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How to start IAS preparation- Best Strategy for Beginners

UPSC Civil Services Examination is among the toughest examination of the world. Becoming an IAS/IPS officer is a dream of lakhs of aspirants. But the harsh truth is the only a handful of candidates can succeed in their UPSC CSE dream. For beginners, not just the level of examination creates goosebumps, but the amount of syllabus along with the limited time to prepare makes the entire thing scary and uneasy.

How to start the UPSC preparation becomes a big question for every beginner. For beginners, starting the UPSC preparation from zero levels is a big task. If you are a beginner, you also might have encountered questions like how to start with NCERT preparation or how to start UPSC preparation from zero level and whatnot. Lots of queries might have blown your mind too, which must be cleared as soon as possible.

How to prepare for UPSC CSE?

The starting point of the preparation for each aspirant can be different, but the preparation process for UPSC CSE is almost the same. A candidate from a Hindi background must approach differently as compared to a candidate from the English background. A candidate who has done graduation from a subject other than the subjects asked in the UPSC examination must approach differently. A person attending the coaching might have a different set of strategies and an aspirant going for self-study may have a different set of approaches. Although, it depends upon the person’s will and dedication that how his/her UPSC journey is going to be.

This article will shed light on a generalized approach of clearing UPSC CSE that will be useful for all the aspirants. Keep scrolling to know more about how to start preparing for UPSC.

Pull out all the Details about UPSC CSE 

 Getting the details about the UPSC CSE is the first and most important part if you are a beginner. You must be aware of everything that UPSC demand from a candidate. You should have a clear understanding of the selection procedures Of UPSC. Knowing clearly about the marking schemes, syllabus, eligibility criteria, exam pattern is very much important. Make a note of important points while going through all the information.

Time Table is your Best Friend For UPSC preparation

Most of the candidates just randomly start preparing for the examination from nowhere. Beginners should be very precise about the time table if they wish to crack the UPSC in the first attempt. Decide for the time you are devoting for preparation on a daily basis. Calculate the time you have for UPSC preparation till the examination date, and then make a time table of various UPSC subjects. Make time-slots to read each and every subject along with the current affairs materials, answer writing, and revision. If followed strictly with the time table, 10-12 months are enough for the preparation if you are serious about becoming IAS/IPS Officer.

Read how to make a time-table for UPSC CSE.

Follow your Time-Table Dedicatedly

Making a detailed time-table is a different thing and following it with your heart and soul is a different thing. You cannot succeed in this examination with just doing one of either thing. Whatever study routine you have made, make sure you follow it without fail. Studying 12 hours a day and rest for the next three days will not help in your UPSC preparation. You need to be consistent even if you are dedicating 3-4 hours every day.

Be selective in Books

After reading the vast syllabus of UPSC, you might have got a sense of uneasiness. But, there is nothing to panic if you plan everything and go systematically with your preparation.

In order to be systematic in your preparation, the most important thing is the selection of the right books and materials. Materials are abundant under the sky, but you cannot read everything. Make a note of important books that you need, and just read those books only.

Beginners who are preparing from a coaching institution get notes and other study materials from their institution. But then also, it is important to be very selective while reading because what to read for UPSC CSE will help you, but what not to read for UPSC CSE will help you more.

Having NCERT Books is a must for UPSC preparation

Whether you are in a coaching institute or not, having all the NCERT textbooks is a must. Buy all the NCERT books that are required. NCERT books provide you with the basic concepts needed to understand the syllabus of UPSC CSE. During previous years, it has been observed that the weightage of questions in the UPSC Exam is from NCERT textbooks.

Download NCERT Books

Learn Note-making 

Develop a habit of making notes for everything you read. It will be effective for your UPSC preparation if you maintain a habit of making notes from day one. Beginners get to rely on the provided notes, and then they read from those notes. It would not be any different than reading a book. Self-preparation of notes is the best way. Even topper focus on the importance of note-making for clearing UPSC CSE. Self-made notes help the beginners to prepare for the examination in so many ways. It will even help you remember a specific topic in a detail. This is mainly helpful in case of current affairs which you need to keep in mind for almost one year. Also, notes will help you at the time of revision as you cannot keep each piece of newspaper and magazine for revision.

