[Strategy] UPSC Civil Service Exam (Part 4 of 5): Time Management, Coaching, optional subjects

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Mrunal Patel is providing free updates to the Economy current affairs, budget & Economic survey for the upcoming UPSC Prelims and Mains under this Win21 Series. In Pillar4C, he'll cover new developments related to GDP, Inflation, Unemployment including latest budget and economic survey!
  1. Act IV: Conquering your own brain
  2. Doubt: Should I join coaching class or not?
  3. Option one: You study back home without Coaching
  4. Option two : You go to Delhi to attend coaching.
  5. If You join a class
  6. #1 don’t take mock tests lightly
  7. #2 Classmates are not your enemies
  8. #3 clarify your doubts
  9. #4 follow up action immediately
  10. #5 Never remain absent
  11. If you don’t join a class
  12. #1: don’t feel guilty
  13. #2: Self control
  14. #3: Company
  15. Doubt: Optional subjects will be removed or not?
  16. Doubt Hindi Medium aspirant
  17. Doubt Non-Hindi, Non-English Medium aspirant
  18. Doubt: Inferiority complex
  19. Future Candidates Still in College
  20. Doubt: Taking a job / PG
  21. Doubt: Working Professionals: Leave the job or not?
  22. #A: you leave the job
  23. #B: you can’t leave the job
  24. #1: Rent a room close to office
  25. #2: Burn the midnight lamp
  26. #3 Use pendrive
  27. #4 Use mobile
  28. Time  Management
  29. Mood swings
  30. Technical doubts

Act IV: Conquering your own brain

  • You already know the mindset of your enemy: Act I
  • you already know the weapons required to defeat him: Act II
  • you already know how to effectively utilize the weapons: Act III

but before you defeat him, you must conquer your own brain, cleanse it from all the doubts and weaknesses. Else you cannot concentrate in studies. The first and foremost doubt, faced by every new player:

Doubt: Should I join coaching class or not?

Answer is: If you’ve the time, money and mood, join them, else don’t feel  guilty or inferior about it.

I’m copy pasting the Cost comparision by Mr.Gokul G R (IAS, AIR 19, CSE-2010)

Option one: You study back home without Coaching

1. General Studies

  1. Books : Rs. 3000 – 4000
  2. Newspapers : Rs. 250 monthly ( Total : 6000 for 2 years; you will anyway subscribe, whether you are preparing or not)
  3. Periodicals : around 1500
  4. Internet Net connection : 250 per month ( Total : 6000; you will anyway subscribe, whether you are preparing or not)
  5. Total Cost : Around 17000 ( over 2 years )
  6. Total Extra cost : Rs. 6000 maximum (minus newspaper and net )

2. Optionals:

  1. Books: 4-5 books for humanities optionals  ( Mostly Indian Authors). Total cost : Not more than Rs. 3000.
  2. 7-8 books for science optionals. Total cost: Not more than Rs. 5000 ( If you are not downloading pirated copies).
  3. Total Extra cost : Rs. 14000 ( Highly liberal estimate and spend over 2 years). Use library, old books and you can bring that down to a few thousand rupess.

Option two : You go to Delhi to attend coaching.

1. Coaching fees :

  • G.S : Rs, 50,000
  • Optionals : Rs. 30,000 each
  • Total : Rs. 1,10,000 (spot payment)

2. Periodicals, newspapers, net for personal use : Rs. 13,000 over 2 years.

3. High rent and cost of living : Around 10k every month.

Total extra Cost : Around 3 Lakhs ( Conservative estimate; multiply with no.of  failed attempts, extra fee for extra coaching etc).

And even after paying such huge, exorbitant costs, the quality of teaching ( as i get to know from fellow aspirants) may not always be up to the mark.

–End of copy paste.

