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Strategy for working professionals

edited July 2013 in Preparation FAQs
As a working guy myself i can feel the effort & pain required in preparing for CS while being in a job .
Those of you working in a job & cleared any stage of exam do share your strategy from GS to Optional,
your time management & other difficulties you faced along the path .
It will be quite helpful for those of us in a job & want to prepare for CS .Also i think the added pressures of worklife makes the strategy involved a little different .
So please share your plans that you have followed .
The fault , dear Brutus, is not in our stars, / But in ourselves, that we are underlings .


  • As no working professional here is willing to discuss his plans ... Moderators can close this thread ..:-(
    The fault , dear Brutus, is not in our stars, / But in ourselves, that we are underlings .
  • Hii @LuV I am also on same condition as you working in a manufacturing sector major as O&M Engineer. And Preparing along with job is quite difficult for me as i am unable to maintain a particular time schedule due to my shifts duty. But am preparing steadily and slowly. Have written pre this time only. Lets see how the result may be. But we have to make our own strategy for preparation. But what i understood is preparing on job will be easy if you are in public sector or government job. Beaing a private employee is quite a hindrance. But its once perspective and work environment . Also if you in software and on bench would be easy for you but again full proof strategy is required. Like Optional selection and then resources compilation for GS and Optional is major job. Also i am finding quite hard to follow daily newspaper also , so u can understand my condition.

    You can tell more about your work ex and stage of preparation. Happy studying.
  • @rohit21
    Its nice to hear from someone in a same situation as i am ...
    Well its hard to prepare while in job & even harder if in a private job that too in shifts .
    Transfers while in a private job hampers your preparation the most .
    Nevertheless, as you have given attempt this year i wish you all the luck .
    I started off,well where everyone starts i think with an aim to become an IAS and having not a single clue how to do this mammoth task.
    I started with developing my own strategy .I took cues from other participants' experinces which they.shared online & a 125 page pdf created by yesteryears IAS' themselves & updated till 2013.
    That is my guiding beacon in my preparations.
    I will start with GS-3,2,1,4 resp. in that order .My plan is to finish atleast once till jan the entire GS portion & my optional (if its possible-ideal case) & will keep modifying as per my needs.
    As far is newspaper is concerned , as i was posted in a remote area, so Hindu was not available there therefore have subscribed to an online Edition till august.I download daily edition & try to complete it religiously.What i do is segregate news into 5 categories .... National ,International,Editorials,Economy & Science & Tech sections.
    I write news under these separate sections category-wise.
    Yup i'll admit its hard to read each item & den segregate them & over that i have to do it from my Samsung galaxy s2(a very tiring process for eyes).
    Now i am trying to do that while on job & copying it under separare headings as i head back to my room.
    Although i have a plan but deep in my subconscious a fear lingers as to how i will be able to cover such a huge syllabus till jan considering time constraints due to job & then there are downtimes when you dont like to study at all & have to literally fight it out to sit in a place in front of a book.
    I hope you can give me some pointers as to how you were able to complete the syllabus & had any such doubts regarding finishing syllabus on time or not ?
    Also, i am in a habit of going ina little deep of the things to understand them & i fear as to my this habit might hinder my prep as time is a major issue for us working people.

    PS: please dont mind the length of the post ...
    The fault , dear Brutus, is not in our stars, / But in ourselves, that we are underlings .
  • Also as i write this i am currently in night shift & trying to finish reading today's newspaper.
    The fault , dear Brutus, is not in our stars, / But in ourselves, that we are underlings .
  • @LuV good that at least you are religiously following everyday news. Mire than half of ur job is done as upsc has moved from static to dynamic ques. I am barely reading news papers. And i am a novice so this is first time i am reading anything related to upsc mains. How are you getting time in shifts is there no work pressure at all.
  • Once i covered enough portion will be able to share my strategy till then u should develop urs. And pre result will decide my future now.
  • I was recently transferred at sikandrabad near delhi.
    Since this is a Grinding Unit so work pressure is almost negligible & plant is also of very small capacity.
    Moreover in my previous plant site (which was a full fledged plant ) i couldnt get time.
    I got lucky this time i think.
    I wish you all d best for Prelims.
    Did you prepare for prelim separately or followed an integrated approach ?
    The fault , dear Brutus, is not in our stars, / But in ourselves, that we are underlings .
  • edited July 2013

