How To Prepare For UPSC Become An IAS, IPS Officer


how to prepare for upsc

How to prepare for UPSC? As an aspirant, many of them have this question in their mind.

Before starting this article first you should know What is UPSC?, Every year UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) conducts the Civil Service Examination (CSE). It aims to recruit IAS, IPS, IFS officers and other civil services posts of the government. Rightly IAS stands for “Indian Administrative Service”, IPS stands for “Indian Police Service”, IFS stands for Indian Foreign Service”.

In India, every year lakhs of candidates give this exam to clear UPSC examination to become an IAS, IPS, IFS officer. But unfortunately very lesser aspirants qualify this CSE, and few of them get their desire Posts.

You can not get such type of posts only in few preparations, for this, you need serious preparation.

In this article, I shared some tips and tricks so that you can qualify for the UPSC exam easily.


Eligibility Criteria For UPSC Examination

Here I mention it’s eligibility criteria take a look if you are eligible for this exam or not.

  • You must have an Indian Citizenship for IAS, IPS posts.
  • You should have a graduate bachelor’s degree in any discipline from a recognised university.
  • If you have a distance education degree or equivalent qualification degree you are eligible to give this examination.
  • If you are a Civil Servant having a minimum qualification like 12th passed and a graduate degree in any discipline then you can give this UPSC Examination.
  • Age Required – Minimum 21 years of age and maximum 32 years of age on the date of examination.
  • Age Relaxation – For SC/ST (5 years), For OBC (3 years)
  • If you are from Nepal, Bhutan or a Tibetan refugee who settled permanently in India before 1st January 1962, you are eligible for this examination.
  • Students from the final year they are eligible to give the first stage of UPSC Exam.
  • General aspirants can attempt this exam for 6 times, OBC aspirants can give this exam for 9 times or SC/ST aspirants can give this exam till their maximum age limit.

How Many Exams Phases Are There In UPSC?

In UPSC there are 3 exam phases are there

  • Preliminary Exam (Phase-1)
  • Main Exam (Phase-2)
  • Personal Interview (Phase-3)

Exam Pattern Of UPSC Preliminary

It has 2 exam patterns. 

  • General Studies Paper – 1
  • General Studies Paper – 2

Syllabus Of UPSC General Studies Paper-1

In General Studies Paper-1 you will give answers of 200 marks with 100 multiple-choice questions. It conducts in offline mode. Exam duration is 2 hours. The exam papers come with English and Hindi edition also. It covers 6 subjects there are

  • Current Affairs
  • Polity and Governance
  • Economic
  • General Studies
  • Social Development
  • Indian History

Syllabus Of UPSC General Studies Paper-2

it’s an aptitude test of 200 marks with 80 multiple-choice questions. Exam duration is 2 hour. It conducts on the offline mode. The syllabus of paper-2 covers 3 subjects there are

  • Logical Reasoning
  • Comprehension and Communication Skills
  • Basic Numeracy

Do UPSC Prelims have Negative Marking?

The answer is “yes”. In Prelims, if you give 3 wrong answers then you will get a deduction of 1mark. There is no deduction if you leave blank any answer.

How To Prepare For UPSC Prelims Exam?

In Prelims, you need to 33% marks to appear in Prelims Main Exam. Obtain marks in prelims will help you to rank in UPSC. I mentioned below some tips to crack UPSC prelims exam.

upsc prelims guide


Step #1: Early Preparation

This means to start preparing for 1 year before the exam. So that you can give yourself sufficient time to prepare perfectly.After this understood your syllabus make a plan according to your UPSC syllabus.

The bonus tip is Prepare those subjects which are overlaps between prelims and main exam. So that you can easily cover many subjects in lesser time.

Step #2: Understand Your Exam Pattern

The most important thing is to understand your exam pattern. Familiarize yourself with exam details like Exam Rules, Eligibility Criteria and Check previous year question papers. Read the latest UPSC notifications. So that while studying you can not get confused about the exam and you can study well.

Step #3: Read Current Affairs

If you want to qualify in UPSC then this is the best way to prepare Current Affairs in India. Most of the years the current affair question comes directly or indirectly. The best current affair sources are The Indian Express, The Hindu, Parliament Debates, Press releases, IDSA(Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses). Try to read these mentioned things every day and keep an update.

Step #4: Increase Your Knowledge From Books

Start reading books to increase your knowledge. Without a book, it is quite difficult to qualify UPSC. Some aspirants pass UPSC without a book. It doesn’t mean that books don’t have to be read, but you need to read good books from a good writer here. Read NCERT books and after completion starts reading books. Make your important notes in a book and read these notes every day. Below I mentioned required books to prepare for Prelims Examination.


