How do you have to prepare in order to clear IAS in the first attempt? What difference in your attitude and outlook will make you stand apart? upscpathshala presents an inside look.

We at upscpathshala believe that clearing IAS isn’t about intelligence or knowledge, but about an attitude and an outlook. We will today discuss that attitude and how to prepare for IAS keeping that attitude in mind, in order to be able to clear the exam in the very first attempt.

Plan, Prepare and Think like an officer

What we train you for here at upscpathshala is exactly that! To plan, prepare and think like an officer. You might ask why we need to think like an officer, before we become one. Well, for the simple reason that the UPSC tests for these same qualities in you. The fact is that the IAS exam is designed to test your knowledge and intelligence, but also things like your decision making ability, forethought and planning and your ability to work hard and yet keep your head. All these are qualities that are required of officers who are going to be a part of the administrative body of the government of India.

Now let’s look at the strategy to clear IAS in the first attempt.

1.      Do you have enough time?

The first thing you need to figure out is how much time you have at hand and whether that time is sufficient. Usually, aspirants take 1.5 to 2 years to prepare, though some people also manage to clear with a year’s preparation.

Plan – know the syllabus, know the resources, create a schedule

Once you have decided that you do have enough time, first understand that time is limited. You will have only 24 hours every day and not a second more. So, in order to maximize the effectiveness of your preparation, create and maintain a schedule and stick to diligently. Decide on the time brackets when your studies are most effective, and allot those times for your studies. You might also find that certain subjects work better at certain hours and schedule learning accordingly.

Of course, you need to know the syllabus and the available resources in order to create this schedule. Here’s a link from upscpathshala on how to prepare from home for IAS

1. Optimize available resources

You need to be able to optimize the resources that you have. Keep them at hand and know them well. Maximize their effectiveness, whether it is books, the internet or your coaching class or your mentor.

2. You need more than hard work – Passion and curiosity

Only hard work will not take you through the IAS exams. You will need a hungry curiosity and a burning passion to learn and unravel the Indian democratic institution along with its unique economy, its constitution, its diverse population, and diverse geography. You need to explore and analyze your syllabus rather than just try to learn it by rote. Learning by rote might work in other exams, but in a dynamic exam like IAS, this kind of preparation is bound to fall flat. You should actually enjoy exploring the syllabus and have fun doing it, only then will your preparation bear fruit.

Don’t forget to work smart. Make notes as you study. Your notes should be concise, for example, a single page note for a chapter. Revise these notes every day as you progress through your preparation.

Also Read: 10 Must-Have Qualities To Become An IAS Officer

3. Be inclusive and adaptable

As you prepare, adapt and constantly practice inclusion. Include what you didn’t know and perspectives you hadn’t thought of. You will notice your thoughts changing, the logic with which you think will become more lateral and balanced than linear and extreme.

4. Make good decisions

Every day is a decision to clear the IAS. Remember that every day and every hour. Stick to those decisions that will take you closer to success.

5. Be a leader

Be a leader to yourself and others during your preparation. Lead to stay on course and lead in order to take responsibility. Don’t lose your sensitivity towards the world, don’t shut yourself in.

6. Be responsible for your thoughts, words and actions

Train your mind to be responsible for your thought, words, and actions. It is very easy to go astray on this aspect especially with the access to a larger audience, who are mostly strangers, through social media and the internet. Understand the responsibility and repercussions of your thoughts, words, and actions.

7. Leave arrogance behind.

In the quest for success don’t become arrogant. Don’t become overconfident of yourself or your preparation. Remain humble, as an officer should.

Here’s a video explaining what makes you an officer


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About the Author

Payal Ghosh

Payal is an FRM and an XLRI Jamshedpur alumnus interested in things as diverse as Waste Management and photography. She has over 16 years of work experience and is passionate about writing, teaching and sustainable living. Helping students and seeing them succeed makes gives her motivation to push herself further.

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