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How to crack the IAS exam in the first attempt

Clearing the IAS Prelims in the first attempt is considered close to impossible by majority of the candidates. But according to a reliable report, 42 percent of the Top 200 candidates of the IAS exam in 2014 have cleared the exam in their first attempt. This 42 percent includes 4 from the Top 10. So, it is not a near impossibility but a definite possibility to crack the exam in the first attempt.

Why then do many believe that repeated attempts are essential for success in the Civil Services Exam? Finding an answer to this question is like finding the success secrets (or failure secrets) of those who made multiple attempts. Right now, let’s focus on the success secrets of those smart candidates who cleared this prestigious exam in their first attempt.

A team headed by senior career consultant Preeti Saxena met over 300 candidates who cleared their IAS prelims in the first attempt, and found that all the successful candidates share some common success strategies.

The first strategy is that all of them have studied NCERT books. 37 percent students followed the conventional method and studied all the 42 NCERT books while 63 percent followed an easier method and studied only notes based on those books. Here “IAS Prelims Magic” was the most sought after book for majority of the successful candidates, because this book contains complete notes on NCERT books, exclusively for the IAS exam.

Another common success strategy they followed was that all of them attempted hundreds of questions based on NCERT books. 43 percent followed the conventional method and attempted questions from Test series of some tutorials while 57 percent depended on NCERT questions compiled by expert teachers. “NCERT4100” a book that contains 4100 questions based on NCERT books with complete explanatory answers to all questions was the favorite book for all of them. An important feature of this book, compiled by a team of teachers in Delhi, is that questions have been designed in Mock Test Format, which helps the student to get exam ready.

For Paper-2 of the prelims, most of them learned the basic concepts- practiced many questions – solved all previous papers and attempted some mock papers. 19 percent students followed the conventional method and studied big text books on Reasoning and Quantitative Aptitude meant for various competitive examinations, while 81 percent depended on CSAT paper 2 guides available in the market. Prelims Magic for Paper-2 was the choice of many of them for paper-2

Covering current events is a very crucial part of IAS preparation for both the Prelims and Mains and without covering the current events, it is almost difficult to attempt the IAS Exam. And it is not a big news that all successful candidates had covered the current events of last one year in detail. 21 percent followed the conventional method and read all the news papers and magazines of the last one year while the remaining 79 percent followed the easy method and referred notes and questions on current events. For the 2016 prelims, JTS Institute provides a book titled “Super 1000”, that includes one thousand well designed questions with explanatory answers, covering last one years current events. These questions are considered as the most probable questions for 2016 Prelims and are available in online test format also.

Attempting maximum mock tests was another success strategy of the winners. JTS Institute has come out with a very innovative testing platform for IAS aspirants. The new platform provides five online mock tests to all aspirants absolutely free of cost. Anybody can access these online tests anytime by loginng into

“The five mock tests strictly follow the pattern of the UPSC prelims question paper, and that makes this test the most sought-after among the IAS aspirants across the country,” says Professor Venkatachalam, academic director of JTS Institute.

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