Step #5: Best Books For Prepare UPSC Prelims Examination

INDIAN HISTORY BOOKS(Books links I listed below)







Step #6: Take a Mock Test online

Many websites are there where you can give Mock-Test. You can find these platforms online. most of these Mock-Test platforms are free. In these platforms, you can check your performances and you can solve your weak areas. So that you can examine yourself. It will help you a lot while attending the UPSC exam.

Step #7: Start Subject-Wise Preparation

yes, after completing the above steps you need to start preparing seriously for all your prelims subjects. Chill out I am going to share here some tips. Firstly think which subjects are you weak in. Then collect the necessary materials, books for those subjects. Try to read those subjects 2 times in a day. If you are doing a study or you are an employee, prepare yourself to read at least once a day. Try to read the subjects which overlap in the main examination. Keep in mind to make a proper note while reading.


How To Choose An Optional Subject For UPSC?

Many aspirants feel confused during choosing an optional subject. In UPSC you need to choose one optional subject and that consist of two papers. Both the papers are 250 marks each.

Well, these subjects you will be going to give in Main Exam.

There are 48 Optional Subjects are there in UPSC. Out of 48 subjects, 25 are Normal subjects and 23 are Literature subjects.

choose optional subject guide

List of 48 Optional subjects in UPSC

Agriculture, Chemistry, Botany, Anthropology, Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science, Geology, Civil Engineering, Commerce & Accountancy, Economics, Geography, Electrical Engineering, Chemistry, History, Philosophy, Law, Management, Mathematics, Medical Science, Mechanical Engineering, Physics, Zoology, Statistics, Sociology, Public Administration, Political Science & International Relations, Psychology.

23 Literature Optional Subjects in UPSC

English, Telugu, Urdu, Dogri, Bodo, Bengali, Assamese, Hindi, Gujarati, Kashmiri, Tamil, Sindhi, Odiya, Nepali, Santhali, Sanskrit, Punjabi, Marathi, Manipuri, Kannada, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam.

Easy Optional Subject For UPSC

We can’t say any particular subject. It all depends upon aspirants. If you see the scenario of back UPSC Exams then you will see More then 12000 Aspirants it mean 50% give interest in History, Geography, Public Administration and Sociology Subjects. Rest candidate chooses the other subjects. While choosing a subject keep in mind you should have all resources and book with you.

So I can that most choicely subjects in UPSC are History, Geography, Public Administration and Sociology Subjects, Anthropology as well.

Which Optional Subject Is Best For 12th Passed Students In UPSC?

It all depends on you, if you want an easy subject then you can choose a literature subject or you can choose any general subject which is suitable for you. If you feel that you are interested in some other subject then try to choose those topics which are suitable for you. So that you can score easily.

In UPSC Which Optional Subject Is Best For Engineer Students?

There are plenty of options that are there for Engineer Students. If you are from Electrical, Civil, Mechanical background then you should take your Engineering subject. While preparing you need not read these subject from the beginning. So that within less time you can read easily. It will also help you to get a good score.

Which Optional Subject Is Good For Medical Student In UPSC?

If you are a medical student then you have so many options from others. You can take a subject like Botany, Anthropology, Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science and Zoology. Always try to take a subject in which you are good.

Exam Pattern Of UPSC Mains

After you qualify your Prelims then only you can give UPSC mains. In mains, 9 papers are there each paper contains 250 marks each. The paper comes with both English and Hindi language. The paper contains subjects like Essay, General Studies and Optional Subject. Here you will give subjective answers.

The paper-1 comes with Essay writing for 250 Marks, Paper-2 comes with General Studies-1 for 250 Marks, Paper-3 comes with General Studies-2 for 250 Marks, Paper 4 comes with General Studies-3 for 250 Marks, Paper-5 comes with General Studies-4 for 250 Marks, Paper 6 comes with Optional Subject-1 for 250 Marks, Paper 7 comes with Optional Subject-2 for 250 Marks. The total marks are 1750.

Paper-1 contains subjects Indian Heritage, Culture & Art, World & Society, Modern History.

Paper-2 contains subjects Constitution & Polity, Social Justice, International bonds, Governance.

Paper-3 contains subjects Environment, Security, Disaster Management, Technology, Biodiversity.

Best Books For UPSC Mains Exam

Here I attached all-important and much-needed books to prepare mains

How To Prepare For UPSC Mains Exam?

Here they will examine your logical skills, work skills, knowledge and understanding. In this exam, you need to improve your writing skills. Here I am going to mention some tips it will help you a lot.

upsc mains exam guide

Step #1: Improve Your Writing Skills

While preparing both prelims and mains you keep in your mind which you read, keep write that on your note. So that you can improve your writing skills also. Always write 400 to 500 words on your notes, and try to write regularly basis.

