Preparing the ground

Print edition : June 07, 2019

VISION IAS is India’s premier research and training institute for the Civil Services Examination. It is driven by the core values of innovation and excellence, which have led to its spectacular rise in popularity among aspirants within a short span. Experts from the institute spoke on how they help aspirants prepare for the examination. Excerpts:

Has the pattern of the Civil Services Examination changed in recent years? How has it impacted the preparation?

With regard to the mains, the last big changes were brought in six years ago. In 2013, the UPSC reduced the number of optional subjects from two to one. Also, a new general studies paper was introduced. Apart from these changes, the UPSC has been surprising candidates either by changing the individual maximum marks in the mains or by switching its focus between various subjects in the prelims. The unexpected and sudden changes in the formats of both the exams have kept aspirants on their toes.

What would be the ideal strategy to prepare for the civil services?

Civil services preparation is a year-long process that requires the right kind of strategy, one that readies candidates for success in all the three stages—prelims, mains and interview. The ideal strategy should thus focus on, firstly, a thorough understanding of the UPSC syllabus and the topics mentioned in it. Secondly, previous UPSC papers of each stage should be analysed to understand the type of questions asked. Thirdly, the sources shortlisted for different subjects should help the student become strong in fundamentals. The number of sources consulted should be kept to a minimum so that it is easier to revise them. Fourthly, note-making, whether online or handwritten, should be done in such a way that it collates the information at one place in a precise manner for both the prelims and the mains.

However, students face many challenges like not being able to understand a topic or its relevance, owing to which writing answers on that topic becomes difficult. For the prelims, the sources and learning and retaining of information become a challenging task. When such issues arise, it becomes very important to revisit the strategy and take corrective action at the earliest. For this, Vision IAS provides its students (online/offline) the much-needed intervention tailored to their needs and problems.

Can someone prepare for this examination while studying or working?

It is evident from the previous years’ results that many aspirants who crack this exam are either working professionals or aspirants who have just graduated. Success in this exam depends on practice and consistency.

Recently, VISION IAS ABHYAAS, All India GS Prelims Mock Test Series was conducted at an unprecedented scale in 45 cities across India. What was its rationale?

This was a unique exercise which covered every State, from Jammu in the north to Kerala in the south. It gave the feel of the real UPSC CSE exam at an all-India level. Aspirants all over India got the opportunity to test themselves through quality question papers.

How do VISION IAS Open resources help students in their preparation?

VISION IAS, through the website ( and an app, provides free and easily accessible resources to assist students in cracking the civil services examination. Right from classroom videos on “How to prepare for Civil Services” by leading faculty members to “Topper’s Talks”, an entire gamut of topics is discussed in detail.

To help students realise their dream of cracking the UPSC examination, VISION IAS strives to make the preparation an easy and enjoyable process.

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