How to Prepare for UPSC at home after 10th / 12th / Graduation?
To be an IAS Officer is a dream of millions of students in India. One can see a tremendous increase in the number of applicants for the Civil Services exams each year. One reason for this is students are much more aware now of what they want to be in the future apart from the fact that Civil services are seen as the most prestigious career in India. Therefore, those students who aspire to become an IAS Officer start preparing for it immediately on completion of 10th class or 12th class or alongside bachelor’s degree studies. However, many aspirants lose sight of their goal midway after watching its lengthy syllabus. This blog is mainly for such students who got stuck with the question- How to prepare for UPSC at home?
Before explaining how you should start your preparations for UPSC while in school or graduation, students need to clear few doubts about it that they often ask on social platforms.
Following are a few points that confuse students about Civil services:
1. Can UPSC be pursued by students of any stream?
If you are a tenth pass student and took science or commerce in eleventh and you want to prepare for UPSC in the future. But don’t know how to prepare for UPSC at home. Then the happy news is you are still as eligible to apply for UPSC in the coming future as any Arts student is. Even If you have done B.Sc or B.Tech or BBA in graduation(or any other course), you can apply for the Civil Services exam without any doubt.
The reason is simple- You just need to be a Graduate from a recognized University (doesn’t matter if you have got a graduation degree from a regular course or a distant learning course). It’s as simple as that.
2. Do UPSC aspirants need to do a B.A(Bachelor in Arts) to clear their concepts?
NO. In the past, we have seen many candidates who got selected in UPSC were from different educational backgrounds. There are no written criteria for this. However, many aspirants think if they take Arts after 10th class, there will be higher chances of them clearing the UPSC exam as most of the part of the syllabus is from Arts subjects only. If that were the case every Arts student would have cracked the civil services exam in a single attempt. Students from science or commerce backgrounds can also start learning these subjects anytime. All they need is focus and interest in these subjects.
Thousands of students sit for the UPSC exam every year, only a few get selected. That’s why having a bachelor’s degree in some other stream can be helpful. Therefore, having a backup option is a good idea-what if you will not clear the exam in many attempts. Then you can build your career in some other stream. That way you will have other options open to you. This sounds practical, right?
3. Is having Math subject in 12th mandatory?
Almost 75% of students do not score GREAT in Math. But that doesn’t mean that they cannot apply for UPSC. They can. If your marks were not good in math or you did not have maths as a subject in your course, it will not change anything. After all your job will not require building a rocket and going into space. You will be doing administrative work once you got selected. Having a good knowledge of basic math is enough to apply for the UPSC exam.
4. What are the minimum % criteria?
There are no minimum percentage criteria. You need to pass 10th, 12th, and Graduation from a recognized school, college, and University, respectively. After passing Graduation you can apply for the UPSC exam.
5. Only English medium students are eligible to apply and clear UPSC?
Things are pretty much the same for both- Hindi medium and English medium students. Both are eligible to apply, appear and clear the exam. Nobody is given preference over the other.
6. Are the number of attempts FIXED?
For General Category students, the number of attempts is six. For OBC, there will be nine attempts, and candidates of other categories(SC/ST) can apply till they reach the maximum age limit to apply.
Candidates who are willing to become civil servants should take the first attempt very seriously. If you watch interviews of previously selected candidates and toppers of the UPSC exam, they always suggest that aspiring candidates focus more on the first attempt. Most of the candidates think that they give the first two attempts to understand the exam pattern. This is a wrong approach. Take a very first attempt as the only chance that will decide your destiny. Because the feeling of cracking UPSC on the first attempt is marvelous, isn’t it?
How To Prepare for UPSC at Home?
START EARLY-START SMALL. The first and very important thing to understand here is to start preparing for UPSC at a very early age and study for 2-3 hrs a day. And gradually increase the hours of study. The exam course is not tough but lengthy. There is too much to study and remember. Therefore, time is an important factor in the UPSC preparations. So utilize it in a planned way to get better results.
>> How to prepare for the first two years: BASIC LEARNING
Focus more on the Static part
For the first two years of preparation, you need to focus more on covering the static part only. Here, the static part means the topics and facts of the subject that have not changed for centuries. It includes four subjects – History, Geography, Polity, and Economics.
