- IAS Helpline !
( Sakshi Bhanot, B.A. (History), Ludhiana, Via: E-Mail )
CSC: Dear Sakshi, with a year in hand, a lot can be done as far as the matter of civil services preparation is concerned. If you are a complete novice and want to prepare from the scratch, do the following things:
Syllabus List: Take the printout of the detailed syllabus and paste it in front of your study table. Allot at least 10 minutes of your daily time to take a glance at it. It will be beneficial to you as you wouldn’t then need to remember it - as a regular 10 minutes glance will make you cover most of the things without putting strain on your brain.If you will find anything related to the syllabus list, it will instantly click in your mind. Thus, it will make you leave the irrelevant things.
Complete the NCERTs from standard 6th to 12th - as this will lay the foundation over which the rest of your study will depend.The NCERTs should be completed in around 45–50 days.Also, complete the standard books which are specially written for the civil services examination. Internet will help you in finding the standard books. A good amount of quality time must be allotted for this purpose.
Read Newspapers: For the dynamic section, read newspapers like The Hindu, The Indian Express and there should be one monthly magazine for the same. Choose any website to cover some dynamic topics to cover up any topics that you might have missed.
Revision: The most important thing is to do revision. Once you complete the books, never ever forget to revise. It is possibly one of the hardest things to do but this is the very thing which will sail you across.
Answer Writing: Aspirants preparing for CSE-2019 must start answer writing practice from now. It really matters to put what you think on the paper. There are many people who have ample knowledge but don't have that skill to convert it to writing. What you write matters more than what you know.
( Hriday Bhandari, B.A. (Pol Science), Dehradun, Via: E-Mail )
CSC: Dear Hriday, we assume that you have covered your syllabus and given requisite amount of revisions. So, here we will be focusing only on answer writing.
The first step should be: Address the question- This is the most important aspect but unfortunately also the most ignored aspect of answer writing. We are in so much hurry to write that we often jump the gun. We tend to just look at the ‘One Word’ which look similar to us and start writing down. In the end we write what we know rather than what is asked. Thus, break-down the question in parts as needed, and analyse what the examiner demands from you. Once you've done this,stick to the demand of the question.
Thesecond step is the Introduction:Don't beat around the bush. Hit the bulls-eye by directly attacking the question. In order to make your answer sound homogenous, think about the conclusion in the very beginning and in the end your conclusion should reflect introduction. This makes an answer holistic.
Thethird step is the Body of the Answer: This must form at least 80% of your answer. This portion is the test of your knowledge on subject matter.Writing vague answers is strictly prohibited - you may end up losing marks. Don't write wrong facts or quotes - it will put a negative impression on checker and he/she will be cynical throughout the paper checking. Write in an innovative and appealing manner. You can make use of some illustrations, figures, charts, etc.Support every information, fact by the relevant Report (census report, forest survey, HDI report, World Bank Report, and so on). In case of conventional subjects like History, Geography, Polity try to establish inter-subject and intra-subject linkages. It will reflect that you have understood the subject holistically and your also analytical abilities.
Thefourth step is the Conclusion: Conclusion should be linked to the introduction to achieve the thematic homogeneity of the answer.
Fifth step in this process: Share words of wisdom -When most aspirants would stop after conclusion, there is a fifth step in this process - Share words of wisdom- link with words of Preamble, constitutional provisions like Liberty, Justice, Freedom Of Information, etc. Give a futuristic view.
( Amanpreet Singh, B.A. (History, Economics, Pol. Science, Punjabi, English), Ludhiana, Punjab , Via: E-Mail )
CSC: Dear Amanpreet, as you are preparing for CSE 2020, you have plenty of time to prepare for the exam. It’s wonderful that you have already started to prepare for the exam early on.
Prepare a timetable as to how you want to manage your college studies. Are you a morning person or an evening person? If you are an early riser, study for CSE exams in the morning and study and revise your college notes in the evening after coming from the college. Look for a period of time that you feel will be productive for you.
Keep adjusting the time and according to your needs. If you keep up a good routine, you will be able to set a pace and could study for hours without feeling tired.
Also, side by side keep making notes so that you could easily revise when you want to.
Utlise your time wisely. If your optional is similar tothe subjects that you are studying in the college, it will helpyou immensely as you won’t have to learn and studydifferently.
From your biodata, it is clear that you are studying a whole lot of subjects which have syllabus similar to CSE. This will give you an added advantage in the exam.
Also, keep a progress report so that you will know how much you have studied and it will also give you a sense of progress.
Make sure that you are utilising your time wisely.
You can read notes while commuting to the college or some other place. Paste a map above your study table and you could easily make reference to it. Also you can put notes on your make shift study wall so that you can also read those notes just before going to bed.
Finally make yourself curious about things. Read newspapers diligently. Make notes about them. Try to find ‘why’ and ‘how’ behind things. This will help you in developing analytical bent of mind.
UPSC will ask such questions in Mains and you will realise that you are able to answer those questions easily.
So, keep studying and all the best for your preparation.
( Rahul Saini, B.A. (Hons.), L.L.B., Haryana, Via: E-Mail )
CSC:Dear Rahul,the Judiciary paper is whole different than the Civil Services Examination. Though it might have certain things in common such as – Syllabus in Polity and Aptitude test. But others things varies the most. The Civil Services Examination consists of Prelims, Mains and Interview.
