5 Most prevalent doubts among UPSC Aspirants ,Answered!

After clearing , I started guiding UPSC aspirants in order to give back to the circle i have come from. From this , the most asked question by aspirants are

  1. How to choose optional ?
  2. Am currently pursuing graduation , how to start my preparation?
  3. Is coaching necessary or not ? Which coaching institute is good?
  4. Shall i go for higher studies or go for UPSC?
  5. What is the Duty of IFS officer , we don’t know much about IFS officers, tell us about their duty and powers!

Till now, i was answering these questions individually ,now i think i should document it to share to aspirants whenever they ask for. Lets jump in.

Q1. How to choose optional?

I was the victim of choosing bad optional that didnt suit my aptitude ,hence i couldn’t cross more than 270 in my optionals in UPSC CSE. So, i can better explain how not to choose!. Choosing optional should be based on following points,

  • Your aptitude – If you are a person who can mug up ,then go for history,literature kind of optional. If you are analytical kind of person who grasp concept and write answer on your own then go for Science,Humanities kind of optional like geography , Sociology etc…
  • Bulkiness of Syllabus – some can go analytical and finish bulky books in days.Few go for mug up and need atleast three to four revision of even small books. Some needs atleast two revisions between prelims and mains to write mains with confidence.So,choose an optional that has syllabus size optimum to your need.
  • Kind of questions asked in UPSC – in some optionals ,UPSC still asking bookish answer where you can go and vomit there ,whatever you have mugged up. In some optionals ,UPSC is asking PhD kind of questions which need full understanding of the subject. So, look at past UPSC question paper and make decision.
  • Current Trend – Whether you accept it or not,there is a trend in scoring.Once upon a time whoever took geography scored very well, then sociology optional,now a days anthropology optional.It doesnt mean other optionals are not scoring, am saying about average scores. So, choose based on the current trend too.
  • Books and test series – Availability of materials and test series are very much important. You need right materials and good test series on that optional to get top score.So,choose those optional that has good resources.

Q2. Am currently pursuing graduation , how to start my preparation?

Always give first priority to your graduation,because , it may become your “Optional Subject” in your mains ,if you did it well in UG .OR it may help you as good backup plan to go back to your stream when couldnt crack UPSC . For me, I did well in computer science.I got placed in campus. So,that gave me courage that ,even if I leave and prepare ,I can come back to this job when i couldn’t crack UPSC.

But I know some of my friends who didnt like their UG stream ,concentrated solely on UPSC from 2nd or 3rd year and cleared UPSC in flying colors. But being from middle class background, I want you to balance both your Graduation and UPSC preparation for obvious life reasons.

How to start my “Balanced Preparation”:

  • Start reading NCERTs (Click here for NCERT list)
  • Read 6 to 12th NCERTs like story,analysis – for atleast 6 months.
  • Buy newspaper – The Hindu or Indian Express – start reading it daily .Improve your vocabulary,writing skills etc…
  • Second year, buy Basic books for prelims and mains that i have listed in my website. Read all those for an year. Start looking at past question papers of UPSC,try answer writing,see toppers answers etc…
  • Third year , fix the optional based on your experience so far.Either graduation subject or based on the tips I have given above.Start reading optionals. Enroll in test series, attend test series for mains side by side with optional preparation.
  • Fourth year, join test series full flegedly and aim for upcoming prelims. Revise whatever you have prepared. Decide whether you gonna write prelims based on your marks in test series.

If you are already in 2nd or 3rd year -then squeeze the above plan.

Q3. Is coaching necessary or not ? Which coaching institute is good?

Its upto you. I went for coaching as i didnt have any clue on UPSC and there were no history of officers from my family or friend side.So ,i was in need of some guidance ,so i went.

But now, you have lot of guidance and direct connect with officers via social media etc…

Pros of Coaching:

  • You will get basic guidance
  • Test series – you can get evaluated by faculties (this i suggest for everyone ,as test series is must,even if u prefer not to attend full coaching)
  • a time table for an year – you can follow institute time table for preparation.This will keep you on track
  • a serious aspirant circle motivates you.

Cons of Coaching:

  • Lot of time gets wasted while travelling back and forth to attend coaching classes
  • Need to spend alot of money for good coaching
  • simple subjects that you can learn yourself if you approach in right way.
  • Big UPSC crowd that is non serious and derails your preparation if you end up in wrong cirlce.

so, I have listed the Pros and Cons, its upto you to choose. Dont ask me which institute is good, am away from UPSC preparation after i cleared ,so i dont have any idea on that.

