From a young woman growing up in Dantewada who secured the 12th rank to an IIT graduate who left behind a comfortable job in a foreign country to serve in India, the toppers of UPSC 2018 represent all strata of society. They all have one goal - to work for the nation’s welfare. Serving as a civil servant is amongst the most venerable goals in Indian society, which is why several aspirants keep trying to clear the exam even it takes a lot many years.
For the uninitiated, IAS has three recruitment modes, the predominant one being the UPSC exam that takes place annually. Some officers are also hired from the state civil services. In some cases, non-state civil service officers are also selected. Two-thirds of the IAS officials are selected through the UPSC exam. This entrance test is held for recruitment of candidates for Indian Police Service (IPS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS) and other Group A and B central services apart from IAS.
The exam is split into prelims, mains and an interview. Besides time management, preparation includes staying aware of your eligibility requisites, the syllabus, and question paper patterns. Keeping an eye out for the notifications is essential so that a candidate has time to prepare thoroughly. Also, staying updated on the exam schedule and the application form is important.
The code to ace the UPSC exam
Going by the figures and the success rates, acing the UPSC exam is undoubtedly difficult. Nearly eight lakh candidates had applied for the UPSC Prelims in 2018, of which only 759 qualified.
By amalgamating adequate preparation with discipline, aspirants can indeed ace it. Diligent effort is vital but smart work promises better results. Having a solid knowledge of current affairs, History, politics, Economics and general science enable a candidate to go a long way.
It is important that a candidate familiarises themselves with the kind of questions that have been asked over the years. If a candidate’s preparation involves solving the objective type of questions for the Prelims, vocabulary and in-depth knowledge of a subject must receive stronger emphasis in the Mains. Aspirants can opt for one subject from an array of subjects such as Mathematics, Civil Engineering, Medical Science to English Literature, Anthropology, Philosophy and History, among others. The final round that marks the interview session tests the candidate’s rational awareness, interest in current affairs, leadership qualities, judgment abilities and integrity, among a range of other criteria.
Therefore, a lot of hard work and a constructive approach are involved to surpass the three phases of the exam and clinch victory.
Role of the internet and tech platforms
Considering the upper and minimum age limit for the UPSC exam, it is a given that candidates are millennials and generation Z-ers. They are born into a digital society; hence engaging with technology and smart devices comes to them with ease. They live in a world where engagement with brands, booking shows, cabs, food or services are all on a tech platform. This only shows that learning online is no exception to them. They could opt for an online platform that offers lessons and helps them prepare for the rigours ahead.
Benefits of an online platform
An ed-tech platform enables students to enroll for courses and watch video lessons from the comfort of their homes. Students can pick educators of their choice, and have access to top mentors from across the country. This serves as a huge motivating factor for candidates looking to crack tough exams.
Ed-tech platforms also offer quizzes and doubt clearing sessions, bringing in an element of interactivity. Weekly mock tests for various papers are also a huge plus. The platform allows students to chart their daily schedules and track their progress, and even view videos in the offline mode. The flexibility of an ed-tech platform means IAS aspirants can always study at their convenience, and there is no fear of missing out on a class. This is particularly useful if an aspirant is also a working professional. The sheer convenience of online learning beats a classroom session on any given day.
(The author is content head, Unacademy)