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IAS Preparation: To Quit or Not to Quit Job

The IAS exam which is also known as the civil services exam is a government exam conducted annually by the UPSC. Cracking the prestigious Civil Services Exam and gain entry to the top administrative posts of the country is an ambition for many aspirants preparing for the UPSC exam.

It is a National Level Competitive exam and lakhs of candidates from every part of India attempt this exam. Those who clear all the stages of examination become an officer in IAS, IPS, or IFS, and other Central Services.


It is considered to be one of the hardest examinations and candidates from a diverse background made it to India’s elite administrative service. Though the right approach and a strategized study plan will always help to cross the hurdle. 


Lets us analyze the advantages and disadvantages of preparing for the UPSC Civil Services Exam while working:


      • Financial independence: 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. 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.

        • 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.

          • Motivation:  It helps you feel better about yourself and boosts confidence. This also means that you always have a backup option and are not bogged down by the “what ifs” and “ what happens if nots’ ” that come bundled along with the exam preparation. Preparation while working is no doubt tougher but it also gives you mental peace and experience which is very handy in overall UPSC preparation.

            • Time management:  It teaches how to deal with pressure and how to manage work within time because time is very crucial. Take it as a challenge and assume that you might have to work in even harsher situations and deliver more difficult targets once you become a civil servant.

              • A backup plan: Knowing the fact of unpredictability and less selection ratio of the CSE, apply the practical approach and you should have some kind of backup plan

                • A person with professional experience: Your work experience is taken very positively in interviews. It can help you gain an adequate level of efficiency and professionalism.


                • UPSC preparation is not an easy-to-drive task at all. Consequently, it needs hours and hours of meticulous study. Working professionals have to invest 9 to 12 hours of their time in offices/commuting. So, you need to squeeze every minute of your schedule for UPSC preparation.
                • Lack of energy and focus: Those who prepare for the UPSC exam while working will have to spend 8-9 hours a day. This can be mentally tiring. This seems hard to manage both work and studies.
                • Work culture n job type: Need to handle work pressure like targets, project deadlines, pressure from the boss or seniors, and unsupportive colleagues.
                • Comfort zone: 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.

                Lets us analyze the advantages and disadvantages of preparing for the UPSC Civil Services Exam as a full-time aspirant:


                  • One can focus their energy and time completely towards UPSC preparation
                  • Can be more attentive and not be diverted to other things on the job. 
                  • Free from work-related stress and pressure 


                    • Need to be more responsible while preparing and should not compromise on efficiency
                    • Need to be financially dependent on one’s family to support their preparation and may not be supporting their family as done before when working.
                    • Not having a backup plan can make you anxious about your decision to quit the job and raise self-doubts.
                    • May lag in time management. This is probably the worst mistake and a constant and quality study-time must be invested

                    Should One Quit or Not to Quit Job To Prepare for UPSC CSE Examination?

                    • This is one of the foremost questions a working UPSC aspirant has in their mind. The one who can answer this question is only you, others can only suggest the pros and cons of a particular career. 
                    • To proceed with the plan, the very first and foremost step involves self-evaluation. Knowing your current position and your stand will help an individual devise an exact and appropriate timetable for the same.
                    • If you decide to quit your job and prepare for UPSC full-time, and if you are financially stable and are supported by your family and have no responsibilities other than studies, then you have the luxury to utilize these hours in the way you choose and read/ revise extra.
                    • This is an ideal situation and a serious aspirant can have every opportunity to give your 100% effort towards the preparation to crack the exam. 
                    • However, not everyone can afford to study full-time and everyone will not have time and resources to prepare for the exam and some arrangements have to be done to support and sustain themselves in this race. Having a job can be their immediate need either to sustain their preparation or support their family or for whatever reason may be.
                    • If you think that quitting your job is not a solution and decide to prepare simultaneously for UPSC, then you can surely go ahead as it is not an impossible task. Many aspirants have proved it from time and again and showed that it is possible to prepare for UPSC while working.
                    • However, it requires extra effort, patience, and life management along with enough motivation throughout the preparation. It is best advised to work out the pros and cons of your current career vis-a-vis civil services preparation.

                    Tips for Aspirants Who Prepare For UPSC While Working:

                      • Optimal utilization of time: Utilize the time during office breaks/meetings, minimize lunchtime and coffee breaks, and can revise notes.
                      • Prepare a work-study schedule. 
                      • Utilize the time available during the weekends and holidays to the maximum
                      • Can opt for online coaching during the weekends by enrolling in one of the Best IAS Institute in Bangalore, one can choose your weak areas and join specific packages and test series.
                      • Choosing the right resources and tools for preparation: This is very important as you don’t have the luxury of time and read multiple sources. So, you need to minimize your study sources. Tools like Onenote, Evernote can be used as it becomes handy to revise whenever needed.
                      • Decide when to take leave. It can be two-three weeks before prelims and one month before mains. 

                        • Avoid confrontation at the workplace as much as you can. A disturbed mind is not good for preparation. You need to be calm as a rock to keep your preparation on track.
                        • Have a mindset about your current job. It should be treated as temporary and do not run after appraisals but at the same time have adequate efficiency and professionalism and complete all your deliverables within time.
                        • It is important to balance UPSC preparation and your professional responsibility
                        • Pay attention to “how” you prepare and “How” you present the answers in the mains rather than the time devoted.
                        • Be privileged that out of million youths in India, you are one among few thousands who are AWARE of this exam and have the ability to prepare for it.


                        Many of our counterparts are not even aware of such exams, don’t even have a choice of quitting their job, exhausted number of attempts or crossed age limit, burdened with other responsibilities, not having family support, and worst-case not even educated to prepare for this.


                        The process of preparation can be excruciating but you have to hang on and perseve your dream. As far as UPSC is concerned, it gives a vast opportunity for a person to grow, and the decision to work or quit your job for UPSC preparation should be done after logical analysis of your strengths and weakness and self-evaluate your decision objectively without any personal attachment. Most important is your confidence and desperation to crack the exam.


                        Success in the IAS exams does not depend on your educational qualification or your academic background, financial status, or if you are a full-time or a working aspirant. All it takes is UPSC-oriented preparation with single-minded devotion and discipline.

                        December 2023