IAS continues to be the first choice for career aspirants in India. Every year, around four to five lakh candidates apply for the coveted civil services exam. Starting 2011, it will be CSAT (Civil Services Aptitude Test) in place of the present preliminary exam. Those who clear CSAT will be eligible for the main exam followed by the interview. Considering the revised syllabus and the new pattern of the IAS preliminary exam, here are a few pointers which may help you crack the IAS exam.

1:The thirst to excel and to keep your vision alive is important.

2:A clear focus and a practical roadmap till the prelims are imperative. A precise plan on what to study each day is likely to work best.

3: First, study each topic from the IAS Prelims Magic Book, followed by the NCERT book along with other reference books. Further, continue noting down important points from the other recommended text books.

4: Make sure you read newspapers. Also, note down landmark events and breaking news reports on a daily basis. Year Books, preferably the India Year Book 2011, published by publications division, government of India, could be of help
5:Practice and sheer practice is the true mantra for success . The new exam pattern demands nothing less than that. Try and attempt as many mock tests as possible. A good coaching institute for the same will give you an added advantage.

6:Post SAT, continue with your preparation. The following months will be crucial than the months prior to CSAT and your preparation should be in full swing. Those who have passed the exam in their first attempt in 2010, stress that a month-long intensive preparation is sufficient for one 'optional.' And make sure you practice your writing skills. Once the main exams are over, you should start preparing for the interview. 

7: The preparation period may be tough and you may at times want to give up. But make sure you are organised and calm. This will help you to hold yourself together and remain focussed.