If You join a class

Types of coaching class sirs

Type of teacher Your action
  1. He is awesome at teaching. Doesn’t talk anything except teaching. From Day 1 to last day, his teaching quality remains the same.
Keep noting down whatever he says- atleast in ‘summery’ form. Even if it given in the books, note down because that will help you in quick revision.
  1. Initially he teaches some topics over which he has good command (monsoon, fundamental rights etc) so students feel he is good. But once the fees are deposited…He comes late. During the lecture, He wastes too much time citing how awesome he is, how he knows everything about UPSC and all other personal side talk. (which is usually a sign that he doesn’t have rock solid command over the subject, hence trying to brainwash you.) And when time is over but topic is incomplete, he’d say “read it in my printed material/books”.
Curse yourself that you joined his class.Make friends with some serious players in his class and do group study/discussion.
  1. Some retired Professor. He teaches stuff in way too much detail like it is a college lecture. Too much details and Ph.D from academic point of view.
Just note down any important fact/fodder material, else Curse yourself that you joined his class.

In case you wonder why Type#2 teacher behaves in such bad way, Won’t it hurt his long term business prospects?

  1. No it won’t. He’d simply setup shop in a new city or change his brand name. Besides, people usually don’t drag him to consumer court, so he never changes his ways.
  2. And he’s good at marketing tricks, so he’d keep getting new sacrificial lambs every year.

And never join a coaching class only because the ad says XYZ topper was from their class, such ads are usually false or half-truths!

There are some State Government run coaching classes in various parts of India

For example

  • Gujarat has SPIPA, Ahmedabad
  • Maharahstra has SIAC,Mumbai
  • Tamil Nadu and UP too have it, I can’t remember the name.

Apart from that, many Caste based coaching classes.

  • While the teaching quality may not be very good in such classes, but fees are cheap, library and atmosphere, peer-group is good.
  • So if you’re not a working professional, and not going to Delhi mainly for financial reasons, then just go ahead get admission in such classes. (PS sometimes they’ve entrance exam, but they’re usually similar to UPSC Prelims)

Anyways, once you’ve joined a class anywhere, what to do?

#1 don’t take mock tests lightly

If there was a school-test, you’d be worried because your parents or teachers would scold you for low marks. But in coaching class, there is no such pressure.

So, many people take the mock tests very lightly. For e.g. there is mock test of ancient History topic, but you’re preparing polity as per your ‘own time table.’ So you appear in the mock test only for namesake, =you get low marks but you try to placate yourself and make excuse to yourself “koi nai, I had not prepared so I did not get the marks” this approach is wrong. Prepare seriously for every test.

#2 Classmates are not your enemies

  • In the mock tests, If someone is getting more marks than you. He is not your enemy. Try to learn what are you lacking that he has? And make amendments in your preparation accordingly.
  • Make friends with people who’re as serious or more serious than you in studies. Keep in touch with them even when classes are over.

#3 clarify your doubts

  • During class, many people have doubt in a topic, but they don’t ask the teacher thinking “I would look silly, or other people will also know the answer and they’re my enemies!.”
  • Usually teachers immediately leave after the class, because they’ve classes elsewhere (or because they don’t want to be bogged down by all querries after class hehehe).
  • So, whenever you’ve doubt, immediately ask it.

#4 follow up action immediately

  • If your sir taught xyz topic today. Then go home, immediately read the relevant printed material / books/ internet at home. Prepare or upgrade notes if required.
  • In this way, you’ll get better command over the topic.
  • If you postpone this work for 15-20 days, then you’re digging your own grave.

#5 Never remain absent

  • Some distant relative/friend’s marriage is no excuse to remain absent in the class. In fact ignore all such marriage ceremonies whether you’ve coaching or not. Your main aim to clear UPSC  exam, everything can and must wait.
  • Even if the ‘sir’s’ teaching quality is bogus, still attend the class, you’ll come home learning two three more things (or revising them during his class)

If you don’t join a class

That is- you’re doing self preparation.

