How to start IAS/UPSC EXAM Preparation



Make Up Your Mind The most important thing before going for this decision is to analyze every aspect of IAS preparation as it is not a sure-shot that the candidate may get success in one go and in many instances, this process becomes lethargic due to repeated failures.

Discussing with seniors and those who have prepared for IAS examination will also provide you with an overall insight into the IAS examination and it will help you in making a good decision at the right time.


Play with the Right strategy:

• Step-1 is to know the IAS preparation syllabus very well and then start with basic books first.

• Right Strategy and guidance play a very important factor in the selection of IAS examination. A strategy is like make or break factor that will determine your chances of selection in IAS examination.

Finishing NCERTs:

• As a beginner of UPSC preparation, the only priority should be to finish the NCERTs first.

• NCERTs are not only the IAS preparation books to develop your basic knowledge and understanding of issues related to different subjects but you should also remember that NCERTs plays a key role in developing the very basic fundamental concepts along with it now a days UPSC has started to ask questions from NCERT Books.

• NCERT provides aspirants basic concepts and theories from NCERT textbooks.

• NCERT books provide the information very coherently. Moreover, they are reliable too as the source is the government itself.

• These NCERT books are undoubtedly the best UPSC exam preparation books to begin your preparation with. Apart from the NCERTs, you should also follow a few other advanced textbooks.


Reading Daily Newspaper:

• The newspaper is like Bible/Koran/Geeta and is one of the most crucial IAS preparation tips for beginners and every IAS aspirant to develop the very basic understanding of the day to day happenings around the globe and continuously improve this knowledge to use these things by interlinking of these topics in answer writing.

• With the increasing weight of current affairs question in prelims every year. Regular newspaper reading is a must for preparing for Prelims. It will help you stay updated with the current affairs. Inculcate the habit of jotting down all the important pieces of information you gather through the newspaper or the news.


Sticking with discipline factor:

• Discipline is not something that will fetch you success by following it wholeheartedly but one thing is very sure that sticking with discipline gets things done. Discipline is like homeopathic medicine it will take time to produce the result while following you going to face the pain, irritation but, as the time will progress you will see different changes inside you. These changes will be your behavior, your personality your way of talking, your way of understanding of the topics that you have read.


Gain experience not shared in books:

• Experience is a very expensive asset, yet it’s crucial to for your UPSC preparation strategy. Explore the entire question that you confront from day to day basis, once you will develop this habit of asking the question, you will not be confined to book to write many answers of mains examination that is otherwise is Achilles hill for many students.

• Some of the questions that you should ask yourself daily:

• Are you maintaining focus without finding that your mind wanders?

• Are you allowing yourself moments of silence and solitude regularly? 

• Do you believe in your ability that will facilitate you taking the steps you need to reach your full potential?

• Do you control the influence of your inner critic by actively evaluating what it says to you?

• Do you have strong willpower?


Scheduling / Prioritization of things:

• Daily, weekly, monthly schedule:

• Make a proper schedule by prioritizing the things, for instance, you will finish this subject or chapter by this much time or week. Our Brain does not act properly until and unless it is being commanded clearly. This clarity will come when you male proper schedule by writing it down on paper.

• The secret mantra is to Revise, Revise, and Revise! Studying is important, but so is the revision. Preparing for the UPSC will require you to remember a lot of information which is nothing less of a herculean task. So, how will you ensure that you retain all that you’ve studied? The answer is a simple revision! This is even more important for static subjects which have a definite syllabus

• By adopting these techniques it should be helpful for you to maintain a well-balanced schedule for both the Prelims and Mains. But as Swami Vivekananda said, make this exam your goal and let the passion for becoming a Civil Service Officer run deep into your veins!
 All the best!


Busting Myths about preparation for UPSC:


1. What is the right time to start preparing for the UPSC Civil Services Examination?

• There is no hard and fast rule of timing to prepare for this examination. But, if you have the right guidance and you know the demand for this examination you can crack this examination in one go as well. However, starting the preparation as early as possible is being suggested to understand the whole dynamics of this examination and preparing oneself for every section of the examination can be taken care of.

• Willingness to outwork and out learn everyone should be the most important ingredient of an aspirant mindset. This mindset attitude will help you in going the extra mile when things are not going well and you feel drained from inside.



2. What should be my day-to-day UPSC preparation strategy?

• As a beginner, you should ideally give 7 to 8 hours depending upon the work ethic in starting time. This daily schedule should comprise of daily reading of Newspaper followed by the subject you are preparing and optional subject. You can bifurcate the timing of both portions according to the need of your subject.

• It should be remembered that at least one day should be given in a week for the revision so that apart from incorporating new information daily you can collect the information in sequence to utilize it properly before the exact battle day.



