As soon as the Civil Services Prelims season is over aspirants will be provided with a plethora of keys by different coaching institutes and websites (including ours :)), each varying among themselves in at-least 4-5 questions! Yes, that’s the way UPSC construct close answer choices, and no one can predict the keys with hundred percent accuracy until UPSC officially declares it. UPSC usually declares the list of successful candidates who cleared IAS Prelims by July last week/ Aug first week. But what’s your plan till then?
IAS Prelims over, now what next?
Every year UPSC Civil Services Prelims creates three categories of aspirants.
- Candidates who have done reasonably well, and expect a call for Civil Services Main exam with near 100% surety.
- Candidates who fear about their chances of cracking IAS prelims, being their score in the marginal range of UPSC cut-offs. Numerous rumors about the UPSC cut-offs and variations in the keys makes their pulse remain above 100 for next three months until UPSC officially announce the Prelims result.
- Candidates whose dreams are shattered by the UPSC question paper (with questions like selecting true/false facts from 7 facts given in the same question!) or their answers.
For all the three mentioned categories of aspirants, ClearIAS.com suggest only 1 way forward : Start Preparing According To The Mains Syllabus.
Don’t waste time!
Probably you can take 1 week break after Prelims, to refresh your mind and to get back the focus and energy. But come back to the track as soon as possible, with out wasting too much time pondering about results or keys. What ever be the result of prelims, that should not affect your strategies if you have a long term study plan for a Civil Services Career. Whatever be your score, if you are determined for a career in Civil Services, you have no other way. Stay focused. Preparation never go waste. Rewards might come this year or next year, but consider the stage from June as a new beginning (probably more enjoying journey!) towards the final destination.
Civil Services Exam Study Plan
ClearIAS.com in this post is trying to brief a practical study plan in accordance with the latest UPSC pattern of prelims and mains.
PS: If you are planning your exam not in the near future, and if you have enough time in your kitty please go through the Strategy and Books for Early Birds To Clear IAS Exam.
From June – Dec Every Calender Year for IAS Preparation: (Strategy and Study Plan for Clearing IAS Mains Exam)
Aspirants for current year mains exam (Eg: 2013): If you have written Prelims in May, the next 5-6 months is what you get for preparation for Mains exam in Nov/Dec. The 6 months have to be used to cover topics related to 9 papers for Civil Service Mains, which includes the 2 optional papers and 2 qualifying papers. Links are given in this website regarding the UPSC syllabus, study materials and useful books for Civil Services Mains, and more posts are coming up in these lines.
Aspirants for next year mains exam (Eg: 2014) : Are you are a starter, wondering about the time required for Civil Services Preparation? Ideally June/July is the right time to start preparing for next year Prelims/Mains as you will get around 12 months for thorough preparation. 12 months preparation is not necessary to crack Civil Services Prelims, if you have high command in numerical ability, reasoning and reading comprehension skills (Prelims Paper 2). Even if you are scoring low in Prelims Paper 1, with a high score in Prelims Paper 2, you might be able to crack prelims even with 1 month preparation. But this risky strategy may not help you crack the next stages, ie. Mains and Interview, as your fundamentals in General Studies is poor. Time required to build basic knowledge of all conventional areas in General Studies like History, Geography, Polity, Economics, Environment, Science and Technology varies from person to person, but at-least 6-12 months advance preparation is advised.
All aspirants, whether they aim Civil Services exam this year or next year are advised to focus on mains syllabus during this period.
From Jan – May Every Calender Year for IAS Preparation:
Aspirants for current year mains/ interview (Eg: 2013-14): All those who have written mains are advised to focus on Interview Preparation without bothering too much about the Mains result. Attempt 5-6 mock interviews to judge your performance and make necessary corrections based on feedback. This period is also the time to prepare for the next cycle of Prelims. (As the journey is a cycle, which finishes only when UPSC mention our name in the list of successful candidates!)
Aspirants for next year exam (Eg: 2014-15): If you are a first-time aspirant, time from Jan-May is crucial for your Prelims Preparation. Shift focus from mains topic including your optionals and essays to Prelims oriented questions. Understand the varying pattern of UPSC in Preliminary Exam and do maximum mock tests, particularly for GS Paper 2 (CSAT). Links are given in this website regarding the UPSC syllabus, study materials and useful books for Civil Services Prelims, and more posts are coming up in this section with some valuable tips and shortcuts to maximize the score.
All aspirants, whether they aim Civil Services exam this year or next year are advised to focus on Prelims Syllabus during this period. All the best!