WHY SHAAN

Individual Centric Approach

Limited Batch Size

A small batch size with less crowd accrues a number of benefits –
• Stimulates a dual-benefit for both the aspirant (in terms doubt resolution and personal attention) and the faculty (in terms of tracking the development process of each aspirant).
• Maximizes the productivity of both the aspirant as well as the faculty.
• Enables enhanced peer to peer learning with the fellow aspirants.
• Competitively healthy environment.
At Shaan, each batch size has been limited to a range of 30-40 students per batch. This accounts for both online and offline students.

Skill Mapping

Each aspirant has some unique traits that help him/her define their skills. Recognition of these traits facilitate the process of skill development. Acquiring these skills further refine the aspirant’s journey to become a civil servant. At Shaan, we assist the aspirants in enhancing their traits so as to make them civil-servant oriented skills. These skills are then judiciously mapped so as to make the UPSC preparers into Civil Services aspirants.

Individual Targets

Individual targets are provided to each aspirant according their capabilities, intellectual development and progress. These targets are then reviewed and new targets are endowed on a weekly basis. The aspirants then plan their daily targets based on these weekly targets. The faculty at Shaan maintains a record of each aspirant’s progress and development based on these targets. Aspirants too maintain a record of the targets allotted to them and their achievements with respect to the given targets. Below is the example of weekly targets of one of the aspirants at Shaan –

One-on-one sessions with faculty

The Civil Services preparation is known to be stressful and demanding. As a result, aspirants may undergo phases of demotivation. One-on-one sessions with the faculty are a norm at Shaan. The faculty provides the required individual attention to all the aspirants with the objective of reducing stress, enhancing motivation levels, recalibrating preparation strategy and reorienting the focus towards the goal.

Redefining the experience of online learning

Online learning has been characterized

India’s first online skill driven UPSC preparation module at SHAAN IAS academy . When a student join our class room programme in online mode our first objective is to help aspirant understand exam’s needs and himself through various online counselling sessions with faculty. After this basic exercise the aspirant and faculty both are better equipped to chart out preparation strategy on case to case basis, especially for working professionals. If any disconnect felt by online aspirant then he can call for a one on one online session with faculty directly. In this case,aspirant and teacher sit together in online mode to discuss the schedule of the student and accordingly give a weekly plan to each student. Online students had to necessarily share his/her record of the activities done in the day with the teacher so that the teacher can calculate the time taken by him/her for completing a book; time taken for them to understand and process the information. The teacher maintains an performance tracker of every individual student present online.Performance tracker keeps teacher aware about every student’s real time growth rate during the course of their online preparation.

Answer writing is a very important exercise during the preparation, keeping this in mind special exercise has been started by our institute, in which online students can submit their daily answers on our site. Faculty will review their answers online and send them necessary feedback daily.

As Shaan focuses on holistic development of every student since day one. Debates are conducted in both online and offline mode and form very crucial part of our preparation strategy. They are conducted in a way to make an aspirant ready for the interview. Debates are very helpful in improving one’s articulation of their knowledge, self awareness, spontaneous thinking and also work as a confidence booster specially for online aspirant.

SHAAN IAS academy plans online preparation course of college going students meticulously from all over India . Most of college students face problems in managing preparation and college. Here at SHAAN IAS class room programme, we work closely with college going students in a way that they find convergences between college and online UPSC preparation, suggesting/recommending internships and other things to ensure their learning curve doesn’t stop while being in preparation. We specifically provide 2 year and 3 year courses for college going students in SHAAN IAS Academy to make them exam ready, when they step out from college.

The skills we map in online students are-

1. Syllabus awareness

2. Reading speed

3. Concentration span

4. Analytical skills

5. Writing skills

6. Speaking skills

7. Time management

Various activities the student go through-

• Debates

• States & UTs

• Test series

• International organisations

• Schemes

• Notes

• Current affairs

• Newspaper & PIB

• Books and summary

This all help the student go through an intense process where the student can handle the essay paper and GS paper with great ease this process creates a spontaneous thinking capacity in the students without being confused about the examples to quote in the paper. Interlinking between syllabus makes it easier so that the student would never have a pen struck feeling.
Online students are given same preference and online students never feel left out in any condition. Students who are handling with their job/ degree never feel getting behind the syllabus in any condition.

