How to prepare for IAS Exam

How to prepare for UPSC

Hello Friends,

Cracking UPSC Exams is not a piece of cake; it is rather a herculean task. Every year lakhs of candidates appear for these exams but only few of them succeed. This is only due to the large syllabus which are to be completed with sincere efforts under tough guidelines. Before you switch to preparing for such exams, please ask to yourself the following questions:

  1. Is it your inner urge to go for UPSC Exams or is it your mere imitation of the successful and of your friends?
  2. Have you judged your potentials before throwing yourself into preparing for UPSC Exams?
  3. At which Academic Stage (Matric, Inter or Graduation) have you decided to prepare for such Exams because the earlier you decide to prepare for them the better you have chances to crack them?
  4. Are your basics clear? If not then the chances of cracking the Exams become bleak.
  5. Have you girded up your loins for self studies before you switch to preparing for such Exams?
  6. Do you think the environment of yours for studies is conducive for the preparation?
  7. Do you think that the guidance you are having motivates you to study to the point?
  8. Are you studying for all stages of the Exams simultaneously?
  9. Are you learning smart, discussing smart, conversing smart and looking smart?
  10. Have you developed the attitude of being an Officer of that grade?

The above are the ten most important questions to be asked to yourself. If any of them remains unanswered in a positive way, it means you need introspection. Random preparation for UPSC Exams may ruin your chances altogether.

Anyways Friends! Let’s come to know of UPSC Exams and their syllabus in detail.

Abbreviated as UPSC, the Union Public Service Commission is the Central Recruiting Agency conducting Examinations in India for Group A and Group B services.

The examinations conducted by this recruiting agency are:
  1. Central Armed Police Forces (ACs) Examination Indian Forest Service Examination
  2. Combined Medical Services Examination
  3. Combined Geo-Scientist and Geologist Exam
  4. Indian Economic Service and Indian Statistical Service Examination
  5. Civil Services Examination
  6. National Defence Academy and Naval Academy (NDA and NA) Examinations
  7. Combined Defence Services (CDS) Examination
  8. Engineering Services (Preliminary Stage-I) Examination
  9. Combined Medical Services Examination

Now, let’s discuss in detail first of all ‘Civil Services Examination’ (CSE)

Civil Services Examination (CSE)

This Examination comprises around 25 services for ‘A’ and ‘B’ Grade Posts. Some of the services/posts are:

  1. Indian Administrative Service
  2. Indian Foreign Service
  3. Indian Police Service
  4. Indian P & T Accounts & Finance Service, Group ‘A’
  5. Indian Defence Accounts Service, Group ‘A’
  6. Indian Ordnance Factorires Service, Group ‘A’
  7. Indian Postal Service, Group ‘A’
  8. Indian Civil Accounts Service, Group ‘A’
  9. Indian Defence Estates Service, Group ‘A’
  10. Armed Forces Headquarters Civil Service, Group ‘B’
  11. Pondicherry Civil Service, Group ‘B’

Educational Qualification

Graduation from any recognized University in India


  • Minimum – 21 years (for All Categories)
  • General – 32 years
  • OBC – 35 years
  • SC/ST – 37 years

Number of Attempts:

  • General – 6 times
  • OBC – 9 times
  • SC/ST – No limit


The Exams are conducted in three phases.

  • Phase – I – Preliminary Exam carrying 400 marks (Objective Type)
  • Phase – II – Main Exam carrying 1750 marks (Descriptive Type)
  • Phase – III – Interview carrying 275 marks (Personality Test)

The Preliminary Exam (Phase -I) consists of two papers

Paper- I (General Studies)

It consists of

General Studies and Current Affairs including general issues on environmental ecology, bio-diversity and climate change.

  • Number of Questions – 100
  • Total Marks – 200
  • Time- 2 Hours (from 9:30 am to 11:30 am)
  • Negative Marks-1/3

Paper – II (CSAT-Civil Services Aptitude Test)

 It consists of:

  • General Mental Ability
  • Comprehension Skills
  • Logical Reasoning & Analytical Ability, Decision Making and Problem Solving
  • Number of Questions – 80
  • Total Marks – 200
  • Time- 2 Hours (from 2:30 am to 4:30 am)
  • Negative Marks- 1/3
Note: The Marks obtained in the Phase-I Examination do not contribute to the final score.

Phase – II (Mains Exam) of 1750 marks

It comprises 9 Papers out of which 2 are of Qualifying in nature. Each Qualifying Paper carries 300 Marks thus totaling 600. The following are the Qualifying Papers:

  • Any Indian Language Paper &
  • English Language Paper
Note the following for Language Papers:
  • Essay – 100 Marks
  • Reading Comprehension – 60 Marks
  • Precis Writing – 60 Marks
  • Translation – 40 Marks
  • Grammar and Basic Language Usage – 40 Marks
The rest Seven Papers are as follows:
  • Paper – I – Essay
  • Paper – II – GS -I
  • Paper – III- GS -II
  • Paper -IV – GS-III
  •  Paper – V – GS-IV
  • Paper -VI- Optional Subject Paper – I
  • Paper – VII- Optional Subject- Paper-II
Note: In case a Candidate does not qualify in the Qualifying Papers, his/her marks in other Papers will not be considered.

Phase-III (Interview)

It carries 275 Marks.

Final Selection takes place considering the Marks obtained in Phase-II and Phase-III of the Examination.