IAS topper Kanishak Kataria got Rank 1 in the UPSC IAS exam 2018. Since the IAS result, all the IAS aspirants are curiously following the details about the IAS preparation strategy of the IAS topper. Here we are providing the suggestions made by IAS topper Kanishak Kataria for the IAS preparation.
Kanishak is an IIT Bombay pass out of 2014 batch and went to Samsung in South Korea. After his return to Banglore in 2017, he started the IAS preparation in a planned manner. It was his second attempt, but he gave his first attempt with no preparation.
As per Kanishak, it is a lengthy process of over one year, so it requires a sustained motivation to prepare consistently for the IAS exam. To sustain the motivation, one should ask himself or herself, “Why do you want to an IAS officer?” The motivation should be internal, not external. Be optimistic always.
Focus on preparation and do not distract:
The IAS Topper also stressed that the candidates should not distract with the noise going around and focus on the strategy custom made for oneself. Custom made because the strategy is made by keeping in mind the strength and the weaknesses of the candidate.
Do not distract with the news coming across that the number of vacancies is low, the UPSC is doing away with the optional subjects and the likes. He only suggests “Control the controllable” and do not bother for the factors which you can’t control.
Selecting the Optional Subject
He cautioned the candidates about selecting the optional subject. He was confident to choose mathematics as his optional subject. He suggests that the candidates to be thorough with the subject they are opting for the IAS exam. The optional subject should be such that it should not be felt like a burden.
See Here: About Civil Services
The candidates should try to read and understand the easy topics of the optional subject and give it a time of at least ten days. If they understand and enjoy the topic or topics only then go for that optional subject or else choose another one.
Study with full Concentration (Effective Study)
He told that he studied for around ten hours every day with full concentration so he can keep and reproduce whatever he is reading and studying. He also suggested the same to the candidates preparing for the IAS exam. He suggested not to study with half concentration. He suggested studying effectively and it is the quality that matters not quantity.
He suggested that half-hearted efforts are not fruitful and will give no result.
Self-Study is the Key
He told that whether the candidates have joined any coaching or not, self-study is the key to success in the IAS exam. Nobody can do magic and make the selection possible. The candidate should try to improve day by day. They should divide the time and study into two slots. One for the optional subject and other for the General Studies.
Make your Strategy
The IAS Topper Kanishak Kataria apprised that he met his friends who were in the IAS preparation and discussed their strategy. He points out the tactics valuable for him and plans his strategy based on his strengths and weaknesses. He suggested the candidates should develop their strategy.
He suggested that the candidates should design their own IAS strategy based on their optional subject, academic background, strengths and weaknesses. The candidates should also take responsibility for the failures.
Time Management in IAS Exam
Time management is the key to this exam. The coaching can give you only a direction, but nobody can spoon-feed. He said if the candidate is good in time management, his half of the problems are solved. He said IAS exam is all about the time management. The candidates should equally treat general studies and optional subjects.
If they are comfortable in the optional subject or general studies topics, he can change the ratio of effort accordingly.
He said that the answer writing practice is essentially important and the candidates should start doing answer writing practice after the IAS prelims exam. The candidates can only improve when they start early after the IAS prelims exam.
He suggested that the candidates should focus on answer writing after the IAS prelims exam. He said that the answer writing practice can fetch better marks in the optional subject.
He said that the candidates should prepare the notes themselves. Be it online or offline, it does not make a difference. He said that while preparing notes; we do active learning and it cannot be done by reading the notes of others.
There are no perfect notes, the notes can be improved over time. Do not wait to produce the perfect notes, instead start preparing the notes from day one.
Prepare the topic strongly
He suggested the candidates should prepare the topic in its entirety and strongly. Strongly means the candidate should be able to give most answers right if the UPSC asks questions from that topic. It should not be the case that the candidates prepare the topic well and still unable to answer the questions. The previous year IAS question papers help significantly in this area.
The candidates should prepare the IAS main exam and put the minimum essential effort in the IAS prelims exam. He suggested the candidates should not prepare for the IAS prelims first.
They should not be stuck in the prelims trap. Once the optional subject is prepared, the candidates can do only answer writing and prepare General Studies after the prelims exam.
First, complete the optional subject, an optional subject can give the edge to the candidates. The optional subject will help in getting good rank and desired services. But the optional preparation should be such that you can score over three hundred and fifty marks in it.
Revise the optional subject, once in every two months. He suggests preparing the optional first and then start the General Studies side by side. Once the optional subject is prepared, revise it fully once in every two months.
Revision is the key to retain the subject topics and can be reproduced in the desired format. He said the revision will keep the topics fresh in mind and will help in relating with others.
See here: IAS Toppers Stories
Balanced Approach to the IAS Syllabus
He also mentioned that the UPSC can surprise the candidates by changing the exam pattern. So the candidates should take a balanced approach to the IAS syllabus so that if the pattern changes, they do not get hit severely.
The test series is very important for the IAS prelims exam. He says the IAS prelims are just qualifying in nature and there is no point of overthinking for that. The candidates should take around fifty to sixty mock test before appearing in the IAS prelims exam.
This will boost their confidence and practice of appearing in the exam. This will help in time management in the real exam.
Coaching – Necessary or Not::
He said that because of the paucity of time; he joined coaching and was benefitted with that. But he also suggested that the coaching is not essential and the candidates can get guidance through the blogs of IAS toppers and the strategy suggested by them. But he reiterated that the candidates should prepare their strategy.
He said that the candidates can join the test series for the prelims or main exam to practice in the exam like situations, that too are not essential if they can manage these things at home.
Time for refreshment
He told that he always watch the football and cricket matches so he can be refreshed and get back to the studies with full concentration. He said the time for refreshment is very important to get back with full concentrations.
The candidates can take a break from the studies once they feel bored or blocked. Such breaks will increase their efficiency.
Booklist for IAS exam
Books are the real ingredients for the IAS preparation. He suggested completing the most important books first and do not go for the proliferation of the books. He suggested reading the most common books read by the IAS toppers and understand them fully. Only after completing them, the candidates should purchase other books.
His mantra is “Make the maximum out of the available resources”. He suggested reading the standard books first. He prepared his book list by taking the most common books given by the previous years’ IAS toppers. He prepared with those books and prepared his notes.
His books list is as follows
Ancient History by R.S. Sharma
History of Medieval India by Satish Chandra
A brief history of Modern India – Spectrum
World and Post-Independence – Vision Material
NCERT Text Books – 11th and 12th
Certificate Physical and Human Geography – G C Leong
NCERT Text Book – XIIth
Lukmaan IAS notes
Vision 365 notes
Lukmaan IAS classroom notes
Reverse Learning from Test Series Questions
Vision Mains 365 Material
12th Class NCERT – Macro Economics
Vision IAS classroom notes
Vision Mains 365 Material
Making notes for each syllabus points
Internal Security by Ashok Kumar IPS
Vision Mains 365 Material
12th NCERT Biology – last 4 chapters about Ecology
Vision classroom notes
Vision Mains 365 Material
Reverse Learning from test series for various disasters
Lexicon for Ethics
Insights 70-day program for Ethics Answer Writing
Lukmaan 100 case studies Classroom