How to Prepare for UPSC IAS Exam

How to prepare for UPSC Exam

The UPSC IAS Exam is regarded as one of the toughest exams in the country and most of them think that it is not their cup of tea. But people who have the notion that they cannot clear UPSC exam often forget that to achieve anything all it needs is a sheer amount of determination, persistence and consistent hard work. Most of the candidates fail in this exam as they cannot manage time or they just dive into the ocean called UPSC without any knowledge about the exam pattern, syllabus or the type of questions asked in the exam.

So, here we bring a preparation plan, which IAS aspirants as beginners or who have already given an attempt or two and didn’t clear can follow this plan to make their preparation effective and clear this exam.

It is always advised candidates to start their preparation a year prior as they will get sufficient time to cover the syllabus and practice MCQs and answer writing for prelims and mains respectively. Understanding the vastness of the Syllabus, the UPSC also releases the exam dates a year prior so the aspirants’ get enough time for preparation.


Begin with the UPSC Syllabus

To make the UPSC Exam preparation effective, the foundation should be solid; hence it is always recommended to aspirants’ to get well versed with the UPSC Syllabus of both IAS prelims and mains exams. It is also advised to mug up the syllabus so that aspirants do not waste time on not-so-important topics and make their foundation strong and build their preparation effectively. 


Draft a Plan to cover the UPSC syllabus

Once candidates are thorough with the UPSC Syllabus, all they have to do is design a plan that contains a list of topics/chapters to be covered and the number of days in which these topics should be covered. Now you have the list of topics/chapters, assign the specific number of topics/chapters to be covered each day in such a way that all the important topics are covered before the day of the UPSC Exam. Aspirants’ should also keep all the necessary sources required to refer during their preparation. A piece of advice here to candidates that not to burden themselves by referring too many books on one chapter or subject. So, one should have all the necessary sources beforehand instead running in search of books in between their preparation, which would be waste of time.


Start your day with a newspaper reading

The Current affair is the dynamic part of the UPSC Syllabus which plays a crucial role in both prelims and mains exam. Hence, candidates should prepare for the current affairs section side by side while covering the static part of the UPSC Syllabus.

Candidates’ should make a habit of reading the newspaper like The Hindu, The Indian Express and to mention they should ensure they spend at least an hour or two in reading the newspaper.

Note for beginners: Reading newspaper every day in general and reading newspaper for the UPSC exam current affairs totally differs and every IAS Aspirant as a beginner should understand the concept behind reading the newspaper and know how to read the newspaper for IAS Exam before jumping blindly into the newspaper reading.  

Once candidates are done with the newspaper reading they can start with their static subject preparation and cover topics of subjects that overlap with prelims and mains. 


Optional Subject of UPSC Mains Exam

Choosing optional subject is one of the vital decisions an aspirant would take in their UPSC Exam Preparation. IAS Aspirants should always keep in mind that it’s the marks scored in Essay Paper, GS Papers and Optional paper taken into account for the final ranking. Hence, it is equally important to devote their time for the optional subject as they invest in other papers and current affairs.

Candidates should choose an optional subject that interests them and here, they can go through few thumb rules to choose the right optional subject for UPSC Mains Exam that would help them in choosing the right optional subject for mains exam. 


General studies for UPSC exam

For General Studies part of the UPSC Syllabus, candidates can take two subjects (which ever subjects the feel comfortable with) for e.g. like History and Polity or Geography and Economics and cover for both prelims and mains abreast.  Candidates’ should design a study plan that best suits their skills and abilities and should follow it strictly. 


Take part in healthy discussions and debates

Sharing knowledge is broadening knowledge. It is recommended to aspirants to take part in healthy discussions and debates with the fellow aspirants or by leaving comments on any online website on subject related or UPSC preparation related as this will help them in getting a big picture on issues in news and other topics related to the syllabus which might also help candidates in the personality test/interview.


All work and no play make Jack a dull boy! So, have a Kit-Kat

Wondering, what it is? Stop and read through before you buy a Kit Kat chocolate. What we meant is to take small 10-15 minutes breaks in between your studies. During this small break do things that excite you like listening to music, taking a stroll in the balcony, nearby park or anything that cheers you up and makes you get back to your studies.

Remember not to extend your break as it is a small break – a Kit Kat break.


Revision is key to success

Wrap your each day with revision. Never procrastinate on revising what you have studied for the day and start the next day by taking a glance at what you had studied the previous day. By following this regularly, the information you have gathered during your preparation will retain in your memory for long.  At the end of the day what matters is how much you remember from what you have studied and not how much you have studied.

Above all, stay away from any kind of negativity and be positive, determined, and perseverant.

Hope, this article would be helpful for any beginners or first timers who are new to the UPSC Exam and have no clue from where to start and how to start.

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