Civil services exam is one of the most prestigious exam of India. Around 10 lakh students apply for the exam every year. The exam comprises different stages like prelims, mains and interview. The candidate who successfully falls in merit in all the stages in one go ultimately cracks the exam.

There are different viewpoints regarding at which age/stage one should start preparing for the exam. Some say that student should start preparing for the exam at the school level while others prefer that it is only after completion of the college one should start preparing for civil services.

However, to find the perfect answer of the question we should first of all understand the syllabus, pattern and nature of the questions in the exam. We should understand that what qualities UPSC is looking from the candidate.

The syllabus of the civil services examination is very huge. It takes around one year to cover the syllabus of general studies once that too with the help of a coaching institute. In addition, there is CSAT and optional subject as well. The nature of the questions is such that examiner is basically checking the analytical ability and creative thinking of the student. The candidate to be successful in civil services must have qualities like analytical ability, creative thinking, broader vision, comprehension ability etc.

Therefore, to complete the syllabus and develop certain qualities which UPSC is looking for it takes some time, it depends upon the student as well but roughly it takes 2 or more years.

Though to prepare for civil services is a time-consuming exercise but it does not mean that one should start preparing at a school level.

School education is important for overall development of personality and building the character of an individual. Therefore, on should enjoy the school life. Beside studying student should participate in extracurricular activities as well. So, at the school level focus should not only to acquire knowledge. In fact, all-round development at the school level indirectly helps the student in civil services preparation by shaping the individual’s personality.

Therefore, starting preparation for civil services at the school level is not advisable.

Once a student enters college, he/she should seriously think about the preparation of civil services, if interested. Though the minimum age to appear in the exam is 21 years but one should start preparing in advance as it takes at least two to three years for preparation. Further promotion is an important aspect of civil services. Therefore, if one wishes to rise in the career ladder in civil services after clearing the civil services exam then he/she should start early. Also, analytical ability and critical thinking take time to develop.
Therefore, to prepare for civil services at the college level is advisable.

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