How should I start my preparation for UPSC Civil Services Exam (CSE)?

The Indian Administrative Services (IAS) Exam is one of the most prestigious examination conducted by the UPSC. About a million aspirants prepare for this examination and only a fraction of people make it.

Before you try to understand the preparation journey, you must know that this examination will even require mental preparation.

You will have to set goals and plan your routine effectively, the UPSC civil services examination is divided into three stages.

  • Preliminary examination (MCQ test)
  • Mains (Written test)
  • Interview ( Personality test)

Do I need to join classes to clear the exam?

Often many students are all caught up in the dilemma whether they should go for full-time classes or home study? Well, even though coaching classes give an edge over advantage to the aspirants and eases up their preparation. It is not necessary to go for fulltime coaching.

Many online tutors can assist you. One can clear the examination by self-studying as well.

How to study for IAS at home?

Know the Syllabus- You cannot kick start studying without going through the syllabus thoroughly. The UPSC commission updates a revised version of the syllabus every year.

UPSC Preliminary Syllabus

General Studies (Paper I)

  • History ( Ancient, medieval and Modern History)
  • World and Indian Geography ( covering physical and socio-economic aspects)
  • Indian Polity
  • Economy and Social development
  • General Science ( covering Biology, physics and Climate change)
  • Current events of National & International importance.

General Studies (Paper II)

  • Interpersonal Skills and logical reasoning
  • Comprehension
  • Decision Making and analytical skills
  • Basic mathematical problems

UPSC Mains Syllabus (Total marks- 1750)

Qualifying papers (Only minimum marks are required)

  • Any Indian Language ( Pick any one from the 22 languages mentioned in the 8th schedule of Indian constitution, Like- Hindi, Odia and Sanskrit)
  • English Language paper

General Studies

Paper I- Essay

Paper II- Indian Heritage, Culture, History, World $ Indian Geography

Paper III-Indian Polity, Governance, Social Justice and International Relations

Paper IV- Ethics

Paper V- Optional Subject I

Paper VI- Optional Subject II

Interview Test

The Interview test has no particular portion, the aspirant has to brush through all the current affairs and basic concepts.

Make a Timetable- Now that you know that the vast syllabus of UPSC, you must know it will require a lot of your attention. You need to learn time management. Make your timetable and study accordingly.

UPSC examination requires both hard as well as smart study. There is no short cut to cover the lengthy portion of this competitive examination.

NCERT books- Every UPSC aspirant has to start their journey by going through the NCERT books of different subjects. These books cover basic questions and theories of different subjects from class 6TH to 12th.

And at times UPSC picks direct questions from here. So you have to be well versed with it.  Along with NCERT books, you also have to pick a few good books for additional preparation.

History – Bipan Chandra

Economy- Ramesh Singh

Indian Polity- M LakshmiKanth

Economy- Ramesh Singh

Stay connected with fellow students on PaGaLGuY for UPSC CSE Exam 2019

Be thorough with the news-Along with the different subjects that you have to cover as a UPSC aspirant. You will also have to keep an eye on current affairs.

One has to go through all the newspapers and make notes of all the important current affairs.

Mock tests- Only studying regularly will not help you to get through this tough examination. Make sure you enrol in different mock tests and quizzes.

This will help you better understand your mistakes in the preparation.

Past papers- Every year at least 2-3 questions are asked from the previous papers. Be thorough with your preparation.

You can get access to all the past papers for both prelims and mains from the official website of UPSC commission.

Pick an optional– The Optional Subject study is a part of UPSC mains syllabus. Many aspirants prepare for this while they are preparing for the preliminary exam. You can pick an optional subject of your own choice.

UPSC has 24 optional subjects, like economics, Indian Polity, Management and Mathematics. Many of the optional subjects overlap with the General Studies subjects.

Picking those subjects will make you cut down on extra studying for optional. Nevertheless, IAS Toppers suggest to pick an optional which matches your previous educational background.

Essay writing– Awaken the writer within you, because UPSC preparation needs it. The UPSC mains has essay writing as one of the papers.

You have to practice essay writing everyday as you cannot put 250 marks at stake.

General Studies Papers– Further UPSC mains also has GS 1, GS 2, GS 3 and GS 4. These papers are a combination of different subjects like history, culture, geography, economy, polity, and ethics.

These are full length written papers comprising of 250 marks each. To make it to the last/Interview stage of the UPSC IAS examination, one has to score the cut-off marks.

Interview test- Once you clear the cut-off marks of UPSC mains, you will have the interview test comprising of 275 marks. This will be a face to face interview with the UPSC panel. It is the final and the toughest stage of the examination.

The objective of this exam is to test the personality and ability of the candidate. Brush through all the concepts and your communication skills to clear the interview.

The Grand Total of both the UPSC main and interview is taken into consideration for the final merit list of the IAS candidature.

UPSC CSE sets the exam in a very unpredictable way, you cannot assume and eliminate any part of the syllabus. Brush through all the concepts and information and stay positive.

Consistency and hard work will help you get through with this journey!

All the best.

1 comment
  1. @aakashjaiin
    I was eagerly searching for this. This content seems very valuable. Currently, I'm preparing for my UPSC exam from Dhyeya IAS and I hope these tips will help me for sure.
    December 2020