|Table of contents|
|How was this guide made for UPSC CSE Aspirants?|
|Why did EduRev make this guide for UPSC Aspirants?|
|Step 0: What to do Before you begin your UPSC preparation?|
|Step 1: Understand the UPSC Syllabus|
|Step 2: Understand Previous Year Questions (PYQs)|
|Step 3: How to Build your foundation with NCERTs?|
|Step 4: Read Newspaper & Practice Current Affairs for UPSC|
|Step 5: Standard Reference Books for UPSC CSE Preparation|
|Step 6: What is the Subject Wise Preparation strategy for UPSC?|
|Step 7: How to do the Organization of Notes for UPSC?|
|Step 8: Attempt Practise Tests Frequently for UPSC/IAS|
|Step 9: Revise Repeatedly to perform better in UPSC|
|Step 10: Attempt Mock Tests Frequently for IAS Preparation|
|Step 11: UPSC Mains Preparation at Home|
|Step 12: Answer Writing Preparation for UPSC Mains|
|Step 13: How to select Optional Subject for UPSC?|
|Step 14: How to ace the UPSC Interview?|
|Step 15: Believe in Yourself when giving the UPSC exam|
|Frequently Asked Questions on UPSC Preparation|
|1 Crore+ students have signed up on EduRev. Have you?|
Let’s have a look at the full-proof STEP by STEP preparation strategy for preparing for the Civil Services Examination at home.
Best thing you can do for yourself for your UPSC preparation is give time to read this guide and then check at different steps to see if you are in the right direction in achieving your dream of being IAS/IPS.
Make a Timetable: Firstly, to become an IAS officer, it is necessary to be like an officer with a well-organized daily routine. Set proper deadlines, and you would work better and complete the syllabus of UPSC CSE faster and with better retention.
Focus on Micro Planning: Planning is equally important as studying. Plan how to study. Focus on micro-planning i.e. make daily plans, set weekly targets, and make a broad vision for the entire month. This planning of months will shape your future as an UPSC Aspirant.
Stay Motivated: Lastly, ask yourself why you want to be an IAS officer because this will become the most important step by the time you reach Step 14.
Akshat Jain (AIR 2, 2018) gave 2 prelims. While preparing for the first prelims he had studied well but ended up just short of one mark from qualifying prelims because of not having a strategy, and had to wait another year. He was unable to crack how to attempt the paper but he was having knowledge. Hence, combining knowledge and strategy to crack the paper is important.
Some people have cleared UPSC CSE in the first year but mostly it takes a minimum of two years and people took 5 years to clear the UPSC Exam with desired result. But no matter what, start at least one year before you intend to take the UPSC Prelim exam.
Even Anudeep Durishetty got AIR 1 after attempting UPSC exam for 5 years
Lastly, you can refer to them again as they are a good source of self-assessment in your UPSC/IAS preparation.
Check out the previous year's question papers of UPSC here.
Almost all the top rankers whom we spoke to spent over 2 weeks to just analyse the syllabus and previous year question papers. But this helped them in saving a considerable amount of time through their preparation journey and they were successful in getting ranks as well.
These books provide the information very coherently. Moreover, they are reliable too as the source is the government itself.
So, NCERTs are undoubtedly the best books to begin your IAS preparation with. You can get a complete list of NCERTs subjectwise for the UPSC exam here.
The NCERT books are considered as the basic reading books to build the base of the Civil Services Examination. It covers all topics which are important and gives us crystal clear conceptual clarity.
It is very important to read important books for the respective subjects of the UPSC IAS Exam syllabus. Follow standard books for UPSC/IAS to make your concepts stronger.
The most recommended NCERT book for Geography is:
Economics: Class 9 to 12 NCERTs. You can find all of them here.
Polity: Class 9 to 12 NCERTs. Class 9 and 10 are having a very basic portion but covering Class 11 and Class 12 NCERTs is important. You can find all of them here.
The most recommended NCERT book for Polity is:
Indian constitution at work: Class 11 NCERT
Science and Tech: Class 6 to class 10 NCERTs are more than enough for Science and Tech do not go for Class 11 and 12. You can find all of them here.
Must Read Old & New NCERTs: You can go through must-read old and new NCERTs by referring to the course here and can get all the most recommended old NCERT books like World history NCERT books for ancient, medieval history & NCERT Fine Art Books at one place.