UPSC is not an exam it is a test for making students prepared for fulfilling their future duties as a civil servant. Being an aspirant and preparation for the exam is the first test for the student’s patience and determination. Choose a teacher wisely who will be with you throughout the journey.

Enhanced plan for working and college going aspirants

Working and college going aspirants usually struggle to multi-task between their work/college and the preparation. Such aspirants may face fatigue, higher instances of demotivation and tend to grapple with time management skills. Shaan has oriented its focus on these aspirants in particular. Given they face paucity of time, the faculty at Shaan along with the aspirants work out a strategy for better time management and enhanced syllabus coverage.

Integrated Approach

Breaking silos between subjects

A common tendency for aspirants is to address the syllabus in silos of subjects. While many aspirants follow this strategy, the UPSC has departed from this approach tends to ask questions which are not seemed to be conventionally matched with the respective GS papers.

For example, in General Studies paper I of the 2021 Mains examination, the following question was asked:

What is cryptocurrency? How does it affect global society? Has it been affecting Indian society also?

Cryptocurrency, being a fintech, is usually assumed to be asked in GS paper III. However, UPSC wants the aspirants to go a step further and establish links between diverse issues.

Another example, would be from GS II of the same year question paper:

“Though women in post-Independent India have excelled in various fields, the social attitude towards women and feminist movement has been patriarchal.” Apart from women education and women empowerment schemes, what interventions can help change this milieu?

This question is conventionally believed to be asked in GS I with women and women related issues mentioned in the paper. However, with vulnerable sections of the society mentioned in GS II, the afore mentioned has been asked in the paper

Similarly, two questions from GS I in the 2020 Mains Examination were asked:

India has immense potential of solar energy though there are regional variations in its development. Elaborate.

How have digital initiatives in India contributed to the functioning of the education system in the country? Elaborate your answer.

The first question is likely to be asked in GS III owing to the fact that Energy stands as a heading in the syllabus of the same. The second question is conventionally believed to be asked in GS II given that education is a topic mentioned in the paper.

It becomes therefore, very crucial for the aspirants to keep up with the changing dynamics of the civil services examination. At Shaan, the faculty moves away from such harmful silos and approaches the syllabus with an integrated approach in order to ensure the holistic
development of the aspirant.

Specialized Weekend Sessions

The civil services examination, especially the mains examination, is a fight for every one mark. Aspirants need to power the content of their answers so as to maximise the yield from every question. Content Enrichment Sessions lie at the heart of the Shaan IAS Academy.
Taking place on every weekend, these sessions are characterized by in-depth analysis of important current events (say Russia-Ukraine war), discussions on several reports (say Multidimensional Poverty Report), book presentations by students (say India Unlimited by
Arwind Pangariya) and case studies evaluation for GS IV.

News Linking with Static

Current events and Static portion are often considered as two separate categories of preparation and therefore, are approached differently by the aspirants. However, UPSC has clearly indicated through its previous year questions that current events are the main drivers of static questions.

For example, in the recently conducted Prelims examination of 2022, a question relating to the Coal Controller Organisation has been asked due to the prevailing coal crisis in the month of April.

Similarly, a question was asked in GS I of 2019 Civil Services Exam:

What is water stress? How does it differ regionally in India?

This is the same year when NITI Aayog said that 21 Indian cities would run out of ground water in 2020.

At Shaan, aspirants are encouraged to make comprehensive analysis of the current affairs. The current events also drive the faculty’s approach towards the entire syllabus. Proportionate priority is provided to the topics according to their frequency in the news.

