An Basic Insight of Indian Civil Service (I.A.S) Exam for Professionals

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow; learn as if you were to live forever”.—–MG

“The mind is everything. What you think you become”

Friends let me enlighten you towards the basic insight of India civil service with enough details and rest if any, will cover in my next article. It is practically impossible to explain each and everything that is relevant to the preparation. I intentionally stayed away from attempting anything near to such an idea because of the very nature of the preparation. It is so much unique to each of us, so much based on personality, habits and attitudes that a one-stop solution is not possible.

Mind makeup:–
Many people come to Civil Service with different motto which could be earning money, power, and status etc. It is said “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others .Civil service is Service it is neither a Job nor a Business. So please come to serve people and indeed our Nation because nation needs you.

The first step towards your success is to choose your goal honestly. You shouldn’t choose it just because your father or mother has a dream or there is a pressure from your social circle. It should come from your heart. And once you have decided upon your choice, stick with it. This exam is not like any other entrance examination. It demands more than a decent amount of time to prepare with determination, which is possible only if the desire for coming into the service is burning in your heart incessantly. And always remember “Every dog has its day! ‘’
There is no need to come from a reputed Institute like CAs, CS AIIMS or IITs, IIMs to succeed in the civil services examination, and we must be a ‘topper’ at every stage of our education. You need not have a splendid academic background. You need not have great scores in SSC or Intermediate. Also you need not have come from a rich family.
Believe me your preparation stage would probably be the most fruitful stage of your life. Preparation gives you an opportunity to know yourself better, to assess your strengths and weaknesses, and to be a better person every day. It will be the best learning stage of all of your lives.
Stand up, be bold and take the whole responsibility on your shoulders and know that you are the creator of your own density. All the strength and success that you want are within yourself.”
Know your examination:–
Before starting the preparation, it is very important to have a complete understanding about the exam process, its structure and the various aspects related to the preparation.
UPSC generally issues the notification in the Employment News. The same should also be available on the UPSC website http://www.upsc.gov.in.The complete notification should be studied carefully to understand the structure of the exam and other related information. Plus there is exam calendar is too given on same website.
The competitive examination comprises two successive stages:–
(1)  Civil Services (Preliminary) Examinations (Objective Type) for the selection of candidates for Main Examination; and
(2)  Civil Services (Main) Examination (Written and Interview) for the selection of candidates for the various services and posts.
Marks thus obtained by the candidates in the Main Examination (written part as well as interview) would determine their final ranking. Candidates will be allotted to the various services keeping in view their ranks in the examination and the preferences expressed by them for the various Services and Posts
Remember a friend preparing for civil service is integrated, means you have to prepare Prelims Mains and interview simultaneously not separately. And once you completed the circle then only you should fill the form otherwise it would be waste of attempt. There are some candidates, who seat for 2 to 4 year, continuously preparing for exam and after 2-4 year give their first attempt.
There should not be any plan “B” meaning prepare for only UPSC at a time don’t go for other exam because every exams (State PCS and other competitive exam) had different syllabus pattern and all.
Online application Candidates must apply online using the website “http://www.upsconline.nic.in/.”
The candidates are required to pay a fee of ₹100/- (Rupees Hundred only) (excepting Female/SC/ST/PH candidates who are exempted from payment of fee) either by remitting the money in any branch of SBI by cash, or by using net banking facility.
Prelims (PT) exam is generally conducted in month of August & Mains in December and interview is conducted   in the month of March. There may be change in the month of exams.  Because of work load of UPSC.
The tentative students apply for exam are more than 12 lakh but it has been seen that less than 50 % that is 6 lakh approx. appeared in exams and ONLY 50,000 to 70,000 are serious candidate. If you are not sure about exam please do not give exam on exam date and your attempt will not be counted by merely filling exam form.
Age Limits and attempts A candidate must have attained the age of 21 years and must not have attained the age of 32 years on the 1st of August, 2016  i.e., he must have been born not earlier than 2nd August, 1984 and not later than 1st August, 1995. For 6 attempts allowed. Plus there is relaxation in age & attempt for OBC SC, ST  & PH students too.
Minimum Educational Qualifications The candidate must hold a degree of any of Universities incorporated by an Act of the Central or State Legislature in India or other educational institutions established by an Act of  Parliament or declared to be deemed as a University Under Section-3 of the University Grants Commission Act, 1956, or possess an equivalent qualification. That is you must be graduate at least (B com BA BSC B Teck)
