Every successful IAS aspirant has some tips for IAS aspirants like you. On going through the interviews of such IAS toppers and other aspirants who have managed to crack the IAS exam, I have compiled a list of 5 habits that these aspirants developed and followed routinely in order to clear the IAS exam.
1. Proper Time Management
In order to be successful in the IAS, time management is crucial. Since you only have about 12 months from the time of starting your preparation in May/June to the actual Prelims in August next year, it is essential that you plan in advance about your schedule for these 2 months and then break down this period into smaller parts between paper 1 and paper 2, keeping adequate time in hand for taking mock tests. Even on daily basis you should divide your preparation time between Paper 1 and Paper 2, devoting more time to Paper 1 since it is scoring and will determine your chances of qualifying for the Mains exam. Apart from this you also need to read current events from newspapers and magazines on a regular basis. Manage your time accordingly.
2. Reading Only What’s Important
Early into our preparation, we all have been presented list of “recommended books for IAS” by our coaching centres, fellow aspirants, friends and mentors. This leaves us confused and stressed out just by looking at the long list of books that we need to refer in order to crack the IAS. But fear not, chances are that more than two books for a single topic have been recommended or that many of the books don’t need to be read from end to end. That’s why I have suggested only the most essential books for Prelims and Mains. Nothing less and nothing more than what is required to achieve success in the IAS.
3. Being Consistent in Preparation
Even if you’re not super intelligent, one habit that you should cultivate is consistency in your efforts. Some aspirants say they prepare for 15 hours a day. Is it possible or even required? After all if we exert ourselves so much in one day, there is a real possibility that we will skip preparation for the next 2-3 days or our study hours would be very less. Instead try to prepare for 8-10 hours consistently and divide this time accordingly. Some days you might feel like putting in more effort while on other days you might be feeling you should relax more or it could be you are pre-occupied with other important matters. In any case, try to maintain a healthy average of 8-10 hours preparation daily.
Secondly, you should be consistent with your routine. Once you have developed a schedule or routine of topics to cover in a day, make it a point to follow it sincerely. Don’t change plans too often or get too distracted by just planning forgetting the actual preparation in the process. If you have set aside 1 hour daily for reading newspaper, then follow this practice daily. Don’t try to read 2-3 days newspapers in one day. This way you will only be playing catch up with your schedule.
4. Making Micro Notes
Obviously, we all have class notes and other printed notes to refer for IAS preparation. However, making your micro notes that are handy and can be revised quickly and easily is crucial for success in the IAS exam. You can make notes on flip cards that you can go through 15-20 days prior to the Prelims or Mains and even refer in between two papers. These notes should be crisp and to the point. You can make a gist of the main points for a topic. For instance, effects of climate change on tropical countries like India or Salient features of Revolt of 1857 etc.
These notes should make sense to you and no one else.
5. Attempting Mock Tests
No matter how well you prepare, if you don’t test yourself before UPSC tests you, your preparation will not bear the fruits you deserve. So instead of leaving taking mock tests right till the end, it is better if you enroll for a good topi-wise test series that you can attempt as and when you complete a particular topic. This approach helps in course correction at the right time and also saves valuable time and effort in the fag end of your preparation schedule when you need to revise the entire syllabus in just a few days. IAS Kracker has developed a popular test series course for Prelims with more than 80 topic-wise and full-length tests that will help you greatly to clear the Prelims.
These 5 habits of IAS aspirants will help you a long way in your road to IAS journey. So start practicing them today.