1. Be very particular about the
subject you choose for prelims, as you will be appearing for an objective type
of paper. History, maths, geography may prove to be very scoring. Choose
subjects which have availability of books, reading material and guidance. In
recent years engineering subjects like civil and electrical can be chosen,
giving BEs and IITians an edge (yes! even here they are giving the BAs and BScs
a tough fight!)
2. G.K. will
definitely pay in your prelims. Reading newspapers, watching TV news and of
course quiz shows like KBC is a must.
3. If you have been
lucky enough to reach the interview stage book knowledge may not be the only
thing you need. Your mental alertness will count as they ask you questions like
“How many steps did you walk up to reach here?” or “ What is the colour of the
wall behind you ?” - So be prepared.
4. Enhance your
personality because it will definitely be one of the criteria for selection. For
IPS physical wellbeing is of great importance, you should be medically fit.
5. Improve your
communication skills. IFS aspirants must be proficient in at least one foreign
language. So go ahead, have your say in this political mess of our country and
try to make it a better place.
Interview with IAS Topper
Interview with IAS topper
Interview with IAS topper -
Prakash Raj Purohit.
Asst sub inspector to IAS ,
journey of a farmers son
Peon's daughter makes it to IAS
I want to improve bureaucracy,
IAS woman topper
How to prepare IAS and other
Civil service exam, ias, ifs, ips ...
civil service guidance, ias, ips,
ifs guidance, ias exam guidance,
Kashmiri doctor who tops IAS
exam wants to be arole model
Students need motivation, not
Srinagar Doctor tops Civil
Achieving the impossible
TIPS on IAS
From Mr. Vaid of Vaid's ICS Coaching Center
It was in 1981 when I had my
first encounters with UPSC through the aspirants (for IAS etc.) who sought my
help to prepare for certain specific topics in GS and my parent discipline, i.e.
Anthropology. Today, 13 years later, through regular interaction with the UPSC
experts and students all over India, particularly at Delhi, Lucknow, Patna,
Chandigarh and Hyderabad, I find myself in a favourable position to pen down my
experiences and suggestions to the young aspirants. In the early eighties, there
were three (Delhi, Allahabad and Patna) major centre of UPSC related activities,
while Hyderabad was coming up fast. There used to be 40 to 60 thousand
contenders for the coveted posts. Today, while the number of aspirants has risen
by over 200 percent, many new centres have come up in almost every state capital
and many other major cities. In those days professionals did not see any merit
in contention for these jobs, but recent years have witnessed a flood of such
aspirants, at times sweeping the top positions in the merit list. In those days
History, Sociology, Political Science etc. used to be the most popular optionals
while today, many hitherto less known subjects have taken over. Besides, many
states have changed their pattern of PCS examination in line with UPSC
examination. This change in the scenario, resultant of a number of factors,
demands that the serious contenders to the job must adopt a more rational, more
systematic strategy and approach, right from the moment they think of preparing
for the civil services examination.
On the first thought of
appearing in the Civil Services Examination (C.S.E.), the first issue is the
selection of optionals. In a way, selection of right optionals is the most
crucial step. Post-graduates in any discipline, generally prefer taking up their
parent subject for Prelims. Though such selection is quite logical, aspirants
with any science discipline as their base subject must ponder over the issue
more seriously. Maths, Physics, Geology etc., optionals for Prelims must be
opted for, only if one is out and out thorough with the subject. As UPSC ensures
that 'some' candidates from every discipline must qualify for the Mains,
aspirants with a science subject must judge themselves correctly regarding their
own capability to be included in these 'some'. Some of the social sciences (e.g.
History, Sociology and Public Administration) opted by quite a significant
majority can, however, be a much safer bet, particularly for those (ordinary
science graduates) who do not have any specific parent subject or for those who
are not able to develop confidence in their parental subject. In either case,
preparation must start from the
basic fundamentals, even if a person is already a post-graduate in that subject.
General Studies (GS) has to
be prepared on quite a different plane because the content of this paper is too
spread out and because any issue, major or minor, can be asked objectively.
Traditionally, 10 + 2 level books of NCERT or any state education board had been
covering a major part of the content but, these days, the items in news during
the last one year or so, are being asked quite frequently. Problems are
generally faced in everyday science (by the candidates with social sciences
background) or in mental ability or in the fundamentals of economics. The most
important aspect for the preparation of GS Prelims,
therefore, is to identify the loop-holes and plug them urgently.
