How an IAS Aspirant Prepared and cleared Civil Services Exams

​This Is How An IAS Aspirant Prepared And Cleared Civil Services Exams

Clearing the Civil Services Exams conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), requires a well-devised strategy and a time-table in place. Candidates, who have already cleared Civil Services Prelims held in August, have to clear the mains exam, which will be held from December 18 – 23. With exams less than two weeks away, the pressure on candidates is subjected to rise. In such a situation, success mantras from a trainee IAS officer might encourage them to do better in the exams.

We spoke to Aditya Ranjan who is presently getting training at Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA), Mussoorie. He belongs from Bokaro, Jharkhand and scored rank 99 in Civil Services exams held in 2014 and has been allotted Jharkhand cadre. After completing his B.E in Computer Science from BIT Mesra, Ranchi, he worked in Oracle for over a year.

He later decided to prepare for Civil Services and cleared it in his second attempt in 2013, when he was selected for the Indian Revenue Service (IT). He gave it for the third time the next year and now he is an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer. Let’s know from him how one should prepare for the Civil Services main exams.

1. Motivation

: It is very vital from the day you start preparing for the exams. The source of inspiration may vary from one person to another, so it is good to keep yourself motivated at all times by hanging a painting, picture or a quote on your study wall. Aditya told us that he drew motivation from the photographs of poor and ageing people of India whom he wanted to serve. He also hung a photograph of Swami Vivekananda on a wall of his room to feel motivated and follow his footsteps in life. “Always keep in mind why you are passionate about clearing this exam and start feeling that you are very close to your destination,” he says.

2. Health

: If you fall ill on the day of exam or a day before, you will waste one year of preparation and your youth. “So, have a healthy diet and protect yourself from diseases and infections at all times. Beware of dengue, malaria and even common cough & cold as even a second wasted in wiping your nose during the exam can change your future. Wasting any time while sitting during the exam can change your fate completely and you might end up nowhere if you don’t address little things that can go wrong,” says Aditya.

3. Routine/time-table

: Candidates, who are in the habit of waking up late in the morning, need to change their habit as they will be required to bat during daytime on the day of the mains examination. Try to be more efficient between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. “I used to wake up early, do yoga for 10 minutes, eat a lot of fruits and slate the entire day before the examination for revision. One should not sleep after midnight a day prior to the exam,” he suggests.

4. Strategy for qualifying papers

: If you are not proficient in Hindi language and need to qualify in the paper , it can be dream crusher for you. The same goes with other languages. “Arrange question papers of the last ten years and solve them as a lot of questions from previous papers get repeated. Try to fetch a minimum of 60% marks while solving the papers,” he says. Do keep in mind that the management is trying to increase the difficulty level of these papers year-by-year and so you may have to devote some extra time to master the language papers.

5. Time and space management

: Time management depends on the difficulty level of the questions. You may easily crack few questions while you might need some more time to think over other questions. “If you have to answer 25 questions in 3 hours, then try to answer 8-9 questions per hour. Increase your speed over time of solving questions accordingly,” he says. In case of space management, you should know beforehand how many words you can accommodate in a single sheet of paper as per Civil Services page dimension. Limit yourself accordingly.

6. Ways to fetch more marks

: No doubt, diagrams fetch you more marks but they should be drawn where required and must be relevant to the topic. For example, somebody who has taken Geography as the main subject must draw diagrams to get good marks.

7. Things to be kept in mind while writing answers

: It is not easy to score well in Civil Services exams, and good quality content matters more than the length of your answers. “These days questions are long and complex, so there is high probability of candidates getting deviated. So, always read the questions twice before attempting them and write to- the-point answers,” he says.

8. Avoid group discussions after the exam

: Do not discuss questions with your peers immediately after one paper as it may de-motivate you if you realize others fared better than you. While discussing papers, you may realize that your friends attempted a subjective question better than you did or solved their paper quickly whereas you didn’t get time to revise it. “There are remote chances of gaining anything from these discussions. It will only result in higher frustration level,” he warns.

9. Last night revision

: “I used to make short notes so that I can revise them on the night before the exam. I used to close my books by 10 p.m.,” he says. Try to understand you are not preparing for college exams. So, try to read and analyze things from a larger perspective. Do not overburden yourself. Stay calm and composed.

10. Using time allotted between two papers

: Do not think much about the last paper. Once an exam is over, stop fretting about how it went or how it could have been attempted in a better way. Shift your focus to what’s coming up next. “There are low chances of gaining anything from reading or discussing things at the last moment,” says Aditya. Do not discuss any topics with other candidates during the time allotted between two papers.


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