Is online IAS coaching the right solution to IAS/civil services exam preparation during Covid-19 pandemic?

The unprecedented crisis created by the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted almost every sector, including industry, farming, aviation, hospitality, retail and many others.Education Sector has also been significantly dented and the impact is visible. Worst affected are students preparing for competitive examinations such as civil services exam (CSE). Students in this field were dependent on coaching institutes and accustomed to classroom format of studying. Let us understand the challenges being faced by this sector and the actions being taken to overcome these challenges, from Mr Abhishek Gupta, CEO of Rau’s IAS Study Circle, the pioneer coaching institute of the country. Rau’s IAS Study Circle is the oldest Civil Services coaching institute in India and has created a formidable legacy with its consistently outstanding results over the years. 

Covid scenario has disrupted education sector. Due to the restrictions imposed, Schools, Colleges, Universities, Coaching Institutes are closed. What is the way ahead?

There is no denying the fact that education system has been hit severely. The lockdown restrictions imposed to fight the spread of covid-19 have severely limited the options of civil services aspirants to take quality guidance. As and when lock down restrictions are eased for educational institutions, in all likelihood it will be with many caveats of social distancing to be maintained. In that scenario, it will be extremely difficult for many CSE 2021 aspirants to take coaching in the traditional face-to-face classroom format. Well, technology has come to rescue in these difficult times. This pandemic has transformed the old, chalk–talk teaching model to the one driven by technology. The disruption in delivery of education has pushed educational institutes to figure out how to ensure interactive learning. On-line mode of teaching is the future.

Is On-line teaching the right solution for CSE preparation?

We all know that time is at a premium. It will not be pragmatic to wait for normalcy to restore and then start preparing for CSE 2021. There are so many imponderables at this juncture. No one knows when the lock down will be removed. If removed, what all restrictions will be imposed to maintain the social distancing norms. Institutes will have to adhere to the norms and it will certainly have an impact on the availability of vacancies in courses. This in turn will have an escalatory effect on the tuition fees. Keeping this in view, it will be realistic to consider the option of adopting to on-line mode of teaching and learning. Online coaching is the best bet right now. Consider the advantages of cost effectiveness and flexibility it offers.

How well is Rau’s IAS Study Circle poised to meet the expectations of on-line students.

Rau’s IAS Study Circle has designed a General Studies Integrated Hybrid On-line Course which is a combination of in-class instruction and online technology. All the foundation subjects/themes will be taught first, using LIVE-online classes as part of Level 1 of the course. Whereas more hands-on activity, which is extensive answer writing for IAS Mains exam will be delivered in Level 2 of the course. This will commence after Prelims exam, through Quality Improvement Program (QIP), on-campus in the traditional classroom setting.

You have the highest percentage of students making it to civil services year after year. Could you throw some light on the Pedagogy which has been adopted by the Study Circle?

One must appreciate that this not a usual run-of-the-mill competitive exam. It is different in many aspects. Consequently, the technique of preparation has to differ in consonance with the requirement of this examination. While studies for most university examinations can be done at a leisured pace, there is not too much of time at the disposal of an aspirant. It will be unrealistic to think that one can prepare for this examination within a short time. Apart from vigorous preparation for at least one year, if candidates keep this examination in view for one more preceding year, they would be on the right path.

The Study Circle emphasizes on the nature of the preparation required, pattern of UPSC questions, technique to tackle them and many other facets thereby, invoking interest of students in various areas of knowledge and enabling the student to have a clear understanding of what to study, how to study and from where to study. Today’s aspirants are grappling with the problem of plenty, commonly called as Information Overload. Needless to say, information overload is counterproductive for preparing for any exam. We ensure that this clutter and din in the minds of aspirants is removed and we orient them in the correct direction to assist them in reaching the objective efficiently. The Pedagogy adopted at Rau’s focusses on building strong foundation, giving special attention to doubts clearing and revisions of syllabus. Our pedagogy philosophy also has its roots in our belief that along with teaching, students also need mentors who can hold hand at the time of need. This ensures that students get a clear cut direction to follow and 360-degree guidance for the exam so as to maintain focus.

