Perhaps the most frequently asked question in any aspirant’s mind is how to go about the UPSC preparation. The Union Public Service Commission, or UPSC, is a national-level recruitment agency that conducts Civil Services Entrances (CSE) to select candidates from all across the country into Group A government services, including the Indian Administrative Service or IAS. In order to crack an exam as challenging and competitive as UPSC, there are certain things that every aspirant should keep in mind while on their IAS preparation journey.

In this blog, we will be focusing on tips to make your UPSC journey a lot smoother and achieve your target of becoming an IAS officer.

Table Of Content

Stages Of Civil Services Examination

How to build the right strategy?

● Be thorough with the UPSC syllabus

● Never underestimate NCERTs

● Make mocks your best friend

● Read magazines and newspapers daily

How to manage the schedule during preparation?

● Deduce a plan

● Maintain a journal

● Never stop with your revision


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Stages Of Civil Services Examination

It might sound unnecessary to most aspirants, but the overwhelming syllabus and multiple extrinsic and intrinsic pressures can sometimes cause a thing or two to slip from their minds. Any exam preparation is incomplete without any idea about the practical details of the examination.

The Civil Services Examination consists of three rounds, i.e., Preliminary, Mains, and Interview.

  1. UPSC Prelims: This is the first round of the examination. Aspirants need to sit for two multiple choice or MCQ exams under this stage, namely, General Studies-I and General Studies-II. Aspirants get one mark for every correct answer, and for every wrong answer, the aspirants lose 1/3rd of the mark. These marks, however, are not cumulated in the final score, and its only purpose is to eliminate candidates with marks lower than the cut-off.
  2. The Mains: The second stage of the examination is only for those candidates who have secured more than the cut-off in UPSC Prelims. This UPSC Mains consists of descriptive examinations of nine papers, and its marks are important for the final selection.
  3. The Interview: The personality test or interview is the final stage of the examination. Only the candidates with marks above the Mains cut-off are eligible for this round. Selected candidates sit for a face-to-face interview with board members of different educational backgrounds. The questions in this round are usually on personal hobbies, general knowledge, hot subjects, etc.

Now that we have an idea about the various rounds of the UPSC examination. Let’s move on to tips to build an effective strategy for IAS preparation.

How to build the right strategy?

  • Be thorough with the UPSC syllabus

The most basic yet effective tip for building the right preparation strategy is to be thorough with the syllabus. Being familiar with the entire syllabus not only helps aspirants achieve clarity but also helps them identify frequently asked topics from the rest of the syllabus. This is not to say that aspirants should only focus on the important topics for their UPSC CSE preparations, but being familiar with the frequently asked subjects gives aspirants an edge.

  • Never underestimate NCERTs

It is common for aspirants to get overwhelmed seeing the sheer amount of syllabus to cover, and that is where NCERTs come to the rescue. NCERTs are irreplaceable for building a strong foundation, as it covers important information in the simplest language possible. So, before jumping on multiple references and help books, aspirants’ main priority should be completing their NCERTs.

  • Make mocks your best friend

Once aspirants have completed their entire syllabus and are happy with their preparation, their next step should be to practise as many mocks as possible. Aspirants can also take assistance from the multiple test series by Physics Wallah to get a clear understanding of the paper pattern. Regular mocks will not only help aspirants to identify frequently asked topics from the syllabus but also to manage their time effectively.

  • Read magazines and newspapers daily

It is not news to anyone that it takes time to build habits. One of the biggest mistakes that aspirants can do is to leave current affairs for the end moment. Aspirants should worship the daily newspapers and magazines like a saint worship its Bible/Gita/Koran. It doesn’t take a genius to understand that current affairs will only increase in number with every passing year. Therefore, reading newspapers everyday will help aspirants stay up-to-date with the world.

How to manage the schedule during preparation?

The next thing that comes after building an effective preparation strategy is to manage the schedule effectively. The list below mentions three tips to help aspirants with their time management. 

  • Deduce a plan

Aspirants should focus on setting their priorities first, as it helps them come up with an effective plan. Once aspirants have their priorities sorted, they should spend time building a plan, including what subjects or topics they need to finish in the first week or highlighting the topics which will need more time than others. 

  • Maintain a journal

No amount of planning would be enough if aspirants do not follow their build schedule. Maintaining a journal will help aspirants get a hold of their goals. It would hardly take more than 10 minutes for aspirants to write their daily tasks in a journal. 

  • Never stop with your revision

Even good preparation will lead to underwhelming results if aspirants fail to revise frequently. UPSC preparation demands aspirants to keep a lot of information in their minds, and frequent revision helps lock everything down for better retention.


Now that we have learned about the secrets to building an effective preparation strategy and managing time, it is time to get started with the preparation. An exam of such a high magnitude not only requires sheer hard work and dedication but also proper guidance. Here the best UPSC coaching institutes can help aspirants achieve their dreams by providing mentors aspirants can look up to.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. Can a UPSC aspirant skip NCERTs and still get good scores in Prelims and Mains?

Ans. Any aspirant’s score in the UPSC CSE examinations depends on their preparation. But being thorough with the content of NCERTs is a must for building an excellent foundation.

Q2. How many hours should a UPSC aspirant study in a day?

Ans. UPSC aspirants should study for at least 10-12 hours per day to ace their exams. However, aspirants should focus on increasing their attention span in the few weeks of their preparation, as it is almost impossible to build 10-12 hours of study routine overnight.

Leave a Reply