#1: don’t feel guilty

  • First of all, throw away any doubt, guilt or inferiority complex that you have e.g.“I’m not going to Delhi so my success chances are less.”
  • Don’t think in that manner. please avoid company of people who’re thinking in that manner. Because negative vibes are infectious. It creates demotivation and affects your studies.
  • And once you’ve decided, then don’t doubt your decision or caliber.
  • Success is very much possible, without coaching. And Following people cracked the exam without coaching (list is not exhaustive):
  • All India Rank (2011) Year
    Harshika Singh 8 2011
    Om Kasera 17 2011
    Gokul G.R. 19 2010
    Mohd.Safi 55 2009

#2: Self control

  • If you goto gym, you see other people are doing more exercise, and got better body than yours. It automatically motivates you to do exercise further.
  • But if you’re at  home, it is easy to lose track, and become complacent about preparation e.g. koi nai, thik hai, there are still many months left before the exam, I’ll ‘manage’
  • Sorry you can’t manage. Weeks and months will pass like this and just 30 days before the exam, you’ll realize that you haven’t really prepared much throughout the year. Then you start looking for shortcuts i.e. readymade current affairs material etc. = #epicfail.
  • Don’t let your mood dictate your studies. Spend majority of your day with books, magazines and newspapers only. (if you’re not a working professional).

#3: Company

  • Make a few friends from  the field, either in real life or on internet. Peer pressure helps in keeping the ‘tempo’ and motivation for studies.
  • More time Management tips are given separately in the later part of this article.

I hope the coaching doubt is clear. Now to the second doubt that is bothering every aspirant:

Doubt: Optional subjects will be removed or not?

Answer.

  1. Will UPSC remove Optional subject from mains?=Yes.
  2. When exactly will UPSC remove the optional subject from mains? Is it 2013 or 2014? =I don’t know yet.

Few months back I had filled an R.T.I to UPSC regarding this question,

they replied “we’ve appointed Committee headed by Prof. Nigvenkar,  to look into the matter. We cannot tell when optional will be removed”

(click me to see the whole R.T.I reply)

At the moment, The aspirant community is divided into two viewpoints: both based on the timetable published on official site: http://upsc.gov.in/exams/exams.htm#PageTop

Viewpoint: Change Viewpoint: Status Quo
Optionals will be removed in 2013 because Optionals will not be removed in 2013 because,
Fact: Usually UPSC gave notification in Dec/January. This time notification is going to come in February.Fact: usually UPSC started Mains exam in October, this time it has been shifted to November.All this suggest that UPSC is planning to remove optionals and change syllabus. Agreed but, The same page of UPSC  mentions that UPSC Mains starts from  08.11.2013   (FRIDAY) and duration 21 DAYS. So how can exam duration be 21 days if there are no optionals?
  • Last month I filed another R.T.I to seek the status update of this Prof. Nigvenkar Committee.
  • I’m yet to receive a reply from UPSC. Although I’m not really sure UPSC will give clear cut answers, given its history of taking sadistic pleasure by keeping things in limbo, else UPSC can issue a Press-statement right now to clear the air on this matter and save aspirants the agony and stress they’re going through.
  • Anyways for the moment- finish the syllabus of topics that are present in GS mains but absent in prelims i.e. first aid, statistics etc. and do the Yojana, Kurukshetra issues from Jan 2012 onwards. There is enough food in your platter, try to finish most of it.

And once this optional subject controversy is settled (most probably in February 2013 notification), there will be some new conspiracy theory -most probably regarding separation of IPS exam. So overall how to deal with rumor bombs? Click ME.

So this doubt of optional subjects =remains unsettled (for now). Moving on to next doubt

Doubt Hindi Medium aspirant

Booklist and strategy remains the same. Only titles change.