The Syllabus consists of General Studies- Economics, International Relations, Geography,History, Art and Culture, Science, etc.
This exam will require your whole concentration and focus to clear. It cannot be treated in silos. And thus, have to be prepared in whole. Kindly look at the common aspects between these papers and you will realise how different it is from the Judiciary paper.
Although, if you are well conversed in Judiciary Examination and have already prepared for it, you could take Law as your optional and then start preparing for the CSE. All the Best!
( Raj Pandey, Via: E-Mail )
CSC: Dear Raj, Yes! This exam can be cleared without takinghelp of any coaching institute -it can be cracked with self-preparation. There have been many success stories where the aspirants have cracked this exam without taking any coaching. With their sheer hardwork and determination, they were able to clear this exam.
Coaching classes can provide direction and help save you some time. But it is you in the end who have to study. You are the one who have to determine yourown future rather than hankering after some reputed institutions.
You can also look at some websites which offer some advice to the students on how to go through this examination. A word of caution – don’t go too deep into these websites as you might suffer from information overload.
In the end, also take mock tests so that you will able to know how far you have come and how well do you fare with respect to your contemporaries. To prepare for Political Science, refer to some websites or past political science toppers, whose strategy you could adopt.
( Shruti Bhatia, B.A. (Hons.), 1st Year, Patiala, Via: E-Mail )
Dear Shruti, you are an undergraduate student of 19 yrs. The eligibility for Civil Services Examination is 21 yrs. You want to study further and complete your post-graduation first and then later on give an attempt. However, there is no hard and fast rule which tells you when to start reading or studying for this examination. You can start at any age. Many aspirants start preparing for this examination even when they are still at school. Since it is your childhood dream, I hope that you must have been studying newspapers or relevant magazines to keep you abreast of the current affairs. This will help you cover most of your syllabus. Your choice of the optional will decide on your other half of the preparation. If you take your undergraduate and post grad subject as optional, vast majority of the syllabus will be completed simultaneously. Civil Services Examination is a tough examination. It requires extensive preparation. If you have made your mind to compete for this examination, it will be better if you start preparing at the earliest even though if you would like to give the exam at a later stage. It is rightly said that ‘early bird gets the worm’.
( Akansha Singhal, B.A. (Political Science), Patiala, Via: E-Mail )
CSC: Dear Akansha, the answer is ‘NO’. It does not matter much. The minimum eligibility for taking up the Civil Services Examination is pass percentage in graduation.
- The evaluation system in our country is not standardized. You could easily score a 4.5/5 from some local degree college, but a 3.5 from some reputed institutes is a challenge in itself. The diversity of fields of candidates attending the UPSC interview, does not allow for a simple comparison of degree percentages towards the merit.
- UPSC is not looking for scientists or academicians. The merit of a student in graduation is no indicator of his success in his field, forget civil services or life in general. You could easily land in the top percentile by choosing your electives smartly (read lecturers who give easy grades). While someone passionate about the subject may pick electives of professors who are stingy with grades but amazing at imparting knowledge.
- Many aspirants having less marks in graduation have passed Civil Services Examination.
( Madhav Singh, B.Sc. (Chemistry), Bihar, Via: E-Mail )
CSC: For NCERTs we would recommend you:
- Give a quick (novel like) reading to the chapters.
- Read it again and this time underline what seems important.
- Now note down only what seems important even out of the underlined ones.
Now what you will have is summed up notes and when you revise them just highlight the facts with highlighter which you forget again and again.
- You should move to reference books only after reading NCERTs. But it’s not any hard and fast rule. But it helps a lot in grasping the content of reference books when you're done with NCERTs.
- With a stop watch, note down how much time you take to read 5 pages of any NCERT book. Find the average time and keep a note of it. Now when you start reading any new class NCERT, just note down the number of pages and multiply your average time and have an idea of time to complete the NCERT.
- Skip all the stuff written in image along the sides or cartoon characters speaking.
- Keep a pencil in your hand while reading (if reading from hard copy) OR just highlight (in case of soft copy) and mark all difficult/new words as you read. Later, once the 1st reading is done then find the meanings and keep note of them. If you want to save the meanings of the new words then please make separate sections for Economy, Geography, etc. It can be applied while reading ‘The Hindu’. Vocabulary is important, so don't ignore on this one. But don't do research work, do it in minimum time. Use Word Web software, its free and best.
- For now, only answer the fill in the blanks or match the column questions orally and move ahead. It can help in tracking whether you remember or not.
- To be done after a preferred gap of 2 days and at max 4 days after 1st reading.
- Before reading, try to recollect what all you remember from that chapter, talk it out to yourself as if you are telling someone sitting in front of you. Mark the important areas or underline the lines which you feel are important.
- Do make a note of words which still bother you. Once reading is done, find the meanings and keep a note of it in the respective section and revise it regularly.
- Now, after reading the entire NCERT of that particular standard, if you feel you know the contents of it well, then no need for 3rd reading. But if you want to read it once more then,
- To be done again with gap of 2-4 days after 2nd reading.
- Time required for third reading will be very less, as you have already read the NCERT twice. So just do the skimming of the chapters and finish it off.
- Underline, if you find some new, important stuff.