Daily Classroom Discussions

Reading enhances knowledge while application of that knowledge enhances retention. Class discussions, a recent feature, enable the aspirants to discuss, apply and inter-connect what they have understood from the classes. The daily classroom discussions are led by aspirants with minimum engagement from the faculty’s end. This enables enhanced peer to peer learning as well as helps the faculty to analyse the understanding level of each aspirant and can strategise according to the retention capabilities.

Knowledge Diversification

General and diversified knowledge form the core skill of any civil servant. Diversified knowledge enables the aspirants to analyse the entire syllabus in a comprehensive manner. The faculty at Shaan enables the aspirants to form inter-connections between various topics of the syllabus and thus, diversify knowledge. These inter-connections stimulate the subconscious of the brain which further enhances retention. Knowledge diversification also enables detailed policy/scheme analysis, enhance thinking capabilities and activate generalist abilities, a prerequisite for every aspirant.

Integrated Preparation for Prelims + Mains + Interview

The three stages of the Civil Services examination – the prelims, mains and interview – are separate branches of the preparation with the root remaining the same. At the core of all the three examinations lies the thought process of the aspirant. The faculty at Shaan, the preparation begins with the process of intellectual development of the aspirant. This involves reading diverse books like Land of the Seven Rivers, Operation Lebensraum, etc. which will aid in solving a number of prelims questions, enhance content enrichment for the mains and intellectual development for the interview.

Desired Skills

Enhancing Thinking Capabilities

Shaping the thought process lies at the heart of the preparation. What you write during the Mains examination is a reflection of how the aspirants think. Right from the structure of your answer to the representation to your content – everything is driven by how the aspirant thinks. Learning how to think is also essential to form mind maps so as to develop synergies between various topics. Mind mapping enables the aspirant for effective retention and revision. At Shaan, we make UPSC preparers into aspirants through this very process of thought process development.

Reading Speed

Retentive reading is the core essential for the preliminary examination. Reading the question paper at least twice or thrice helps in activating the sub-conscious of the aspirant, thereby, addressing many questions. Enhancing the reading speed also becomes handy when numerous topics and issues ought to be revised. At Shaan we help aspirants enhance their reading speed through numerous books, timing the aspirants reading and multiple readings to enhance retention.

Articulation Skills

Articulation is the art of projecting one’s thought process succinctly and precisely. It is a significant feature of mains answer writing process as well as the Personality test. The process of consolidating the aspirants’ thoughts and then summarizing them is key to the answer writing process as well as speech delivery. At Shaan, articulation skills are developed through classroom discussions, summary making, note making, debates, etc. 

Writing Skills

The Mains examination, with seven written papers, constitutes more than 85% of the total evaluation score. The mains examination notification clearly articulates that the answers must be relevant, meaningful and succinct. Relevant here means familiarity with the current issues, Meaningful subscribes to being question-centric and succinct implies for dense and concise answers. This can be developed through regular practice of summary writing of important newspaper article followed by answer writings. This helps the aspirants to first learn the process of structure formation and enhance representation. Content enrichment follows as a process as well. This is exactly how at Shaan we enhance the answer writing skills of the aspirants.

Time Management

Time Management is elemental to the strategy of any aspirant. It is also one of the fundamental issues that most aspirants (specially working and college going students) struggle with. Productive time utilization is one the most important features of Shaan IAS Academy. Aspirants are required to maintain a day planner and must keep a record of every minute they spend on each activity they undertake throughout the day. Given below is the day planner of a student at Shaan:

Emotional Intelligence

The entire preparation journey is tiresome and hectic. There is a continuous cycle of motivation and demotivation. A series of emotive outburst is a characteristic feature of the  preparation. In order to channelize the emotions, one-on-one sessions with the faculty along with regular classroom motivational sessions take centre stage. At Shaan, we focus on emotional, mental and physical development of the aspirants to ensure regulated and channelized emotional outflow. We reorient our focus from ‘preparing for the Civil Services Examination’ to ‘preparing THE ASPIRANTS for the Civil Services’.

