Preparation Strategies for Civil Services Examination that reflect the trends

Civil Services Examination preparation is difficult and candidates are keen to know what worked for the successful candidates in the recent examination.

As I keep talking to some of the top rankers and successful candidates in Civil Services Examination, I have gathered some useful information that can be of some help to you.


 By:      On Friday 2nd March 2018           Read In Hindi

Every year, with declaration of Civil Services Examination result, I interact with many successful candidates and this exercise lasts for almost 7-8 weeks.

It had been truly amazing and enriching experience as all these successful candidates have worked hard to achieve success in Civil Services Examination.

I have listed a few points that are crux of the discussions with many of these successful candidates and views shared by them.

You may or may not spot anything new or you have not heard; but, you can always make your own understanding of the things that are in trend.

I hope if you are able to relate yourself with these and include something that seems useful in your plan, you stand to gain.

 Important takeaways from successful candidates in recent Civil Services Examination

1.       Civil Services Examination is still top-of-mind for educated and aspiring youth and craze is visible.

2.       With lot of awareness around and discussions, encouraging words and guidance from successful candidates make things easier for beginnersand inspires for a outstanding performance.

3.       Aim for top 50 ranks and set a benchmark little higher for yourself, come out of your comfort zone and strive hard to achieve it.

4.       With a resounding success Tina Dabi (AIR 1) in particular, has created a wave among candidates that the Civil Services Examination is achievable in very first attempt with right focus.

5.       Fear is still the biggest factor than impacts the candidate’s performance.

6.       Engineers, doctors and professionally qualified candidates with higher degree continue to rule this arena.

7.       Reason for their success is nothing; but, looking at things rationally. They always give the impression of being in search for solutions rather than being a silent observer.

8.       The biggest factor that plays in performance is looking at someone close, friend, batch-mates getting selected in Civil Services Examination.

9.       Many talented candidates come with a plan and have a time-frame in mind for this foray.

10.   Candidates’ dependence on on-line resource/websites is increasing for contents as well as for motivation and www.iaspassion.com continues to be a source of inspiration and is like stress-buster for many.

11.   NCERT Books are considered a must at the beginning of preparation for conceptual clarity. Newspaper reading and magazines are integral part of the study resource.

12.   In Preliminary Examination, associating dynamic question asked in previous years is just an attempt to analyze; it has no role to play in preparation-plan. Having a balanced view about Prelims syllabus will only help as no one can read what is there in examiner’s mind next time.

13.   ‘Integrated Approach’ for preparation makes things manageable at Preliminary Examination’ as Main Examination oriented study-plan covers Prelims General Studies Paper I related requirements effectively.

14.   Success in Preliminary Examination depends more upon practice

15.   Being aware of techniques for solving objective-type tests is a boon.

16.    Keeping in mind ‘Negative marking’ one should be careful and should not venture in to risk-taking attitude.

17.   Although, Prelims General Studies Paper II is qualifying; still, it should not be taken lightly.

18.   Role of coaching has amplified and at some stage of examination or for a particular paper or may be for Personality Test (Interview) many candidates seek coaching institute’s help.

19.   Still, there are many candidates prepare and crack Civil Services Examination with self-help.

20.   ‘Mock’ Tests, ‘Test Series’ are delivering; not all but specialized players are really amazing.

21.   Care is must for each constituent of General Studies and every paper has its own significance.

22.   Answer writing practice has become quite important.

23.   At Main Examination, presentation techniques matters a lot.

24.   In the only ‘One’ optional subject regime, still, lots of candidates are making cross-domain shift and opt for a new subject leaving their own.

25.   This time candidates are able to score better in General Studies and average optional subject score has come down a little.

26.   Irrespective of Hindi or English medium, scoring pattern for General Studies continues to be low. (those who advocate that UPSC show bias towards Hindi medium candidates should make a cognitionof it that if answers are not as per expectations, treatment is similar whether it is an English medium candidate or Hindi medium)

27.   In Main Examination, General Studies papers continue to be lengthy and those who practice, are duly rewarded.

28.   As per estimation, any score above 360 (out of total 1000) for General Studies; 235 (out of total 500) for Optional Subject and 130 plus (out of total 250) for Essay can be considered as a decent score. But, as the trend suggests, each passing year score is showing rising trend.

29.   Among most popular optional subjects, lots of candidates confirmed Geography is one subject that has been badly hit this year. Among the optional subjects that have come in limelight in recent years, Economy is one optional subject that is missing at least in top ranks. This should not perturb you as it happens every year with one or other optional subject.

30.   Once again, candidates who had performed well in Main Examination (Written) have been stress-free and had low dependence on Personality Test.

31.   As part of strategy, ‘Essay’ and ‘Interview’ are two areas where one aims to score high.

32.   Among General Studies, Paper IV is seen as an opportunity to score. Candidates maintain that Efforts-Rewards ratio for Paper IV is still very high and for Paper II it is the lowest.

33.   Essay writing is becoming a craze and most candidates keep some time for practice during Main Examination preparation.

34.   Opinion is divided on use of Quotations, flowery language, use of some heavy words, phrases. It all depends upon your presentation style and how effectively it is done.  

35.   Almost everyone I talked to confirmed that it is essential to complete all the Main Examination question paper.

36.   One needs to manage time in such a way that none of the question is left unanswered. If that is the case, one stands to gain. Even a single mark matters.

37.   Personality Test (Interview) score has again been in wide range and has once again impacted fortunes of many.

38.   In Interview, how the marks are awarded remains a puzzle still, candidates have learnt to be original.

39.   Interview continues to play a vital role and good scores have worked wonders for many.

40.   First ranker and only top ranks are celebrated; people don’t look at the efforts of others who worked as harder (if not more) as these top rankers put in.

Last Update Friday 2nd March 2018

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