How To Prepare For IAS
It was in 1996 when I had my first encounters with UPSC through the aspirants (for IAS etc.) who
sought my help to prepare for certain specific topics in GS and my parent discipline, i.e. Public
Administration. Today 19 years later, through regular interaction with the UPSC experts and
students all over India, particularly at Delhi, Lucknow, Patna, Chandigarh and Hyderabad, I find
myself in a favourable position to pen down my experiences and suggestions to the young
In the early eighties, there were three (Delhi, Allahabad and Patna) major centres of UPSC related activities, while Hyderabad was coming up fast. There used to be 40 to 60 thousand contenders for the coveted posts. Today, while the number of aspirants has risen by over 200 percent, may new centres have come up in almost every state capital and many other major cities. In those day professionals did not see any merit in contention for these jobs but recent years have witnessed a flood of such aspirant, at times sweeping the top positions in the merit list. In those days Public Adminstration, Sociology, History, Geography etc., used to be the most popular optional while today, many hitherto less known subjects have taken over. Besides, many states have changed their pattern of PCS examination in line with UPSC examination.
This change in the scenario, resultant of a number of factors, demands that the serious contenders to the job must adopt a more rational, more systematic strategy and approach, right from the moment they think of preparing for the civil services examination.