Indian Administrative Service (IAS) is a dream career for lakhs of aspirants in India. Who doesn’t want to work in the largest bureaucratic network in the world! More than 8 lakh students apply for the exam yet merely a thousand get their dream job. The difference? UPSC Preparation Strategy! Hence, one difficult question that every fresh aspirant has in his mind - How to start preparing for UPSC - needs to be answered!
In this article, we have tried explaining everything that a fresher must do to kickstart their preparation journey. And if you think you’re faint-hearted, well start EARLY! Need a tip? Start off with reading this article on “How to prepare for UPSC 2022”!
Here's your answer to your question!
Here’s a list of things that you should do BEFORE beginning your preparation journey!
It's no surprise that you should be ideally know the dates beforehand. It will help you organize your study schedule in terms of the number of hours that you want to dedicate. Decide on when you want to appear for the exam. A maximum of 6 attempts for general category candidates is allowed. Hence, don’t sit for the exam unprepared. Have at least 12-14 months of time to study rigorously if you’re a fresher.
It takes about a year to prepare for UPSC and another year to complete the UPSC exam process! So, even if you crack it in the first attempt, it will be a two-year long process. Hence it is important to have enough reasons to keep yourself motivated throughout the preparation journey.
It is a very subjective question and will depend on how well you strategize, what is your IAS preparation strategy, who you choose to be your mentor, whether you’re completely new to the preparation scenario or have a fair bit of idea about different subjects and how much time can you devote per day to the preparation! Ideally, 12-14 months of time is more than enough for preparation of this coveted exam.
It is pertinent that you do a SWOT analysis before you begin with your UPSC exam preparation. It will help you in identifying your strengths and weaknesses; the opportunities that you will be able to tap and the threats that maybe there. It will allow you to know the stakes that are associated with your preparation.
Once you have done all of these and you are ready to take the plunge, here’s a concrete IAS Preparation Strategy that you can take inspiration from to devise your own. Always remember that all the experts, mentors, toppers or your friends who may already be in the preparation phase can only tell you what they think should be done. It is YOU who should devise your own IAS Preparation Strategy for a simple reason - Nobody knows you better than YOU!
Here’s a list of basic things that all the toppers and mentors swear by in order to prepare the foundation for UPSC CSE. Let’s how to start preparing for UPSC:
NCERTs from 8th to 12th are wonderful sources of information, especially for beginners. They are an-important not only because questions are asked directly from them but also because they are very introductory yet very informative. So, start out with reading and re-reading NCERTs and get an outline of every subject. You can either purchase NCERT books or get them from the NCERT website. If you are running short on time or don’t have that much time to go through the NCERT’s you can check out this basic NCERT course that Career Launcher offers.
Newspapers such as The Hindu or The Indian Express shoulld be a must-read! It will help you in keeping a tab over the recent happenings and will also enhance your reading, writing and comprehending skills. Hence, do not skip reading newspapers. You can read the important news articles in the linked article. Monthly magazines in the likes of Kurukshetra and Yojna must make a place in your reading list. Even if you’re not getting time to read it cover to cover, go for reading its analysis or synopsis to not miss out on any important article!
Once you’re done reading NCERTs, start reading the prescribed UPSC standard booklist. Make sure you do not increase the number of resources, rather focus on revising one resource multiple times. While preparing for Geography, it is crucial to study maps. Maps are yet another important and scoring area when it comes to IAS Preparation. Map-based questions are asked both in UPSC Prelims and Mains. Hence, always keep in mind to prepare maps in your IAS Preparation journey. If you find it confusing, you can check out the Map-focussed Course that is entirely dedicated to preparation through maps.
UPSC Prelims is always scheduled around the last week of May or the first week of June. And questions related to the budget that is announced in February always find their way in the Prelims. If you’re thorough with the understanding of the budget, you can also include the snippets to make your answers look more informative and substantive in the Mains.
Although CSAT is qualifying in nature, don’t take it for granted. You still need to get above 33% or 66 marks in the CSAT to be able to write Mains. Hence keep practicing for CSAT simultaneously. Alternatively, you can enroll yourself in CSAT course or test series from a trusted test-prep institution like Career Launcher to ensure you qualify for the CSAT paper. Read the CSAT preparation strategy from our UPSC-Gurus in the linked article.
Apart from this answer-writing practice and revise are two important pillars of UPSC preparation. No IAS preparation strategy can be complete without mock-test based preparation and answer-writing practice. Check out comprehensive UPSC preparation strategy in the linked article.
Knowing the exam pattern and syllabus will help you in making a proper study schedule. Keep in mind the time that you have for the exam and plan accordingly. You can read about the UPSC exam pattern and UPSC syllabus in the linked article. You can also download the UPSC Micro topics list to further enhance your UPSC preparation.
We hope that we have answered “How to start preparing for UPSC” for you! For further guidance on our courses and preparation strategy that you must employ to make your aspirations come true, get in touch with our course counselors for free! Career Launcher offers extensive online programs that will help you in starting your preparation for UPSC seamlessly. You can check out our range of UPSC courses in the linked page. Get in touch with our expert mentors to know the most suitable course for you!