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UPSC IAS Golden Tips from Scikeeda Guide | IAS Toppers

10 Important Preparation Tips for Students from Toppers

1. Hard work and Dedication

There is one commonality between all the IAS toppers irrespective of their educational back ground, family status, Age and category is Hard work and Dedication.
Yes, IAS toppers has stated that we achieved success because of our hard work and dedication with the help and support from family, friends and their mentors who guided them.
Tina Tabi 2015 IAS topper admitted that it is because of her hard work and dedication she was able to achieve All India Rank 1 in UPSC IAS exam. 

2. Understanding the syllabus

Aspirants preparing for IAS must have complete knowledge on UPSC prelims and Mains syllabus. Syllabus is very important in UPSC preparation it provides the proper direction and also intimate what to read and what not to read in the civil services exam.
Haritha V Kumar 2012 IAS Topper Tips Quotes
All toppers admitted that they followed syllabus of UPSC for preparing the exam.   

3. Proper Guidance and Support

In UPSC preparation aspirants need proper guidance and support to prepare their exam. Especially for IAS interview.
IAS interview is the most crucial part in Civil Services exam and it is not a test of knowledge, rather it is a test of personality. Most of the toppers admitted that they took guidance from experts and mentors for interview preparation specially and few took complete guidance for IAS preparation.  

4. Mock Tests

Regular practice of question papers both previous years and Mock test question papers will provide aspirants to analyse their strength and weakness.
All IAS toppers who qualified the UPSC exam have admitted that they followed some institutes or online portal test series programmes for their exam preparation.
Gaurav Aggarwal 2013 IAS Topper Tips Quotes
Mock test questions papers are important for both Prelims and Mains. In prelims it allows to student to rectify their mistakes and in mains it helps in improving their answer writing skills.   

5. Answer writing practice

UPSC Civil Services exam is all about writing good answers. There is no magic wand to change your answer writing style in overnight. As Haritha V. Kumar says, Success is not the product of an overnight effort .
Further she says in order to write good quality answers in Mains exam one has to do lot of writing practice before appearing the exam. She admitted that she was not able to crack his earlier attempts, though she had knowledge, hard work and knew answer to questions  

6. Self-Notes

Ira Singhal 2014 IAS Topper Tips Quotes
It is better to make own notes than referring other materials. The classic example for efficient note making is done by IAS topper Nitin Singhania. He prepared his own notes for all subjects and in that he prepared a detailed note on Art and culture, which is now being referred by all IAS aspirants. In fact, it has become a primary source for Art and culture subject.   

7. Newspaper Reading

Newspaper reading is a must says 2015 IAS topper Tina Dabi.
In UPSC exams Hindu newspaper reading is must without which one cannot have good knowledge on current issues. UPSC gives more importance to the Current issues be it prelim, mains or interview.
All toppers have admitted that they followed national news-daily regularly for news update. Most of the toppers followed either Hindu or Indian Express. Most preferred one was Hindu.  

8. Relied on authentic resources

UPSC toppers has stated that they referred standard text books and magazines for Civil Services Examination.
As this exam is conducted by UPSC, it relies more on government sources like Pib website, Yojana Magazine, AIR News analysis and Publication Division Books.
Tina Tabi 2015 IAS Topper Tips Quotes
As Gaurav Aggarwal mentioned in preparation book list, he stated that he referred authentic government resources like ARC reoport, Planning commission Document, Economic Survey and annual reports of various ministries.   

9. Regular Revision

Revision is very important in IAS exam preparation. Without proper revision one cannot succeed in competitive exams.
2015 IAS topper Chadra Mohan Garg also admitted that he was able to crack this elite IAS exam because of proper revision. He advises fellow aspirants to revise thrice before the prelims exam. And in the mains exam candidates need to revise optional subject after prelims and there should be only value addition to the already prepared topics.  

10. Time Management

To be successful one should know how to utilise the time properly. (Remember: It is the same 24 hours for the topper and you.) What matters the most is how effectively you use your study is important in IAS preparation.
K R Nandhini 2016 IAS Topper Tips Quotes
Haritha V Kumar of 2012 IAS toppers states that, instead of studying for a certain number of hours, divide the syllabus into parts and decide how much you would cover each day.  
One day your name and strategy will also appear in various news articles and blogs.
Work hard to achieve your goal.
More Tips From Toppers
‘Pay Attention to Graduation’: Ira Singhal
Ira Singhal, the topper of the 2015 batch, says that it is important for one’s basics to be clear in order to prepare for the IAS examination. One’s grasp of subjects should be strengthened during graduation, which will prove helpful while preparing for the examination. According to Singhal, if one gives the exam in a regional language, one’s use of the language should be impeccable, as no matter what the subject may be, the examiner isn’t lenient about the language and writing. However, if one is giving the exam in English, the examiner might be lenient with respect to grammar.

‘Coaching Not So Important’: Anu Kumari

According to Anu Kumari, the second-ranked topper of the 2018 batch, there is a perception that candidates who don’t enroll in or take the help of coaching institutes will lag behind the others. She says that coaching isn’t very important as everything is available online these days. However, one has to be wholly devoted and dedicated towards the preparation, and have a set goal while preparing for IAS.

‘Trusting Yourself Is Important’: Nandini KR

Nandini KR, the topper of the 2017 batch, believes that while preparing, it is important to trust oneself. She says that after facing failure, candidates stop believing in themselves, whereas, every failure teaches one what one did wrong. One can achieve success by learning from past mistakes. 

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