One of the hardest exams to crack, there are many UPSC aspirants who dream of becoming an IAS officer and serving the country but are unsure of where to start with, what tools or assistance are required to pass the exams.
Proper preparation for the exam is one of the biggest challenges a person will face before he/she can achieve his/her goal. Below, I have listed 10 tips and resources that will help you get started with the preparation of UPSC exams.
Before you start preparing for the UPSC exams, start studying NCERT classes 6 to 12 and hone your basics. Try to revise all the topics at least five times.
Moving To Advanced Stage
After you have completed studying the NCERT basics, it’s time to move towards advanced topics. Below is a list of books for you to get started with.
Polity written by M Laxmikant
Indian Geography written by NCERT and Majid Hussain
Current Affairs written by The Hindu, PIB, PRS, RSTV
Art and Culture written by Nitin Singhania
Ancient History written by RS Sharma or Tamil Nadu NCERT
Medieval History written by Satish Chandra
Ethics written by Lexicon
Atlas is a must for Geography (Orient Black Swan for World Atlas and Oxford for Indian Atlas)
Modern History written by Rajiv Ahir
Physical Geography written by GC Leong
Economy written by Ramesh Singh and Sanjeev Verma
Environment and Ecology written by Shankar IAS
Choosing Between Self Study And Coaching
Many UPSC aspirants feel that coaching is necessary for clearing UPSC exams. However, this is a myth. You can crack the UPSC exam even through self-study, but coaching will help you reduce your efforts and focus more on preparation.
If you have proper access to the necessary resources and guidance, clearing UPSC exams without any coaching is not an issue. Hence, choosing between self-study and coaching is an option that is totally left to you.
Preparation In A Big Or Small City
Another misconception of UPSC aspirants is that you have to always prepare for the exam in large cities. This is another myth that you have to clear your mind of. Do not waste your time, money, and effort on such things.
You can prepare for the UPSC exam from any part of the world, provided you have access to proper resources and internet connectivity.
This is something that many UPSC aspirants fail to do. Create a common group of like-minded people and indulge in active discussion related to various subjects of the UPSC exams. This will help you a lot in the long run to solve common problems.
Studying The Smart Way
People who are preparing for UPSC exams try to study every chapter of every book, wasting their valuable time. Do not waste your time on irrelevant reading material and only focus on what’s important.
Keeping Yourself Motivated
Think of UPSC as a marathon. You can’t start running fast right away.You have to start slow and pick up the pace when the time comes.
Preparing for the UPSC exam is something similar. There are times when you feel low and want to give up. But you have to learn to keep yourself motivated and push forward. In the end, it will do a lot of good in your life.
Turn Youself Into An Intellectual
No exam is more important to a person’s physical and mental well-being. Preparing for UPSC can be very exhaustive.
Remember that only about 1% of the applicants clear the exam. Chances are, you may or may not be in that 1%. So always keep it in mind to take care of yourself. Even though you may not clear the exam, the things you learn during your preparation will make you an intelligent person.
Practice And Practice More
Practice makes perfect. Something that we have all experienced at some point in our lives.It is no different while preparing for UPSC exams. Practicing is the key to cracking the most important exam of your life.
Whenever you get time, practise mock tests, keep a timer and answer the questions within the stipulated time. Refer to online materials to improve your skills.
Time management is as important as studying for UPSC exams. Revise whatever you have studied as much as possible. Plan your time properly to balance both your life and your studies.
There are many people who will tell you that you have to study for 16–18 hours if you want to crack the UPSC exams. However, this is not true. It may not be possible for everyone to do this, and it will only lead you to burnout. Try to devote at least 8 hours per day to your preparation, and whatever time you devote, put your heart and soul into it.
Self-confidence and motivation are the two most important things that distinguish success from failure. Believe in yourself, have confidence, and always keep yourself motivated.