UPSC Preparation strategy for working professionals

In the previous part of this blog we had shared IAS success stories of some of the working professionals. The annals of UPSC are full of many such achievers. There are many who have the potential and motivation to realize their dream but are unable to make a start in the absence of prudent guidance. In this part of our blog for working professionals, we intend to introduce UPSC IAS preparation strategy for working professionals that will light up the path which a professional could take to crack IAS while working.

Constraints faced by working people for IAS preparation

  • First and foremost, let us address the issue of availability of time for a working professional, which actually is the major dissuading factor for many. There is no denying the fact that a working professional is relatively more taxed for time compared to an aspirant who is non-working and hence has all the time in the world for preparations.
  • Other than just time, working professionals also face lack of energy and focus required for IAS preparation owing to their daily commute to office, working 8-9 hours a day while juggling between various projects and peoples’ expectations both at work and on family front.

The above challenges may make it seem hard to manage both job & IAS preparation simultaneously, but trust us that your work-study balance has benefits of its own. Anyone following results of Civil Services exam would have noticed that working professionals have been cracking the IAS exam relatively well. For some examples check out IAS Success Stories of working professionals

Benefits of IAS preparation while working

The reasons for their better results are: –

  • Limited time and resources is a blessing in disguise: Since time is limited, working people restrict their preparations from limited/single source unlike many aspirants who tend to refer to multiple resources and end nowhere.
  • Job security: Working people do not worry about earning their livelihood, about fall back plans, time slipping through their fingers etc. all of which makes them more focused while studying and confident to face the challenge of UPSC.
  • Self-confidence of a working professional is better than the other competitors. Obviously this is by virtue of having work experience and exposure to professional world.
  • Financial support: Working professionals have the luxury of preparing for exam over a longer time span, at their own pace, since there is no financial pressure on them to sustain themselves. They can invest in best IAS coaching which many other aspirants cannot afford.
  • Their proven acumen, basic instinct to put in hard work and methodical way of studying results in better utilisation of time and effective use of resources.

With right time management skills, preparation strategy and guidance available in form of online IAS coaching, working people can overcome all constraints and crack the IAS exam.

IAS exam preparation Guidelines for working people

  • Do not quit your job. Take a few leaves before the Prelims exam. Take a study break after clearing Prelims exam to focus full time on the Mains examination. Join back work after writing Mains exam. UPSC interview panel looks favourably at aspirants with work experience for their sheer dedication and time management skills.
  • Shut off social media – completely if you can: This is an advice from a psychologist who has cleared CSE exam – “There are huge sub-conscious implications of social media. In Facebook and even in WhatsApp groups, one has to compulsorily, by virtue of being a part of them, witness a social life. It is generally said that if you are fat, don’t believe yourself that you will not eat a packet of chips – instead don’t buy one! It is the same here. If you have to be in these things for your job or any other practical reasons, then set strict timings. Use Apps which help you to switch phone off for a certain time. And please DON’T keep commenting needlessly in Discuss comments or Forum discussions. You not only waste your own time but also make finding meaningful stuff difficult for others. Bottom-line is – if your preparation is getting compromised due to your job or family, don’t introduce one more distraction”
  • Integrated Approach of GS Prelims and Mains syllabus:
  • Since a very few topics of IAS Pre & Mains have to be prepared exclusively, prepare for Pre & Mains together. Also, gaining holistic understanding in syllabus from both Pre & Mains perspective will render far better results.
  • Before UPSC Prelims: Complete preparing the entire GS syllabus, or at least the Pre & Mains combined syllabus before Prelims. If necessitated by shortage of time, topics exclusively for Mains like the Ethics paper, Essay, World History, etc can be tackled after writing Prelims. Do take a Prelims Test series.
  • Also, complete preparing the optional subject as well before Prelims.
  • Between UPSC Prelims and Mains, devote time to GS revision, GS answer writing practice and Optional revision. Spend more time on revision of optional. Do take a Mains Test Series.
    • Select the right Optional Subject. How to select right optional subject
    • Keep resources limited. Read only one book/source for a particular topic. Read them multiple times.
    • Use micro opportunities: Study in minutes not hours. Since you will not be able to devote dedicated time for IAS preparation, therefore, you will have to plan your study sessions very carefully. Limited time availability also means that you will have to make every second count and thus it would be better if you make a study plan that is based in minutes rather than hours. Like catching up on Current Affairs during breaks. Making smaller topic completion goals.
    • Stop looking for a “perfect strategy” because there is none.
    • The right time to start preparing is 5 – 2 years before Prelims.

    Compartmentalisation and cross learning of subjects is essential if you are in a job. See how working can become your strength in a given area. Use this strength for your exam.

Online IAS coaching for working professionals

Rau’s IAS General Studies Hybrid (Online) course has been specifically designed keeping in view requirements of working professionals.

Important highlights of this course are:

  1. Weekend Live-Classes: Lectures will be telecast live on Sat for 04 hrs and on Sunday, for 08 hrs. Weekend classes will give you ample time to consolidate and revise what has been taught in the week after.
  2. Flexibility to catch up on classes: Although lectures will be streamed real time, these lectures will also be made available as recorded lectures (for a period of 7 days only) which can be easily accessed by working professionals at the time of their choosing.
  3. Duration of 2 years: This way, aspirants can learn at an easy pace while tending to the responsibilities of their jobs/studies alongside.
  4. Doubts Solving: Each lecture session will be for 120 mins, in which last about 20 mins will be devoted by the faculty to clear doubts of students. Doubs can be asked within the live class or even afterwards using the class discussion forum.
  5. Peer Learning: Interact with Rau’s experts and fellow UPSC aspirants to discuss your ideas and get your doubts cleared.
  6. Study material: The course includes soft copies and hard copies of course study material like blue workbooks, two years’ subscription to Rau’s monthly current affairs magazine (Focus), Prelim revision books (Prelims Compass) and Mains revision books (Mains Compass).
  7. GSI Class Tests, UPSC Prelims Test Series, UPSC Mains Test Series are all part of the course and will be made available as per the course plan.
  8. Flexibility to take tests online or offline tests in the Rau’s exam hall (right now located at Delhi, Bengaluru and Jaipur campuses) in simulated test conditions (on opening of lock down), on any day of the week.
  9. UPSC Revision for Pre & Mains: Quality Improvement Program (QIP) videos will be made available before Prelims and Mains respectively for the purpose of revision.

We hope that the above information would have cleared many doubts about online courses and how these courses can fit-in easily in the schedule of a working professional.

In case you wish to know more about General Studies Integrates Hybrid/Online online course for working professionals, click the link

To watch how an interactive video lectures are being conducted, click the link

Lastly, one must understand that each person’s motivation and path taken to achieve the set goal is different. One must never compare himself/herself  to anyone else. Every aspirant would have some strengths and some weaknesses too. Don’t ever forget the uniqueness of your own journey. Have faith in that uniqueness!


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