UPSC civil services exam is one of the most sought out exams of the year for which lakhs of aspirants do hard work for months or years. Some of them are able to clear it in the first attempt while some need more than that.
IAS preparation requires dedicated hard work with discipline on part of the candidates. Everything can be taught about this exam except this part. Moreover, it is the perseverance that helps students sail from beginning to end. Here, we will discuss the preparation strategy for UPSC exam in detail.
Are You A Beginner
There are two types of UPSC aspirants; first are those that have started their preparation recently and the second, who have attempted the exam once earlier. To put it simply, those who have attempted the exam earlier are well acquainted with the pattern of the exam. On the contrary, beginners need to understand the pattern of the exam first. Let’s dive into IAS preparation tips for the beginners which will help the newcomers to ace the exam.
Study the exam before studying for the exam
Truly said, you can’t walk on a road easily until you know the structure of the road. The same is the case with the exam. There are 3 stages and each has its own pattern
- Preliminary – it is the first stage of the exam and consists of two papers of 200 marks each with one-third negative marking. The first paper is of General Studies (GS 1) while the second one is of General Aptitude (GS 2). Both are of 2 hours duration and objective in nature. Moreover, the merit of GS 1 is counted and the GS2 is a qualifying where you need to score just 33% marks.
- Mains – it consists of one essay paper, four General Studies papers, and two optional subject papers. They are of subjective nature carrying 250 marks each. You are eligible to give this exam only if you clear the preliminary stage.
- Interview – it is the final stage consisting of 275 marks and is a personality test. Interestingly, marks scored by you in the mains exam and interview will decide your final selection.
Study for the exam
Now, comes how to study for the exam? First of all, prepare your own timetable and follow it regularly. As there is a famous quote from Norman Schwarzkopf, “the more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war.” It seems quite apt regarding the preparation for this exam.
Start reading the basic NCERT books of each subject from class 6-12 to clear the concepts. After that, move to the standard books and current affairs. Here are some of the recommended books and study material recommended:
- History – Ancient History by RS Sharma, Medieval History by Satish Chandra, and Modern History by Bipan Chandra. A brief history of Modern India from the spectrum publications. Art and culture NCERT book class XI and Nitin Singhania’s book.
- Polity – Constitution at work class XI and Indian Polity by Laxmikanth
- Geography – NCERT books of class XI and XII and Certificate of physical and human geography by GC Leong.
- Economics – Class XI macroeconomics and IAS coaching notes or any standard book like Ramesh Singh
- Environment – Book by Shankar IAS and current affairs
- Science and Technology – clear concepts from NCERTs and read science and technology books by Ravi Agrahari and current affairs.
- Current Affairs – regularly follow one national newspaper and a monthly magazine of any coaching institute which you feel comfortable with.
Strategy For Non-Beginners
Non-beginners are well acquainted with the pattern of the examination. They just need to improve their weaknesses. Let’s discuss IAS preparation strategy for these candidates:
- Attempt the test series seriously and assess your weaknesses.
- Clear the concepts from basic NCERT books.
- Solve previous year questions to get the idea regarding what to focus upon.
- Make notes of every topic to revise them efficiently.
- Improvise your weak areas by working on them. Don’t take CSAT paper lightly. Take the help of your mentors.
- Maintain self-discipline and follow the timetable.