CD’s Guide to IAS Prep: From Aspirant to IAS Officer

Preparing for Civil Services can only mean 2 things: A wholehearted effort to become a Civil Servant or
an equally wholehearted effort to waste best years of one’s life. So, If you are doing it, DO IT, don’t pretend doing it. Fair Enough? Let’s jump onto the roadmap then!

Yoda’s most memorable quote, bar none, and one of the greatest in all of Star Wars holds quite true for all civil service aspirants (irrespective of their stage of preparation). And it goes something like this –

LUKE SKYWALKER: Master, moving stones around is one thing. This is totally different!
YODA (irritated): No! No different! Only different in your mind. You must unlearn what you have learned.
LUKE (focusing, quietly): All right, I’ll give it a try.


If you are doing it, DO IT. Don’t pretend doing it.

Civil Services Preparation (IAS/ UPSC Prep) has been veritably described as a ‘life changing process’, ‘a journey of transformation’, ‘a quest of excellence’ and what not!

But truth be told, preparing for Civil Services can only mean 2 things:

  1. A wholehearted effort to become a Civil Servant or
  2. An equally wholehearted effort to waste best years of one’s life.

So, If you are doing it, DO IT, don’t pretend doing it. Fair Enough? Let’s jump onto the roadmap then!

The 3 Kinds of IAS Aspirants

It is important to understand your stage in the Life Cycle of an IAS Aspirant so that you plan your onward strategy accordingly. Let’s take a closer look:


#1. The Idealists/ College goers


There is something about these idealists that is very disconcerting for the aam aadmi students. They are the benchmarks of the societies – the sharmaji ke bachche who constitute the bedrock of the society (in your parents’ eyes). They grew up reading Dominique Lapierre’s Freedom At Midnight and devoured Hindu for breakfast!

If you identify yourself with this category, you have got a few of things correct. You need to meticulously build your base and play on your strong points.

If you are in college, do not sweat it out in vain. No point joining any regular classes or diving into the subject books as of now. Just be more aware. Read these few articles to get a flavor of what lies ahead –



  1. Be a regular at the Civilsdaily’s Android App: It’s FREE, FOREVER and we take due care with summarising UPSC relevant news articles for you. Everyday.
  2. A Beginner’s Guide on How to Clear IAS: These 5 commandments will do well to get you started with the IAS Prep
  3. 3 Key Points on How to Read Newspapers for IAS Prep: Newspapers hold an important significance – more so in the changing times
  4. Understanding the IAS Prelims Syllabus: Start reading with what UPSC expects of you in the Prelims Exams
  5. Need Motivation? Read these posts on some Amazingly Badass Civil Servants:
  6. Recommended Memoirs of Famous Bureaucrats: To keep your spirits high among other things!


#2. The Wildcard Entrants

Remember TVF’s Pitchers?

“Is desh ke graduates apni 9-5 jobs se bore hone lagte hain toh bahar nikalne ke liye keval 3 raste dikhte hain: MBA, IAS & Start-up.”
(“When graduates of this country get bored of their 9-5 jobs, they look up to only 3 options : MBA, IAS & Start-up.”)

Since you are joining the party late, you have a lot of lost opportunities (and syllabus) to cover! If you are juggling IAS preparation along with job, you might be biting a lot more than you can chew! In that case, these few articles can come in handy before you make up your mind and scale up your efforts to take an extended sabbatical from your corporate life –

  1. Along with CD’s Android App updates, be a regular at one national daily – Hindu or Indian Express. Live Mint is very good for its article on Economics and Business Standard may be referred for some heavy gyan (but it is avoidable).
  2. Know Thy Syllabus:
  3. Choose your Optional Wisely: We do not have authoritative articles on how to go about that but we will be inviting UPSC Rankers to share their strategies.
  4. Coaching: To do or not to do? – Read the pros and cons of self study/ coaching
  5. Importance of Writing Practice? Everything you need to know about answer writing for IAS Mains
  6. Test Series for Pre & Mains? [to be published]
  7. Analyse the Previous Year UPSC Prelims:
  8. Analyse Previous Year UPSC Mains Examination [to be published]


#3. The Nirvana Seekers


They have weathered all storms, seen one too many pattern changes, possibly even attended a few LIVE interview and are still sticking it out for that magical double digit rank. For them,

Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.

What do we have for you? 

  1. Go through our neatly curated News Stories in full: Since you already have a good understanding of current affairs in general – you will be able to appreciate and gain from our connected news stories.
  2. Run through our CD Explains at the CD Hub: Revise and build upon your basics as we try our best to break down complex news for you.
  3. Importance of Writing Practice? [to be published]
  4. Test Series for Pre & Mains? [to be published]
  5. What beyond UPSC? In a rare case that you run out of time or attempts – what should you do to prepare yourself for the bumps ahead? [to be published]

This page will be frequently updated. Share this among your friends and relatives who might benefit from this.

By Root

Caretaker @civilsdaily

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