How Many Hours of Studies per Day to Clear the IAS Exam?

UPSC Civil Service Examination is considered one of the toughest exams in India. In addition to it being challenging due to the vastness of its syllabus, it is more challenging due to the level of competition students face. Hence, the UPSC Aspirants usually wonder how many hours of study are required to crack the examination and find it challenging to develop a well-structured preparation routine.

If you ask candidates who have successfully cleared this exam about the hours they put in to clear it, you will find diverging answers as the capability of studying varies from person to person.

Some students study for 13-14 hours every day in the initial days. But they follow this routine for some time, say for ten days and get frustrated. Therefore, it is strictly advisable to not study for 10-12 hours in the initial days of preparation. Please remember UPSC CSE is a marathon, not a sprint.

The UPSC Preparation journey is a long process. Therefore, a candidate needs to gradually develop study habits and take breaks between the study routines. So, there are no fixed hours you should study to crack the UPSC Exam. To peak at the right time, you have to be consistent. Start slow, study consistently, and then maximise your preparation time during the Preliminary and Mains exam.

Unfortunately, there is no magic number in terms of the number of hours dedicated to preparation that will guarantee you success. There will be days when you will not even feel like studying at all. On those days, try to take a break for some hours or a day and come back rejuvenated. 

Firstly, figure out how many hours you can dedicate entirely to UPSC CSE in your day. You might be a college student, a working professional or a full-time UPSC aspirant. The number of hours to be dedicated would vary depending on your current situation.

Once you have figured out the maximum amount of time you can devote to this exam, divide those hours into slots. For example, you have 5 hours to dedicate to this exam. Make an hourly plan, 1 hour for newspaper reading, 2 hours for studying a topic, 1 hour for revision and 1 hour for optional.

If you cannot finish the topic or the task in the designated time, leave the task there and move on to the next slot. This will ensure that your preparation is well rounded and you work on each aspect of your preparation.

So, to figure out the number of hours you should study in a day must depend on your capacity and stamina. In the initial days of preparation, study for fewer hours. As the interest should be maintained in the beginning. Then, after 3-4 months, when you will be well-versed with the hard work, increase the number of hours and challenge yourself to study more.

You can follow the below steps to enhance the quality of study during the UPSC Preparation:

  • No matter how many hours you study, study with the utmost focus.
  • Keep all the distractions away from your study table.
  • Focus on understanding the concepts rather than mugging up.
  • Take a short break between the studies. It will help you to energise.
  • Study smartly. Study what is essential as per the requirement of the exam. Keep referring to the syllabus and the previous year's questions.