There is no doubt in the fact that the exam needs hard work and a large dollop of luck. Historically, IAS is touted to be the toughest exam we have in the country and people put in their blood and sweat for the preparation. It is believed that candidates migrate to Delhi to prepare full-time for IAS, spending hours every day and a huge amount of money in terms of fees and other expenses.  However tough the task may seem to be to manage studies while working, there are people who have managed both.

Challenges for a working professional

• The preparation for IAS is a strenuous one and lack of touch with studies can make you lose out on basics, thereby making the study very challenging.
• There exists  constraint of time, which can be very challenging for the working professionals hence they cannot devote full time on their studies.
• There is always a location constraint for working professionals. Working full time can restrict you from the connectivity, so it becomes a little tedious to manage these things along with the office.
• Preparation of IAS requires a certain dynamic environment. Being in office, you need to study alone, rather than a studious environment,which can be a little challenging .

UPSC has a vast syllabus, but may be not!

• UPSC is an exam for everyone out there, irrespective of the field you come from, whether it is humanities, medical, engineering, business. It does not target a specific field of students. An engineering student can score more in technology and maths, while a medical student will score more in Biology. So, know your focus points, and work on them.
• It is a myth to be bust that IAS officers/aspirants should know everything about every topic/subject under the sun. The exam does not require one to be an expert in a topic; rather, aspirants should have general awareness and analytical skills.
• The Cutoff is NOT 100% it is 60% for UPSC, hence, the target can never be 100% to crack the exam.One can clear cutoff by knowing everything about 50%, current affairs for the rest 50%.

Consistency is scored over long hours

Let’s face it. No one can study for 10 hours per day for an extended period if you are working for the UPSC exam. To complete the entire syllabus you need 3 hours of daily study. Knowing you have 300 days for exam, that is 900 hours and it is enough for you to go through. When an unavoidable occasion comes up, and the study is interrupted, you can always cover it up over the weekend. Most people are not able to follow this discipline every day. Make sure that you maintain the consistency.

Study planning over book cramming

It is always better to understand and study through certain books and notes for cracking IAS. Going through the  online suggested lists of books can confuse you and take you in wrong direction. It takes time to get internalized as you are going to study many new topics. There are no officially prescribed books by UPSC; just topics mentioned. Choose a source that gives you basic in depth descriptors.

Understanding over Fact finding

• In last 5 years UPSC has shifted towards understanding rather than knowledge of facts and dates.
• Your questions will be based on your ability to interpret current events and link it to concepts of economics, polity, culture, history. This means focus is on analysis of what you read rather than memorizing it.
• In conclusion, while choosing a preparatory material always go for in-depth analysis rather than vast coverage

Chose a Study mode that offers suits your requirement

• Go for an  UPSC online course which offers excellent video lectures by a qualified faculty. Make sure you see samples and affirm that emphasis is on analysis rather than covering a lot of content in one go.
• It is very essential to keep yourself updated with the latest buzz around. In today’s world of digital learning, it has become a little easier to keep yourself updated with the day to day news.Make sure your course gives you current affairs material.
• Make sure your online course offers your mentoring and doubt solving and discussion support at all times, which is available 24/7 and allows you to discuss online with your mentors for your UPSC  preparation.
Preparing for IAS while working is seemingly hard but the journey is very much possible once you decide to undertake it. Do so today.
Good Luck!
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About the Author

Akshay Palande

Akshay Palande is a passionate teacher helping hundreds of students in their UPSC preparation. With a degree in Mechanical Engineering and double masters in Public Administration and Economics, he has experience of teaching UPSC aspirants for 5 years. His subject of expertise are Geography, Polity, Economics and Environment and Ecology.

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