How to Start UPSC (IAS) Preparation: A Beginner’s Guide!
A Beginner’s Guide to Start the UPSC CSE (IAS) Preparation: Before beginning the preparation, a candidate must ask a few questions to oneself, such as ‘What is Civil Services?’, ‘Why Civil Services?’ ‘Who is eligible for that?’ What are the educational criteria for the UPSC CSE (IAS)?’, ‘What is the age limit?’, ‘What is the selection procedure?’ ‘What is the nature of the exam?’ ‘What is the syllabus?’ How many subjects should study?’ ‘How to study?’ ‘What is the exam strategy?’ ‘Key factors ensuring success?’ And then last but not the least, ‘Why UPSC?’ If you have these questions and are inquisitive to know them, then you are in the right place! We try and address all these answers through this article. Let us unfold one by one, and then we would discuss the strategy to be followed!
How to prepare for UPSC-IAS, Step by Step Guide
Step Zero: Know the basics of the exam
It is extremely important to know in and out of the exam you’ll be appearing for! Hence, give a weeks’ time into knowing about the exam pattern, exam syllabus, and all the nitty-gritty of the exams. We have covered these areas extensively on our YouTube channel where you can check out experts’ videos on these areas. You can also check out the articles on our UPSC website, it will surely get you started. Another exercise that you must do before starting full-fledged exam preparation is to glance through previous year papers and acquaint yourself with what is asked in the examination!
Step One: Strengthen Your Foundation
Now that you know how the questions are asked, start your preparation! Start with reading NCERTs from Class VI-XII. Every year more than 15 questions are asked directly from the NCERTs, hence, you should not skip them! We also have an NCERT course specially designed for beginners. The course will get you started with the preparation, which otherwise, may seem a daunting task! Nevertheless, in this stage, you should start reading the NCERTs and develop regular newspaper reading habit!
Step Two: Build On Your Foundation
The second step is to build on the strong foundation that you’ve built! Start reading the standard books for each subject. Always keep in mind that you need to limit your resources to the minimum in order to get sufficient time for revision. Read one book per subject and revise it multiple times. Here is the booklist that you can follow!
Step Three: Revision Is the Key
Revision is actually the key to this examination! The syllabus is extensive, hence, you need to keep revising in order to retain all that you read. Keep your weekends free for revising what you’ve read over the week. Other than that, be consistent with the holistic revision of current affairs and other subjects as well!
Step Four: Answer-Writing Practice
You should begin answer-writing when you’ve completed about 50% syllabus. Completion of the entire syllabus is a myth and you would not be able to do that, no matter what! So, target completion of about 70-75% syllabus and revise it multiple times. Try n write good answers, you can take inspiration from the toppers’ answer key to frame your answers. Always get your answers evaluated from your mentors who could tell you ways to improve!
Step Five: March Towards Prelims
This is the last leg of preparation before Prelims! You can commence prelims-focused preparation about 2 months before the Prelims. Try to give full-length mocks in the simulated environment to prepare yourself for the big day. Since the COVID effect would still be there, use a face shield and face mask even while sitting for the mock tests to acclimatize yourself with the new-normal of giving exams.
In this last leg of preparation, adopt a mock-test-based learning approach along with a rigorous revision of content that is purely prelims-centric. Do a round-up of current affairs and all the core subjects along with the mock tests. Do not forget CSAT. Although it is qualifying in nature, it is extremely important to get 66+ marks on that paper to sit for Prelims.
Step Six: Practice Answer-Writing For Mains
The Prelims exam is over! If you think you have made the cut, take a rejuvenation break for a week’s time and get your journey towards Mains started. The UPSC Mains may be conducted in January 2022 much like the last year. Start with revising your optional subject as well as work on your weak areas. Write the answers thoughtfully and get them evaluated from your mentors. It will allow you to assess your writing skills. Simultaneously, start revising your notes as well as standard books. Do not read anything new at this time, just revise whatever you’ve already written notes.
Step Seven: Interview Preparation
For Interview preparation, read your DAF extremely carefully and prepare all the standard questions well in advance. You should be extremely confident about yourself, work on your soft skills, groom your personality, regularly read newspapers in order to keep yourself vigilant through and through. Check out the topper approved curated interview tips here