English Hindi
NCERTs Available in Hindi, both in market as well as official site: http://www.ncert.nic.in/
NOS (National open school) Some are available in Hindi, some are not.http://www.nios.ac.in/online-course-material.aspx
General Studies Manual Samanya Adhyayan
India Yearbook (India 2013) Bharat 2013
Indian Polity by M.Laxmikanth Bharat Ki Rajya Vyavashta by M.Laxmikanth
Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh Bharat ki Artha-vyavastha by Ramesh Singh
Yojana Kurukshetra, PD,CST Available in Hindi
Spectrum publication books (History, Culture, Statistics) Available in Hindi
Bipin Chandra He has books in Hindi,but Not really sure of about exact title.
2nd ARC Available in Hindi on their official website
The Hindu No alternative. Must be read in English
IGNOU BA/MA PDF files Available in Hindi. www.Egyankosh.ac.inSome file are not uploaded. Have to purchase Hindi booklets from university. Instructions given here: click ME

Doubt Non-Hindi, Non-English Medium aspirant

Starting with Gujarati aspirants.

  1. For prelims, consult the same books English / Hindi, because you’ve to only tick the MCQ answer.
  2. Gujarati books for IAS exam= useless and waste of time. (Amuk loko ujjad van maa erando pradhan thayi ne behelaa chhe.) But for mains, to write descriptive answers In Gujarati….you need the Gujarati Vocabulary for Geography, Polity etc. buy any ^one of them or any GPSC material.
  3. If you think you can rely Gujarati books meant for GPSC and succeed in UPSC = mistake. Because there are always some senior players who keep reading English newspapers, magazines, reference books and convert them into their own handwritten notes in Gujarati so their answer quality will be better than yours. Therefore Always prefer to maintain your own notes from standard reference books of Hindi/English.
  4. If UPSC  keeps optionals – use the Hindi/English standard reference books and then consult Baba Saheb Amedkar Univ.’s material for Gujarati BA/MA exam (where applicable) or books from “University Granth Nirmaan Board” to get the vocabulary and formal answer writing.
  5. The Hindu/Indianexpress =must. You may read Gujarati newspaper columns, only for getting Gujarati vocabulary for Essay. But your essay quality, content and depth should be higher than them.

Now Marathi,Tamil,Punjabi,Telugu etc. similar advice as above.

  1. For prelims use either English /Hindi books as such.
  2. For mains, you need to write descriptive answers, so you need the formal vocabulary for your language. So to get that vocabulary, buy any book or State PSC material written in your language. Using that vocabulary, maintain your notes from standard reference books / English newspapers.
  3. For more suggestions, consult some senior players in your area/ via internet.

So this Hindi/Gujarati/Marathi/Tamil language and material doubt is partially settled. Now moving to next problem.

Doubt: Inferiority complex

Some people have this feeling of insecurity, throughout preparation

  1. I’m not from a reputed college.
  2. I’ve very low score in graduation, I failed in some semester.
  3. I don’t have work-experience or extra-curricular certificates.
  4. I’m not from English medium…And so on.

^don’t worry. Many People with such profile have cleared the civil service exam.

  • When an examiner checks your mains answersheet he doesn’t know about all those things.
  • Even in interview, they don’t really dwell into those topics (unlike IIM interviews hehehe), and even if they notice it, your interview score doesn’t depend on a single variable or single question.
  • So stop all those negative thoughts. And avoid company of any other person who is spreading such negative vibes.
  • Besides you can’t go back in History using a time-machine to fix all those things in your life. So just keep moving forward.

Having  said this, I’m must also precaution the

Future Candidates Still in College

Please donot ignore your college studies. You must strive to get atleast first class (60%) in college exam.

Why?

