Many of you have this curiosity in your mind that from where to start preparing for civil services? I often say the same thing to such students that you should first look at the UPSC syllabus. Then read this syllabus thoroughly many times. When each and every thing of the syllabus gets settled in your mind, then start collecting the study material related to it. Simultaneously also buy a set of previous year’s questions. Then start with any one topic.
Break this subject into different topics according to the syllabus. While studying according to the topic, you will neither find this preparation cumbersome nor will you think of leaving it midway. Once you go through the topic thoroughly, start solving questions related to it asked in preliminary and mains during previous years. After doing this, you will find that not only you are finding such a topic interesting, but now you will also have the courage to do value addition according to the demand of the subject.
Even while doing all these things, if you are having trouble understanding the topic, then you can take the help of a Mentor or coaching. As a UPSC Mentor, I always advise the aspirants to prepare honestly by themselves first. But sometimes it is not easy to prepare on your own. In such a situation, you should choose the right guide or coaching for yourself.
While choosing any coaching, especially keep 3 things in mind – Faculty, Content and Credibility. For this, you should collect information regarding coaching at your own level. Apart from this, you can also consult people you know who have prepared for coaching in the past. Often the candidates make a hasty choice of coaching by looking at popular advertisements of coaching. Then, when the syllabus is not taught as per the demand of UPSC in a certain coaching, then you regret your decision. To avoid such situations, you have to adopt the same measures which I have mentioned in the above paragraph.
The candidates often consider the advertisement of coaching as the ultimate truth. But the reality of heaven is something else. In such a situation, you will have to come here yourself to know the truth of Heaven and take proper decision only after knowing the experience of the old candidates.
When I started mentoring for Civil Services, I had only one goal in my mind that I can prepare those people who are lacking in this preparation. My effort was that more and more children from rural areas should be selected so that this service could be more inclusive. Since the civil service in the colonial period was called a service with iron-steel structure. After independence, it was the effort of the pioneers of India’s freedom movement that civil services could be transformed from democracy to public service. That’s why extensive changes were made from syllabus to the method of examination.
In line with this vision of the Government of India, I also made UPSC mentoring a passion rather than just a profession. The result of this passion was that people from the underprivileged sections of the society started coming to this service. Harish Kumar, the son of a mother who used to earn her livelihood by doing domestic services, dreamed of civil services. He came to me and share his problem. I told him that you just focus on your preparation, I will help whatever I can. But self-respected Harish says that I will pay the fee as much as I can afford. I am very happy to hear this. And then he has given his UPSC attempt and in his very first attempt he got selected for the prestigious IPS post.
The strategy I mentioned at the beginning of my article. Now I will also tell you about a successful candidate by following that strategy. A girl named Sakshi Garg came to Delhi to prepare for civil services. She enrolled at Nirman IAS and completed two year course. During this, she became a part of each and every program provided by NIRMAN IAS. She regular gave prelims and mains test series both .When she found herself fully prepared for this exam, then she attempts the prelims of UPSC. But unfortunately she missed the exam by just 0.60 marks.
Even after this, she did not give up. She had given mock test series for mains exam in the same way as if she is actually selected. After this she also updated her notes according to current affairs. To bring more edge to its content, she also did value addition in her notes. Next year she again attempted this exam. This time she cleared prelims. She had also taken guidance from me separately to enhance quality in Mains answer writing. In mains result she got selected for interview. After this, she also joined the quality improvement program started for the UPSC interview of Nirman IAS. Eventually she got selected and at the age of just 22, she got the opportunity to work on the post of Assistant Deputy Commissioner of the Indian Revenue Service.
In the end, I wish all the candidates a very bright future. All of you attempt this exam with passion, get selected and take the country forward on the path of development.
Kamal Dev Singh