Top 12 Tips to Beat Exam Stress: UPSC Civil Services Preparation

“A diamond is just a piece of charcoal that handled stress exceptionally well.”

The above quote tells you clearly that to be a diamond and shine you need to be able to handle stress well. The Oxford dictionary defines stress as ‘a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances.’

There is simply no doubt in the idea that preparation of Civil Services exam puts a lot of pressure on the candidates. The syllabus is so vast and the entire process is so tiring that it is very important to manage stress. Then only one can be at his best.

In this article we provide you with certain tips that can help you in managing your exam stress properly.

Time table

Make a timetable and stick to it ardently. Make a schedule for all your activities and follow it sincerely.Maximum times it has been observed that in the beginning,one is lose in the preparation as the exam approaches,pressure on the mind increases.  


Yoga is the most effective stress-busters and its practice will take you a long way not only in your UPSC preparation but also in your life. There are several asanas that you can practice especially for stress like Simhasana and Anjali Mudra. You should also meditate and do breathing exercises like the Pranayama to feel stress-free and relaxed.This keeps your mind and body fit and healthy.

Sound sleep

Many aspirants believe that UPSC preparation requires less sleeping.You need to understand that your body and mind,both need proper rest phase everyday so that you can continue to work hard the next day.Not only it will cause havoc to your system but also tire you out badly leaving you with no energy and will to study.Have adequate sleep of at least 6-7 hours per day. Sleeping is not a waste of time when you do it at the right time and for the required number of hours.

Eat right

Eat healthy food like fruits, veggies and nuts.You should avoid junk food. Junk food is known to be a cause of depression too. You should make conscious efforts to eat healthy food whenever you feel hungry.


Exercise helps you in beating stress and keeping your body fit and healthy.Sitting for long hours in your room buried in books can be wearing. Exercises increase production of endorphins in your brain. Endorphins cause a feeling of euphoria in you.So make sure that you exercise every day to energize your body.

Have a hobby

Having a hobby is a way to beat stress. It is well known that UPSC syllabus needs quite long time to cover,but you need to study it with fresh mind.Thus do something which makes you happy.Listen to music, read a relaxing book, or do some gardening.


Taking breaks is an important part of preparation of IAS exam.When you feel you can’t take any more studies, do not try to sit through another hour of reading. It would be a waste of time and energy both.When your brain is tired and cannot take more things inside,it is better to take a short break and relax. You can increase your efficiency by taking short breaks in between your studies.

Power of positive thinking

Positive thoughts play a key role in one’s selection.The power of positive thinking has been reiterated by many life coaches. STOP NEGATIVE THOUGHTS LIKE, ‘I CAN’T HANDLE IT. IT’S TOO MUCH.’In life,nothing good is easy to get. Think happy and positive thoughts like, ‘I can get through this’ when you are feeling down and out. These thoughts will lift your spirits and get you going.

Forget about your competitors

You should never compare yourself to other UPSC candidates.Everyone is different and so are their style and pace of study.You should just stick to your study plan and focus.

No distractions

You phone and social media happen to be the biggest source of distraction for you.According to the Pew Research Center, awareness of stress in your friends’ lives can cause stress in your own life. Focus on your UPSC goal and switch off all such sources of disturbance.

Have faith

If you have doubts on your own abilities,you can never succeed in life.You should keep faith in yourself and believe in the fact that you are putting efforts in correct direction like getting study material, getting coaching whenever needed, having a study plan and preparing meticulously. Remember Eleanor Roosevelt’s saying – ‘No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.’

Practice the above 12 tips and beat stress while you prepare for the IAS exam. Anxiety and stress is bound to occur when you are studying for such a tough exam.You need to be smart enough to handle this to be a winner of this battle.

Also read | UPSC Civil Services Exam Preparation: How to enhance your study for long hours?