Saturday, 9 July 2011

How to Prepare for Civils while doing Job Support team guides the Civil Services aspirants through Online Coaching and guidance.

As a part of this we are giving tips by successful civil servants for the aspirants-

this is the first in this series - We thank Mr. Babu for permitting the usage of his article in for the larger benefit of aspirants.

How to Prepare for Civils while doing Job

Is IAS or IPS your dream since your child hood?
But, you have joined some job for various reasons  viz.,  may be compulsion to work, problems in family, need of financial support, or you just didn’t want to take risk of being jobless for longer duration.. If you belong to this category of people.. then Read This Post..

With my experience in this examination, I would like to suggest something useful to you in taking the Civil Services Examination..

I presume that you are aware of the basic details of pattern of the exam and therefore I limit myself to the problems that are encountered in preparation for working lot of aspirants... For ease of reading, i will put this in question answer form –

Is it Mission Impossible for working people?
It’s not Mission Impossible.. but no doubt, it is a lengthy journey, you need to keep up your morale irrespective of any setbacks in first one or two attempts. ( and managing Boss/ HR is a continuous event while preparation for getting sufficient leaves etc. )

Can I crack the exam in first attempt?
I say it is possible if you get the suggestions of an experienced person regarding the strategy and dynamics of exam and work smartly and hard enough  and of course, above all  this  you need to be fortunate enough. (To be frank, I hate the repeated words of people about the CRACKING the exam and HARD WORK needed for this. My view is – this exam needs a certain level of knowledge and a kind of writing style, if you reach that level then you need to wait for getting the grace of LUCK for clearing this exam in flying colours and get IAS or IPS etc. In fact i have cleared this exam in my first attempt with the help of my experienced seniors, but i could not make it even for interview in my subsequent two attempts.)  Keeping aside what the TOPPERS or COACHES say, it’s plain truth that there is UNCERTAINITY in this exam due to the very nature of exam i.e., number of optionals, scaling, multiple interview boards etc.
 But the kick of Desired Success is the driving force for many aspirants.

How much time is required for preparation?
It varies from person to person; usually four months are required for getting foundation in optional. Four to six more months are required for getting foundation CSAT with guidance of any experienced person or teacher/coach.  Then it depends on your availability of time and effort to reach the required level of knowledge for clearing exam.
When should I start preparation for Civils?
Ideal time for starting preparation is June month of any year, i.e, immediately after preliminary examination is over, in the most of the coaching centres serious batches start for the mains immediately after prelims. If you are desiring to give 2012 mains seriously, then  you need to attend some coaching in June – Oct 2011 for mains. Your actual serious attempt, you should be revising the optional, not attending the classes. After you finish classes for mains, then you start preparation for CSAT.

What is the age limit to start preparation?
This question sounds funny.. but practically you have to consider this also.
You check the maximum age limit for this exam in notification and you ensure that you will have at least TWO or THREE or more attempts left.
You can think that 27 years or less for General people, 30 or less for OBC, 32 or less for SC/ST.
I advise you to check the notification and count your attempts left precisely before deciding about giving the exam.

How can I manage Work and Preparation simultaneously? 

This is the most important challenge for working people. i'll try to give some tips sharing my experience:

Group Study : You can manage preparation by forming some group of likeminded people and share the burden of preparing notes, gathering resources etc. Keep it in mind that this exam is not like any other in which lot many factors will decide the final result. It’s always better to share the information and prepare collectively, your knowledge will be definitely enriched if you share information rather following closed room preparation. At the final moments, the deciding factors will be Timely Recollection of the relevant information and race with time for writing the known answers.

Strategy: Working professional should be more strategic in preparation for best utilization of  the precious time. You can take help of experienced people in this regard. As per the recent trend, One should put more efforts on optionals and minimum efforts on GS (which is very volatile in nature). At least, in one optional one should get 350+ score for neutralizing the effect of volatile GS. Essay should not be taken for granted. Now a days, Essay paper is killing aspirations of many worthy people. (For safe essay strategy visit my post on Essay in my  blog

Current Affairs:   Reading News Paper is one important thing which is killing most of the time of working aspirants. It’s required but too much of emphasis on it will not give proportionate results.
So, my suggestions in this regard are –
               Listen to radio news in the evening (around 9pm) – it gives important news without any spice
               If possible read news paper one or two days delayed – It helps in avoiding sensationalized
The Hindu is very lengthy to read, of course it has very good content, but kills so much of time.
I suggest to go through “Indian Express”. It covers important news briefly without much spice.
If you are not daring to completely switch over to IE from Hindu, then follow Hindu Edit page, its enough.

