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I am 24 years old and have spent three years in a job. Is it too late to prepare for IAS?

“This is my belief: that through difficulties and problems, God gives us the opportunity to grow. So, when your hopes and dreams and goals are dashed, search among the wreckage, you may find a golden opportunity hidden in the ruins.”

― Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam

Dreaming to become a civil servant is a noble dream. It is a life that is dedicated to helping the needy and making our nation prosper. The moment you decided to be a civil servant, not only have you started a journey that is long and rewarding, but it also means that nothing matters to what you were before. There are many aspirants who decided to pursue civil services when they neared their 30’s and successfully cracked the exam. If you are in your mid-twenties and spent some years in a job, then you should feel proud of yourself. You are now more mature as a person and also financially independent now. It is never too late to become a civil servant even if you are nearing your thirties. Being in a job also gives you the maturity to utilize the time appropriately. Moreover, the UPSC interview board will definitely appreciate the fact that you prepared for the exam while working as you are also an active contribution to the nation’s GDP.

 The Civil Services Exam does not expect you to be extremely intelligent, nor does it have a syllabus that is tough to crack. Hence, even if you have lost touch in studies after your graduation, you can easily get back on track. The base books that UPSC recommends are the NCERTs that are used in school education. This shows that any aspirant can follow them without any significant obstacle in understanding the basic concepts. Another issue that you might face is the time for studying. You must have a concrete timetable to follow if you want to clear the exam. A minimum of eight hours is needed every day to complete the syllabus of the Civil Services Exam. Since you are working, it is advisable to make the best out of the morning hours as physical exhaustion might affect your studies if you try to study too much after your work hours. If you are profoundly serious about becoming a civil servant, then train your mind to focus on what is essential. You will have to understand that your current job is just a supporting pillar for your success and not the dream itself. Hence, your primary focus must be the exam. Kindly note that this does not mean that you should altogether avoid your work commitments. But it would help if you learned to prioritize things in your work-exam life. Try to make use of the smallest break that you get during your work hours to get the best out of the preparation.

Please note that you might be facing a struggle in the initial days as you have your own job and you might find yourself a bit out of touch from studies. This is just a slight tussle that would go away once you are into full mode preparation. Do not leave your resolve of cracking the exam even if it gets tough a bit. Every aspirant goes through these and what you face is not different either. And keep yourself healthy, mentally and physically in the process. Light exercises and meditation would be ideal for your preparation. Also, try to use technology for the best cause. Avoid any distractions like social media and instant messaging services and use study forums and online newspapers during short breaks and travelling. Keep your annual leave for the right time and make full use of it before you take the exam. It is ideal to take at least two weeks leave before your exams.

 Once again, do not be disheartened if success does not come to you initially. Being in mid-twenties does not mean that you have wasted your time. You have now taken a wonderful decision of becoming a civil servant, so fight tooth and nail and achieve your dream.


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