UPSC Preparation for Working Professionals

Many graduates in India aspire to become Civil Servants. Some people dedicate themselves full time to UPSC preparation while some others work while they prepare for the exam. In this article, we will explore ways in which a working professional will be able to efficiently prepare for the IAS exam.

  • Do not quit your job: Many working professionals who want to crack the 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. Leaving your job at the start of your preparation is not advisable as it might affect career progression. Work experience also helps score well during the UPSC interview.
  • The ideal time to start preparing is at the least 9-10 months prior to Prelims. During this time, the focus should be on building a strong foundation, especially in core subjects such as history, economics, polity etc. and the optional subject. For the first six months, the studies should be done keeping in mind both Prelims and Mains. Preparing for mains simultaneously covers a major chunk of UPSC syllabus.
  • Keeping this in mind, a candidate has to devote at least 5-6 hours on a regular basis for studies. An IAS aspirant needs to prepare for General Studies, Current Affairs and the optional subject. A working aspirant should not compromise on any of these core areas due to the paucity of time. They have to plan in such a way that even on busy days, the continuity of preparation is not broken. An ideal workaround would be to split the study hours into prior to work, during work, post work and revision schedules.

In the following paragraphs, we will outline an IAS study plan for working professionals.

Study Timetable for Working Professionals

  • Prior to Work: General Studies for At Least 2 hours every day.
  • During Work: Brush up on Current Affairs and Newspaper Analysis during breaks from work, aiming to devote about 45 minutes for both.
  • After Work: Devote at least 2 hours to the optional subject of your choice
  • Revision: Revise your day’s UPSC preparation for 20 minutes after dinner.

While following the above IAS study plan for working professionals, keep in mind the following points:

  • Weekends should have a separate schedule. Ideally, one should revise the whole weeks’ preparation during the early hours of the day. Practice answer writing during the forenoon and IAS mock tests during the afternoon.
  • Shift focus to General Studies about 2-3 months before the Prelims exam. The CSAT paper would need dedicated practice as the pattern of UPSC MCQs keeps changing year on year.
  • Post Prelims, if you are confident of a high score, take an extended study leave from work to focus full time on the Mains examination. The Mains examination will need in-depth study. Join a good IAS Mains Test Series during this time to gain enough practice for the exam.
  • Post Mains, resume work and keep track of Current Affairs to help with Interview preparation.

While following the above steps, it is important to not ignore work as well as maintain a good sleep schedule. This would enable you to stay relaxed during preparation and help clear UPSC 2019 with flying colours.

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