Many of you prepare a subject
in terms of "reading" (once, twice, thrice etc.) with or without underlining the
important facts. It results not only in longer time of
preparation, but also many important points may skip. Also, even if you
underline the highlighting points, most of you have the tendency to read the
text in full while going for the subsequent readings. It is, therefore,
advisable that texts must be read once and all important points (likely to be
forgotten) recorded separately so that you need not study volumious texts again.
This would save on your time and should result in greater efficiency. The Mains:
For right approach, the preparation of Mains should
start before or at least concurrent with Prelims. Just because you have to
prepare for Essay, GS and the two optionals (English and a regional language,
the one/two other compulsory, do not require a separate
preparation) you never get enough time (to prepare for all these) after
the declaration of Prelims' results. Further, while Prelims is only a screening
test, it is on the basis of your performance in Mains, on which mainly depends
the final outcome of your efforts. Strategically, therefore, the
preparation for the examination should start about
one year in advance and you should think about appearing in the Prelims only
when you have had a strong grip over the Mains' subject matter.
right approach, the preparation of Mains should start before
or at least concurrent with Prelims. Just because you have
to prepare for Essay, GS and the two optionals (English and
a regional language, the one/two other compulsory, do not
require a separate preparation) you never get enough time
(to prepare for all these) after the declaration of Prelims'
results. Further, while Prelims is only a screening test, it
is on the basis of your performance in Mains, on which
mainly depends the final outcome of your efforts.
Strategically, therefore, the preparation for the
examination should start about one year in advance and you
should think about appearing in the Prelims only when you
have had a strong grip over the Mains' subject matter.
of you, particularly those with a professional degree in
science, tend to ignore the preparation of GS and
concentrate mainly on their optional subjects. This attitude
is more like a bad gamble because you are not aware about
the level of preparation of other aspirants. Economy (for
the science background aspirants), Science & Technology (for
the social science background aspirants) and Statistical
Analysis are the only three areas that can pose problems in
scoring. If you have prepared economy for your Prelims,
doing it for the mains must not be difficult. Statistical
analysis has to be practised with the help of previous
years' solved questions given in all the guides as also the
NCERT's Statistical Analysis. One year regular reading of a
good national daily, India Yearbook (Publication Division)
relevant NCERT books and a good magazine for the purpose are
the basic necessities that you must go through. Scoring in
GS is mathematical and any additional score gained through
serious preparations should be welcome.
Essay paper, re-introduced in 1993, created a sort of storm
among the aspirants. A rumour was spread that the step has
been taken to neutralize the scoring pattern which is highly
skewed in favour of some subjects. Though there is no
denying the fact that many subjects (like Maths, Physics,
Commerce etc.) do not encourage the development of language
skill, those of you with such an academic background but a
natural flair for writing developed during school or college
days, should be definitely at an advantage. Writing an essay
is an art and if you are not naturally inclined to write
that way, you will have to spend at least some time in
practising; more so because many of the issues asked in the
form of essay are the ones that you generally prepare for
your GS where you limit your preparation upto about 250
words. Stretching this content to form an essay is really an
uphill task. Candidates are, therefore, advised to keep a
thorough eye on all the happenings (in terms of broad areas)
of the last one year with critical evaluation of those which
could be asked in the form of an essay.
Regarding the compulsory language paper(s) which is (are) of
qualifying nature only, I should just say that if you are
apprehensive about the language papers too, better forget
about the civil services.
two optionals, that form a major part of your score, have to
be decided judiciously. Candidates living in the major
centres of Civil Services related activities, generally do
not face much problem in finalizing their optionals but
others, living in smaller towns or where there is no such
environment, do faulter. For those of you post-graduate in
any subject or having a professional degree, the first
optional is the one that you have pursued for the last few
years. But, for ordinary graduates the choice of first
optional too, is equally problematic . Most of the
candidates undecided about the optionals, are strongly
influenced by the interviews (given by the previous years'
successful candidates) that appear in various magazines.
Decisions made on this basis, can, at times, land you in the
no man's land.
While selecting an optional I would suggest that you care
for the following :
(a) The Syllabus : Whether it looks comprehensible at the
(b) Content : Find out whether the relevant
books/study-material are easily available.
(c) Interest : After going through some of the literature,
find out whether it has been able to generate interest in
(d) Expertise : Whether any specialist of the subject is
available or approachable, the one that You can solve your
problems and satisfy your queries.
(e) Success rate : What has been the scoring pattern and
the success-rate of the subject—this you can know
from any coaching institute of repute or from some of the
(f) Friends' advise : Particularly of those who have not
made into the list of successful aspirants of
previous years. The steps need not be followed in this
last decade has seen a catastrophic change of the sort,
regarding the preference of the candidates for traditional
subjects as also regarding the scoring pattern. The last
five years in particular have seen the emergence of Physics-Maths
combination opted by the IITians, as the most successful
one. Mid-Eighties saw the upsurge of Anthropology, a subject
which is taught in the least number of Universities in
India, followed by creation of Public Administration as a
separate subject and its instant success in terms of
candidates attracted as also in the scoring pattern.
