Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) conducts Civil Services Exam every year. Cracking this prestigious exam and becoming a Civil Servant can be a dream for many. This is not just a job that ensures financial security, it is far more than this.
The perks, benefits, and power associated with it and above all the factor of job satisfaction, feeling of content-as one can see how every decision, they make will impact the people and bring a positive change in them. Thus, Civil Services is a dream job and many aspire to clear it despite being a working individual or a professional.
The blog is devised for working Individuals or professionals who aspire to become civil servants and help them to devise a plan for their UPSC preparation.
Is it possible to prepare for UPSC Civil Services Exam simultaneously while working? This is one of the most important questions an aspirant who is working or who decides to take up a job has in their mind.
The answer to this is Yes! Why not? One can surely prepare for the Exam while working. Many aspirants have proved it from time and again and showed that it is possible to do it.
We have many live examples like Mittali Seth (AIR 56; CSE 2016), who was a doctor and cracked Civil Services Exam while working.
Ms. Pujya Priyadarshini(AIR 11; CSE 2018) cracked the exam in her third attempt. She was working in a private firm.
Thus preparing for the UPSC exam while working is possible, however, it requires extra effort, patience, and life management along with enough motivation throughout the preparation.
Let us analyse the pros and cons of preparing for UPSC while working:
What Are The Constraints?
Availability of Time:
This is one of the biggest hurdles any working aspirant would face. A full-time job gives very few hours daily to study. It becomes hectic and frustrating sometimes.
To utilize the time better, they need to give up on few luxuries like reduced usage of social media and plan every bit of time available to them and use it efficiently. They need to meet the expectations both at work and on the family front.
Lack of energy and focus:
Those who prepare for the UPSC exam while working will have to spend 8-9 hours a day apart from the time required to travel to the office.
This can be mentally tiring. This seems hard to manage both work and studies. A Working aspirant should at least study for 4-6 hours per day and if they are unable to devote enough time due to increased workload, they may start questing their decision and in turn, bring down their energy and focus.
Don’t let this happen, and keep yourself motivated. Striking the right balance between study and work have its own benefits. We have noticed many working professionals cracking the UPSC Civil Services Exam relatively well.
Job type and Work Culture: .
The type of job an aspirant is engaged in is also important. The Job can be unrelated to your preparation and it can require you to travel to different places in a day, and designations like sales executive, business development Associate and so on can drain your energy. You can have a fixed work time like 9-5 or flexible time, in either way, proper planning and strategizing is needed accordingly.
The work Culture or work environment can also have its impact. Need to handle work pressure like targets, project deadlines, pressure from the boss or seniors, and unsupportive colleagues. These can add to your stress level. But your ability to manage them along with your studies is a skill.
When you start earning gradually your zeal starts fading if you are not enough motivated you will try to escape from putting in too much hard work. It is a human tendency to stay in the comfort zone.
What Are The Advantages?
This is one of the major factors why many UPSC aspirants decide not to quit their job. Having a job helps with their preparation, sustain their family. Since the preparation sometimes requires multiple attempts to be given by an aspirant, not everyone can afford to study full-time.
Therefore, a job becomes their immediate need to continue their preparation. It is also important to note that not everyone will have time and resources to prepare for the exam and some arrangements have to be done to support and sustain them in this race. Moreover, your job will support your IAS preparation financially with the help of your salary, which will not be possible for others who may be dependent on their family.
Thus, being Financially stable can make you confident and reduces your anxiety and insecurity which you face otherwise. This calmness and steadiness can surely help you prepare for the exam
A Break From Studies:
Studying 24*7 becomes monotonous after a while. Having a job gives break from the vicious cycle of preparation. This in turn will help you focus better.
Being in a job gives you strength, a backup plan. Stereotypes associated with the exam should not back you down. Work experience in fact helps an aspirant to perform better in UPSC Interview.
How One Has To Plan And Strategize One’s UPSC Preparation While Working?
- Time: A working professional will have to put in a minimum of 4-6 hours for their UPSC preparation. This can be increased to 8-10 hours during week-off and holidays. Taking a break from work before the exam is also important. It can be 2 weeks before prelims and one month before mains. Thus on average, 40-42 hours of study per week is quite suitable to crack the exam if it is followed religiously. Have a routine and method of study. With consistency and dedication, one can clear the exam irrespective of the number of hours one studies.
- Select the right Optional Subject at right time and it is not advised to choose an Optional Subject after clearing the Preliminary Exam. Have an integrated preparation. Mains and Prelims need to be prepared simultaneously and devise a proper plan and strategy for one complete year. The timetable should be realistic and the targets set must be achievable. It has to be broken down to monthly, weekly, and daily targets. An unrealistic plan can demotivate you. Pick up a pace slowly and sustain it for long.
- Resources: Keep resources limited and read the right books. Revision is the key. Prefer revising rather than reading more and more. A working UPSC aspirant requires to do Multi-tasking, they have the dual responsibility of managing both the work and study. While Multi-tasking, you are not likely to remember everything. This also signifies the importance of revision.
- Note making: Prioritize your preparation. Make short notes or snippets, screenshots and revise them whenever you get time. Eg: the time you get when traveling to the office, short breaks, and so on.
- Increased flexibility: Availability of technology has eased preparation for UPSC. Joining online coaching and Youtube videos which can be watched at your own time. This can also save your time in going to classrooms. Internet should be used judiciously-it should be for your aid and not distract you. One must utilize every micro-opportunity. For example, you can watch a Youtube video or a lecture at a different speed based on your level of understanding.
- Positivity: A positive work environment along with supportive friends and family who believes in you will be an added advantage to one’s preparation.
- Do not Compare with others: It is common to feel insure when you compare yourself with an aspirant who is studying full-time. Never compare yourself with others. You have your own reasons to work while preparing for the exam. All that is needed is self-belief and thought that you can clear the exam and nothing is impossible.
- Do not overstress: There is a need to compensate for the loss of time, but never compromise on your sleep routine. A minimum of 6-8hrs of sleep is important. It is essential to re-energize your body and gear up for the upcoming task. Also, spend quality time with friends and family.
The competition is tough, and one can find enough reasons and excuses or even distractions for moving away from this path. Evaluate yourself and rectify these tendencies immediately and this will help in the long run. Analyse your strengths and weaknesses and look at yourself objectively without any personal attachment. Proper guidance is also important as it gives a clear idea to study only that which is required for the exam.
Every aspirant has a different method or strategy to crack Civil Services Exam. Never lose enthusiasm. Having a job while studying can be hectic but focus on what you can do best out of the time available with you and plan according to your potential. Have faith and belief in what you are doing and enjoy the process to the fullest and make it possible.
“Believe in your ability to be successful in the things you have a passion for. These are God-given gifts for you to use.”