Could you elaborate more on your Pedagogy Philosophy .

Each member of Rau’s team has an extensive experience and deep conceptual understanding of the requirement of this examination. We look at wholesome integration of resources from diverse fields and incorporate them in our work books. We provide students with sufficient study material, tests and assignments to not let students wanting for more sources, books and study material. It is well established that one resource read 100 times will be better than 100 resources read one time. Prelims practice tests and Mains answer writing goes hand in hand throughout the year.

Before the examination, our quality enrichment programs help the students revise vast syllabus and update the current events.

Highlights of our Pedagogy are: –

1.  Foundation classes

  • The teaching covers static as well as current affairs across all areas of the syllabus
  • Extensive Essay Writing practice on myriad of subjects/topics
  • Regular class tests on completion of topics (Topic Tests), themes (Thematic tests), followed by Full Length Tests (FLTs).

2.  Focus on Doubts and Discussions

  • Doubts are cleared during face-to-face interaction with teachers
  • After classes via class discussion forums on
  • After completion of course via Query Manager on

      3.  Revision for Prelims is enforced through

  • Classes – Through Quality Improvement Program (QIP) Prelims video lectures
  • Study material – Prelims Compass; a ready reckoner compilation of eight books
  • Tests – UPSC level Prelim Test Series with detailed solutions and Test Discussion Videos

      4.  Revision for Mains is enforced through

  • Classes – Through QIP Mains Answer Writing classes/video lectures
  • Study material – Mains Compass, a ready reckoner compilation of eight books
  • Tests – UPSC level Test Series with Sample Answer and Test Discussions Videos

5.  Mentoring

      To assist students, in addition to faculty we also have ‘Mentors’ who guide students on various aspects. Mentors advise students to not to commit the same mistakes that many aspirants commit when they start preparing for the exam. Which is why even many deserving candidates take 2-3 years or more to crack this exam Our mentors keep their focus aligned to the requirement of exam and keep guiding throughout the journey.


      It is important that the preparations are constantly assessed. Thus, the need to conduct regular tests. The assessment / evaluation of these test papers plays a critical role in preparations. Review of answers by an experienced evaluation team is pivotal. Rau’s has its own team of experienced evaluators.

How will Rau’s General Studies Integrated Hybrid on-line course work?

General Studies Integrated Hybrid-Online IAS course is the best and most suited for effective online learning as this offers a balanced mix of everything. There will be Live-Online classes for real time interactive teaching and doubt solving. And the same classes will be available later as recorded videos for students to be able to go over everything again at their own pace. Also, if for any reason students miss attending a live class, there is always backup available in the form of recorded videos.

This online Hybrid course will be delivered via Rau’s IAS Online Learning Management System (LMS),

Tell us about your new online platform called What differentiates it from the other platforms?

Rau’s Online Learning Management System (LMS) – has been built specifically to meet the learning and testing needs of UPSC aspirants. It is a single point solution for the Civil Services aspirants looking for high quality, exam centric guidance. Besides live classes and recorded lectures, a student will have access to each and every component of the classroom delivery on elearn. Some of the key features of elearn are: 

  • Focussed and purely dedicated to civil services preparations.
  • Unlike other platforms, this has been built keeping in mind the learning and testing requirements of UPSC exam.
  • Caters for Integrated testing with learning videos
  • Has been tailor made with special focus on doubts solving and discussions
  • Will have useful video lessons on Current affairs (Daily News simplified,

What message would you like to give to the UPSC aspirants of CSE 2021?

It is beyond doubt that because of the lock down imposed, the economy has been brought to a stand-still and this has far reaching impact on the life of lakhs and lakhs of people, especially the youth. Many have lost their jobs, those who were expected to join a job were asked to wait indefinitely, and those are graduating this year are staring at a very bleak future.

But let me tell you 
“THIS TOO SHALL PASS” . All those who will keep their calm and work in the right direction during this period will definitely emerge as winners from this entire situation. We all know that we will triumph over this COVID-19 and things will be back to normal soon. You should use this period of social distancing and lock down to work on yourself and 
become a better version of you .

To learn more about GSI Hybrid (Online) Program, Click here

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