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5 Step Approach to Crack UPSC Exams

Updated: Apr 5

Young graduates often dream of joining the Indian Civil Service and becoming a part of the country’s administrative setup. But in order to make this dream a reality, they need to go through a very competitive examination process. There are many coaching centers for the Union Public Service Commission exam (UPSC exam), but these are very expensive and at times not accessible by all aspirants. However, those who are genuinely committed to joining the civil services can crack the UPSC exam just through self-study


Here is a simple 5 step approach to self-study for the UPSC exam is as follows:


1. Do your research: The first step towards preparing for the UPSC exam is to spend a few days conducting thorough research about the exam and its syllabus.

  1. About the UPSC Exam - Aspirants first need to learn about the details of the UPSC exam. The eligibility criteria for the exam, the process of registering for the exam and the documents required, the number of papers, the time durations of each paper, and the subjects available for the exam need to be carefully noted down. Click to download Notification for UPSC 2021 Prelims . Note that last date for application is 24th March 2021

  2. About the Syllabus - Once the candidate knows all about the exam, they can then focus on the exam syllabus. It is best for candidates to visit the official websites to gather their information. A good idea of every topic that needs to be covered is essential for the next steps of the self-study process. · The Examination is comprised of two compulsory papers of 200 marks each.

  3. Both the question papers are of objective type (multiple choice questions).

  4. The question papers are set in Hindi and English.

  5. Details of the syllabi are provided in the Examination Notice and Gazette Notification published by the Government.

  6. Each paper is of two hours duration.

Candidates should note that there is penalty (negative marking) for wrong answers marked by a candidate in the Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination. There are four alternatives for the answers to every question. (i) For each question for which a wrong answer has been given by the candidate, one-third (1/3rd) of the marks assigned to that question is deducted as penalty. (ii) If a candidate gives more than one answer, it is treated as a wrong answer even if one of the given answers happens to be correct and there will be same penalty as above for that question. (iii) If a question is left blank, i.e. no answer is given by the candidate; there will be no penalty for that question.


2. Organize Your Study Material - The next step for candidates is to organize their study materials for each subject they have (including compulsory papers and electives). There are different elements to this process:

  • UPSC exam usually focuses on the foundations of all subjects, so basic books for all the subjects need to be chosen.

  • There are also books specially written for the UPSC exam preparation.

  • There are books of previous UPSC exam question papers as well.

  • Students who find it difficult to purchase lots of books can also study from online sources.

  • There are plenty of free digital resources available for UPSC exam preparation.

  • It is also essential for UPSC exam aspirants to keep up with current affairs. They need to read newspapers regularly and go through government-published journals that provide details of current policies.

Candidates have to be very careful in choosing their study material. They need to select sources that will give them enough information without overburdening them. This process forms the foundation of their self-study process. Browse book collection



3. Focus on Time Management - Candidates need to carefully plan their time and break up the syllabus into small time-bound chunks in order to complete the vast UPSC exam syllabus. Good time management will give candidates enough time to revise and evaluate any shortfalls in their preparation.


4. Practice, Practice and More Practice - Devote ample time to writing practice and set strict timings for yourself. Clearing your mains requires not only intelligence and a sharp memory but also endurance. If prior practice has been overlooked, then physical as well as mental fatigue is bound to set in. Reading and revising is essential but practicing is what is going to make you perfect. Learn more about "Power Of Practice"


5. Prepare for the Interview - The personal interview process is an integral part of clearing the UPSC exam, but many candidates fail to prepare properly for this step. It is essential to watch videos of successful candidates and practice answering complex questions spontaneously.


Last but not the least, an essential part of completing any complex task is to stay positive. Candidates need to remain confident and motivated in order to succeed in the UPSC exam.