List of services:– There are 24 Services you have to opt for them after your Prelims exam and the same depend on your ranking and other criteria too.
(i) Indian Administrative Service.(IAS) (ii) Indian Foreign Service.(IFS) ,(iii) Indian Police Service.(IPS)
(iv) Indian P & T Accounts & Finance Service, Group ‘A’. (v) Indian Audit and Accounts Service, Group ‘A’.
(vi) Indian Revenue Service (Customs and Central Excise), Group ‘A’.(IRS) (vii) Indian Defense Accounts Service, Group ‘A’. (viii) Indian Revenue Service (I.T.), Group ‘A’. (ix) Indian Ordnance Factories Service, Group ‘A’ (Assistant Works Manager, Administration). (x) Indian Postal Service, Group ‘A’.(xi) Indian Civil Accounts Service, Group ‘A’.(xii) Indian Railway Traffic Service, Group ‘A’.(xiii) Indian Railway Accounts Service, Group ‘A’.
(xiv) Indian Railway Personnel Service, Group ‘A’.(xv) Post of Assistant Security Commissioner in Railway Protection Force, Group ‘A’(xvi) Indian Defense Estates Service, Group ‘A’.(xvii) Indian Information Service (Junior Grade), Group ‘A’.(xviii) Indian Trade Service, Group ‘A’ (Gr. III).(xix) Indian Corporate Law Service, Group “A”.
(xx) Armed Forces Headquarters Civil Service, Group ‘B’ (Section Officer’s Grade).(xxi) Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Civil Service, Group ‘B’.(xxii) Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Police Service, Group ‘B’.
(xxiii) Pondicherry Civil Service, Group ‘B’. (xxiv) Pondicherry Police Service, Group ‘B’.
Other Important Points to be noted–
The best way to start the preparation is through newspapers. There is no better alternative than newspapers. In fact, newspapers are the single most important source of information that can get you through the exam.
(a)   The Hindu (b) Times of India,(c)  Economic Times (d) Indian Express
The Hindu is most preferred by students. Read the newspaper religiously, every single day. This has to become a habit; newspaper is from now, a part of your daily routine. And at the same time make snap short Notes out of it.
Some of the sections to cover in newspapers
(a)   National and social events (b) International (c)  Economics and business (d) Sports (e)  Editorial and Op-Ed (f) Opinions and discussions
Do not try to mug up, or by heart, or remember anything at this stage. Please note that many questions will come from newspaper in both PT and mains and sometimes even your interview too depend on newspaper.
It is seriously advise to go through Prelims  and mains syllabus and past 10-12 years question in order to check whether you are on right track or not.
Whether to join coaching or not??
In my conscious opinion, in the initial phases it is always better to go for a certain amount of self-preparationbefore even thinking of joining any coaching institute. Unless one has some basics about the topics, it would be very tough to comprehend and recollect whatever is being taught in a coaching institute. One good thing with coaching is you will get likeminded people there with whom you may form group for Group discussion, sharing / exchange of Notes, It might happen that someone is good at History someone in Geography and like that. 
And at the same time you may exchange / Share FOOD(ha-ha) too because you will get people from PAN India out there. So it is good source of knowing India as well.
Working Aspirants:–
The average age of joining into services also increased progressively over the years to 27.5 years. Well, most of it depends on the kind of job (and the job environment) some jobs have a very restrictive work place. If the job environment is not conducive for any study, no other option but to leave, if you are serious about getting into the services. Even if you are outside India, you can prepare for the exam, as effectively as anyone else preparing from within the country.
Here it is advised that you prepare for at least 1 to 2 year then opt for job. In this way your foundation is strong and with short revision and updating current update you can give exam, many toppers did the same.
Time management
Gandhi ji had an freedom strategy “Struggle –pause- Struggle’’ it is advised not to be “Devdas” it  means make preparation your passion not burden and during study you should spend time with your friends /relative, it will help you in refreshing your mind and Motivation as well.
Smart work: 
Though the exam demands hard work from the aspirant, it should be “intelligent hard work”. The most important aspect of the whole preparation is to plan it. Without plan noting happen and it is advised to go for regular revision at frequent interval plus opt for regular test series this will help you to analysis where you are standing. 
The following points should be kept in mind while doing preparation:
(a)   The focus should be on gaining basic clarity in each topic, which will come only through lot of logical questioning.
(b)  More time should be spent on thinking about the topic and making innovations, rather than on reading too many study material.
(c)   The previous papers should be thoroughly analyzed to understand the expectations of the examiner.
(d)  The preparation should be focused and all the hard work should be channelized in the right direction
(e)  Reading between the lines this is most important and crucial.
Discuss what you read with your friends or colleagues, you would be able to talk about a topic only when you understand it, and when discussions help in looking at different aspects of the same topic, poses new questions to clarify upon. It is advised to read Single book 20 times rather than 20 books 1 time. Do not buy each and every material that comes in to the market and stick to basics. UPSC don’t want master in topic or PhD in topic. 