Updated Content

Current events driven Content

As mentioned prior, current affairs drive civil services examination and therefore, requires updated and revised content. At Shaan, the focus remains on important issues and topics which have the highest probability to be tested in the prelims and mains examination. Specialized weekend sessions are dedicated for the said purpose of current drive content enrichment. For example – The faculty at Shaan has covered various topics on international relations which includes Russia-Ukraine war, the Sri Lankan economic crisis, Indo-Pacific region, the Abrahamic Accord, etc. The current driven content is taught with objective that it will be reflected in the aspirants’ answers, thus subscribing to the notion of being relevant and meaningful.

Driven by National and International Agenda

Questions in the CSE are usually driven by the policy agenda, both at the national and international levels. This is to ensure that the paper remains dynamic and in sync with the modes of the changing world.

For example, in 2021, in the Political Science and International Relations Paper II Part II, the
following question was asked –

Discuss the Sustainable Development Goals as set by the United Nations – driven by the international agenda

In 2020, the following question was asked in GS Paper IV –

“Education is not an injunction it is an effective and pervasive tool for all round development of an individual and social transformation”. Examine the New Education Policy, 2020 (NEP,2020) in light of the above statement. – driven by national agenda

The following year, in 2021, a couple of questions stated below were asked in GS Paper III–

Explain the purpose of the Green Grid Initiative launched at World Leaders Summit of the COP 26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow in November 2021. When was this idea first floated in the International Solar Alliance?

Describe the major outcomes of the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). What are the commitments made by India in this conference?

Our guiding principles, therefore, for the preparation remain national and international policy agenda. We cover different reports, books and content enrichment material through the stated policy agenda.

UPSC Centric Dynamic Content

UPSC has laid down a clearly defined syllabus with the given specifications. Previous year questions are equally important for the preparation. They become crucial for priority setting of different topics and guide the aspirants in proportionate attention. Everything at Shaan, beginning from content formation to current affairs to classroom discussions and debates are guided by the syllabus and the previous year question papers. For instance, the faculty at Shaan dedicates priority attention to important topics such as International Relations, Agriculture, Internal Security, Indian culture and society, Basics and Features of Constitution, etc., thereby addressing heavy weighted questions.

Features

Inculcating Constitutional Ethos

Constitution is the supreme rule book for the entire government machinery. As civil servants, you are expected to not just know the constitution but also inculcate the values and ethos laid down therein. The same was tested in the 2021 Mains examination of GS Paper II –

‘Constitutional Morality’ is rooted in the Constitution itself and is founded on its essential facets. Explain the doctrine of ‘Constitution Morality’ with the help of relevant judicial
decisions.

In the preliminary examination of the same year, the following questions were asked –

Which one of the following factors constitutes the best safeguard of liberty in a liberal democracy?

(a) A committed judiciary
(b) Centralisation of powers
(c) Elected government
(d) Separation of powers

Under the Indian Constitution, concentration of wealth violates

(a) The right to equality
(b) The Directive Principles of State Policy
(c) The Right to freedom
(d) The concept of welfare

Constitutional morality and constitutional ethics thus form an informidable part of the entire preparation journey. At Shaan, we begin the preparation for the aspirants through some understanding the philosophical foundations of our Constitution. This involves understanding the basics of constitutions which includes the Preamble, the Fundamental Rights, the Directive Principles of State Policy and the Fundamental Duties. In an attempt to enhance the comprehension of the constitution, the faculty has initiated to discuss some relevant sections of the Constituent Assembly Debates. These fundamental topics are taught in such a way that the aspirant can leverage during the answer writing process.

Know Your Country

The very basic theme of the UPSC Civil Services examination is understand and inculcate the value of ‘Know Your Country’. The entire syllabus has designed on the same lines. Beginning from Indian art and architecture to geography to culture to achievements in the sphere of Previous year questions, especially that of the preliminary examination is a reflection of the same.

