UPSC Strategy for Working Professionals
Aspiring to be a civil servant is one of the major ambitions of most graduates in the country. But this dream continues to elude aspirants since most get bogged down by various professional and personal commitments. Having a strategy in place to deal with these obstacles will help one in continuing to pursue their passion. Cracking the elite UPSC civil service exams demands utmost dedication and consistency in one’s efforts. The preparation for this 3 staged exam requires a student to devote at least one and a half years of his/her prime time. 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.
- The biggest doubt a working aspirant faces is whether he/she has to quit one’s job during the course of preparation. 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 you’re optional. For the first 6 months focusing on mains instead of prelims (because preparing for mains simultaneously covers a major chunk of UPSC prelims syllabus) should be of paramount importance.
- With this time frame in mind, a candidate is expected to put in around 4 hours of dedicated preparation on a regular basis. 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 paucity of time. He/she needs to plan a work day in such a manner so that they can get adequate amount of study time despite a busy day. An ideal work around would be to split the study hours into prior-work, during-work and post-work.
Prior-work– General Studies on Byju’s Tablet (2 Hrs)
During-work– Current affairs and newspaper analysis on Byju’s website (45 mins) Post-work – Optional (2 hrs)
Prior to bed revise the entire day’s study (20 mins)
- In addition to this make a habit of utilising your weekend in revising the topics covered during the week. Also make use of your weekend to practice answer writing, which is very crucial to prep one up for the descriptive answers expected in Mains.
- 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, take up weekly prelims test series to orient yourself for the D-Day.
- Post prelims if you feel confident about clearing prelims based on your answer key evaluation and past cut off trends, take a judicious call to perhaps take a sabbatical from work or opt to go on LOP (loss of pay), 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.
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