From where we should take the coaching? This is very often the first question candidates ask me. This is precisely where we go wrong from the beginning.
Let me explain. Suppose you are new to India and you know that you want to goto Mumbai from Delhi. What would be your logical approach?
You will probably goto google. See the distance you need to cover. Then see mode of transportations available. See the time at your disposal and of course the money in your pocket. Then you finally decide to buy a train ticket. You don’t straightaway ask where I get the train tickets, right?
So we should follow the same method while going for the IAS or for that mater any decision making.
So. follow these steps when you are beginning the journey of civil services:
First, read the notification of the UPSC for civil services. Here you go friend: https://www.upsc.gov.in/sites/default/files/Notif-CSP-22-engl-020222F.pdf
In this, read the syllabus very very carefully (page 28 – 33). I’m producing the screenshots here itself for your comfort:
So, now you have studied what is asked. Now let us see how it is asked. Time to look at the papers. So, go through all past year papers right from 2013 to 2021. Read them again and again and discover the pattern. Here you go: https://www.upsc.gov.in/examinations/previous-question-papers
Here was my learnings after paper analysis:
1/ Even in history, no cramming is needed of dates, facts etc. Analysing history from perspective of administrator is more important. Like, I am not interested as to how many rock and pillar edicts Ashoka had. I am interested to see where he had them as this would tell me his geographical reach and the languages used will tell me the profile of the audience he is referring to. Messages on them will tell the social beliefs of society and influence of Buddhism.
2/ Mostly those parts of static topics are asked, which are highlighted in current affairs. Like in 2018 prelims, a question on theory of relativity was asked. I could correctly do that question. How? Because that year around the famous scientist Stephen Hawking had passed away. So I went on youtube and learnt how his theory of everything and Hawking radiation was in contradiction to Einstein theory. But then next year, coaching-wala would focus on NCERT of science as it contains that theory.
3/ Understanding issues and dimensions behind news is important than reading hundreds of opinion article. Like Ukraine issue happens. So, one day, go on google for two hours and research on the topic. Go on good websites like https://www.orfonline.org/ or https://www.mea.gov.in/index.htm etc or some nice youtube videos. Then I am done.
So let us quickly jump into the reading sources and methodology of reading them starting with prelims. Remember our focus is strictly on syllabus as outlined above.
Current Events of National and International Importance
No need to read any other magazine like Yojana, Kurukshetra, EPW, science monitor, Sansad TV debates etc. I have read many others like Vision etc but I like FOCUS the most. If you feel FOMO, just refer some summaries before mains. You will see that you almost know everything.
No need to make notes of current affairs if you don’t know. I made none and never.
How to read? You see a news that IIP shrank. Goto google and see what index of industrial production is. Who makes it. What does it comprises.
Wait for the story to develop. You are not a journalist. You should be able to know an issue immediately before exam. Thats the objective. Like if Ukraine issue is going on. Someone will read all opinion columns in The Hindu for months. Thats time waste. Just glance in newspaper as to how things unfolding. And before exam, thoroughly prepare that topic from web in two hours. See official position of India. Refer maps. Thats all!
YouTube Sources for Current (Totally Voluntary)
Lets see other topics:
History (see syllabus above) (Pre+Mains)
Society and Social Justice