    I can share my experience. I was working during my First attempt. Cleared prelims. Missed the interview bus because of my bad PubAd scrore. This year, I resigned my job after prelims.

    I hope this may be of some help for you guys for making a schedule.

    My work schedule : 8-6.

    Early morning 4am to 6am
    : Best time to Read.

    7-8 am : I used to travel for 1 hour. Used that time for completing newspaper. I marked important articles and took notes after 8am in the office.

    Galaxy Tab : The best thing i bought using my salary :) Used that effectively for reading all CA related sites. (Gktoday, PIB,etc;)

    6-7/8 (Traffic) : Again travel. I used to revise some books. Often ended up watching BBT to relax myself in between.

    After 8pm. I used to read from 9-11. Sometimes extended till 1/2. sometimes till 10. But always studied as much as possible.

    So, this way I made at least 5 hours for studying (other than newspapers and CA).
    It worked very well for me.

    Saturdays and sundays
    : No excuses. Full time :)>-

    Tools : One note (available in all windows system). Some android Apps like Packet, Note taking software.

    Negatives: My eye power got increased (Actually doubled :-B may be because of straining my eyes by reading in bus/train ) . That one year was very hectic. But I'm very much satisfied with my performance.

    Positives ?
    Yes :)

    You'll find the value of each and every minute when you are working and preparing. Try to read as much as possible. Keep this in mind. There are people who can prepare for 10 hours a day even. So, Never waste your time.

    I quit my job because the job timings got changed (12 hours !!)

    Enjoy Reading. Success shall be yours :)

    2013 - Indian Forest Service

    2016 - In the battle!
  • @luv completely agree wid u bro.....working and prepearing for civils simultaneously is a very difficult task..,,, m having difficulty myself despite being in a comparatively easy job.....I manage 3 hrs max during d weekdays n little more on weekends.....I ve written mains last yr n I think its more imp to understand topics in detail than to mug up watever we study we ve to think alot..even if d course covered is not asmuch as we would want.....
  • @DrSheldon
    Well congrats for clearing the first hurdle & better luck next time.I am sure your first attempt has left you with loads of experience & will help you certainly in your future attempts.
    In one thing you are right while in job one need to take care of each & every minute but this pressure of not wasting time can sometimes work in our favour too as one tends to waste more time if he has got more of it.
    My ques is still same ... Did you followed an integrated approach or prepared separtely for prelims altogether ?
    As you have cleared the first hurdle you can share tips for prelims also ?
    What was your other optional besides PubAd?
    I am also concerned regarding in how much depth one needs to cover a topic ?
    In some forums they say to have atleast 4-5 page answer for each topic & on the other they say that a topic need not be covered in a research oriented way .Well if i am making 4-5 page notes for a topic isnt that a research oriented prep in itself ?
    The fault , dear Brutus, is not in our stars, / But in ourselves, that we are underlings .
  • @chanakyapupil
    Congrats bro for clearing prelims,as it confirms that you are seriously preparing for this exam.
    Yup ... preparing simultaneously is tough but hey!! if even one person in this country can do it whilw on job (which they have done many times as results show), we can too .
    Many fulltimers fail to clear the first hurdle (no disrespect intended for them)& the very fact that you have done so while in job shows that you have the capability.
    The fault , dear Brutus, is not in our stars, / But in ourselves, that we are underlings .
  • @luv:
    My point is when you're working you cant find much time. So no point in having more time and wasting it :)

    I followed separate approach last year. It is a bad approach :) . If you are 2014 aspirant. Do follow integrated approach.

