Cracking the Civil Services Exam (CSE) early requires a strong foundation. If the decision of civil service as your career is final, then lay the foundation in your college itself.
While graduating in college there are ways in which you can start your CSE preparation. But, the path is not easy. It requires astute management of time and energy. It is also a test of your determination.
Here are some tips on how you can prepare for IAS exam while in college.
#1 Habit of Newspaper Reading
The CSE exam is majorly current affairs oriented. You need to study all the happenings of national and international importance. They involve social, economic, scientific, environmental, political and governance issues.
To keep a tab on all these issues, reading newspaper is a must. You may question that when information is available fast in this age, why read a newspaper? Well, there are certain benefits in reading a newspaper which digital news cannot provide.
1. While analysing the trend of UPSC CSE exams, both prelims, and mains, the questions asked were predominantly sourced from newspapers.
2. Newspaper reading increases your attention. You need to spend at least one hour to grasp the information. This increases your focus.
It improves your answer writing ability.
1. The me-first nature of digital news sticks to factual information absolving analysis. In newspapers, editorials with in-depth analytical insights are of great value.
2. A single source for all your current affairs needs.
Make reading newspaper a daily habit and bolster your preparation while in college.
#2 Strengthening Your Basics
Falling into the rigmaroles of your graduate studies you might have lost memory on some subjects which you have left in your tenth standard. Subjects like history, economy, environment or others that are not a part of your graduation studies need re-reading. We call this strengthening your basics.
One way to do this is by picking up your old NCERT books and reading them. Why NCERTs?
1. The syllabus for CSE prelims mentions that the questions will be of tenth standard level. NCERTs are the best bet here.
2. The language used in NCERTs is easy. The subject narration makes it easy to understand concepts.
3. UPSC too prefers asking questions from NCERTs especially for Prelims.
Thus, make NCERT reading and re-reading an important objective of your IAS preparation in college.
#3 Specific Reading
Though NCERTs are great for strengthening your basics, they have some limitations in providing an in-depth understanding of concepts. For this, use the time in the college for some specific reading.
Subjects like Polity, Environment & Ecology, World History, Societal studies etc., need thorough understanding. There are a number of books available to bolster your understanding of these subjects. Get those books and give a thorough reading. If time permits prepare notes.
#4 Improving Writing
The CSE mains requires extensive writing. Answers must be precise. You should be capable of providing as many viewpoints as possible. All this comes with proper practice of answer writing.
While in college use your time practicing answer writing as much as possible. Also, make it a habit of writing an essay every week. This will keep you ahead of many others who have begun their preparation after graduation. The habit of answer writing will also help you with your college exams.
#5 Developing A Thinking of an Administrator
It is necessary to understand the concepts and issues as an administrator. It gives you a perspective which normal people cannot grasp. Also, helps in better answer writing. Use your time in college to develop such a mindset. You need to question yourself ‘What would you do as an officer?’ Or ‘How could you improve a situation if you are an officer’.
This mindset will also help you advance your career and do good for the society once you became a civil servant.
A Note of Caution
Preparing for IAS exam in your college increases your chances of clearing the exam in flying colours. But, it should not come at the cost of your college studies. A degree with good marks is absolutely necessary if things go south.
All the best!