3. How to tame mental tiredness and boredom?

• Felling mental tiredness and lethargic is quite common in every aspirant and you neither should nor worry about these things. As a human being mood swings and you will feel; why I am preparing for this examination and what I will get by doing such hard work and making your near and dear ones suffer as well in case your family depends upon you.

• The most appropriate advice will be to not think about the result too much and think about the process rather than thinking all the time about the result. As it is said that” think about the journey rather than the destination”. By doing developing a thought process like that you can develop a good habit of positive thinking, which can play a crucial role in defining your career.

• You can also go out for a movie with your friends from time to time or you can spend some quality time with your family. These little things play a very important role in changing the mode and once again you can start studying with 2x energy.



4. What should I do to stop dithering and delaying my priorities in regarding with Civil Services Examination preparation?

• The only thing you can do is discipline, discipline and discipline. But, this discipline will come when you will be crystal clear in your thought process as to why you are preparing for this examination and how far have you come in this process. As it is being said that think about a day at time and piece by piece and drop by drop you will reach the place where you want to be.

• In terms of prioritizing the things think like; what is more important your dream or any work that will drive you away from your dream so, keep yourself agile all the time in learning new things and developing new habits that can be helpful for your dream.



5. Reading Wide range of Books for IAS preparatio

• The more books you read, the higher is your probability of sailing through. Absolutely no. CSE is not a test of knowledge but application of things you already know. One must better read one book four times than four books one time.



6. Becoming Monk during preparation

• You need to be a monk when preparing. No, you only need to be self-disciplined. You don’t have to go in hibernation. All you need is self-control. People who love you are your springboards to bounce back when you feel low. My mother, partner and two friends were very instrumental in my success. Yes, you should not socialist that often as it distracts but some unwinding only eases the stress.



7. Only highly intelligent students with an excellent academic record are successful at the CSE

• How does one measure intelligence? Can we call someone highly intelligent just because he/she scores 100% in Mathematics or Physics at the 10th Class level? Or do we call a student who has consistently secured a first division intelligent? The fact is, the notion of intelligence is susceptible to varied definitions.


At last, I would say that “your limitation is only your imagination” and any success doesn’t come by remaining there in your comfort zone. So, go and grab this opportunity that you have got and make your parents, teachers proud of you, go and get the success as the world is yours. Like in the words of Swami Vivekananda “Arise awake and stop not till the goal is reached”. Good luck……


If you have joined SA IAS ACADEMY, just follow the curriculum of the batch, you will reach the destination. If you are starting on your own, to begin with follow the initial steps.


• Analysis of previous question papers

• Understanding of Syllabus

• Read a good newspaper daily preferably The Hindu or Indian Express

• Read all basic NCERTs before reading reference books

• Reading of basic study material/reference books

• Read YOJANA and KURUKSHETRA magazine monthly

• Start writing-This will be the deciding factor in the Mains


Let us analyze the critical areas according to their weightage in IAS-UPSC Exam.

• GS Based Marks= GS Prelims, 200 marks + GS Mains, 1000 marks + Essay, 250 marks (Essay means Mains GS and writing style) + Interview, 275 marks (It means Mains GS and communication style) = 1725 marks

• Optional Based Marks = 500 marks

• Aptitude based Marks = Prelims Aptitude = 200 marks

• One should start preparation around eight or nine months prior to the exam.

• If you are going to prepare immediately after graduation, then don’t waste time, start immediately after your final exam.

• If you are going to study while working, it is possible but starts earliest. Don’t delay to start otherwise you will experience time crunch later.

• If you are preparing during graduation, generalized plan cannot be suggested, so discuss personally with us to evolve an individual plan.

• Critical self-assessment

• Patience and Self confidence

• Good writing practice

• Basic command over English and Aptitude

• Good grasp over current affairs

• Healthy competitions and feedback’s

• Quality material and guidance

• Devoted study

How to prepare for IAS while working?

A different perspective on how being a working professional actually puts you in an advantageous position.

• Tips on how a working professional can ace the Civil Services Examination.

• No strategy

• Shortage of time

• Mental stress

• Lack of energy for studies

• Inability to start the UPSC preparation.

• Every minute counts: Utilize the best out of every minute you get in studies. Utilizing every minute is more important than utilizing an hour.

• Be strong. Don’t feel guilty comparing yourself to a 21-year-old sitting in his room supposedly studying for 25 hours a day.

• Learn to manage your time efficiently, you can’t prepare for CSE even if you leave your job because it’s all about efficiency in time management.

• Remember the purpose and never get carried away by the comforts of the job.



Get enrolled in a test series.

WEEKENDS are your most productive assets. Say NO to any sort of the extension of office work. Switch off your phone on Friday night and switch it on only on Monday morning (At least don’t take calls).


Weekends are also your weekdays. The study is your work”


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