How to Start IAS Preparation

For all the people who aspire to become Indian Administrative Service (IAS) Officers but confused and unsure of how to start their preparation or where to start from then to clear all their blockades, here we bring some vital and key information, which every aspirant should know that will give them an idea of how to start IAS Preparation, design a study plan and by following this, IAS Aspirants will definitely achieve their dream. Read on for more on how to start preparation for IAS exam.

Before starting their preparation every aspirant should know about the basic prerequisites that this exam needs and they are:

Know about Union Public Service Commission (UPSC)
Know about the Civil Services Exam
Know the UPSC Exam Pattern
UPSC Eligibility Criteria for IAS
Know the UPSC Exam Dates
Understand the UPSC Syllabus of IAS Prelims and Mains
Know some facts and numbers of the UPSC Exam (the competition)
Go through the UPSC previous years’ question papers
IAS Coaching Classes or Self-Study

 

These are the crucial points that every IAS Aspirant should be aware and the right way to start their IAS Preparation.

Know about Union Public Service Commission (UPSC)

Details on how to start for IAS?

Know about Union Public Service Commission (UPSC)

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) a constitutional body is the sole agency that conducts various examinations to recruit candidates in the government of India and one such exam is the civil services examination for which candidates recruited to various Group ‘A’ and Group ‘B services post like Indian Administrative Services (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS) among other services.

Know more about the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) a constitutional body.

 

Know about the Civil Services Exam

It is a must to know about the exam once you decide to take the exam, hence start your IAS Exam Preparation knowing about the exam and its needs’ beforehand.

Click on to read Things you must know about Indian Civil Services Exam

 

Know the UPSC Exam Pattern for Civil Services Exam

The Civil Services Exam is conducted every year and the exam is held in three stages and they are:

First Stage: Preliminary Examination – Objective type questions (MCQ)

Second Stage: Main Examination – Written – Descriptive type

Third/Final Stage: Personality Test/Interview – Face to face discussion with the Board

 

Know the UPSC Exam Pattern

General Studies Paper – I

Will be considered qualifying for the Mains exam

200 Marks

2 Hours

CSAT Paper- II

Qualifying in nature, candidates should score a minimum of 33%. Marks not considered for final score

200 Marks

2 Hours

 

UPSC Civil Services Main Exam Pattern

Candidates who qualify for the civil services main exam should write 9 papers and the main exam pattern is as given below.

Sl. No.

Name of the Paper

Nature of the Paper

Duration of the Exam

Marks

1

Paper – A

QUALIFYING NATURE

3 Hours

300 Marks

2

Paper – B

3 Hours

300 Marks

3

Paper – I

 

 

 

MERIT RANKING NATURE

3 Hours

250 Marks

4

Paper – II

3 Hours

250 Marks

5

Paper – III

3 Hours

250 Marks

6

Paper – IV

3 Hours

250 Marks

7

Paper – V

3 Hours

250 Marks

8

Paper – VI

3 Hours

250 Marks

9

Paper – VII

3 Hours

250 Marks

 

TOTAL

 

1750 Marks

INTERVIEW OR PERSONALITY TEST

275 Marks

GRAND TOTAL

2025 Marks

Also, read changes in UPSC Exam Pattern in six years. Click on UPSC Civil Services Exam Pattern to know in detail

 

UPSC Eligibility Criteria for IAS

Before taking the UPSC Exam it is a must to know check whether you are eligible to write the exam or not. Check for the UPSC eligibility criteria beforehand starting the IAS Preparation.

The IAS Eligibility includes certain criteria and rules as mentioned below.

 

Know the UPSC Exam Dates

To plan or draft a preparation strategy for UPSC Exam it is very important to know the dates of the exam and the UPSC releases the exam dates of IAS Exam well in prior a year in their online notification. One need not wait for the UPSC to announce the UPSC Exam dates or calendar for IAS Exam, all they need to know are the important dates/months during which the exams are conducted every year, with this they can come up with a study plan to cover the UPSC Syllabus without any hurdle. Also, keep a hawk-eye on the UPSC Online Notifications and for the actual exam dates.

