During 1990s and 2000s a large percentage of selected students used to sit for the exam just after their college. However, things have changed and now most of the students first opt for a job and simultaneously prepare for UPSC.
It’s indeed true that preparing along with job is a difficult task and unless you are self disciplined, your preparation would lead you to nowhere.
On an average the working aspirants can afford not more than 4-5 hours on weekdays and about 10 hours on weekends. This means that time is the most precious resource and therefore smart preparation holds the key. Remember that you are competing with students who may have left their job and are preparing full time sitting in Delhi or at home.
Here are some tips to maximise utilisation of your time:
Reduce the number of resources to bare minimum.
- Are you reading more than 1 newspaper daily?
- Have you subscribed to multiple online resources?
- Are you referring to more than 1 book for a subject?
If answer to any of these questions is yes then immediately put a stop to it. It’s a natural tendency to be inclined towards reading multiple resources.
Please stick to either The Hindu or Indian Express. Similarly, follow at max one current affair blog. Similarly for books, narrow down to just 1 book per subject / topic.
Since you have limited time at your disposal therefore the key should be to revise what you study. If you study from multple books then you would keep on accumulating resources without getting enough time to assimilate and revise them.
Use Evernote for notes, ideas, articles.
Evernote is a great tool for making notes, copy – pasting stuff from the net and later revising them. You can also revise your notes while you are on the move.
Use of Evernote deserves a word of caution. It generally happens that we keep on copy pasting large amount of information from the net in our Evernote and we seldom revise them later. Please don’t fall into this trap. Copy paste or take digital notes of only those item for which you will have time to read later. Once a week you should revisit materials collected in Evernote and try to organize them systematically.
Make your weekends count.
I know that after 5 days of intense work there is hardly any energy left on weekends and all you want to do is to sit with a cup of tea and browse internet leisurely. But for UPSC you must resolve to make the most out of your weekend. Every Sunday try to revise what you studied during weekdays.
It’s difficult to do writing practice on weekdays. Threfore, try to write answers to 8-10 mock questions on these days. It will certainly boost your confidence.
Given the gruelling nature of the exam, it’s essential that you are able to take a break of 2-3 weeks before prelim and atleast 1.5 – 2 months before mains in order to clear this exam. If the nature of your job is such that availing such break is not possible thenit should not fret you. Remember the current pattern mandates that you have suffcient answer writing practice and are thorough with the optional subject. Manage you time well, give up the office parties, chai-sutta breaks. What awaits you is a services worth the sacrifice.