Q4. Shall i go for higher studies or go for UPSC or any other job along with UPSC?

Million dollar question. There is no straight answer for anything.Why i went for a job? .Need for financial security.

Go for higher studies if you think that doing higher studies will be your good back up or you will get free time to prepare for UPSC.

If you have enough courage,financial strength etc… then directly enter into UPSC ,why higher studies if your final aim is UPSC ?. So ,it all depends on your financial situation,courage,family support etc….

If you decided to take UPSC along with a job, i will suggest you a 2 year plan rather than 1 year preparation ,people normally takes and struggle.

  • Buy NCERTS,News paper,Basic books,Optional subject – Finish all these in 1st year ,atleast one or two reads
  • Attend some test series to check your progresss
  • Second year – start revising ,attend lot of test series .
  • At the end of Second year give the attempt , you will clear for sure .

Condition :

  • Everyday you should finish your newspaper in office itself
  • Every day you should read atleast for 4hrs
  • Sat and Sunday – you should read atleast for 8 hrs each
  • No Festival,marriage etc….
  • Take breaks not when it comes but when you really need it.
  • Use your office leave allowance as breaks when you are saturated with your preparation. (Just 2 years)
  • Dont give huge breaks for your preparation.
  • Above all will work when you are in 9 to 5 job or any fixed time job.If you are in a job that has very erratic timings ,then kindly change it.Its very difficult to prepare with such kind of job.

Why 2 year – See , as a norm everybody is preparing for atleast 6hrs a day.With a job in hand, you cant pressurize yourself in a year.And this will affect your mental and physical health.So only 2 year plan. Definitely it will work.

Q5.What is the Duty of IFS officer , we don’t know much about IFS officers, tell us about their duty and powers!

Most asked question, i listing out basic functions.

Duties: In field ,as DFO (Like DM in IAS and SP in IPS . IAS,IPS and IFS are administrative pillars of a district each with their own set of duties and powers)

  • Conservation – Protecting forest and wildlife as per all the environment acts present in India.
  • Establishment function – office and function ,as like any other office ,taking care of your employees.
  • Development function -for forest dependent communities and tribal communities. In urban area – for urban people and tourism.

Duties : Once you are going up in your career ladder:

  • Policy making
  • Representation of India in meetings and international organizations
  • heading institutions like IGNFA,FRI,ICFRE etc…
  • Join secy,Additional Secy and Secy posts

Post retirment :

  • NGT judge
  • Environmental consultant
  • Expert in climate change,global warming,tribal welfare etc..

Opportunities in IFS:

Many have doubts about working of Forest department and IFS officers in a district. Is their work restricted to Forest and wildlife alone?. Big no. Since their works are in remote parts of India its not getting adequate attention in general media.
Their works are
1. Forest – which is wide including water conservation, plantation, urban forestry including establishing parks, eco tourism sites, smart city mission
2. Wildlife – national parks, sanctuaries, tiger reserves etc… 3. Tribal welfare – employment generation and general welfare.
4. Employment generation for forest department communities
5. SHG in forest villages
6. Construction of roads, bridges etc… In forest areas and dependent villages.
7. Crime detection, investigation, quasi judicial power etc...
8. Disaster management in forest and tribal areas – eg: kerala flood.
9. International projects – JICA
10. In agriculture sector – social forestry, agro forestry etc…
11. International assignments – UNFCC, UNEP, IUCN etc..
12. Water bodies – wetlands, ocean and seas and biodiversity in the same.
13. Environment clearance – mining areas, development activities etc…
14. Tribunals – NGT.

Thus it provides diversity which gives you enough learning experience.
Their work is combination of administrative (IAS) and law&order (IPS) in forest areas and dependent communities.Shorty it’s a combination of IAS and IPS in environment sector. NITI Ayog listed around 166 districts of India as aspirational Districts most of which falls under tribal areas. So development is need of the hour there. Let the best minds come to IFS.

Director ,IGNFA along with faculties,IFS 2018 and 2019 batch during Flag hoisting ceremony on Jan 26th ,2020.

Hope i have answered all your queries!. Mail me if you have any further queries: Vejayanantham.ifs2018@gmail.com

6 Responses to “5 Most prevalent doubts among UPSC Aspirants ,Answered!”
  1. sahil goyal says:

    Directional answers to the most prevalent doubts I have as an aspirant. They did help but still a lot to figure.

  2. sir please reply my mail, requesting notes drive link

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: