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How to prepare for UPSC while working?

Every year exams are conducted by UPSC which is an Indian agency. These exams are taken to recruit candidates for civil service and defence service such as the IAS, IPS, IFS, etc. thousands of candidates apply each year in hopes to become a part of this service. However, only a few pass the exams and get a chance to attend the interview.

Among the many candidates that attend the exams some of them happen to be people with jobs. Yes, it can be very difficult to juggle work with studies but nothing is impossible, especially in the world we live in today. In this article, we will be discussing how candidates who happen to be employees study at the same time for the UPSC exams.

Not quitting the job

People often find themselves in situations where they consider quitting their jobs to focus on their exams. However, if the candidates learn to manage to balance pressure and time of work and studies, quitting the job will become unlikely. The major cons of giving up on the job are that the carrier of the individual may get affected especially if the candidate doesn’t clear the exams. Not to forget this exam is not always cleared in the first go.

Time Management for UPSC Preparation

Working or not, time management is something everyone should manage. Candidates should start preparing for the exams at least 9-10 months before the exams. For the first 6 months, core subjects like history, economy, etc., and the optional subjects should be the main focus. Studying for the Main exam can also help cover most of the syllabus.

UPSC Exam preparation for working people, time should not be compromised. Adjusting study time within working hours as well as outside of working hours can positively affect the preparation. This can be done by dividing the study into three parts: before going to work, during work, and after work. With all of this, there should also be room for revision.

How to Prepare for UPSC Exam with Your Job

Before starting the day give at least 2 hours to study general studies. For time found during working hours like during break time or lunchtime, current affairs and newspaper analysis should be covered. 2 hours spent studying optional subjects after work will be ideal for the preparation for UPSC exams. At the end of the day, all the studying should be done before going to bed.

Off-Duty Studying

With the weekdays covered, the weekend should not be wasted. During the weekends a week’s worth of studying should be revised. Preparing for this exam is not all about completing the UPSC Syllabus but practicing papers and understanding the patterns should also be considered when preparing for the exam. Weekends are best for such practices. The paper pattern for the UPSC exams keeps changing hence this should not be ignored.

How to study for IAS Prelims Exam ?

Before the Prelim focus of the study should be mainly on the general subjects for at least 2-3 months. The UPSC exam requires dedication when practising as the pattern of the exam keeps changing annually. The main exam requires more focus, so candidates should try taking extended leaves or reducing their working hours to focus more on their studies. To get past the Main exam, an in-depth study is needed. Practising past papers regularly can help achieve the score the candidate aims for.

Once the Prelim and the Main exams have been cleared, candidates can relax a bit as the greatest trial of the UPSC examination has been overcome. Indeed the interview is the most crucial part but candidates can resume their work and keep in touch with the current affairs as the preparation for the interview.

Maintaining focus is the key but the candidates should also take care of themselves. This includes good sleep and having a healthy intake of food. Keeping the mind and body healthy cannot only help focus on studies but also help healthily maintain work. Candidates should also surround themselves with a healthy environment that involves supportive and encouraging people.

Pros and cons of studying while working


Financial support: By continuing work, candidates would need to worry less about the money spent on materials needed for the preparation. The monthly income can provide stability and encourage the candidates to keep working for the exam.

Breath of fresh air : Studying 24/7 can be very exhausting and wholesome to bear. Working helps take a break from the monotony of study.

Backup plans: Working candidates are at an advantage as they have the working experience to back up their interview.

Possibility of passing the exam: No one gets to clear the exam on the first try except in a few cases. However, multiple attempts, or at least two can be beneficial. This is so because much of the syllabus has already been studied well enough reducing the burden of learning from the candidates.


Time management: This has been discussed above but it is indeed a troubling factor. Due to loads of pressure of work time given to studies could fall short.

Lack of focus: With the mind all over the place focusing can be hard. It takes a lot of guts to manage work and studies at the same time.

Unrelated jobs: Jobs that may take most of the candidates’ energy can also affect their studies negatively.


Studying for the most difficult exam in India while handling a job can be very tough. Candidates may find themselves overburdened with this method of achieving the goal. Regardless, it should be kept in mind that this exam can not be cleared by many people the first time. Hence it is okay if aspirants appear for this exam more than once. Determination and dedication can make many things possible.