The following questions were asked in the preliminary examinations of 2021 –

Q. With reference to the history of ancient India, which of the following statements is/are correct?

1. Mitakshara was the civil law for upper castes and Dayabhaga was the civil law for lowercastes.

2. In the Mitakshara system, the sons can claim right to the property during the lifetime of the father, whereas in the Dayabhaga system, it is only after the death of the father that the sons can claim right to the property.

3. The Mitakshara system deals with the matters related to the property held by male members only of a family, whereas the Dayabhaga system deals with the matters related to the property held by both male and female members of a family.

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

(a) 1 and 2
(b) 2 only
(c) 1 and 3
(d) 3 only

Q. Which one of the following statements is correct?

(a) Ajanta Caves lie in the gorge of Waghora river.
(b) Sanchi Stupa lies in the gorge of Chambal river.
(c) Pandu-lena Cave Shrines lie in the gorge of Narmada river.
(d) Amaravati Stupa lies in the gorge of Godavari river.

In 2021, the following questions were asked in GS Paper I, the following questions were
asked –

Q. Why is India considered a subcontinent? Elaborate your answer.

Q. Examine the uniqueness of tribal knowledge system when compared with mainstream knowledge and cultural systems.

Following the said lines, the main feature of Shaan content enrichment are the State-wise notes prepared for the aspirants. These notes contain everything – the history (ancient, medieval and modern), culture (festivals, dances, music, tribes, etc.) and geography and environment (national parks, rivers, mountains, other ecological factors) – of every state and UT of India. Aspirants are made to thoroughly go through these states before the preliminary as well as the mains examination. The one stop repository of information provides diverse yet concise notes on every topic and substantiate the theme of ‘Know Your Country’.

Being SDG Relevant

Sustainable Development Goals are the primary international policy agenda. The UPSC too has aligned itself towards the UN 2030 agenda.

It is evident through the following questions asked in the GS Paper II of the mains examination 2020 is as follows –

National Education Policy 2020 is in conformity with the Sustainable Development Goal-4 (2030). It intends to restructure and reorient education system in India. Critically examine
the statement.

Each topic covered at Shaan IAS Academy is linked with SDGs. The targets are too focused upon to enhance the information as well as the intellectual quotient of the aspirants. The aspirants are taught the SDGs in such a way that they remain in conformity with the syllabus and can be leveraged in the answer writing process as well.

Mastering Current Affairs with PIB

The Press Information Bureau is the primary and the most authentic sources of all govtrelated current affairs. It provides a range of information every day on all schemes, initiatives, meetings, cooperation, international affairs, etc. It forms the basis of the current affairs and must take centre stage along with the newspaper in this domain. The faculty at Shaan inculcates the habit of reading and note making of the PIB every single day so that the aspirants keep themselves in tune with the dynamics of current affairs. Apart from this, a monthly repository of PIB and newspaper notes are also provided to the aspirants as a purpose of revision. Multiple revisions of the notes made of each aspirant is ensured so as to enhance retention and delivery of current issues in the answers.

Syllabus driven Team Debates

Team debates are one of the highlights of Shaan IAS Academy. A range of important topics relating to International Relations, Agriculture, Internal Security, Basics of Constitution, Indian Culture, Women-related issues, etc. are debated upon to ensure adequate amount of brainstorming and discussion. The process of debates ensure that the aspirants undertake their self-study along with delivery of thoughts. The compilation of the debate enables enhanced retention reflected in the answer writing process. As a value, the debates inculcate team work in the aspirants followed by confidence building and leadership skills.

Meeting Eminent Personalities

In order to boost the confidence of the aspirants and enable them to revisit the sense of purpose, eminent personalities are invited to provide motivational sessions to the aspirants. The eminent personalities include various IAS, IPS and IFS officers (retired and serving). These experts enrich the aspirants with their real-life experiences. The on-ground know-hows include the deficiencies and suggestions of the Indian bureaucratic system, which remain instrumental for the aspirants not only for the examination but also for their tenure as civil servants.