How to Start Preparation for UPSC Exam

How to Start Preparation for UPSC Exam/How to start UPSC preparation?/How to start preparation for IAS?

The civil services exam is conducted every year by the UPSC to recruit officers into the Indian civil service. The civil service opens up a world of possibilities for talented youngsters. The UPSC exam is indeed a challenging exam to clear. The exam is a three-stage process which assesses candidates on various aspects like knowledge, analytical skills, ability to express ideas with clarity, personality, leadership traits and so on. The UPSC syllabus is also vast and diverse. The question, “How to start preparation for UPSC exam?” is a tough one. In this article, we give you a few pointers on where to start and how to start preparation for UPSC exam.

Before starting the actual preparation, you must indulge in some pre-preparation.

How to start preparation for UPSC exam?

Pre-preparation stage

First of all, you must familiarise yourself with the civil services. Most people know of the ‘well-known’ services like the IAS, IFS and the IPS. And maybe even the IRS. In reality, there are more than 20 services that you can get into on clearing the exam. Read more.

Secondly, you must get the dates, or at least the tentative dates for the USPC exam. Watch out for the UPSC notification which it releases every year. You can regularly visit BYJU’S Free IAS Prep to get all the dates and details pertaining to the UPSC exam on our notifications page.

In the third step, you must go through the UPSC exam format and pattern. There are three stages in this exam. Each stage eliminates candidates who couldn’t get the required cut-off marks. The three stages are:

UPSC Prelims

2 papers


UPSC Mains

9 papers


UPSC Personality Test


Board Interview


The 2 UPSC prelims papers are: General studies Paper I and II. GS paper II is commonly known as CSAT.

The 9 UPSC mains papers are:

  1. GS paper I
  2. GS paper II
  3. GS paper III
  4. GS paper IV
  5. Essay paper
  6. Optional paper I
  7. Optional paper II
  8. English language paper
  9. Regional language paper

The last two language papers are qualifying in nature and not counted for the final tally.

In the personality test, you will be interviewed by the UPSC board on your personality, expression, clarity of ideas, character, ability to face pressure, knowledge, etc.

In the fourth step, you must read thoroughly the UPSC syllabus. This is an important step as a lot depends on your understanding of the syllabus. Check out the UPSC syllabus here. At this stage, you should also decide on your optional subject based on your current knowledge and interests.

See list of optional subjects here.

Preparation stage

This is when you actually start the IAS exam preparation process. Before you start, it is important that you make a study plan. It is rightly said, ‘Failing to plan is planning to fail.’

Remember the following things during your UPSC exam preparation:

Start with a clean and fresh mind. Remove all doubts about yourself and misconceptions about the exam.

Take inspiration from your icons or past IAS toppers. Read motivational quotes to pep yourself up.

Make sure to stick to your routine. When you feel like straying, remind yourself of your goals.

Avoid distractions both in the form of humans and gadgets.

In your pursuit of the UPSC exam, don’t turn into a hermit. Take occasional breaks, but spend it wisely.

Eat right, sleep well, stay fit.

Have a dedicated strategy for CURRENT AFFAIRS.


Also see our daily news analysis page for comprehensive coverage of the daily news.

Visit BYJU’S Website for strategy and articles on free IAS prep and all the latest on UPSC IAS exam.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *