When to Start Preparing for the IAS Exams?
There are different stages in the preparation of UPSC exams that have different demands depending upon the age of a person or the phase of their life.
If you are a school student, you have ample time in your hands. IAS exam preparation is not your primary goal right now. You can start reading newspapers every day to develop a habit of being up to date with the current affairs. If you have extra time, you can start reading reference books as a leisure activity. Remember, in the current situation, your boards are more important than UPSC exams. Your ongoing studies must not suffer because of this. In fact, seriously studying your syllabus NCERT books will give you a good boost when you start preparing for the IAS exam in full swing.
If you are a college/graduation student, start concentrating on current affairs in all seriousness. It is good to read yearbooks to increase your general knowledge. In your free time, you can try MCQ questions of general knowledge and the subjects you’ve already covered in your education until now. This will help you in the long run. Also, if you are nearing your final year, you can start following e-learning courses for IAS preparation or UPSC exam preparation websites regularly to understand the pattern and structure of the UPSC exam and the UPSC syllabus for Prelims and Mains. You can get the UPSC exam syllabus from the official website or from our website and use it as a checklist to start your preparation in case you wish to take your exam right after or while finishing your graduation. It is good to read blogs and articles available online. These give a three-sixty-degree view on the UPSC exam preparation and help you understand the UPSC exam pattern as well as the UPSC exam marking scheme.
After finishing your graduation, in case you have not already taken the exam, or you feel you will be taking it again the next year, you should put the IAS exam preparation at full throttle. By now you have already developed a habit of reading and studying. You must proceed into the depth of the syllabus methodically and with proper time management for each subject area. The IAS exam syllabus is both wide and deep, so you must cover each topic extensively and minutely. You can get the complete IAS preparation booklist and start reading the books in detail, followed by appearing in practice tests or mock tests.
If you are a professional, you can start your preparation by taking out a few hours a day from your daily life, which you can dedicate to the IAS exam preparation. What matters for you is excellent time management skills. You can read newspapers while working or during your breaks and read the books required while travelling to and from work. See from where you can squeeze the time. This is the most important thing. Remind yourself that this exam is a means of achieving your dreams and your livelihood doesn't depend on it; you have nothing to lose. This will help you keep your composure and being relaxed as you strike a balance between your IAS preparation and work life.
UPSC exam preparation has no hard and fast rules when it comes to age. It is a gradual process of personal development and gaining overall knowledge. Whenever you think you are ready to commit yourself to get to your goal, that’s the right time! The key is believing in yourself and never hesitating, no matter what.