Because usually your backup plans will require it. For example

  1. A General category candidate cannot apply for CAT, if he has less than 50%.
  2. In certain specialized State PSC jobs*, Bank recruitments, they explicitly mention it that you’ll need minimum xyz score in your graduation or post graduation.
  3. Whenever you go for private company job interview, they look into your graduation score especially if you’ve zero or low work experiance.
  • *In State PSC there are two type of recruitment one is general large scale recruitment e.g. Deputy collector, DySP, Range Forest officer, Sales Tax inspector etc. in such exams, college marks don’t matter much.
  • And other type is specialized small scale recruitment e.g. only one or two vacancies in Food and drug Department. Then they want to reduce number of applicants to save time. So they device high graduation marks e.g. only minimum 60% in Graduation or 55% in PG can apply” Same goes for certain Banks. So don’t ignore college studies.

In some colleges and universities, you can get first class with almost zero preparation. But it doesn’t mean you should completely ignore studies.

Again why?

  • Because during interview @UPSC, State PSC, or any private company…basically at any interview, they usually ask a few questions on your graduation.
  • And you can’t make an excuse that “sorry I don’t know the answer because I was preparing for UPSC/CAT during college!”
  • That answer will ruin rest of your interview because then board will start asking uncomfortable questions and turn it into a stress interview.
  • I hope this doubt is settled. Moving on to next doubt

Doubt: Taking a job / PG

Q. I just graduated from college. Should I take job, or pickup Post-Graduation course or directly start preparing for UPSC?

Ans. Depends on your financial situation and family support.

Job part:

  • If Civil Service is your ultimate goal, you just want a job for pocketmoney and preparation, then look for a job that has minimum workload and travel time = then you can allot max energy for preparation.
  • For example Computer Lab assistant, receptionist, temporary lecturer etc.
  • Ofcourse there are no big salaries or quick promotions in such jobs but then you can’t eat “Laddu” with both the hands.

PG part:

Pros: atleast your backup is secured i.e. if you fail in IAS, you can go back private company at a decent job (compared to having  single bachelor degree)

Cons:

  1. Doing PG from some half**** bogus college hardly has any market value. You’re way better off in bank clerk’s job than the amount of salary one gets through such overhyped PG courses. (more explained in backup plan, in Act V)
  2. To get admission in reputed college, one has to give some sort of entrance exam.
  3. In reputed college, You may not be left with sufficient time left for UPSC  preparation due to assignments and semester exams. But still there is more time and energy than available to working professionals in some fields.

In the end depends on your taste for career backup. Consider all factors and then decide.

Doubt: Working Professionals: Leave the job or not?

Question: I’m a working professional, find it hard to allot time for studies. Should I leave job or not?

Answer:

  1. There are toppers who cleared civil service exam without leaving job (Om Kasera, Mohd.Safi to cite a few)
  2. On the hand there toppers who left the job for preparation because it had become impossible to manage studies with job.

So door swings both ways. Whether you should leave the job or not, depends on many factors

  1. Your age
  2. Marital status, support of the spouse. (if they ‘superficially’ support but then they and their relatives indirectly keep nagging you all the time =problem.)
  3. Family support and family responsibilities (e.g. father is retired or not, sister’s wedding etc.)
  4. Financial situation, outstanding loans and EMIs (do you have enough bank balance from your job to survive for next one or two years)
  5. Work load, travelling (if it is very low, then no point in leaving job.)
  6. Opportunity cost of leaving the job- in terms of promotion and seniority in the private sector (particularly for 27-35 age group candidates.)

#A: you leave the job

Then proceed according to the suggestions given for coaching/no-coaching case.

#B: you can’t leave the job

Five rules for working professionals, already given CLICK ME.

Here are some more

#1: Rent a room close to office

Travel-fatigue is the main cause of under-preparation. If you’ve to commute for 3-4 hours a day to and from home to office, then it becomes very difficult to wake up till late night. So ideally try to rent a room very close to office (but usually rooms near office, have higher rent- life is always cruel to UPSC aspirant.)

#2: Burn the midnight lamp

Irrespective of travel fatigue, try to wake up till 12pm to 1AM. Ya all the fancy medical talk and arguments of long term negative impacts on health. But 6 hours sleep Is sufficient.

