One of the most frequently asked questions about Civil Services preparation is regarding studying schedules and timetables. Should one spend all their waking hours studying? Should there be time to go out and meet friends? The Better India spoke to Anu Kumari, AIR 2, CSE 2017, to try and get some answers.
As a mother of a toddler, Anu’s struggles during her UPSC preparation were many. However, Anu was not one to let anything deter her from achieving her goal. When asked what her daily schedule was, she says, “I would ensure that I went to bed by 10PM and got a good 6 hours of sleep every night.”
A good night’s sleep is an asset and while this sleep schedule worked for Anu, for many other successful aspirants whom we have spoken to, studying during the night worked better. As long as one is getting enough rest, the time of preparation largely depends on convenience.
Takeaway: Pick a routine that you are most comfortable following. What worked for one aspirant might not necessarily work for you.
During the rest of her waking hours, Anu says that she spent the maximum time studying and would take periodic breaks for her meals. “I would also try and take a nap in the afternoon on days I felt tired. This would be for about 45 minutes to maximum an hour.” Anu also informs that she included a 15-minute walk into her schedule and often practised yoga.
Another IAS officer Sonal Goel, AIR 13 from the 2008 batch also stresses on the importance of getting exercise into your daily routine and also keeping yourself motivated. In an interview with the TBI, she says, “Preparing for the UPSC exams can be stressful, and through it all, one must find ways to stay motivated. There will be moments when we lose focus, feel disarrayed, and even disoriented, but it’s important to find something that keeps you going.”
For Anu who stayed away from her baby during the time she spent preparing, watching his videos was a source of both entertainment and motivation to work harder.
Covering Syllabus Within the Time frame
Anu says that she preferred focusing all her energy on one subject at one time and did not pick up multiple subjects together. Along with preparing the subject, she would also spend a few hours each day on reading up and revising the trends in current affairs. This strategy worked for Anu as she was spending her entire time in preparation, however for someone who is also working a full time job, this might be difficult.
Saurabh Jassal, AIR 404 CSE 2017 in an interview to TBI speaks about how he managed to prepare while he was working, “During office lunch hours, I would finish my lunch and go through online resource material. My target was to ensure that by the time my day at the office was done, I should have read through the newspaper thoroughly. Giving myself small tasks to finish each day proved to be beneficial.”
Each aspirant follows their own strategy during the preparatory stage, and it is interesting to learn what they might be. So work out a schedule that suits you and get down to the preparations! If you are preparing for a competitive examination we would like to understand how you manage your time and prioritise your routine. Do write in to us.
(Edited by Saiqua Sultan)