    My other optional was Geography.

    Depth. You should be able to inter link topics and should be able to answer even specific questions. I dint follow (4-5 page notes). May be this year i will follow 1 page hints for each and every topic. Frankly speaking i dint get enough time to make notes last year :) It was very fast. But note making is very much needed and it'll help you a lot :) Keep doing.

    2013 - Indian Forest Service

    2016 - In the battle!
  • @Dr Sheldon
    Hmm ... interlinking topics .can you sight an example for this to demonstrate how interlinking matters in CS Exam?

    On a lighter note :-)
    What are you doing still up in the middle of the night ?:-)
    The fault , dear Brutus, is not in our stars, / But in ourselves, that we are underlings .
  • hmmm............ working professional. extra effort, extra tension, extra anxiety, extra pressure................ we are indeed a dying breed!......... i am a high school teacher of geography and found it tough on my first attempt (2012).......... though i cleared the prelims, but, due to want of time could not clear the mains. took 1 month without pay leave, it didn't help... this year , the same story continues of ''want of time'' but determined to crack the mains... let's see. wish you all ''extra'' luck friends..
  • @trulysid
    Dying but not extinct .
    Still fighting it out arent we !!!
    Thats what matters.It may take longer but we will make it .
    Would like to add an excerpt :

    It is not the critic who counts; not the man who
    points out how the strong man stumbles, or
    where the doer of deeds could have done them
    better. The credit belongs to the man who is
    actually in the arena, whose face is marred by
    dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly;
    who errs, who comes short again and again,
    because there is no effort without error and
    shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do
    the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the
    great devotions; who spends himself in a
    worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the
    triumph of high achievement, and who at the
    worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring
    greatly, so that his place shall never be with
    those cold and timid souls who neither know
    victory nor defeat.
    The fault , dear Brutus, is not in our stars, / But in ourselves, that we are underlings .
  • me too working and preparing for cse...i normally get 4 hours on weekdays for studies which looks fine at the moment...not sure if and when i should consider taking a break from the job (sabbatical can be an option)..enjoy the journey guys !!
  • @singha
    Sabbatical is not a possibility for me.
    Just continue your prep with zeal ,doors will open for only those who care to look for the key ..:-)
    The fault , dear Brutus, is not in our stars, / But in ourselves, that we are underlings .
  • edited July 2013
    I am also working and preparing..I usually study for 3 hours on weekdays and weekends for around 5 hours...2014 will be my first attempt.

    I am preparing since one year but couldnt take the exam this year as syllabus got changed and also I had some visa issues (I am Not in india).

    In office if you have access to computer, complete the newspaper part, PIB, study any notes if you have pdfs(these days many books are in pdf format). Study all those pdfs at office. Sorry to say, but you have to exploit office time, resources..

    Listen to radio while travelling. I got all the AIR news recorded and copied to my phone and listening to those while travelling to office...

  • @chisri
    Well the office resources need to be exploited for a greater good here :-)
    Even i have an AIR app on my phone & listen to its news.Depending on shifts i squeeze around 4-5 hrs daily.On weekends i can easily carve out 10-11 hrs.
    Bring abroad & prep is itself a challenge.
    I wish you luck mate ...
    The fault , dear Brutus, is not in our stars, / But in ourselves, that we are underlings .
  • Its nice to read experiences here. here is my story:
    Last yr was my first attempt. I cleared prelim, missed interview call. Just like @DrSheldon, I had pub ad, geo and a Samsung Tab from my own salary money. I too read on the buses, on the trains and elsewhere! Only difference from @DrSheldon is that I still have the same eye power :) (I should have read more!)