  1. Lot of teenagers and college kids in metro cities, they usually wake up until midnight doing nothing but facebook, internet surfing and yahoo chat.
  2. On the other hand those Corporate barons, IIM grads etc. who mint lakhs of rupees per month. Yes once in while they can indulge in luxuries and fun but otherwise they too work until late night. They may not have travel fatigue but mental stress is even higher.
  • So on both ends of the spectrum, if people can wake up until late night- why can’t you?
  • You don’t want to leave job, you don’t wake up till midnight, ….well once again can’t eat “laddu” with both the hands. Success requires sacrifice.
  • Plus late night preparation would be necessary during ‘loading doze’ period. Not much during “maintenance doze”. So consider this as a temporary problem.

#3 Use pendrive

  • Prepare some notes/mindmaps on homePC or laptop.
  • Transfer them to pendrive/mobile phone so that you can revise it in office PC or on your mobile phone (if it has windows or android system with all those funky softwares) tablet during free time. Or upload It on google docs for sync between office vs home PC.

#4 Use mobile

If you’ve a mobile with Windows system, you can install following softwares

  1. Caligrapher (it lets you convert handwriting into text…if phone comes with stylus). There are other programs as well.
  2. Evernote or Phatnotes (for arranging notes and data, maintaining diary)
  3. Freemind (mobile version)
  4. Or export mindmaps made in home/office PC into .jpeg or .png files, transfer it into your mobile/tablet and review them when free.
  5. Record notes in your own voice, listen to them when free (instead of listing to music)

These are just examples, there are many good softwares, just google (or try Softpedia.com’s mobile section)

  • And There will be similar apps for android phone/apple/blackberry/tablets.
  • In the end use whatever technology or gadget you can afford or use, to help you in preparation.
  • Now moving to the doubt/issue that affects everyone irrespective of his language medium, job and coaching situation.

Time  Management

  1. Donot try to quantify your study in terms of hours. don’t consciously look at watch “oh yes, I’ve been studying for 1 hour 34 minutes, so let me watch TV now to get ‘fresh’.” This is not a board exam.
  2. Some people start drinking tea/coffee or cigarette after every 2 hours. They think it helps them concentrate in studies. (a habit usually picked up during hostel days). Real men don’t need external stimulants. Drinking tea only takes 5 minute, but they’d spend next 30-40 minutes chatting with their buddies at tea stall or doing nothing on mobile phone. This is not how your prepare for IAS exam.
  3. Grow up. Stop sending chain emails and chain SMS around.
  4. Avoid pseudo-IAS aspirants. They’re “looking at the finger rather than moon” type. They spend more time in chit-chat, UPSC rumors, politics etc. Can be found on internet, and in coaching classes and library.
  5. Avoid Chipkoo people in life and on phone.  All they care is timepass.
  6. Always Remain offline in gtalk/facebook messanger/yahoo messenger.
  7. Einstein said time is relative. You can easily waste 20 minutes surfing TV-channels even if there is no good program on TV. Previously there was orkut, now we’ve facebook. You can easily waste 45 minutes to two hours, doing nothing but clicking your mouse. There is no need to comment on every photo you get tagged in, there is no need to give birthday wishes. There is no need to add more friends to your profile.
  8. Fix your email checking time. E.g. only @2PM or 7PM. There is no need to reply to every mail. Use the Gmail “filters” to get rid of bogus people who send Chain email, jokes etc.

