Preparing for UPSC in your college years – Bhavesh Mishra

In last few years a new trend has emerged where students in their very first or second year of college have started to join coaching centers for CSE preparation. This trend is similar to mad rush for IIT JEE preparation.

This post is essentially meant for college students who are inclined towards joining civil services. Here are some of the do’s and don’ts for them.


  • Don’t be in a hurry to join coaching. Most of the students join coaching without first introspecting why do they want to join civil services. Moreover, joining in the 1st or 2nd year will be too early and by the time you are appearing for the exam, the syllabus may have got changed. There are many coaching institutes who propagate this myth that IAS preparation requires more than 3-4 years of preparation and joining at an early stage gives you advantage over others. However, this is not true. If you have done your ground work in your college years then you can sail through UPSC exam with 1-2 years of preparation.
  • Don’t ignore your college studies. You should not prepare for civil services at the cost of your academics. Having a good academic record is a great asset. In future, if you don’t want to join civil services then having poor grades will adversely affect your chances of getting good placement or securing admission in a good post-graduate course.


  • Cultivate a good reading habit. Develop interest in economics, politics, religion, philosophy, science etc. Try to utilize your spare time by reading books on these subjects. A very good website to get recommendations for books is GoodReads. It is said that readers are leaders. Therefore, if you are well read then it would help you immensely in General Studies, Essay, Ethics and Interview.
  • Read a newspaper daily. Try to read either The Hindu or The Indian Express daily. There is no need to make notes. Initially you would face trouble in understanding the articles, but gradually your understanding would improve and you would start comprehending the issues better.
  • Work in social sector or with NGO. College time can be effectively utilized for working with some NGO. Try teaching underprivileged kids, work at old age home, or work in rural areas for some time, organize blood donation camp etc. This would help you appreciate the ground level situation. You would appreciate how government schemes work and what are the challenges faced by people in accessing government schemes. A very good platform for doing such activities is National Service Scheme.


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