Time Saving Tip: Read Summaries of NCERT (ideally after first reading). You can find NCERT summaries here.
Muskan Jindal who got AIR 87 in 2019, first completed NCERTs of every subject, then saw Past Years Papers of that subject, then took 2nd reading of NCERT and after clearing concepts, referred to standard books.
Current Affairs play a significant role in UPSC Civil Services Exam preparation as the dynamic questions appear in all three stages of the examination- UPSC Prelims, UPSC Mains, and Final Interview as well.
We also cover a summary of Weekly & Monthly which are very important for revision and memorising from a UPSC perspective. You can find weekly current affairs & monthly current affairs on EduRev.
Since your ultimate aim when you are taking the IAS exam is to work for the Indian government. Naturally, there are many government sources you can rely on during your preparation.
You can go through the EduRev's Current Affairs Course which covers Important Current affairs & Analysis of Hindu on a Daily basis. All the exam-relevant news items are covered in a concise manner, you can find the same here.
Apart from the NCERTs, you need to also follow a few other advanced textbooks. Once you have read all the NCERTs, it’s time to expand your knowledge for UPSC by reading the standard books.
But again, remember you must check PYQs first and then check these books.
In our analysis, we found the below common books that are recommended by almost all the top rankers. To save your time, we have linked them to the summaries for each.
Since there are so many books to read, here is a fast method to save time: Read Summaries of all these books quickly first or if you have read them already, you can use the summaries for revision. We have linked each book to its summary in the course Famous Books for UPSC Exam (Summary & Tests).
There is so much information available but not many questions are asked from every topic so we research how many questions come from each topic and teach you in-depth accordingly. It is important to have the right approach and strategy while preparing subject-wise for UPSC. Below is the subject-wise strategy on How to prepare for the IAS exam seamlessly.
Refer to the subject wise sections below and get a complete idea of how to ace individual subjects for UPSC with EduRev:
Science & Technology:
Timeline Tip: First reading of GS and optional should be completed atleast 8 months before and second reading atleast 5 months before the Prelims.
Always prepare same set of notes for UPSC prelims and mains but when you are preparing for prelims focus on that portion which is relevant for prelims.
EduRev notes are by default arranged in Courses (like folders) so you don't have to find/buy books again and again.
Other than being one of the greatest set of content, another advantage is that you can access all through One App anywhere even when you are out of your house and even while travelling.
Don’t plan that you will first "complete the syllabus" and only then give tests. This is the wrong approach. Instead, practicing more and more tests as early as possible will make you better. The syllabus never gets "completed", so you must focus on Tests from the start.
Mock Tests which are scientifically designed in the exact pattern of actual UPSC examination helps in mastering the art of elimination techniques and other hacks to clear the examination.
After every EduRev test (topic-wise/sectional/full mocks) you get your national ranking (AIR) which is extremely helpful to understand where you stand in the competition.
EduRev is the only source where you will get tests for each and every topic (topic-wise), NCERTs, subject wise tests and even full mock tests/series. Find the test series covering everything here.
Since the UPSC syllabus is vast and diverse, covering multifarious subjects, it is natural to forget things that you had studied earlier. To avoid this, timely revision is a must.
It is not how much you know that matters but what you write on papers that the examiner can evaluate. So, make answer writing a regular feature of your IAS preparation.
Concise the things so that you do not have to refer to many things later
In our analysis with Toppers, they all concur that GS can be handled with ease, provided it is approached with proper planning and time management.
Also, here is a course that can help you revise for Prelims completely in 30 days:
Crash Course for UPSC
For last 2-3 months before prelims, you should come in the MCQ mode. Start attempting mock test series and even practice yourself with as many tests as possible.
It will give you an exam feel. Once you get acclimatised, it will reduce exam-time stress.
You can attempt Mock Tests regularly from the course UPSC CSE Prelims Mock Test Series. Attempt more and more tests and ace your preparation!
Identify your own strategy for mock tests. Do you value accuracy or speed? Vaishali Singh attempted 90 to 95 questions in mock tests some students get good marks by attempting just 75 questions. See and know what works for you.
Shubham Aggarwal, AIR 25, 2019 joined test series and gave polity-based test series only so that he can judge himself and his understandings.