Geography has been making silent strides and the literatures
of various regional languages have proved their credibility
time and again. These subjects affected the popularity of
History and Psychology that went out of favour because of
revision and substantial increase in the syllabus undertaken
during that period. Sociology suffered at the hands of
Anthropology because the two can not be opted together and
the wind favoured Anthropology.
During the last three years, however, Psychology and
Sociology gained some ground while Public Administration has
declined slightly in popularity. Regional languages have
shown a spectacular rise while Anthropology has stagnated at
the top. Philosophy, another fascinating optional, is
restricted in popularity and there is not much to write
about it. Change in the syllabi of many popular optionals
along with bringing parity in the papers of various
optionals is bound to bring many significant changes that
should be reflected in the results of IAS ’2000. Maths is
not going to be a popular subject any more. Engineering
subjects, too are likely to lose in popularity.
Anthropology, Geography and Litt. (despite revision of
syllabi) should emerge as major successful optionals.
Psychology too may improve is tally. Sociology and Public
Administration should attract larger chunk of aspirants but
in terms of results, both these optionals may prove
you ask me to rate various optionals and to opt for which
one of them, my suggestions should be as follows:
you are looking for the smallest syllabus, the obvious
choice should fall on Anthropology, but wait, preparing this
subject through self-study may not be that easy because the
subject combines biological and sociological aspects. If you
intend to choose a subject with scientific orientation, your
choice should fall on Geography, Psychology or Anthropology.
If you have a good command on the language, any subject can
be chosen provided you can develop interest in that subject.
Otherwise, those of you who do not have good writing skill,
then please for your sake do not opt for History, Sociology,
Philosophy or Political Science. Candidates with a command
on any regional language or Hindi can taste success by
opting for a literature as an optional paper. With a strong
base in Economics or Commerce, Geography can be a good
There is no standard formula for success in the competition.
The only rule is that you realise your real capacities and
capabilities and chalk out your own strategy. How to perform
well in Mains and Personality Test are the issues that
should be dealt at length and I shall discuss these issue
with you at the appropriate time.
Your basic quarries and their Solution
1. I Want to appear in IAS (ICS Exam). How Should I prepare
for it to get through?
There is no standard yardstick to be followed. It all
depends on your capacity and capability, irrespective of
your performance/score in basic/higher degree exam. To get
through the ICSE, however, two basic qualities must be
First, you should be mentally fully prepared to bear the
strain of this one-year-long exam; and second, you should
have (or develop) a sound expression (written as well as
verbal) in the medium (language) you want to appear with.
Once you have obtained these two qualifications, other
issues regarding preparation for the exam can be handled
better and easily.
2. With simple graduation (BA)/post-graduation (MA) as my
background what should be my strategy for Prelims?
It may sound absurd but the best way to prepare for Prelims
is to prepare for Mains first. Generally, for Prelims, the
questions asked can be grouped into two broad categories :
factual & conceptual. Conceptual questions can be handled
more effectively only if Mains is prepared first. Besides,
objective facts can be related and remembered easily only
when a sound conceptual base is pre-existing.
Therefore, your strategy for preparation of Prelims should
be such that you are thorough in your first optional (that
you take in Prelims as well as in Mains) as also in G.S.
This is important because you do not get enough time after
Prelims to prepare for the Mains.
3. What optionals should be more suitable optionals for me?
It is a highly sensitive issue, and the most crucial too,
because choice of optionals goes a long way in deciding your
prospects. However, the answer to your question can not be
you have command on language, you can achieve your goal by
keeping any optional. My suggestion, however, would be as
you are a post-graduate in any discipline, that should be
your first and obvious choice; the same would be true if you
have done honours in a social science. Selection of first
optional for IIT/Medical graduates too has become difficult.
The puzzle, therefore relates to graduates in arts and
literature who do feel confused.
These days, at Mains level, some literature subjects, Anthro,
Geography and Public Administration have been doing very
well. Of these, the first two are only second optionals, and
hence, your choice could fall on either Geography or Public
Admn. However, History and Sociology have been counted as
safe subjects for Prelims. So, if you intend to take
Anthropology and any literature for Mains, you can, for
Prelims, rely either on Sociology (most of which is covered
in the Anthro syllabus and hence you get rid of the agony of
reading a third subject) or History (that covers quite a
significant part of GS).