UPSC Civil Services Prelims Exam Important Dates

EXAM EVENTS DATES
Notification February
Application Forms February (apply date)– March(last date)
Admit Card Three weeks before Prelims Exam
CSE Prelims May-August
Answer Key After the final result of UPSC of Civil Service Exam (in the following year)
Result August/September (same year)
Cutoff After the final result of UPSC of Civil Service Exam (in the following year)

 

UPSC Civil Services Mains Exam Important Dates

EVENTS DATES
Notification Aug/Sept
Application Forms Aug-Sept
Admit Card Three weeks before Mains Exam
Main Exam October-December
Answer Key After the final result of UPSC of Civil Service Exam (in the following year)
Result Jan-Feb of the following year
Cutoff After the final result in the following year

 

UPSC Civil Services Personality Test/Interview Important Dates

EVENTS DATES
Notification Feb/March of the following year
e-Summon March/April of the following year
Personality Test/Interview March/April of the following year
Result April-June of the following year

 

Understand the UPSC Syllabus of IAS Prelims and Mains

UPSC Syllabus for Civil Services (IAS) Prelims Exam

Prelims General Studies (GS) Paper – I

Prelims General Studies (GS)/CSAT Paper – II

Current events of national and international importance

Comprehension

History of India and Indian National Movement

Interpersonal skills including communication skills;

Indian and World Geography – Physical, Social, Economic Geography of India and the World.

Logical reasoning and analytical ability

Indian Polity and Governance – Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc.

Decision-making and problem-solving

Economic and Social Development – Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector initiatives, etc.

General mental ability

General issues on Environmental Ecology, Biodiversity and Climate Change – that do not require subject specialisation General Science.

Basic numeracy (numbers and their relations, orders of magnitude, etc.) (Class X level), Data interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency etc. – Class X level)

 

UPSC Syllabus for Civil Services (IAS) Mains Exam

Sl. No.

UPSC Mains Exam Paper Name

Description

1

Indian Language

  • Comprehension of given passages
  • Precis Writing
  • Usage and Vocabulary
  • Short Essay
  • Translation from English to the Indian language and vice‐versa

 

2

English

The English Paper will of Matriculation or equivalent standard

3

Essay

Two Essay Topics

4

General Studies
Paper-I

Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society

5

General
Studies Paper-II

Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management

6

General Studies Paper-III

Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations

7

General Studies
Paper-IV

Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude

8

Optional Paper – I

Optional Paper I Syllabus

9

Optional Paper – II

Optional Paper II Syllabus

 

Know some facts and numbers of the UPSC Exam (the competition)

Every year the UPSC conducts civil services exam to recruit candidates for various posts like IAS, IPS, IFS and other Group ‘A’ and Group ‘B’ civil services. Below given is the data of how many candidates apply for the exam and other details.

  • 9 lakh candidates apply for the exam,
  • About 4 lakh candidates appear for the exam
  • Only 15,000 odd candidates make qualify to the UPSC Main Exam
  • Finally roughly around 2000 candidates clear the exam and recruited in the civil services.

NOTE: There are also reservations for categories like SC, ST, and others except General Category and if you belong to General Category then you should also know the last all India rank to get the prestigious IAS, IPS and IFS.

 

Choose optional subject for UPSC Mains beforehand

Choosing an optional subject for UPSC Mains Written exam is a big challenge for the aspirants, hence it is advised to choose the optional subjects well in advance as choosing during the preparation may slow down your preparation pace or you may get completely distracted and finally would give up. Here are few tips on how to choose an optional subject for IAS Mains Written Exam.

  • Scoring Optional Subjects
  • Most Popular Optional Subjects
  • Option Subject which one would have studied during their graduation
  • Optional subject for which coaching/study materials is available easily

These are just a few ways to choose optional subject but what most IAS Expert advice is to choose a subject as optional for mains that interest you and also for which study materials are available easily.

 

Go through the UPSC previous years’ question papers

This is one of the significant steps in the UPSC Exam Preparation which any serious aspirant should not miss out.  Going through the UPSC Previous Years’ Question Papers will give aspirants an idea about what kind of questions are asked in the actual UPSC Examination and how the questions are framed. It is advised to aspirants’ before taking any mock tests it is a must to refer the UPSC Previous years question papers and even while practicing any mock test paper to keep the UPSC Question Paper abreast.

By practicing previous years’ question papers, candidates will also understand that which topics should be given priority and also they will develop an ability to come up with probable questions which may be asked in the exam.

 

IAS Coaching Classes or Self-Study

The final and last point that lies in the hands of every aspirant is to decide whether they need to attend IAS coaching classes or choose for self-study.

To take this decision an aspirant should know her/his abilities and analyse her/him and understand where do they stand and take a call accordingly. As joining an IAS Coaching Classes and quitting in between would cost them in both ways (time and money) and deciding on self-study and changing the mind in between may also turn into a disaster as most of the admission to most of the coaching classes would have closed or may cost sky-high. Hence, it is crucial candidates to decide whether they need to attend IAS coaching classes or choose for self-study.

These are the things every IAS Aspirant should know that will help them on how to start the IAS Preparation and knowing these will make their preparation simple and easy which will make the rest in their preparation to fall into place.

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