Hello Dear Aspirants, We (Team ASPIRE IAS) hope that if you are browsing through this UPSC Planner then you are serious enough for making a career in Civil Services. Our endeavour by means of this planner would be to act as a guide,friend as well as mentor in making your journey of Civil Services Preparation, a successfull and enriching one by providing the right approach, right material as well as the right guidance.
The whole planner would be designed by a deeper association of the DIRECTOR SIR (Shri Ankit k. Agarwal) in such a way that it covers the requirements of the Civil Services Examination(CSE) across its length and breadth and believes in an effective 'handholding approach' so that an Aspirant is not left alone for accomplishing the task of clearing this mother of all examinations.
It is a pan Indian level examination which is conducted by an autonomous Institution named UPSC(Union Public Service Commission) which is not just the nation's most prestigious examination but even considered one of the toughest examination of the world too. The objective for conducting the examination is the recruitment to various Civil Services of the Government of India ,including the Indian Administrative Service(IAS), Indian Police Service(IPS), Indian Forest Service(IFoS), Indian Revenue Service(IRS) etc.
The Examination is conducted in three phases such as:
In all of the above mentioned stages, General studies is an integral as well as most significant part which plays a crucial role in shaping an aspirant to reach
his long cherished dream.
General Studies which comprises of the maximum volume of UPSC preparation, apparently, does not fathom deeper over a specific subject but majorly touches upon the broad dimensions of various subjects (as suggested by its name too).
As far as the Civil Services Examination(CSE) is concerned, the aforementioned information holds lesser currency because sometimes the General Studies questions seem to be so tough that even the subject experts are not in a position to answer them with utmost accuracy ( which ultimately opens a window for smart/calculated guesswork too at the preliminary stage of CSE).Hence, remember that General Studies is not so 'General' as far as UPSC preparation is concerned.
The syllabus of General Studies(GS), despite its general connotations, is so
large that it atleast requires ONE years meticulous preparation for dealing with the nuances of GS preparation (in its entirety) for all the 3 stages of the process such as – Preliminary Test(PT) Stage, Mains and Personality Test(Interview) Stage. Here, our focus would be on the preliminary stage where we will discuss the syllabus,past trends as well as the strategy to clear this stage with ease.
Preliminary Test Stage :
Every year,around 9-10 lakh Candidates(famously known as 'Aspirants') fill the form for the UPSC's glorified CSE out of which around 4-5 lakh actually sit for
writing the preliminary stage which acts as a filter for rejecting most of the candidates at the very first stage and allows only around 13000-14000 candidates(depending on the number of vacancies advertised) for the next stage(Mains). The mammoth amount of candidates rejection showcases the importance of this stage.
This stage comprises of 2 question papers namely – General Studies (GS Paper 1), Civil Services Aptitude Test/CSAT (GS Paper 2) comprising of 200 marks each. Both papers comprise of either Multiple Choice Questions(MCQs) or Single Choice Questions with 4 options each where the candidate has to choose the correct option.
There exists a provision for 'Negative marking' in the marking scheme where the candidate is penalised by '1/3rd negative marks' for the wrong choices made while concluding an answer.
The breakup of the papers and the respective marks per question is as follows:
It is mandatory for a candidate to appear in both the papers in order to be qualified for mains exam.
Note: The CSAT paper is of qualifying nature where a candidate is required to score minimum around 33 % of the total marks (i.e, around 27 questions/66 marks net correct). This fact strongly justifies the importance of GS Paper 1 as far as the preliminary stage is concerned.
Respective Cut offs of past few years (CSE Preliminary Stage):
Note: The cut offs obtained till 2014 year were based on the cumulative total of both papers( GS Papers 1 and 2). From 2015, they were based on the marks scored by the candidate in GS Paper 1 only(due to qualifying nature of CSAT).
The Paper 1 of Preliminary deals with General Studies and its syllabus is
indicative and not comprehensive and is as follows :
A candidate here, is advised to stick to the syllabus for UPSC prelimns for clearing this examination with ease.Reference of previous years Question papers from time to time may also help.
Though the full strategy could not be put up in a few pages as it is an ongoing process and also it varies with respect to the background of an individual too.
For ex- if a candidate is a Graduate in subjects like History, Geography,Public Administration then those would be simpler for him to prepare viz-a-viz GS preparation but such candidates would find difficulty in areas such as Science & Technology and Economics.
Similarly, a candidate who is a Doctor/Engineer/ from Science background would be comfortable in Science & Technology but would have to work much hard in History, Geography, Polity etc.
Hence, the strategy varies based upon the educational as well as awareness background of an individual, his capacity to understand and also on how much he can follow religiously. Such a strategy could broadly be defined as:
The break up of topicwise weightage in CSE Prelimns is as follow:
The candidate is advised to keep the breakup of weightage(mentioned above) of different topics in mind while preparing in order to save his time and energy and avoid overlapping of topics. Our UPSC Planner would help you keep track of your performance and also in analysing your weak areas too.
The planner's approach would be different for PT and Mains yet it would be comprehensive enough to imbibe the essential elements of both the stages. The Planner for Preliminary would be of 3 major types customized with respect to the needs and requirements of a candidate, divided as:
Duration: 90 Days.
Suitable for the aspirants who have appeared for IAS interview a couple of times but are unable to get their name in the final list or who wish to improve their CSE rank. The plan has produced several rankers in the past (including All India Rank 1- Nandini K.R.).
The advanced plan would touch upon the major topics on a cursory level to save time of the already experienced candidates and would focus upon the individual issues they are facing in clearing the exam. Apart from this other indicators of performance monitoring by means of regular Home Work , tests at regular intervals and analysis would also be part of the plan so that the candidates do not miss the fine details (sometimes due to overconfidence) and give there soul to the examination just like a beginner in order to get their optimum productivity level.
Duration: 120 Days.
Beneficial for those candidates who are either not able to clear the Preliminary stage despite several attempts or those who have cleared the PT stage but are still struggling with the process.
The testimonial list of Aspire IAS is flooded with an array of such toppers who got stuck in a specific stage of the examination and were slowly lacking the motivation to go further.
The approach of mid-level preparatory plan would be similar to the advanced plan by touching upon the major topics with special focus upon the individual issues they are facing in clearing a certain stage of the exam. Here, the indicators of performance monitoring by means of regular Home Work, tests at regular intervals and analysis would anot just be part of the plan but would act as the guiding path in understanding the specific issue faced by a candidate so that his lack of motivation and fear of a stage(in certain cases) can be effectively targetted upon.
Duration: 160 Days.
Must do for the aspirants who are new in the process of Civil Services Preparation(including Undergraduates, Graduates, Post Graduates etc) and lack the requisite guidance and resources viz-a-viz 'what to study' and 'what not to study' out of the hugely mammoth syllabus and resources.
The plan has been able to produce innumerable rankers in the past too who were able to clear the examination in their very first attempt. This plan would not just revolve around the nuances of effective UPSC preparation but would act as a freind and guide which would go along with your preparation in checking your performance by means of regular Home Work, test at regular intervals and suggest you new ways in order to enhance your productivity.
Here, the approach to follow each subject would be dealt in its entirety after breaking down the whole plan based upon the weightage of each topic in the examination.