Testing Tip: First without any preparation solve a length previous year paper in time. If you are scoring greater than 80 marks then no need to prepare for CSAT. But if you are scoring less than 80 marks practice CSAT questions regularly till you get better.
Go to your EduRev Profile (Analysis tab) to see your macro comprehensive analysis and see if you can patterns in the mistakes that you make.
Any new static knowledge gained add in your notes. And even for current affairs maintain a separate diary and note down new things learn there.
UPSC exam is mainly about testing your analytical, critical, and communicative abilities. It demands you to think with conceptual clarity and organize your views, perceptions, and thoughts flawlessly.
Expert Opinion: "EduRev's coverage for the static part is the most comprehensive and well thought out curriculum available anywhere out there. Following EduRev's content for static can give you an unfair advantage."
Links to Study What Matters for Paper I, II, III:
Use the same set of notes for prelims and mains but when you are preparing for Mains focus on that portion which is matching the syllabus of Mains.
Links to Study What Matters for Paper IV, V:
While starting the preparation do not focus much on newspapers and answer writing.
Read one topic daily for a week and practice writing answers of that topic on Sunday.
Topper Tip: "Start an Essay with some story or anecdote or some data or quote". "Brainstorm for 15 minutes to choose an essay."
You can also check some sample UPSC answers here.
The optional subject accounts for 500 marks in the UPSC final tally.
Hence, you should choose an optional subject wisely and after a thorough think-through of the pros and cons of the subjects, you have in mind. Some of the factors to keep in mind before selecting an optional are:
Before Prelims, only if time permits, you may revise your optional subject. Else focus on clearing your Prelims and Mains first.
In Step 0, we asked you to start asking why do you want to become an IAS officer, that is a very important question and if you have found a true honest answer that will help you a lot with the interview. This method will keep you mentally well prepared for the interview days.
Interview or Personality Test being the final stage in the UPSC exam process is an important stage in the process, and here it is something more than academics that will help you.
And if you have reached the interview stage and want to connect with the right mentors, feel free to reach out to us at EduRev and we'll connect you with relevant civil service officers.
Q.1. Is Coaching necessary? Or Can I prepare for UPSC at home with Self Study?
Ans: Srushthi Deshmukh, AIR 5, UPSC 2018 says, "It is not necessary to take any coaching or go to Delhi for coaching. Good coaching can give you direction but you need to walk on the way yourself. So it’s important to get a good direction from somewhere but it does not mean that you need to travel a huge distance. Don’t make excuses and work for yourself."
It will tell you what to study and what not to study but if you are confident you can do without coaching too it’s up to you. This document/guide and even other content/courses on EduRev on How to Prepare, does that job very well as well.
Q.2. Is 1 year enough for IAS preparation?
Ans: Yes, 1 year is sufficient for IAS preparation if you prepare diligently. It is hard but people have done that in the past. In general, most toppers (under AIR 100) took ~ 2 years to clear the exam though.
Q.3. How can I start my IAS preparation during graduation?
Ans: You can start your IAS preparation during graduation itself. All you must do is go through the syllabus and chart out a study plan for IAS. Starting early has many advantages. You will have age on your side since the IAS age limit will be far away. Also, being young and still a student, you would be in touch with academics, giving you an extra edge. Also, being in college, you can make use of your college library for preparation. And, make sure you take part in college fests and events as this experience will help you develop a well-rounded personality, and also make up for your lack of work experience in case you clear the exam right after your graduation!
Q.4. How to prepare for IAS exam after 12th?
Ans: If you are starting your preparation after 12th, you have the advantage of choosing a subject for graduation that will suit your IAS preparation. You can opt for graduation in subjects like political science, history, or sociology – subjects that will help you cover the UPSC syllabus in a better way. This way, you can easily combine your graduation studies and IAS preparation. Also, you have enough time to hone your soft skills like communication skills and also develop a good hobby – both of which would aid you in the interview stage.
Q.5. How to prepare for IAS while doing engineering?
Ans: Many candidates have cleared the IAS exam preparing for it while they were engineering students. Even though it can get hectic, it is not impossible. With a full-fledged plan and the correct guidance, it is possible to crack the toughest exam in India even while in engineering college.
Q.6. How can I apply for the IAS exam?
Ans: Check UPSC Notifications page regularly. UPSC updates all the relevant UPSC news and information you need to know. You need to fill in the forms as per the timelines mentioned by UPSC.