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How to prepare for the CSE?

The Civil Services Examination (CSE) is considered to be the mother of all written examinations. It is a curriculum heavy examination especially at the Main exam stage. A candidate, therefore, has to begin preparation for the Main Exam and then for the Prelim. This is so because, if one starts his preparation for the Main exam after the having written the Prelim exam, he will have just four months (August to November) to prepare the Optional subject, Essay and General Studies, which is almost impossible to achieve. The optional subject is of post graduation level and usually it will be totally a new subject. Based on the rich experience that VAJIRAM & RAVI has gained by guiding Civil Services aspirants since 1976, we suggest the following course of preparation for the CSE. Let us take X as the year in which a candidate wants to sit for the CSE and X-1 as the year previous to the one in which a candidate wants to take the CSE. One can divide his preparation into two parts or two sessions Viz., July and September sessions.

Students who begin their preparation in July (X-1)

Start your preparation in July of the previous year and wishes to appear for the Prelim exam the next year. Begin your preparation the optional subject, from the second week of July to November( 4 months) of the year X-1 and General Studies for both Prelim and Main exam from July of X-1 to April of the year X and take the Prelim exam in August of the year X. ). Prepare for the CSAT in either in November (X-1) or in March (X).

After taking the Prelim exam, from August to November of the year X, you can revise your optional subject and GS and prepare the Essay paper before taking the Main exam in December.

The period from March to April and September to November of the year X, can be used to take a test series for the optional subject for the Main exam.

Kindly follow the steps shown below: (X-1 is Previous year) ( X is Exam year)

Step 1: (Start at least one year before you intend to take the Prelim exam). From the second week of July (Previous year) to September ( Previous year),viz. 4 months, prepare the optional subject if it is new to you and CSAT.

Step 2: From the first week of July (Previous year) to April (Exam year), prepare GS, both for the Prelim and Main exam. If time permits you may revise your optional subject.

Step 3: From June (Exam year) to August (Exam year), revise G.S and CSAT for the Prelim exam.

Step 4: From the last week of August to November revise the optional subject, GS and prepare for Essay for the Main exam. The compulsory English and Indian language papers generally do not need any formal preparation. Join a test series for GS and optional subject.

Students who begin their preparation in September (X-1)

Start your preparation in September of the previous year in which you wish to face the Prelim and prepare the General Studies from the first week of September (X-1) to June (X) and the optional subject from the mid November (X-1) to April (X). Prepare for the CSAT in either in November (X-1) or in March (X).

Step 1: (Start at least seven to eight months before you intend to take the Prelim exam).
From the first week of September (Previous year) to June (Exam year), prepare General Studies both for the Prelim and Main exam. From mid November (Previous year) to April (Exam year), you can prepare the optional subject. Those students who are capable of managing their time and schedule, may join CSAT also in September ( Previous year).

Step 2: For the other students who cannot take all the three courses together, should join CSAT in March (Exam year).

Step 3: From June (Exam Year) to August (Exam Year), revise GS and CSAT for the Prelim exam.

Give the Prelim in August (Exam year)

Step 4: From the last week of August to November, revise the optional subject, GS and prepare for Essay for the Main exam. The compulsory English and Indian language papers generally do not need any formal preparation. Join a test series for GS and optional subject.

Note: The above suggestions apply to vast majority of candidates who are preparing full time for the CSE, without taking up any job. For other candidates, the preparation may have to be re-scheduled accordingly. They may consult the Institute for further help.