[Strategy] Five Rules: How to prepare for UPSC without leaving job?

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Mrunal Polity Lecture
  1. Rule #2: You’ve to stop feeling guilty about it
  2. Rule #3: You’ve to study in minutes, not in hours
  3. Rule #4: “Net-surfing” doesn’t equal to “studying”
  4. Rule #5: You’ve to do “follow up” instantly
  5. Rule #1:

Rule #2: You’ve to stop feeling guilty about it

  • When you think of the word ‘study’, you think of an “activity of reading books for 3-4 hours continuously” just like you did in board exams.”
  • Unfortunately, this is impossible for a working professional. And when you try to do that (or even think about doing that) it  leads to frustration.
  • If you’re doing a job, you’re actually occupied from 9 AM to 9 PM.(breakfast-traffic-office-work-lunch-work-traffic-dinner)
  • On weekdays, continuous study for 4-5 hours is impossible, given the jam-packed work-schedule + work and traffic fatigue.
  • So, accept the truth and don’t feeling guilty or depressed about it. And whatever study time-table you wish to prepare, it must be prepared in light of this truth.

Rule #3: You’ve to study in minutes, not in hours

  • Try to squeeze out 10-15-20 minutes out of your schedule, whenever you can.
  • For example, Read the theory of aptitude topic at home, in the morning. Go to office, and during the free time, solve 4-5 sums in on go, Instead of trying to finish whole ‘chapters or exercises’ from a book.
  • Similarly, for GS/ Opt.subject, pick up the book read one or two paragraphs; write the crux in the margin, leave.
  • Pick up the book again when you’re free and repeat the procedure.
  • Come back home, study 2-3 hours after dinner. You sum up the minutes and hours you spent studying, It’ll be no less than 4-5 hours.


Don’t study while in bus or vehicle

  • In the enthusiasm (or stress) to study for the exam, many candidates keep reading books even while travelling in bus, train or rickshaw, daily.
  • Problem: vehicle keeps jerking and shaking and so does your book. So, your eye-muscles have to put more effort to read the sentences.
  • You don’t feel it immediately, but in long run, it damages your eyesight.
  • and since your eyes get more fatigue in ‘vehicle reading’, you cannot keep yourself awake for a long time in the night.
  • So, Better keep the eyes fresh in 30 minutes bus journey and instead study for 30 minutes more, at night.

My highschool Maths teacher


“I’ve seen a lot of students going to multiple tuition-classes. First class from 4 to 5 and second from 5.30 to 6.30. But What I haven’t seen, is a student who studies between 5 to 5.30.”

Anil Kapoor in movie “Tezaab”

Time hotaa nahi hai, Time nikaalnaa padtaa hai.

Rule #4: “Net-surfing” doesn’t equal to “studying”

  • Working professionals (and students) use internet round the clock in office, in college, at home.
  • They surf on Wikipedia, read editorials in The Hindu and The Economist etc. and do random seach on geography, history etc.
  • They think they’re studying. They think they’re using the internet ‘productively’.
  • Bitter truth: it won’t help you much.
  • Why?
  • Because Overreliance on internet = mistake.
  • The Likelihood of getting a question from some random internet article of Wikipedia or newspaper in UPSC = very less.
  • Again why?
  • Because UPSC has to keep in mind the candidates from small towns and villages, who may not have 24/7 internet access. So many questions come from ‘static’ theory part, to give them level playing field.
  • You’ve to keep the syllabus in mind, and do selective study accordingly, from the standard books rather than trying to do Ph.D on everything from internet.
  • For example Stem-Cell research: at most you will need 10-12 points to write a descriptive answer. You don’t need to make an “ultra-awesome research note” from 50 different pages on google search.
  • Initially you’ll feel enthusiastic about doing google-research, but after 15-20 days, you’ll lose the tempo and start feeling nervous thinking “I can never complete the syllabus
  • Ofcourse you can search internet for further explanation of a topic. But UPSC exam is not made up of one particular topic alone. It is a mixture of everything. So don’t overdo anything.

Your Memory has an expiry Date.

