So you’ve decided that you want to be a civil servant when you grow up. That’s great! But everyone is telling you that the UPSC exam is tough and you need to start preparing for it as soon as possible. And now, you’re stressing out, wondering where you should start.
There’s a lot you can start with — but you first need to not stress and start planning. You have a lot of time to start studying the actual coursework for the UPSC exams. Focus on acing schoolwork first and implement some of the simple steps below, so that when the time comes, you’re prepared for the task.
Studying for the UPSC involves good time management skills, as you need to cover a vast amount of information in a short time. So start by making a daily schedule that includes your schoolwork, homework, play and free time. Stick to the schedule as much as you can. This will help train you to maintain a strict schedule when you start your actual prep work.
Cultivate the habit of reading everything you can get your hands on. An important part of preparing for the IAS exams is going through a lot of written material. Be it your textbooks, non-fiction books, newspapers or even storybooks — read everything.
A major chunk of the UPSC syllabus is current affairs. Invest in a newspaper (ideally more than one) and read it from cover to cover every day. Even if there are parts that you don’t understand or aren’t interested in, it’s important to know what’s happening in all parts of the world. If there are things you don’t understand, ask questions and research about them to find out more.
Geography forms an important portion of the UPSC syllabus. Improve your geography knowledge with small, fun activities. You can hang up a map of the world on your wall and get a family member to pick a country at random and study that country’s geography and history. You can also make a dart game out of it, where you throw a dart at a random area of the map and study the country it hits.
Studying seems less daunting and boring when you do it with friends. Join one of the many online forums or communities of young students preparing for the UPSC exams and you will have a set of friends to discuss and help you with your preparation. You can also try fun activities like quizzes or watching relevant films related to your studies with your study group.
The UPSC exams demand good writing skills and the stamina to write long and rich essays. You can start practising your skills early by writing essays, stories, and explainers once a week and getting them checked by a teacher or family member.
Don’t ignore your studies in order to prepare for the UPSC exams. You can only give the exams when you’ve graduated from college, for which you need to do well in academics and extracurriculars. Additionally, your school subjects like Geography, History and English will form a good foundation for the course work you will eventually need to study for UPSC.
Going through the NCERT (National Council of Education Research and Training) textbooks will help with the preparation. There are textbooks for grades six through 12, so read through the grade six textbook from time to time, to familiarise yourself with the concepts in it.
Remember, while having a goal and working toward it is great, it’s also important to keep the big picture in mind. The UPSC exams are tough, yes, but they are also years away for you. Don’t forget to look at other goals you may want to achieve. Ask questions, explore, and keep an open mind.
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