Mood swings

  1. There are somedays when you’re in absolute good mood and read for 7-8-12-15 hours. There are somedays when you’ve no mood and you don’t even touch the newspaper.
  2. Perseverance is necessary for success in any competitive exams. Donot let your ^mood to dictate your studies. (Although it is easier said than done.)
  3. The mindset “haa thik hai, ho jaayegaa, abhi bahot der hai” (ok, It’ll be done, there is still lot of time left). With this attitude,  you’ll digup your own grave.
  4. Peace of mind is most important. You fight, debate or argue with someone, then even after the argument is over, you still keep thinking about it, “I should have said this or that. Saale ko thik kar doongaa (I’ll teach him a lesson)”. No my friend, your primary target is UPSC, put your time and energy in studies. Everything else is secondary- don’t waste your time or energy in them. So, Avoid arguments, debates, fights both online and offline.
  5. Therefore Avoid people that ruin your mood: both online and offline (except your boss or client!).
  6. Avoid “Dukhi Aatmaa” (cry-babies). They’re just too worried about everything. “My friend from Delhi said, UPSC is going to remove optionals and introduce paper on policy science…what will be do!?” “Xyz sir said UPSC will reduce age limit!” They spread their negative vibes on you.
  7. Girlfriend usually leaves after 2nd failed attempt in UPSC (can’t blame, you can’t and shouldn’t expect her or her parents to wait for you that long.) Then it creates more heartburning, depression= not good for studies. Therefore UPSC and love affairs are usually not compatible. Pick only one at a time.
  8. Similarly avoid temptation or persuasion from parents to get married. Don’t get married until you’re selected in UPSC or you’ve fully executed your career backup plan.

Life of a UPSC  aspirant is very cruel. “Outsiders” cannot understand it and they ruin mood with their questions and unwanted advices. For example

A He is a UPSC Aspirant. Minding his own damn business, busy eating daal-chawal @wedding reception.
B Kya kar rahe ho? (what are you doing?)
A Preparing for UPSC.
B Still preparing for that exam? You said the same thing last year!
A (In his head) because UPSC is three stage process, takes one year to complete.(on face) some diplomatic answer.
B Acchaa, my uncle’s son got selected. Why don’t you take tips from him?
A (In his head) If UPSC is hellbent in scaling system and BackbreakingTM, there is nothing anybody can do.(on face) sure I’ll contact him.
B Leaves
A Resumes Minding his own damn business, busy eating daal-chawal.
C Makes entry. Repeats the question :Kya kar rahe ho? (what are you doing?)
A Same answer.
C (He has no interest in knowing what you’re doing. He asked you question only to start conversation and show off how his son is better.)Acchaa.. My Son **** has done MBA from ****. Salary Package is * lakhs and he has ** number of people under his command. So, you Leave this IAS, Bi-AS, join that college!
A (in His head) Why the hell do I care how much he earns or how much staff he got! My definition of success is different. (on face) That is really good.
C Leaves
A Resumes Minding his own damn business.
D D is an old-college batchmate. Same question cycle.
D Do you know that our batchmate Mr.X has left company Y and joined company Z and now his salary package is 6 lakhs. He also bought a Honda city (car) and getting married next month.
A (in His head) Ya but he was a complete *Gangaajal adjective* so even if he earns 60 crores, buys a Ferrari and marries Katrina Kaif, he is not going to earn my respect or even jealousy. (on face) very good yaar.
D Do you remember that girl **** from our college, she and ***** got married/ she started affair with *****, recently I spotted her at *****.
A (in His head) because of my UPSC (mis)adventures, I’ve grown up: mentally and emotionally. I don’t care about those things like I used to, during the college years hahaha. (on face) some diplomatic answer.
D Ok then best of luck.
EFGHIJKLMNOPQRST…same things.

Throughout your journey, these conversations are going to repeat in one form or another.
Very few people actually understand the pain and struggle involved, rest of them are just phony lip service and mood killers. Therefore:

  1. Have tough skin of a salesman. Don’t let their talks affect you. When you come back home, your head should be clear else you cannot concentrate in studies and will ponder more and more about the ‘past’. Sometimes you might even start thinking of quitting UPSC game to join their world- don’t.
  2. Don’t announce to everyone that you’re preparing for UPSC. Keep it to yourself, and very few close friends.
  3. Avoid social gatherings unless absolutely necessary.
  4. Never compare yourself with your batchmates, colleagues, kids of relatives and neighbors.

