How Many Hours of Studies per Day to Clear the IAS Exam

The UPSC civil services exam is considered one of the toughest exams in the country. And, because of this, a lot of people recommend studying for about 15 hours per day during the IAS exam preparation time. In fact, a lot of aspirants wonder how many hours of studies are required to clear this demanding exam. Read on for possible answers to the question ‘how many hours should I study for IAS exam’.

How Many Hours to Study for IAS?

There are some aspirants who claim to study 15-16 hours per day while preparing for the UPSC exam. And, there are others who clear the exam studying just for 6-7 hours in a day. There is no perfect answer to this question and the candidates should decide for themselves the number of hours of studies per day considering their own capabilities and requirements.

Some candidates, during the initial days of their IAS preparation, start off with studying for more than 12 hours a day. They continue this for about a week, maybe 10 days. After this time, they find it tiring to continue with this routine and gradually, their intensity of studies wane off along with their initial enthusiasm. This is because it is physically very demanding to sit for hours on an end and study.

Remember that the IAS exam process is a long-drawn one and you have to invest at least one year in it. To complete your IAS preparation successfully, you must feel motivated throughout this one year. You should also enjoy the learning process all this time. Ideally, the intensity of your preparation should be almost equally spread for the one year or 10 months of your UPSC exam preparation, with the vigour slightly rising during the days just before the exam.

To figure out a routine for IAS preparation, candidates should assess their own strengths and mental stamina. It is important to sustain the initial interest and energy throughout your preparation time, till you clear the civil services exam. That is why aspirants are suggested to take it easy on the number of hours of studies and focus more on the quality than the quantity.

Tips to improve the quality of studies:

  • Learn smart studying
  • Understand rather than cram.
  • Study as per the demand of the UPSC exam.
  • Take breaks at regular intervals. Study for 3 hours with a 10-minute break every one hour rather than studying for 3 hours at a stretch.
  • When you are studying, give it your utmost focus. Study with intense concentration. Avoid distractions.

Remember that the question you should ask is “How to study effectively for UPSC exam” rather than “How many hours study for IAS”.

UPSC related queries

  • How much time is sufficient for IAS preparation?
  • Ans. A year of focussed study is usually enough for IAS preparation. Though there are candidates who have cleared the examination with a preparation time of 3-6 months, it is advisable to dedicate a full year to prepare and appear for the exam.


  • Is 1 year sufficient for IAS preparation?
  • Ans. 1 Year is more than sufficient for IAS preparation. One does not need to join coaching for the IAS exam if one prepares well with the right guidance and strategy. For IAS preparation, the candidates need to keep in mind the syllabus of UPSC and study the relevant material thoroughly for the first six months, after which candidates should focus on revision and attempting mock tests and previous year’s UPSC question papers


  • How can I study hard for IAS?
  • Ans. Studying for IAS requires focus and discipline. The following tips might help you study hard for IAS:
    • Make a schedule according to your preparation strategy and stick to it religiously.
    • Read and reread NCERT Books for IAS and practice writing answers.
    • Solve mock tests on a time-bound manner and focus on improving upon weak areas.


  • Can we clear IAS without coaching?
  • Ans. It is possible to clear IAS without coaching. One should first get a clear idea of the IAS syllabus and start studying early to avoid the last minute rush to complete the syllabus. Also enrolling for a good mock test series would help candidates evaluate their performance continuously.


  • At what age should we start preparing for IAS?
  • Ans. IAS preparation can be started after clearing 12th class exams and continued during graduation in the ideal scenario. This would enable candidates to maximise their length of service. Though candidates can start preparation at any time provided they are eligible for the IAS exam.


  • What should I study to become IAS officer?
  • Ans. To become an IAS officer, one needs to be a graduate in any discipline from a recognised university. Then one needs to study the subjects and topics included in the syllabus of UPSC. taking up a humanities stream is not necessary for becoming an IAS officer though a humanities degree focussing on administration would be helpful during the initial period of an IAS officer’s career.


  • What are the stages of IAS exam?
  • Ans. IAS exam has three stages. These stages are conducted over the period of a year and are as follows:
    • Prelims
    • Mains
    • Interview


  • Is coaching necessary for IAS?
  • Ans. Coaching is not necessary for IAS. All one needs is the right UPSC exam preparation material, the right strategy and correct guidance. Candidates need to master the art of self-studying and be prepared to work hard to be able to clear the IAS exam without coaching.


  • How can I clear IAS prelims?
  • Ans. IAS prelims is the first exam in the series of exams called the Civil Services Examination. To clear IAS prelims, the following points have to be kept in mind:
    • Master current affairs from the last mains exam till the next prelims
    • Master aptitude and reasoning ability
    • Study history and geography in depth.
    • Solve mock tests and focus on improving accuracy and speed in that order.


  • Can IAS be cleared in first attempt?
  • Ans. IAS can be cleared in the first attempt and many of the IAS toppers are candidates who have cleared IAS in the first attempt. To clear IAS in the first attempt, the following tips would help:
    • Cultivate a reading habit early on
    • Read every NCERT book relevant for UPSC
    • Solve previous year’s question papers early on to familiarise yourself with the syllabus of UPSC exam and the pattern of questions.
    • Practice writing answers and join a good test series.

Also read | How to Ward off Distractions While Studying for UPSC Exam?

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