An Article by Bandana Preyashi IAS

Preparing for IAS requires combination of smartness and hard work. One without the other is incomplete and inadequate. If you want to prepare for IAS you need to devote at least one year minimum to studying for the IAS full time. If you are working then at least two years are needed to prepare for the IAS. After all, IAS preparation involves preparing for all the three stages of the IAS exam: Prelims, Mains, and Interview. And each needs to be prepared with a specific approach in mind.

** Start Preparing for IAS the Right Way

Do the right things to gain an edge over your competition:
>Get the right Books for IAS Prelims
>Start preparing at least 10 months before the Prelims
>Solve past year questions to test yourself
>Cover the scoring sections early
>Cover the syllabus strategically. Don't go for a "prepare all" >approach for IAS prelims
>Balance paper 1 and 2
** Develop a Routine

As you know the IAS exam is a marathon and not a sprint. For this you need to develop some routine to be able to concentrate for long hours and cover the syllabus within the time at hand. Study two or at most three subjects a day with predefined time limits so that you cover the most scoring part of the Prelims syllabus within the time you alloted to those subjects.
Routine will also help you develop a focussed approach for Mains and will help you to prepare for most scoring parts of IAS Prelims syllabus early on so you can put in at least one revision before the Prelims. Preparing for IAS this way will surely boost your chances of clearing the Prelims in the first attempt itself.
** Cover the Scoring Areas Early

The IAS Prelims syllabus is such that some sections are easier to score off than others. You should aim to cover these sections on priority. So which are the scoring areas for CSAT? Current Affairs, GK, Polity, English Comprehension, Passage, Maps are some of the topics that can fetch you good marks with less effort. Cover these early on. After you've done this and have time at disposal go for the other topics like Mental Ability, History, Science, and so on.
A smart approach combined with hard work is the right way to prepare for the IAS exam.
** Test Yourself Regularly

As preparation for IAS prelims requires at least 10 months time it is easy to lose focus or go off target. To stay on the right path or get yourself on track quickly keep testing yourself against the previous IAS papers to know the effectiveness of your preparation and identify and overcome your weak points. For this grab the previous 10 year's solved section-wise Prelims question paper set. Of course you only need to solve the previous 5 year's paper's and not 10.
** Seek the Right Guidance

If you want to prepare for IAS in a short time learn to seek quality guidance so you save valuable time and attempts. There are numerous coaching institutes that provide coaching in almost all subjects of the IAS exam. But you should know that just because an institute is popular for one optional doesn't necessarily mean that it is the best for other optionals as well. So you need to take guidance from IAS toppers, fellow aspirants and those who have reached the interview stage regarding the books to read, coaching to join, strategy to adopt for IAS preparation and so on.

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