  • You came across a fantastic article on US-China relations,
  • it has 7 paragraphs, truckload of statistical and chronological data.
  • You find 4-5 points, worth quoting in the essay/ interview/ mains answer.
  • But you’re unlikely to remember or recall those points after 2-3 months, during the actual exam/interview. That’s why…

Rule #5: You’ve to do “follow up” instantly

  • A lot of aspirants just keep cutting newspaper editorials from The Hindu/ Indian express or save webpages, thinking “I’ll do followup on Sunday or after 15 days. I’ll read them later”
  • Bitter truth: You will never get the time or mood to study those pages ‘later’. Such files only gather dust on your table, and waste space in your hardisk.
  • Barely 15 days left before the exam, you are under so much pressure to cover all the topics, you’ll have leave the file as it is, without even touching or looking at it.
  • Besides, if you read the same column after 15 days, you’ll have to re-read each and every sentence.
  • Lesson: don’t leave anything on future, if you’re reading something: just highlight or underline important stuff or take an extremely short-note of keywords. And move on. Whether it’s a book, newspaper, magazine or webpage.

But all ^these suggestions are meaningless, without the first and the most important rule for any competitive exam:

Rule #1:

Like it or not, you’ll have to study.

अच्छा लगे या ना लगे, पढ़ना तो पडेगा ही.

ગમે કે ના ગમે, ભણવું તો પડશે જ.

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205 Comments on “[Strategy] Five Rules: How to prepare for UPSC without leaving job?”

  1. Pingback: How To Follow Up On A Job Interview Email | Develop My Career

  2. Padho Padho..Sab kuch Padho..!! Gyan sabhi or hai ..!! Dont be selective .. Nt just for UPSC but for the eternaly curious Kid inside you ..

  3. sir,i am currently doing B.E computer science (5th semester) from thapar university .can u guide my way to ias as it is my only and ultimate goal

  4. hi sir, I ‘m 3rd year engg student. unfortunately I have happened accident on 2012 the clavital ( hand schoulder ) bone will be broken hence during the operation with an plate. now it will be removed but the operation mark will be present . this makes any problem to attended the upsc exam or not in physical selection
    pls reply sir

  5. if you found your ans pls inform me..

  6. Hii.. I am a Bs.c botany(hons) graduate, I am also continuing my job in wipro and i want to show me a direction how i could prepare my 100% for the UPSC exam.

    1. reach out to me on mail.

  7. this is nice one.

  8. dear friend anybody having syallbus of public administran, defence strategy in hindi. or if anybody having advertisement in hindi of up pcs. please send me at amarvishram25@gmail.com.


  9. Respected sir,
    I decided to appear UPSC civil service 2015 , i request you please sagest me that how can i complete and start study ? i have done basic reading just tell me your strategy i will modify that as well my requirement.

  10. There is no coaching institute in my state.Also the situation is very bad here.What should i do?

  11. can i complete ssc cgl without leaving job

    1. Ask yourself ….can you????

    2. off course sarita u can

  12. can i study 3 hrs every day.bcoz i need attened ias exams after 3 years.reply me as soon as possible…..thank u

  13. pl tell me that how can i do PHd and what are the criteria to appear for phd .and what about net.

  14. thank u sir

  15. How to start for upsc as i m fresher…nd i m working man….i no nothing abt upsc preparation

    1. Stay Calm , Start with newspaper , make it a habit , and gradually start reading NCERT and CSR. To start it has helped me and will help you too.

  16. The blogs are very useful..

  17. Really practical suggestion

  18. i am preparing ssc pls tell me how to read an English because when I readEnglis then I very nervous and feel voring compare other subject so I do select other subject to read and my English is very weak so what I do to emprove my english subject and west do it

  19. I am working in Indian Navy and I want to prepare for civil services with mathematics optional , how I should start the preparation during my graduation from IGNOU?

  20. I am working in an research institute as Lab assistant after completion of my P.G. from Microbiology in 2013. Joining job was a part of family responsibility and still can’t leave the job but my ambitions are not down still yet I wanted to know am I too late too start for preparation of UPSC ? Do the preparation starting demands time on time ?

  21. i am doing clerical job in post office, i want to join some other department at officer level post. in which department can i find better prospect

  22. Hello, I have done master’s in pharmacy from bits pilani. I want to sit for IAS exams. What optional subjects i should choose.

  23. How can I prepare well in very short time & how much it take to prepare well.

  24. Does the age will be reduce in this chance

  25. Without leaving job how may I preparation for uppcs exam.

  26. I would like to know the job nature of posts notified under ssc common graduate level exam 2015.

  27. i m prsuing engg. ryt now n will complete it this june….i dont feel lyk doin job as an engineer ..i want to go for defence …plz help me out

  28. This article is really eye-opening!!!

  29. I want to crack RBI grade b with job. Please give me suggestions what can I do

  30. how we prepare for gs paper-4

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