Now some other technical doubts

Technical doubts

Question Answer
Age and attempt limit https://mrunal.org/upsc/faq-age-trialsCentral Service employees don’t get age relaxation.But CRPF,BSF etc now comes under “Ex-servicemen” category hence get age relaxation.
Physical requirements / Medical checkup disability related queries https://mrunal.org/2012/07/med-gazette-upsc.html
OBC Creamy layer https://mrunal.org/2012/05/q-creamy-layer-obc-gets-4-attempts-only.html
Postal Graduation /Distance Education Degree and its validity for UPSC exam https://mrunal.org/2010/12/update-my-distant-education-degree-is.html

Remaining Part of the UPSC Strategy

  1. (Part 1 of 5): Exam Trends and Changes
  2. (Part 2 of 5): Notes, Newspapers and Books
  3. (Part 3 of 5): General Studies for CSAT prelims and Mains
  4. (Part 5 of 5): Career Backup Plans: How to prepare for State PSC etc

249 Comments on “[Strategy] UPSC Civil Service Exam (Part 4 of 5): Time Management, Coaching, optional subjects”

  1. sir,
    i am totally confused. Which coaching institute i’ld prefer in delhi. plzzz. help me guys and also mrunal sir if u can suggest any thing. help me out guys its urgent.

  2. Sir!! am very passionate about civil services . But there are very confusing information on internet . I need your guidance . What should be my action plan or strategy for cse 2016. Please help me.

    In this cut throat competition i m a beginner and I am failed in first attempt cse(P) this year ..how ever i m a science student in academics and completed my BBA as graduation .Want to adopt Hindi medium..please let me know if i choose IR as optional. i m really puzzled since couple of weeks .

    PLEASE SIR I NEED YOUR HELP

  3. hi sir,,
    i was completed my diploma mining engineering. iam open degree in ambedkar university. iam elgible for civils sir.

  4. dear sir…Your article is really helpful.
    graduate – 2015. I am from a conservative muslim family. My parents are naggy who are superficiall. They sound financially weak. Since they are not supportive and want me to get married soon I cant rely on them. I have a part time job now. Just to work 1 hour/day plus 2 hr travelling in total. But I don’t get peace of mind here. I decided for self-preparation. How can I get rid of them?
    please suggest a solution.

  5. This was the best piece of advice I’ve ever got regarding upsc…… . It’s truly plausible, sir!!!

  6. Sir…. I m starting prepation of Ias 2016….I am from Hindi medium… I have confusion ….is it compulsory that in mains exam we have to write only in Hindi.. Can’t use English terms.. If use than marks will be deducted… So if is it true than I should prepare Hindi or English medium… Please suggest… Thanxs

  7. i am a jobworking girl. cant leave my job… i am desire to do upsc exam. my age is 22. i cant join coaching. here is no awareness about upsc there is no availabily of books in library and i am marathi medium student from maharashtra. i am so confuse………what should i do…..please suggest me….i will be very grateful to you

  8. sir, I m a non creamy layer OBC candidate applying for IAS this year.I have done my LL.B and pursuing LL.M .If I get a central job this year will I avail OBC non creamy layer status for no.of attempts and age relaxation.

  9. Hi mrunal sir, first of all thanks for creating such a good platform for students.
    I am confuse which medium should I choose for upsc, I did my schooling in Hindi medium, graduation in English medium, working as a bank po, please suggest what parameters should I consider while selecting a medium of preparation.

  10. My frnd ….india year book is not tht necessary if u r reading a hindu newspaper nd a monthly magazine… But if not…india year book nd…a newspaper is good…but u need to be really updated frm anywhere… U can coz…current affairs really deals with a good stuff………. Goodluck

  11. Venerable sir ji,although we are awake but we must open our eyes to look at the right direction for success.I found you have d potential to make an ass to IAS…

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