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I am in my second year. If I want to join the police services, what subjects should I take up, and how should I prepare for the entrance exam?

Recruitment to the Indian Police Services is done by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), over two stages: preliminary, or qualifying stage; and the main stage. This entrance test is common for IAS, IPS and IFS, P&T, and a host of other central government services.

The choice of subject at graduation level or the choice of the optional subject for the examination doesn’t make a difference for selection to the IPS. Many students choose new subjects thinking that certain subjects are more scoring. But it’s usually better to opt for a subject you have been studying all along.

Since you won’t have much time after the results of the preliminary exams are announced, it would be better if you start preparation for prelims and the main examination simultaneously.

 The preliminary exam is objective type, and has two sections: General studies of 150 marks and one optional subject of 450 marks. For general studies, you should read thoroughly NCERT books of history, economics, political science and geography for classes XI and XII. You should read, at least, one newspaper everyday, maintain a diary and make entries in different sections like sports, state, politics, economy and so on. Go through the dairy regularly. In fact, you should begin this exercise from this year itself.

For the optional, select the subject that you would be taking for the main exam. In each topic of that subject, get to the basics, so that you can answer the objective-type questions of the prelims, as well as the subjective queries in the main exam. For the mains, you should develop the habit of writing long answers and improve your written expressions. This is important for the two optional subjects that you will have to take up, as well as English, regional language, as well as the essay that you will have to attempt. Show your answers to a lecturer and get feedback. At the interview stage, your power of judgement and your understanding of the world around you will be assessed

There are chances though, that in the next few years there will be radical changes in the entrance method, following the recommendations of the Alagh Committee to UPSC. It’s possible tat by the time you do apply, the subject-specific tests may have been replaced by psychometric tests.


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