Do not pay heed to rumors Rajender Nagar (Karol Bagh) Mukherjee Nagar. Friends there are two famous place for IAS preparation in Delhi Rajender Nagar is for English medium students and Mukherjee Nagar for Hindi medium and at both the place all the time too many rumors going. So my advice is please ignore all and never rely on, unless the same come by Notification either by UPSC or DOPT.
In this digital world, you must start the use of Internet, laptop and FM Radio channel (106.4 MHz) for your preparation but my advice is to use the gadgets in strict way.
Make notes in your own words otherwise it will next to impossible to revise the topic during exam. Remember quality reading is important than quantity reading. Remember to set targets daily or weekly goals in your plan and see how many times you are able to reach them and how many times you fail too.
Language Hindi English
Please note that in mains there will be compulsory qualify paper of Hindi (or Any Schedule 8 Language) & English and many time it has been seen that candidate do not take these papers seriously and failed, the number of which 800 to 900 candidates per year. The reason is simple they left reading Hindi 5 -10 year back and many more reason ,so  be careful.
Choice of optional paper
As per new syllabus you have to opt for one option for Mains and since very beginning option paper is deciding factor whether you will get Interview call or not. Deciding a suitable option is very much crucial. Believe me no one can tell you which option is good or bad for you. That is you have to decide your own. This is so that candidate opts for “Sanskrit” Pali” Mathali” and any suitable option they feel so. However few point must be consider while opt for any option.
(a)   Easily Availability of Study material and coaching.
(b)  Your own interest in Subject because here UPSC wants you must be expert in that subject.
(c)   Overlapping with other paper of General Study and Essay in order reduce burden of reading.
(d)  Few popular options History Geography Public Administration Sociology, Commerce etc.     
Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth. If you have talent and had work hard will surely achieve the same
Few Important Websites
 Do not waste time in unnecessary on searching so many website.
List of important books for UPSC examination (Prelims and mains)
GEOGRAPHY NCERT 6th, 7TH and 8th Old NCERT 11th and 12th Old NCERT 1972 both Part 1 and 2
11th and 12th New NCERT both 1 and 2 D R Khullar for Indian Geography (specially the maps) G C Leong
 Atlas 
Oxford student atlas for Indian states
 Orient Longman for Indian thematic maps and World economic geography
After completion solve UPSC previous years paper from 2001 to 2013, class notes if any.
INDIA AND World HISTORY AND CULTURE  Ancient India NCERT Old by R S Sharma Medieval India NCERT by Salish Chandra Modern India NCERT by Bipin Chandra (India after Independence) Contemporary world history New NCERT by Arjun Dev India and the contemporary world Part 1 and 2 (class 9th and 10th Old NCERT) hemes in Indian History part 2 Old NCERT class 12th  Contemporary world politics 12th class New NCERT Grover and Mehta Modern India (only selected topics) Modern India Spectrum (emphasis on appendix) Indian culture past to present: a descriptive analysis Eminent personalities of Modern India by spectrum
INDIAN ECONOMY AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT Indian economic development 11th class NCERT
Uma Kapila; Indian economic performances and policies
 Economic dictionary by Penguin Economic survey 
The Hindu articles
  Pratiyogita Darpan Economic issue (glossary, International organization, agriculture, industry and banking) 12th Five year Plan Volume 1 2 and 3
INDIAN POLITY AND GOVERNANCE   M Laxmikanth  M Bakshi Indian constitution Indian politics after ndependence  Democracy in India by A S Narang  Indian constitution at work 11th standard New NCERT Indian political theory 11th New NCERT Our parliament by Shubash Kashyap The Hindu articles from December 2013 to December 2016 Important reports of ARC
SOCIAL AND NATIONAL ISSUES Indian society and diversity and RELATED issue ,One year Yojna and Kurukshetra Social change and development in India 12th NCERT new Important Hindu and Parakram magazine articles
INTERNATIONAL RELATION AND ORGANISATION International organizations by Spectrum publications
Foreign relations and India Important Hindu articles
 United Nations website
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY 9th and 10th standard NCERT general science India Year Book science and technology chapter The Hindu Thursday edition Spectrum Science and technology Yearlyupdated notes of Science reporter magazine
ENVIRONMENT 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th Geography NCERT environment chapters India year book Environment chapter D R Khullar environment chapter The Hindu environment related articles Environment Bio Diversity and related National International Efforts)
ETHICS, INTERGRITY AND APPTITUDE Ethics integrity and aptitude for IAS preparation Facebook page
Ethics integrity and aptitude book Few ARC report
 recent bills and model thinkers from newspaper and other sources
CSABOOKS
M Tiara and R S Aggarwal for general mental ability
 Ren and Martin for English 10th Standard NCERT for Mathematics 10 year papers of CDS, CPF and UPSC for mathematics and English SSC 10 year’s paper for mathematics and English  Any manual/work books for practice “PICTURE ABHI BAKI HAI MERE DOST”
  
   CA Vikash Agarwal (Rajasthan / Kolkata /Delhi)         ca.vikash.icai@gmail.com  07838964841               
“Believe in yourself that you can make it. You will make it. And, Make it. 

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