exam.
- Many working professionals who want to crack Civil Services exam are in a dilemma whether to quit their job or not. The answer to this would be to strike a fine balance between idealism and pragmatism. So leaving your job outright at the start of your preparation is not advisable as it might affect your career progression and your work experience actually comes handy during your UPSC interview.
- The ideal time to start your preparation is at the least 9-10 months prior to prelims. During this course, one’s focus should be to build a strong foundation, especially in core subjects such as history, economics, polity etc. and most importantly your optional. For the first six months, the studies should be done keeping in mind both prelims and mains (because preparing for mains simultaneously covers a major chunk of UPSC prelims syllabus).
- Keeping this in mind, a candidate has to give at least 5-6 hours on a regular basis for studies. An aspirant needs to do justice to general studies, current affairs and the optional and not compromise on any of these core areas due to the paucity of time. He/She has to plan in such a way that even on busy days, he does not break the continuity in studies. An ideal work around would be to split the study hours into prior-work, during-work and post-work.
Prior-work– General Studies (2 Hrs)
During-work– Current affairs and newspaper analysis (45 mins)
Post-work – Optional (2 hrs)
Prior to bed revise the entire day’s study (20 mins)
- On weekends, you should revise the contents you have completed in the week. Also make use of your weekend to practice answer writing, as you know you need to write good answers in the mains exam which is of descriptive pattern.3 months prior to prelims, shift your focus solely towards general studies of Paper 1 and CSAT because the qualifying round of prelims requires a dedicated approach to handle the MCQ (multiple choice question) format. During this phase, you should test yourself with weekly test series to know your weaknesses and work upon improving them.
- Post prelims if you feel that you will be able to clear prelims based on your answer key evaluation and past cut off trends, then you can plan for taking leaves on Loss of Pay(LOP) or quitting the job. Since the second phase of Mains preparation requires full-time dedication.
- Post mains, you can resume your work while awaiting results but ensure to keep a track of current affairs to aid the Interview preparation.
Hope this strategy brings you a step closer to realizing your dream.