- Act V: Retreat Plan
- Allied UPSC exam (IES,IFS,Geologist, SCRA, CDS,CPF etc.)
- State PSC: Pujnab, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh etc.
- How to Prepare for State PSC?
- Bank/PSU/SSC type jobs
- Professor type jobs (UGC NET/SLET/JRF etc.)
- Doing PG
- Q1. Should I do PG or not?
- Specialized Professional degrees
You must prepare with a positive attitude that “I’ll study hard and I’ll get selected”
But at the same time, you should also be prepared for the worst case scenario.
The reasons are following
- Pass or fail, UPSC takes away one year of life. Then you’d think “since I’ve invested so much time, energy and money, let me given another attempt.” For a serious player, this cycle keeps repeating until he gets selected or he is out of the game because of age/attempt limit.
- If you reach mains/interview stage, you’ll earn respect of the fellow players but outside this UPSC game, it means nothing. Nobody will give you job (or hand of his daughter) just because you had cleared prelims or mains.
In short there are no consolation prizes for participating in UPSC. For More elaboration CLICK ME
Career Backup plans usually involve following sectors
- Allied UPSC exams (IES,IFS,Geologist, SCRA, CDS,CPF etc.)
- State Government/ State PSC exams
- Bank /PSU/LIC/ONGC/SSC type jobs
- Professor type jobs (UGC NET/JRF)
- Doing PG/MBA/moving abroad
- Returning to private company job
- Starting your Business
- And it is all easier said than done. You might feel “ya I’ll become bank PO or State PSC, what’s the big deal? Such pappu exams are no match for my caliber!”
- The big deal is, no exam is a pappu exam as long as there are two people competing for one vacancy. And there are always existing serious players from those fields dedicated for a particular exam 24/7. The competition is intense everywhere. So don’t take any competitive exam for granted.
- At the same time, you shouldn’t be so extremely occupied with backup plans that you can’t allot enough time for UPSC preparation,
The purpose of writing this article is
- Because Prevention is better than cure.
- There are good opportunities outside UPSC also. So failure in UPSC =not the end of life or career.
First step: check age, educational eligibility in advance.
E.g. To apply for Indian Economist/Statistical/Geologist/Forest service, one would need to have specialized degrees in certain science/commerce/engineering fields.
Then check old papers: http://www.upsc.gov.in/questionpaper/index.htm#PageTop
GK/GS would remain more or less the same. (for CPF, GS MCQ paper is almost identical to IAS prelims)
For whatever is ‘different’ consult a serving officer or Government college Professor of that field and seek the booklist-strategy. e.g. Indian Forest Service, they’ve separate set of optional subjects, and you’re unlikely to find any tips on google search.
Important notes about these exams
- According to Government rules, 1/3rd of All India services vacancies are to be filled by State Service promotes.
That means, if Maharashtra state cadre has 300 posts for IAS, Then 200 posts will be manned up by Direct IAS officers recruited through UPSC Civil Service exam and 100 will be manned by giving promotion to Deputy Collectors (Maha.Administrative Service) who were recruited via Maharashtra State PSC. These are referred as Nominated/Promotee IAS.Similarly
- DySP (State PSC) => DSP (IPS)
- Deputy Conservator of Forest (DCF) (State Forest Service)=> Conservator of Forest (IFS)
Ofcourse some states may have different nomenclatures and posts, but overall principle is this^.
So being in State service is also good. But at the same time nomination depends on many variables, including your service record, Cadre strength, your own seniority in State Service Batch etc.
- State PSC recruitment are usually not held at regular interval. E.g. If Punjab PSC is held in 2013, there is no guarantee they’ll hold it again in 2014 or 2015. (because it depends on Vacancies and retirements.) So whenever there is notification, go ahead and apply. Don’t wait for your UPSC age/attempt to reach at the ‘end level’ before executing backup plan.
- State PSC results often get tangled in court stay-orders because of irregularity/corruption allegations etc. So even if State PSC is your backup, also think of a tertiary backup, else you might cross the age limit for other exams.
The exam structure would remain more or less the same as UPSC. (prelims, mains, interview) The difference is in depth and breadth of questions.
- First buy class 7 to 12 History, Social Science, Geography textbooks of particular State Education Board.
- Also buy guides and digests for Class 10 and 12.
- That’ll help you gather the GK/GS specific to that state.
- Also buy some (bogus) readymade book/ coaching material meant for giving you information of particular state, its history, geography, culture etc.
Second task is to get the old papers to check out the trend.
- If available on internet, download them
- If old papersets are available in market then go ahead buy it.
- if not available then file R.T.I and ask them to provide it in CD/DVD format. (because papercopy cost will be high)
in papersets you’ve to see following
- Topicwise breakup (usually, though not always, State PSC are mostly History-Geograpy-Trivial Current GK type MCQs)
- Question style. Is it like 90s stuff -dates, names and numbers or do they test your understanding and intelligence.
- Then prepare accordingly. Booklist remains more or less the same as you had for UPSC exam but what differs is how you look at the topics.