    I enjoyed my preparation. And the saga still continues. I am still working, preparing. Prelim was easy this yr, no issues will get call for mains but, got no leaves left in my bucket and do not know how am I going to manage 2-3 months of full studies. Planning to fake the jaundice this yr. Can't make my relative die each year! :D

    For all working professionals, here is the moral booster: the work drives our studies and for full time guys, they are the ones who actually face the anxiety.

    Weakpoints in last yr prep:
    Got no time to write answers. And I am still pathetically poor in this domain. Now working hard on this front.

    Manager's here, gotta go!
  • @joe
    Nice post
    Well thats the case with most of working professionals i guess.Constantly engaged in a fight between job & preparations.
    I am too thinking of buying a Tab as reading news paper & articles from my galaxy s2 is very tiring for the eyes.Its amazing how fast humans adapt.
    Earlier i had samsung metro & when i bought galaxy s2 2 yrs back i was speechless by the sheer size of the screen but now it seems too small.
    I think note making is a part where most of working aspirants feel a little hard as time constraints make it difficult & same is the case foe answer writing but both are essential .
    Joining a test series or posting our answers online would make it more easy as deadlines is what we working guys are used to .
    The fault , dear Brutus, is not in our stars, / But in ourselves, that we are underlings .
  • There's thread on a starting a whatsapp group of working professionals .
    What are your thoughts ?
    The fault , dear Brutus, is not in our stars, / But in ourselves, that we are underlings .
  • I got this query in my email from a working professional and I am posting this here to express my own views:-

    Hello Sir,
    I am ******* l working as a Software Engineer with ***** at Pune. I am preparing for CSE from June and planning to appear for CSE-2014.
    I am in dilemma and not able to take decision.

    After going through this forum, i have realiased that joining a coaching is not mandatory for selection (though it is not obsolete also!!).
    What i am thinking is to switch my job location to Delhi and take a room in Mukherjee Nagar or ORN and not quit ***, we have a policy in ***** that we can be on bench so , I will keep on going office and study there and at my room. So this way I will also not quit my job and my expenses will also be met with my job.

    The other option is to to quit the job and be at home and prepare prepare for CSE.

    Please help me to take decision.

    Thanks and Regards,

    My suggestion to anyone who has a similar query :-

    1) Under no circumstance I would advise you to quit your job if you can manage 2-4 hrs daily in Pune. This can be done by staying alone with no roommates usually. Or staying with UPSC aspirants.

    I would also not advise you to shift to ORN or Mukherjee Nagar. If you are looking for an 'environment', then that is to be found inside you. If you are looking for crowd, then yes you have it here. Almost everything is available via post (like magazines) or online.

    You have online platforms like VisionIAS where you can do Test Series and have your answer writing practice. This is what even students in ORN and Mukherji Nagar are doing.

    Secondly, with the new pattern, classes are meaningless for GS. For optionals, yes classes may be beneficial. But if you have a simple subject like PubAd or Socio, try reading standard books and notes. Thats should be enough.

    The UPSC new pattern does not require you to quit your job. The Interview board also appreciates working people.

    This is what I feel. I have the benefit of hindsight.
    *No good deed goes unpunished*
  • I agree .

    If job allows you to be on bench and time is there than why quit it.
    Its totally a different matter with some other jobs as i had a job which had me frequently transferred to remote locations and i had to share a room with 3 guys who had no interest in what i am doing.
    Also my shift timings were not helping either coupled by the fact i dint like my job either So i left it but if you like your job and have options available like preparing while on bench then dont leave it and do it while being in job only.
    The fault , dear Brutus, is not in our stars, / But in ourselves, that we are underlings .
  • edited January 2014
    i am not disputing what @neyawn sir says about boards appreciation of working people but its my observation seeing the interview marks of people known to me that working or not working its your performance in interview that day which determines your marks
    sir i am confirmed to get a govt banking job this year should i join it ? People complain that workload is great in this sector.though its a bench job but po usually return at 8 or 9pm
    You may be a king or a little street sweeper,but sooner or later you dance with the reaper!
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