How to Prepare for CSE?
- Only the brave choose civil services as a career choice. Salute to you for taking the decision of becoming an IAS. The decision itself is a difficult one to make as you have to spend a year or more for the preparation of Civil Services Examination (CSE).
- CSE conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) is the prestigious and most challenging government examination in the country and in the world. It is to recruit top level administrators for the government – IAS, IPS, IFoS and other Group A posts. What makes the examination challenging is the depth of knowledge that it demands from an aspirant and its long process.
- CSE has a three-tier structure. The first tier is Preliminary examination, second is Main Examination and the third is the interview. The syllabus for the examination is exhaustive. No need to worry. Here we shall discuss how you can prepare for CSE.
- There are few decisions to be made before starting the preparation for CSE.
- After Job vs After Graduation: If you are currently doing your graduation and are in a dilemma whether to give CSE right after graduation or after doing some years of job. There is no problem whenever you give the examination. But, by giving the CSE after graduation exactly will have an added advantage in the future promotions within the services. By doing job, you can always fall back to it when things do not go as planned. So, this is a personal choice to make.
Reparation for CSE
- Resources: As the adage goes among UPSC aspirants, ‘everything under the sun falls under UPSC syllabus’. The syllabic content of CSE is exhaustive. It requires thorough knowledge of subjects mentioned. But, there are tonnes of resources available in the form of books, study materials and online resources. Choosing right knowledge sources is the key for clear understanding and achieving success in CSE.
- With Current affairs dominates both Prelims and Main Examination in CES. Thus, reading a newspaper is an essential prerequisite for an aspirant. You can choose any standard daily. Regularly prepare notes from the newspapers on current happenings. It will be of great help while revising.
- CSE demands basic knowledge on various subjects. The best resource for gaining this is by reading NCERT books. Read books of classes 6-12th on specific subjects like geography, history and science. These should impart you with basic understanding of these subjects. Further, if any doubts persist you can always use the internet. A plethora of encyclopaedic sites are available which provide in-depth understanding.
- Apart from these, many books are available in the market that helps you in your preparation. For example, the Indian Polity by Laxmikanth is a staple of every IAS aspirant for studying polity. But, choose the books carefully. Do not over stuff these books in your cupboard. An assortment of books is not required for the preparation. Few famous and standard books are enough to crack the exam.
- On the internet, there are many sites available that provide both free and paid content for CSE preparation. As mentioned above, do not overdo things. Choose only those materials that you feel are absolutely necessary or missing in your study list.
- Timetable: CSE preparation is a long drawn process. It takes a year and a half from preparation to completion of the three tiers. You only have 24 hrs a day. How well you utilise this time determines your success in CSE examination. With a proper strategy, clearing the exam becomes hassle free.
- First of all analyse for how much time you are able to sit with utmost concentration. After that, divide the day into various timeslots. Allocate time for your daily chores and be specific about your study activities. Then, break the syllabus into various daily, weekly and monthly targets. Write them down on a paper and paste it where you can see it daily.
- A study day should start by reading newspaper. Then after that, the specific goals for the day must be undertaken as per your timeslots. Revise at the end of the day. Review your goals at the end of every week and month. If anything missing, realign your goals.
- Practice: Practicing what you have learnt is a sure way to achieving success. In CSE preparation you can do this by writing model answers at the end of the day on the topics studied; going through the previous years’ question papers and practicing them (especially for prelims); writing mock tests etc. Remember, ‘practice, practice and practice’ should be your mantra in this examination.
- Combined Prep: Many aspirants detach prelims and mains while preparing. This is a recipe for disaster. The syllabic content of Prelims and mains are correlated. Thus, the approach to preparation must be a combined one. You have to study issues keeping both prelims and mains at the same time.
- Optional Prep: Once you chose your optional, start preparing for the same with the overall preparation. You must skip optional preparation only when there is three months time left for the preliminary examination.
- Choice of Optional: As you may know, in the main examination, apart from the four general studies papers and Essay paper there are two compulsory papers – optional paper 1 and 2. You need to choose the optional basing on the ease with which you can study the subject and high scoring potentiality of the subject. Remember, a single mark can decide your fate. So, carefully analyse and choose the subject.
- Discussions: Form a friend’s group where you can have discussions on the topics studied. It will enable you to have diverse perspectives on the issue at hand and clear your doubts. Also, you can exchange your answer writing scripts with your friends for evaluation and get a genuine review. This helps in avoiding mistakes.
- Coaching: Many times it gets difficult to comprehend the full extent of CSE syllabus. If you feel that there are shortcomings that need to be avoided, it is advisable to take a coaching and Classic IAS Academy is one of the best coaching in Delhi. Choose best coaching institute. Use your time at the coaching centre to clear your doubts.
- Health: Keep in mind that CSE preparation is a year long process. Keep yourself in good shape. Eat healthy and do physical activities. Do not take this advice lightly. A good health breeds good mind and ups your concentration level.
- Motivation: Often lapses in concentration creeps up. It may be for hours or for days. It is natural. Do not worry. Use this time to pursue your hobby or go for a movie or anything that gives you energy and put an end to your worries. Motivate yourself and get back. Do not fear of failures, they are stepping stones to success. You may get demotivated while your preparation but you must re-energises yourself by just remembering about the ideals you choose in your life.
- In the end you have to understand that no matter whatever written here, it is you, who have to put efforts, devise your own strategies and pursue your goal. Determination and perseverance are keys to success in CSE preparation.
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