Very brief notes for news paper can be made, if time permits. Brief means maximum 30 to 40 pages for duration about 4 to 5 months between pre and mains.

Front Line is very lengthy and not of very much use for mains. Better read Yojana, Kurukshetra for comprehensive relevant coverage.
If you like read some competitive magazine, otherwise also ok, if you read mains current affairs supplement of any competitive magazine.

Effective Usage of Time:

Prepare structures of important questions and try to think about them if you are free in office.
You can try to frame introductions and conclusions and skeleton structure of the important topics in lunch time or tea time etc. Carry a small note books and scribble the out put. It will be useful later.

Audio preparation: If you are a literature or Humanities student, you can record some portion/questions in your mobile of MP3 player and listen to them while you are travelling in bus/metro etc. No need to go for audio tutorials etc. If the recording is in your own voice with emphasis on points to be remembered, then it is very effective revision. (you can do this by simply reading aloud while you are doing first revision and placing a audio recorder. Never attempt  this tip in first time reading, it will create some confusion due to delay in understanding the concept. More over speed of the recording also should be moderate so that you can follow easily while you listen. )This is how, I have revised my entire Telugu Literature Optional.

For those in shift working, studying may be tough as there is no regularity in timings. For improving the alertness and be free from sleepy mood, one may use ayurvedic medicine by name BRAHMI  (I have used Himalaya make Brahmi capsules for about two weeks during my mains to cope up with reduced sleep etc. I found it effective in improving alertness and reducing headache due to less sleep. The company says it’s completely safe. However, one may take advice of doctor for prolonged usage.)

Minimizing the time for Last minute Revision:  you can minimize your time for revision if you write short notes of important topics on small pieces of papers (size of the paper will be comfortable if standard A4 size paper is made into two half papers, pointing about size of the paper appears silly but it  also matters in turning the pages in the last moments). During the first revision, one should write  all the points he is tending to forget in this small notes, in brief this short notes should contain only the key words/phrases to ignite your memory. Then make small bunches of these  papers stapled together according to chapter wise and file in exam-paper wise  folders. This will save lot of your time  in searching for books whether textbooks or bulky note books in the last moment. This works very well with optionals like Electrical Engg. in which for each topic many books are available and we generally refer different books for the same chapters.


  1. Sir,

    I am working as an engineer in NTPC.

    your post is very much useful for working people like me.

    Plz complete the post on tips to manage work and preparation simultaneously.

    also i would like to know about the selection of optionals especially for working people.


  2. Dear Subhash,

    We will write a post on selection of optionals taking the constraints of working people into consideration very soon.

    Also this post will be completed at the earliest.

    you can clear any particular queries regarding Civil Services exam, you can ask here, our Team will answer your queries

    Best Wishes

  3. awesome work done thanks and please do give some tips on methodology and notes preparation also .
    how a candidate should take his preparation with timeframe ?

  4. @Ravinesh Gupta
    We will be giving elaborate tips in this post very soon

    your very immediate query regarding notes preparation -
    It's useful if one prepares notes especially from news papers. but it should be very brief.
    Now a days we are getting printed notes on current affairs by many publishers. it will also be useful but u need to study entire thing at once. this will be difficult just before the exam. if u prepare small points daily and revise them on weekly/fortnightly basis, you will not be burdened just before the exam.

    how ever, preparing notes from text books depends on optionals. one thing to be remembered is the size of text book and relevant portion in it.
    if size is too voluminous and relevant material is very less then you should prepare notes for that. it saves lot of time in turning the pages at the time of revisions just before exam.

    in the other case, if the size of text book is small and most of the things are important, then don't prepare notes, highlighters will help you to note the important lines in the pages.

    we will try to clear other doubts if any very soon

    feel free to ask your queries,
    we have created a separate post on queries also in this blog
    u can ask there also..

    trying to help the aspirants,