What will be the study material?
a) NCERT Subject books
You can grab the best knowledge of History, Geography, Polity, and Economics from NCERT books. Read all the books on these subjects from classes 6 to 12 thoroughly. Don’t mug up. Never put extra pressure on yourself. It will make you feel exhausted soon. Just read and try to understand and absorb things in a simple way.
You should not make notes at this level. Here, the main purpose is to build a strong foundation. And by reading these books you will not only understand the basic knowledge of a subject but also strengthen up your base. Slowly you need to move towards advanced learning. And that will be the time when you have to start preparing notes.
When you are done with the reading part, start revision. Revise all the books on each subject at least three times. The more you revise, the more it will be intact in your memory.
Read newspaper daily. Make it your habit. If you are a tenth or twelfth-class student and don’t like reading newspapers at all, start reading them every Sunday at least. And with each passing year increase your duration. Initially, you will understand only 10% of the content. 90% will just go bouncing over your head. So don’t lose your patience. Patience is the first tool of getting success in UPSC. Include reading the newspaper in your daily routine. Eventually, you start understanding every word of it.
You can read the newspaper of your choice. But The Hindu and Indian Express are the best. Hindi medium students can read Dainik Jagran.
c) Live Debates on news channels
Start watching live debates on news channels. Please watch only the qualitative and educational ones, for example, Rajya Sabha TV presents quite knowledgeable debates. Watch at least one debate every day. It will increase your knowledge of current affairs as well as improve your communication skills. It prepares you to face Group discussions and personal interviews in the future.
This is what you need to do in the initial two years of UPSC preparations. This is the most trusted way to start preparing yourself for UPSC. By following this study pattern religiously, you can complete almost 60% of your preparations at the initial level only. If you are in school(10th/12th student), you have ample time to follow the “initial two-year learning pattern” to prepare yourself for UPSC. But for graduation students (especially last year’s students), time is less. They need to finish the “initial two-year learning pattern” in six months. Therefore, such aspirants should study at least 4-6 hrs a day.
>> What You Need To DO After Two Years: ADVANCE LEARNING
After reading and revising NCERT books, making habit of reading newspapers daily, and watching debates on TV- You need to move towards an Advance learning Pattern.
How to prepare for UPSC at home – Advance Learning:
a) Buy and Read Advance Books
Purchase books of History, Geography, Polity, and Economics that cover advanced topics of the subject. You have already brushed up your basic knowledge of these subjects through NCERT books. Now to enhance your knowledge you need to read an advanced version of these books. Please purchase only the recently published books from reliable book stores.
b) Purchase OR Download Previous years papers
Generally, UPSC follows the same pattern. But sometimes there can be minute changes in the paper pattern. Therefore, you should always purchase the previous year’s papers from book stores or download them from the UPSC website to be updated.
c) Join Coaching Class
You can join online or offline coaching classes as well. If you are in school or doing your graduation, it is preferred to take online coaching. That way, you can easily make a perfect balance between your school/college studies and UPSC preparation. However in the present situation during covid-19, all the aspirants are taking online classes only. This is quite a practical option in the present scenario.
Many online educational platforms are available for online coaching that provide valuable strategies to crack the UPSC exam. You can watch YouTube channels also for UPSC preparations.
For Offline Coaching, you can join any reputed coaching center in your locality that has had a success rate in previous years.
d) Improve Answer writing skills
In Prelims, you need to answer the objective-type questions mainly. But in UPSC Mains, all the answers are descriptive. Therefore you have to prepare yourself to write answers properly and descriptively. A perfect answer includes an introduction, the body of content, and the conclusion. Therefore, it requires a lot of practice to write a single-meaningful-descriptive answer.
e) Apply Online For UPSC
Now when you are all prepared and geared up to face the real challenge of the UPSC exam, don’t forget to apply for the UPSC exam in time. You can check UPSC’s Official website or can subscribe to SecureGovtJob to get timely notifications regarding UPSC exams or UPSC recruitment.
These are a few points that will be helpful for beginners who are seeing their future in civil services. Try to implement this strategy to understand how to prepare for UPSC at home. This will help you in building your successful career as an IAS officer. Just remember you need to
– start small,
– be consistent,
– have patience,&
– be self-motivated.
SecureGovtJob wishes all the UPSC aspirants the BEST OF LUCK and wishes them a successful and bright future.