- For the mains, State PSC usually have direct static type of questions. So just mugup everything and practice answer-writing for static questions asked in previous State PSC/UPSC exams.
- For History etc. (optionals) consult the Government university papers of State.
- Also use newspaper for current affairs related to the State. (but I assume you’d already be doing it part of your ‘profile based interview questions’ for UPSC.)
They usually have two phases: MCQs and interview
MCQ test usually has four segments
While GK will not give you much trouble, Aptitude part (Maths,Reasoning) will require heavy efforts and Data interpretation requires quick-calculation.
(+Sarvesh Kumar) should save the day.
- These ones require Post Graduation (or 4 year BE/MBBS type course). So first get the idea on age/educational requirements.
- Then you’ve to face MCQ questions on GS,comprehension, particular (optional) subject.
- If you don’t have a Post graduation degree, what to do? Simple enroll to any IGNOU program and get distant education degree (MA/MBA/MCA/MSW whatever suits you.)
- But enroll as early as possible. Why? It takes two years to complete PG course from IGNOU (even if you’ve Public Administration/socio optional, and you have the brains to clear IGNOU’s two years’ exam in one day…still you’ll need to wait for two years to get the final degree).
- They also have launched some ‘on-demand exam thing’. But the webportal wasn’t properly working, the last time I tried. You might want to look into that part too.
Post graduation degrees are of following types
- One that has not much value in market (IGNOU except for Professor type jobs)
- Specialized Professional Degrees (Government vs Self financed college)
- In India we’ve a problem of academic inflation. Every tom, dick and harry has got a PG degree, so if you don’t have a stupid paper certificate in your file, then it creates problem while looking for private co. jobs.
- In certain places, weightage is given to PG degree (CAT/IIM, UGC, specialized recruitment for certain jobs via UPSC and State PSC eg. Food Commissioner or Social welfare officer)
- Same goes for matrimonial ads hahaha.
My advice: there is no harm in going for first type of degree (IGNOU)
Reasons are following
- Fee is cheap (around 8000.)
- Their degree is legit for various Government jobs
- You can get first class without any effort. Atmost 15 days of preparation is sufficient (because they repeat questions from last five years papers) and they give booklets. Thus you can enroll for the program even while preparing for UPSC, Bank, CAT or State PSC or anything else.
- You don’t need to attend college.
Ofcourse such degrees don’t have much value in market but then, at this investment (Rs.8k and 15 days) we can’t complaint! Good to add one more certificate in the file (because of the academic inflation).
Infact this is highly recommended for CAT aspirants who’re not getting interview call for IIMs, because their profile score is low.
Coming to the second type of degrees
Can be of two types:
- M.E., M.S., M.Tech etc. from a reputed college recognized by UGC/AICTE.
- Degree has vocational value but not recognized for Government jobs. (e.g. doing M.Sc Clinical research from self-financed college that doesn’t have AICTE approval. )
Even if you cross age/attempt limit of UPSC or State PSC, there are always some specialized recruitment conducted for certain Government jobs later on, where you’ll be eligible. But then they’d ask for work experience and PG. So ideally one should go to a course recognized by UGC/AICTE because then it is automatically recognized for Government jobs.
- When it comes to second category (professional degree, not recognized by UGC/AICTE) be extremely careful in course selection.
- Many mushroom courses and institutes have popped up recently. For one or two years there is good demand (because new MNCs would have come and very few people had the degree in particular field), but then self financed institutes popup in every nook and corner=over saturation of labor force = you can’t get decent placement. (e.g. M.Pharm and Airhostess in Gujarat.)
- Such courses drain away two years of your life, 2-8 lakhs out of your pocket +hardly upward career/salary movement +calculate the house-rent, electricity bill, LPG connection, child-education in big city…..
- Ofcourse glass is both half full and half empty. There will be some people with high caliber who rise on the top, in particular field, even when there is over-saturation of labour force. But do your own research on future career prospects, before investing time and money in such courses, don’t blindly follow crowds and advertisements.
How to prepare for CAT, explained here Click ME, same should also help for other exam SNAP, CMAT, MAT etc. with slight modifications.
Problem: Although the courageous shall prevail, but journey is not easy. All your past follies start haunting you. Even if you get decent score in CAT, still your low score in 10-12-Graduation-PG, No extra curricular, low work xp, …Everything Is given weightage before calling you for interview and giving final admission. (IIM Calcutta exception). And MBA is no panacea for every problem. It depends
- If the institute is highly reputed, then all well and good.
- But If you’re already 28-30 years old (after UPSC adventures), there is not much point in getting admission in some half*** MBA college and wasting 2 more years + 10 lakh rupees. (donot go by average placement packages. they don’t tell your the correct picture.)
And yes glass is both half full and half empty.
- Notesmaking + Revision = time tested formula for success in UPSC exam.
- With hard work (and good luck), Success = possible irrespective of coaching/no-coaching/job/no-job/first-attempt/last-attempt/English/Non-english
- BUT Never put all eggs in one basket.
This conclude the Five part series of “War on UPSC”. Here are the links to all articles, in case you missed any: