How to Prepare for IAS After 12th Board Exams?

“The secret to getting ahead is getting started.” – Mark Twain

The minimum educational qualification required to take on the IAS exam is graduation. You have to have a degree from a recognized university to attempt the IAS exam conducted by the UPSC every year. So does that mean you start preparing for the IAS exam only after your graduation? Absolutely not! If you have just finished your schooling, and are sure of your ambition to become an IAS/IPS officer and serve the nation, our advice is, start your IAS preparation right now! Don’t wait till you turn 21 or get a degree.

Preparation after 12th is the right decision if you are inclined towards becoming a civil servant. If you start your IAS preparation early, you stand a chance to clear the IAS exam and start your civil services career early. This will take you a long way in your career, and you may even become the Cabinet Secretary (which is the highest among UPSC posts in India) depending on your calibre of course. The question now is “What is the strategy for preparation of IAS after 12th”. This article gives you a few tips on how to prepare for UPSC after 12.

What should you do after 12th to prepare for the IAS exam?

  • Read more about civil services. Find out about the life of a civil servant or a diplomat. If possible, talk to an IAS officer and get to know about ground realities straight from the horse’s mouth. Ask yourself, is this what you truly want? If your answer is ‘yes’, read on…
  • Take up a graduation course that involves history and polity. These subjects are of immense importance to the UPSC syllabus.
  • During your graduation, study these subjects well keeping in mind the UPSC syllabus.
  • If you would acquire a level of mastery in these subjects, you can also opt one of them as your optional subject. (Check success rate of optional subjects in UPSC.)
  • Also, start reading public administration, economics, etc. You can even study these subjects as your main subject, all depending on your interests and aptitude.
  • Don’t lose touch with basic maths that you learned in school. This is needed for the CSAT paper in the IAS Prelims. Read more about IAS exam pattern.
  • Remember to study like an IAS aspirant and not a bunking college student. (Get inspiration from previous years’ IAS Toppers.)
  • Make use of your college library. Read as many relevant books as possible. (Get the UPSC Books PDF from the linked article.)
  • Inculcate the habit of reading the daily newspaper and keep abreast of the latest happenings in the country and the world. (You can follow Daily News Analysis (DNA) for your current affairs preparation.)
  • Work on your interpersonal skills and communication skills. Try to develop a good personality that would help you in the IAS interview later. (know top 10 qualities of an IAS officer.)
  • Don’t throw away your school NCERT textbooks. These are the basic books to study for the UPSC exam. (You can also get a complete list of NCERT Books for UPSC in the linked article.)
  • Learn how to make notes and start doing the same. (Read how to make notes for UPSC in the linked article.)
  • Practice previous years IAS question papers. (Fetch all old UPSC Question papers from the linked article.)

The best course after 12th for IAS exam is BYJU’S IAS Coaching. For more information on how to read the newspaper for IAS preparation, how to clear the IAS Prelims and Mains exam, and how to ace the UPSC Interview, refer to BYJU’S UPSC Preparation.

The best course for IAS

  • Nowadays, it is witnessed from IAS Toppers have different educational backgrounds and not a single course can be pronounced as the best course to become an IAS officer. 
  • Depending upon the educational background, few toppers have chosen their optional and used it as an advantage. Whereas, there are toppers who have chosen entirely different optional subjects from their educational background. 
  • For instance, UPSC Topper of 2020 Aparna Ramesh (AIR 35) chose Anthropology as her optional subject even though her educational background is in architecture and urban planning. To know more about UPSC Topper 2020 AIR 35, check the linked article. 
  • Therefore, after completing high school, one has to choose a subject that interests him/her. If the student is interested in preparing for UPSC Exam after graduation, and wanted to choose a course that is useful for the UPSC preparation, then the students can go through the list of Optional Subjects in the UPSC Exam from the linked article. 
  • Based on the available optional, one can choose a course that will set a base for preparation in the under graduation itself. 

Other relevant links:

UPSC 2021

18 Comments

  1. SHRI KRISHNA YADAV

    I am in class 11 with PCM , after class 12 what I have to do to become IAS and What Couse I have to choose for graduation?

    1. Krishna
      You can pursue any graduation degree course of your choice. Once you pass your graduation, you can sit for UPSC. Meanwhile, keep yourself updated with daily current affairs and NCERT Notes.

  2. I am in class 11th, I want to appear for IAS exam ,so which course for graduation is best or suitable for it

    1. Hi Aarti
      Please refer to the link mentioned to get an idea – How to Prepare for IAS After 12th?

  3. I Chose Commerce Stream in Class 11 and I am gonna give 12th board this year ..Due to lack of Humanity Stream in my School and any ‘good’ school around my area..i couldn’t choose Humanity stream which consists of Subjects like History and Polity..should i regret cause these subjects are essential for Clearing Civil Exam? Please Guide me what should i do🙏🏻

    1. Not at all, Tarun. Instead, you can start preparing for history and polity on your own as there are many science and commerce candidates who have cleared the IAS Exam without humanities as their stream or graduation subject.

  4. If I score fantastic Mark’s in mains but I didn’t get expected marks in interview then I will be selected for the IAS officer or not??
    I mean for the merit list interview Mark’s are included?

    1. Yes, for the merit list, Personality Test marks are considered. Check every detail about IAS interview at the linked article.

  5. Do I need to prepare upto class 12 Maths for CSAT ?

    1. Learn everything about CSAT here

  6. Economic & geography,Which is more important for cse?

    1. Both are important as both form the main subjects of Prelims and Mains examination. It is advisable to give due time to both the subjects by following the topics mentioned in the UPSC syllabus. A few posts that may help you to prepare for these:
      1. Geography Notes
      2. Indian Economy Notes

  7. I am in 10th and this year I am going to give my exams. I will be taking art in 11th . So can we prepare for IAS from arts steam also

    1. Yes, a graduate from any stream is eligible for the IAS Exam.

  8. Sir I passed 12th from commerce stream so can I prepare IAS from commerce stream

    1. Yes,
      A graduate from a govt-recognized university with any stream can sit for CSE.

  9. I am in class 9th .What should I do for upsc preparation?

    1. Hi,
      Given your age, we suggest you focus on your academics and also inculcate a habit of reading the newspaper daily. By the time you are eligible to sit for IAS Exam, you will be ready with solid current affairs knowledge. During your graduation, you can start with UPSC syllabus.

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