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How to prepare for the CSE?

The Civil Services Examination (CSE) is considered to be the mother of all written examinations. It is a curriculum heavy examination especially at the Main exam stage. A candidate, therefore, has to begin preparation for the Main Exam and then for the Prelim. This is so because, if one starts his preparation for the Main exam after the having written the Prelim exam, he will have just four months (June to November) to prepare the Optional subject, Essay and General Studies, which is almost impossible to achieve. The optional subject is of post graduation level and usually it will be totally a new subject. Based on the rich experience that SHANMUGAM IAS ACADEMY has gained by guiding Civil Services aspirants since 2006.


Q.1. How should I prepare for my GS Prelims/Mains.
Ans. An extensive study is required for preparing GS Prelims. Start your preparation with NCERT books of 10 thand 12 standard on various subjects like History, Geography, Polity, Science, Indian Foreign policy & International Relation etc. and then go through other books recommended for G.S. It will be better to prepare G.S. mains first and then for Prelim. In Preliminary exam, multiple choice questions are asked and these can be answered on the basis of facts you have remembered while reading the books on various subjects. One should also try to develop the capacity of answering multiple choice questions as quickly as possible because you have only 120 minutes for answering 100 questions in exam (i.e. less than one minute for each question. This can be achieved only through rigorous practice.
For GS Mains start you preparation with recommended books, magazines and newspapers. Here, one should be very careful about the word limit because you have to answer the questions in limited number of words. This also can be achieved through practice. There should be any introductory remark while answering the questions of G.S Mains. Try to write the answers to the point.

Q.2. Should I join some coaching Institute for my preparation of Prelims/mains.
Ans. It is very difficult to answer this question. It depends on the capacity and capability of individual. But sometimes a person having quite enough knowledge to get through the CSE fails in his attempt because he does not know how to utilize this knowledge. A little hard work in right direction can open the UPSC gate for you. A good coaching institute provides guidelines i.e. in which direction one should apply his energy of knowledge to get through in this exam.
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Q.3. What about Essay Preparation?
Ans.For preparing Essay, one must be aware of day-to-day happenings around the world, because most of the topics asked in this paper are of current importance. Besides these traditional topics like socio-economic problems, environmental problems etc., are also asked. One should be very careful about the grammatical mistakes. Your essay should be in simple and expressive language because this reduces the chances of grammatical mistakes. One should also enrich his word power. A written practice is must for scoring higher marks in this paper.

Q.4. Does the medium of expression matter for success in CSE.
Ans.It is a very common question which is often asked by the candidates. There is no doubt in it that medium of expression never counts for success in CSE. One should prefer the medium in which one can express oneself satisfactorily.

Q.5. It is necessary to join a coaching Institute for Interview?
Ans.In fact interview is the test of your personality and not the knowledge. It is a well known fact that personality of a human being can not be developed within a week or a month. The coaching institute teaches about the basic manners, etiquettes to be followed during interview. By arranging mock interviews an institute breaks your hesitation.

Q.6. What is the role of NCERT for preparation of G.S?
Ans.It gives you basic content before studying anything else whether students are preparing on their own or planning to attend class. It familiarises the students for study.

Q.7. Final Q….. Can I make it to the IAS?
Ans.With strong will power, dedication and a little hard work in right direction. You can make it to the IAS.