Make it a habit and this will even improve your writing skills as well which are needed in Mains of UPSC examination.

Current Affairs for UPSC preparation – Most Important

If you analyze the question trend of UPSC you will know that UPSC questions mostly focus on the recent activities, national and international. Having command on the last 9-12 months current affairs will be your trump card in the UPSC CSE. So covering the current affairs must be followed as a ritual if you are a beginner.

Be specific while reading about current affairs also. Daily a lot of things happen in the world, but everything is not relevant to the UPSC CSE. Read your syllabus carefully to understand what you need to read about current affairs.

Work upon General Knowledge- This should be on your tip

It is a very vast topic for beginners preparing for the UPSC examination. General Knowledge includes the basic knowledge that a candidate has learned in their primary schools. It can be divided into two categories, i.e., static general knowledge and current general knowledge. Static general knowledge includes Indian geography, rivers, static history, achievements, wildlife centuries, national parks, the country’s capital, and their currency, etc. On the other hand, current general knowledge mainly includes the current affairs done within a few years. The things to be learned is enormous but it can be retained with consistent revision.

Revision- You another Best Friend

Revise the entire syllabus including topics from books and current affairs notes as much you can. Retaining such an enormous amount of information after just one read is not at all possible. That is why a strict revision routine is also mandatory. Beginners while preparing for UPSC can’t even revise once before the examination. This happens due to not following the strict time table. Make a time-slot for revision in your study routine. Revising everything for almost 3-4 times will help in your examination. Lack of proper revision might affect your entire preparation negatively.

Avoid Distractions- Social Media Especially

In today’s digital world everyone has a smartphone in their hand and life without a smartphone cannot be even imagined. Getting numerous information, entertainment, and everything you want at your fingertips is interesting and has made life easy. But if you are stepping into IAS preparation, you must avoid any kind of social media distraction at least for the preparation period. Social media can easily divert the beginners from the preparation. Reduce, if possible completely stop using social media to ensure a serious preparation. If you are relying on an online mode of preparation, then stick just to the study materials and do not indulge yourself in useless entertainment stuff. You won’t get your valuable time back, so if you are serious about UPSC CSE, then show some seriousness.

Solve Previous Years Question Papers

A candidate, whether taking coaching or not must solve the previous year question papers to get an idea about the pattern of the examination. Just reading and revising the entire syllabus won’t help alone. For beginners, it is the must to do work, as most of you might not be aware of the pattern of the question paper. With this, you will get a clear idea about the question paper, and it will help you on your D-Day.

Mock Tests- Another Important Step

How will you analyze your performance? Beginners avoid giving a mock test amid the preparation because they feel it’s useless. To know the importance of mock tests in UPSC CSE preparation, please watch videos of UPSC topper. Practicing and analyzing the level of your preparation is as important as covering the syllabus. Not only a giving the mock test will test your preparation level, but it will enhance your knowledge also. It will give you a clear idea of your strength and weakness. So by appearing in the mock test you can analyze and work upon the weak section. Giving the mock tests often will boost your confidence level.

Stay motivated and Relax

Don’t give up too early while preparing if this journey seems difficult to you. Most beginners while the preparation loses their grip due to anxiety and fear. Don’t lose hope and stay motivated and stick to your time table. Neglect negative energies and follow your heart. Always talk to people who understand your dream and motivate you for that. Be away from negative people and groups.

Get enough time to sleep, because you will remember nothing if your mind and body is not healthy. Pull out some time for your hobbies and relax every now and then. UPSC CSE journey is going to be a long journey of your life, so be prepared.

Becoming a Civil servant is a dream for many. It’s not as easy passing a regular school/college level examination. It demands dedication, discipline, and time. Beginners don’t have a clear concept about the UPSC and move away from their native place for the preparation. Don’t fall for anything else other than focusing on clearing the UPSC examination and becoming an officer. People might not have much faith in you but always believe in yourself and your dream.

All the best

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