Among the lakhs of candidates who sit the Civil Services Examination, there are various candidates who find themselves stuck with a 9-5 job routine. Many of them doubt themselves to have a way out with the IAS Examination and the rigorous preparation needed for it. However, it is not impossible for working professionals to crack the examination. 

This article will throw light on the five important tips that a working professional must adapt to for UPSC preparation. These tips talk about how to cover the syllabus, how to follow the current affairs and how to effectively manage time while working. 

Tip 1 – Stick to syllabus and a few books

There is no alternative to completing the syllabus as is designed by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC.) However, one can make use of trend analysis and previous year question papers while deciding the topics that they must start with. 

For example, a recent trend shows that UPSC asks analytical questions on the agriculture and environment related topics in the prelims examination as it is a common entrance test both for IAS and IFoS (Indian Forest Service) candidates. 

Therefore, it is a smart approach to build the basics of environment topics strongly. 

Similarly, questions on Indian Economy are majorly inclined towards the latest current affairs, therefore, working professionals should not worry about reading thick books on Indian Economy to cover its syllabus. 

The right approach to cover the UPSC syllabus for the working professionals would be:

  • Refer to the previous year question papers first and understand the demand of the questions. 
  • Make use of NCERTs the best possible way as these would help the maximum understanding the fundamentals of the topics. 
  • Stick to a newspaper. 

Tip 2 – Current Affairs are a must

Religiously following current affairs is a key to most of the challenges faced by working professionals. The significance of the current events of national and international importance can’t be ignored. They play a crucial role in all stages of the Civil Services Examination. 

Therefore, a candidate who is in a working job, should subscribe to either online or offline newspapers and cover them daily. If this segment is strong, it becomes very easy for the mains examination preparation. 

Which newspaper to read? 

The Hindu is the most opted newspaper by the civil services aspirants. However, one can also read Indian Express. The secret is to read only one newspaper and stick to it. 

Tip 3 – Effective Time Management

Yes, it is challenging for the working professionals to devote as much time as their counterparts without a job are devoting. However, a working professional must remember that his/her work experience will always help in the examination journey in many ways. 

The weekday time table of a working professional should look like as below:

7 AM – 9 AMRead newspaper + current affairs
9 AM – 5 PMWork
5 PM – 7 PMRelax
7 PM – 9 PMFirst slot of study
9 PM – 10 PMDinner
10 PM – 12 AMSecond Slot of study

Please note that one can modify the timetable based on their body clock. There are candidates who sleep late and can study at night comfortably whereas others are early birds and can stretch their studies in the wee hours. 

The weekend time table of a working professional should like as below:

7 AM – 9 AMNewspaper + Current Affairs
9 AM – 10 AMRelax
10 AM – 2 PMFirst slot to studyTake optionalsRevise
2 PM – 4 PMRelax
4 PM – 8 PMSecond slot to studyTake General StudiesRevise
8 PM – 9:30 PMRelax
9:30 PM – 12 AMThird slot to studyRevisionPrevious year question papers

Please note that working professionals can make the best use of weekends assuming that every candidate has two days off. A candidate must modify the time table as per his/her needs but one has to accept the fact that weekends are one of the most important assets for UPSC preparation. 

Tip 4 – Make use of your work experience

Most candidates criticize their work routine as it becomes a barrier in their studies. However, one should always look at the silver lining. With the work experience, one should feel confident and proud as the same would train candidates in several aspects. While working, a candidate gets to learn people management skills which are the crux of IAS officer’s routine. Having already understood various patterns of dealing with pressure, deadlines, ideations, challenges; a working professional is nurtured better against someone who is a fresher. 

Therefore, one must learn to appreciate their job and its learnings while they are preparing for UPSC. 

Tip 5 – Do your best

There is always a belief that best results always come with best efforts. A candidate should put their all in while preparing so that one can confidently feel that no stone has been left behind, unturned. 

When a candidate prepares having this belief, there are all possibilities in the world that would help him/her clear the exam. 

Everyone must remember that during the pandemic, mostly they are working from home. This becomes another silver lining to look at while preparing for the exam. It is always suggested to keep a track of the latest updates given by UPSC Online portal regarding the status of the examination. It would help in tracking the important notices released by the Commission periodically about the status of the exam, its syllabus and more. 

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