Step #2: Tips For Essay Writing

In mains exam essay comes for 100 marks. Here you need to keep practice for essay writing. Check previous year question paper gain an idea about essay writing. Collect some good essay books and prepare them.

Several topics are there between them to find some topic wisely. In the mains exam, the essay writing plays a big role, because it comes with 100 marks. It will help you to score well in mains.

Before writing the essay in exam firstly think about the topic and write all point behind the paper. Don’t try to write about unnecessary words otherwise, it will ruin your essay. Write an essay like suggestive manner and conclude it. These are few tips keep in mind and apply in your essay writing.

Other rest things I mentioned above in the prelims section.


Best Books For UPSC Personal Interview

I listed here some needed books links, check them all it will help you to prepare better.

How To Prepare For UPSC Personal Interview?

Get ready for UPSC personality test, this is the last phase in the Civil Service Examination. This phase will decide you are eligible for this post or not. After complete your mains exam, start preparing for the personal interview. Now let’s talk about some tips and tricks so that you can improve your personality skills.

upsc personal interview guide

Step #1: Know Yourself Better

It means you know you better compare to others. Start asking yourself about your passions, your inbuilt behaviours, your mindsets so that you can know yourself easily. After all, these find your weakness and solve those. Consider one think if you have a low voice issue them from today onwards try to improve your voice loudness.

Step #2: Self-Confidence

Yes, it plays a very important role in your interview. While talking with board members did not feel them you are in a bit nervousness. Give all your answers in truthfully.

If you have self-confidence in your weakness list then overcome it. Here you need to create your own resources like talk with virtually from a different country person. So that you can comfortably increase your self-confidence.

Step #3: Make Your Bio-Data

Firstly make you’re a full bio-data. After that read your biodata till when you do not feel the confidence about your bio. Try to read your bio so many times. So that you can check on it you have any wrong on your bio or not. Write well on hobbies. In the interview, the first answer will come from about your hobbies.

Before the last date of your interview recheck your bio 2 to 3 times. It will help you to avoid the last-minute rush.

One bonus tip is that make a print of 2,3 bio and keep in your hand, after entering in the hall give your bio copy to every board members.

You can use here resources like Resume Builder tools. In these tools, you can make your Bio-data easily.

Step #4: Communication Skill Improvement

While communicating with board member try to speak fluently on English and on your mother tongue too. Here communication skills matter a lot. If you did any mistake over here, you can lose your chances. To overcome this, talk with your friends in English, try virtually conversation with somebody good at communication skills. you have some options paid resources like Cambly app here you can talk to other country peoples.

Step #5: Don’t Say Lie

Do not say lie to board members and don’t write any lie in Bio-Data. If you try to say anything here they will easily catch you. Here you cannot catch their attention with the help of lie words. So say the truth.

Step #6: Reply straight to the point

Make yourself to give reply in straight to the point. with this habit, you can stop giving unnecessary answers. Commonly give balanced answers to them. when they start to ask you controversy topic on that time prepare yourself to give a justified and balanced answer. Hope you understood here what I am trying to say.

Bonus tip: If they ask something or if you have no answer of that then simply say the truth you don’t know the answer. This type of truth behaviour matters in front of board members. Use your common sense before giving any answer to them.

Step #7: Know about your Country And State

They will ask you these type of common questions. If you failed here to answer then chances can come for your rejection. Many times they ask questions from your state. before going for an interview try to read all current affairs and history of your state.

Step #8: Dressing Sense

On this day try to wear neat and proper formals. For men’s, you can wear white or any light colour shirts and wear dark colour pants specially choose between black and brown colour. Avoid wearing any other light colours and you can wear a suit but it not necessary to wear a suit.

For ladies, you can wear any churidar or you can wear any saree also. Avoid wearing too much-coloured dresses.

Step #9: Avoid Rumours

On the day of the interview try to avoid rumours. This is a common situation most of the students suffers in this. It will disturb your mind and you can’t give your best in the interview, so try to avoid.

How to prepare for UPSC at home?

Most of the aspirants especially the job holder thinks this question “Can I Prepare UPSC At Home?”.

This is a million-dollar question. If you are one of them I have your answer. Above what I mentioned if you follow them step by step then you can definitely prepare at home, Don’t need to go institution. If you are thinking to prepare at home then get all the resource like books, Materials, Previous year question papers in your hand. Utilize all of your resources and prepare a daily basis.


Meantime, in 1-year preparation, you can easily crack the UPSC exam. For this, you need to give your 1year hard work.

I think I give here all details and hope now you get the ideas about the UPSC examination. If you need detail for any other content then comment down below.

Are you think coaching for UPSC is really needed?

If you are going to prepare for UPSC Examination then let me know in the comment section.

12 thoughts on “How To Prepare For UPSC (A Step By Step Guide)”

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