Not everyone is able to dedicate all their time to preparing for UPSC CSE — one of the most prestigious examinations conducted in India — as some juggle their studies with full-time jobs.

If you are a working professional seeking guidance on how to prepare for the UPSC, three IAS officers share some useful tips based on their experiences.

Choose a job that permits you time to study A 2018 batch IAS officer Dr Nagarjun B Gowda prepared for the exams while working as a full-time resident doctor.

He advises aspirants to pick a job that gives them ample time for preparation. “A very hectic job profile might end up paying well but will leave you with little to no time for your preparation,” he says.

Invest in only good Return on Investment (ROI) topics IAS officer Kajal Jawla who secured AIR 28 in the 2018 exams says it is important to analyse the ROI that each topic under the syllabus will give aspirants.

“Aspirants must have a clear understanding of the topics and the weightage that each portion is given. To do this, aspirants could compare the syllabus with the previous year’s question papers,” she says.

Utilise work breaks IAS officer Divya Mittal advises aspirants to finish reading newspapers and current affairs during office breaks.

She says, “Living near the workplace can save travel time. And by commuting via public transport, you can study while commuting as well. It’s a good time to listen to audio and watch videos.”

Buy notes “Making notes is crucial for preparation. But you can also get some notes online or at the market. This will help you save time, and allow you to use that time for high-impact study,” adds Divya.

Split leaves The IAS officer Divya advises working professionals to use leaves judiciously. For instance, take leaves close to exams and try to take a longer break after clearing prelims.

“Now, depending on the number of leaves you can take, split them in this manner — two weeks before prelims and one month before mains,” she suggests.