How to Start UPSC/IAS Exam Preparation

In India, UPSC Civil Services Exam is considered one of the most reputed exams. Almost lakhs of aspiring candidates prepare for the exam every year. But, only a few of them could fulfill their dream of serving as government officials. The UPSC/IAS exam is well-known not just for its rigorous nature, but also for its extensive syllabus.

If you assume that reading books and being a bookworm would lead you to the path of becoming an IAS official, you are definitely, misguided. The reason for this is that the final phase of the examination procedure is related to the overall personality assessment round, in which an individual aspiring candidate is examined by the UPSC board to determine whether his/her personality is suitable for a career in the civil services or not.

The major guru mantra for aspiring candidates is not only to focus on the completion of the curriculum but also to sustainably gather information about the current affairs/problems emerging in the country. Through this article, you can come up with all the necessary information that is usually required to start preparing for the UPSC/IAS examination. 

Let’s start by discussing the golden tips mentioned below: 

1. Mentally & Physically Prepare Yourself

 

Before preparing for any of the examinations, it is necessary to ensure that you are prepared physically and mentally. Especially, when it comes to the UPSC/IAS exam, you will find the overall journey to be difficult unless you are dedicated to setting up your desired goals and fully preparing yourself mentally and physically.

Whether you are a working professional or, an aspiring student, devotion towards the preparation stands as a must. 

2. Following a Time Table 

 

Preparing a well-structured Time Table, and following it thoroughly is a must. If you are preparing for the examination, make sure that you are sticking up to the timetable, and figuring out the things according to the set deadlines. By this, you can assure yourself that you are on a right track and finishing the syllabus. Lastly, try to analyze your strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) analysis before preparing for the UPSC Civil Service examination. Undoubtedly, this could actually help you in a good way. 

3. Be aware of the UPSC Curriculum 

 

  • The curriculum is the heart of any exam. Before starting reading any of the books, one first must understand the curriculum.
  • The UPSC has given a detailed syllabus for the Civil Services Preliminary and Main examinations. Use this syllabus as your guide. Memorise it and refer to it consistently.
  • Knowing the syllabus will assist you in selecting appropriate study resources, prioritizing subjects, and so forth.
  • Previous year’s questions as a guide. Analyse past papers to understand the nature and demand of the examination and get into the mind of the examiner.

4. Start Reading the Newspapers 

The most important sort of preparation for the IAS examination is, that you make sure that you have begun reading the newspapers. 

Directly or indirectly, the questions asked by the UPSC board in the examinations are related to, current affairs. Thus, it stands to reason that you are maximizing your ability to reading the newspapers regularly, in a compact manner. Read either the Hindu or the Indian Express.

5. NCERT Text Books 

 

If you are aware of this or not, NCERT textbooks play a significant role in the preparation of civil service examination. The aspiring students may learn about the fundamental concepts and theories through NCERTs.

In fact, the questions that were asked in the previous year's IAS exam, many of them were directly linked to the NCERT. 

These textbooks are a rich source of knowledge and, at the same time, a credible source because they are affiliated with the government itself.

6. Choosing the Right Optional 

 

In the UPSC final tally, the optional subject contributes 500 credits points.  As an outcome, aspirants should choose an optional subject attentively and after analyzing the Pros and Cons of the subjects they are considering.

Before selecting the optional subject, you should consider the following:

  • The subject that spikes your interest.
  • Previous experience and expertise in it.
  • Cross-reference with the GS papers.
  • Coaching is offered.
  • Sample papers are easily accessible.

7. Preparing the Notes

 

Due to the lengthy nature of the Civil Servies Exam, it is very important that the aspirants prepare their notes rightly. Because the UPSC curriculum is so extensive, it helps to keep track of what is taught and also functions as a fully prepared for review.

Separate files or journals might be maintained for various subjects. Several people like files since they make it easy to add remarks to a topic. This is very beneficial for adding current affairs to a specific topic.

8. Solving Last Year's Question Papers 

  • The most dependable and trustworthy source comprehending the pattern, nature of the question, and the complexity level of the UPSC examination can easily be understood in the last year’s question papers. 
  • The aspirants can cope with the tactics and trends by following up on the previous year’s question papers which would also surely help them to know about the majorly important sectors of a particular subject. 
  • In conclusion, it is considered to be the most reliable source of providing information. 

9. Start Doing the Answer Writing Practice 

  • The reason behind the prolonged nature of the IAS exam is that it is directly related to bringing one’s analytical thinking, and logical, and effective communications to the forefront.
  • It involves thinking analytically and flawlessly arranging your views, perceptions, and thoughts altogether. 
  • Another major factor to take into consideration is the answer booklet's time and space limits. Thus, demanding the candidates to write the answers to the asked questions much more effectively and efficiently, and that too in a short period of time. 
  • That is the reason, the answer writing practice is a crucial activity to be performed by the candidates.

10. Performing the Mock Test Series 

  • If you are preparing for the civil services examination, make sure that you are taking the mock test series. As self-study is very important for any exam, allow yourself to do the exact same. 
  • It can assist the UPSC candidates in recognizing and learning from their past mistakes, identifying the approach they should take in completing their preparation, and evaluating their strengths and weaknesses.

11. Revise What You Have Learned

  • When you're taking an exam as difficult as the civil services exam, assure that you are doing the revisions. 
  • Exams like the IAS are prolonged, highly competitive, and complex in nature. Due to this, it becomes very difficult to remember each and every topic that you have studied before. 

12. Try to Stay Calm and Positive

  • Not all the days are the same, sometimes it is good, and sometimes, very harsh. Sometimes, it can be joyful, sometimes, sad. 
  • Try to stay positive as much as you can. Especially, when you are willing to appear for an exam UPSC.