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Preparing for IAS Exam from School/College Days for 2020

how to prepare to IAS UPSC examsThere are many students who aspire to be an IAS officer right from their school days. They are always inquisitive to know, how should they start their preparation for the IAS exam keeping in view the subjects to be selected in the future. Here are some tips for such our young aspirants:


Firstly you need to understand the civil services or IAS exam. You need to go through its pattern, eligibility criteria and prelims syllabus, understand it, what is it all about. As you prepare for your school or college semesters and unit tests, in the same way, you should be preparing the Civil Services Exam. Develop curiosity about it and understand what UPSC demands from its aspiring civil servants.


Always keep checking the latest trends and changes in the pattern. UPSC expects high integrity, sound judgment, and good knowledge of current issues from the IAS aspirants. It does not want any rote learners. In order to avoid rote learners, the concept of optional paper in prelims has been completely removed. Weightage of general studies paper has been increased significantly. Now there are two GS papers common to all in Prelims and four compulsory GS papers in the Mains along with one optional subject.

Score pad:

GS commands huge importance in prelims up to 100% and for mains 70 %. It is advisable that you should start your GS topics when in schools and colleges. It will help you to have proper knowledge beforehand and will prove to you as a benefit when you actually start your preparation. You will find the topics very familiar while preparing for an exam.

What to read:

Before indulging yourself into books, you should make it a regular practice to read a newspaper like the Hindu or Indian Express, Times of India is not so very important. Supplements your habit with a good magazine like Pratyogita Darpan. This habit will help you to develop an interest in current issues happening around you.

Build up your General Knowledge very well and make it strong. Go on expanding your General awareness. Manorama Yearbook will be very beneficial for this book. Its language is really simple to understand, the data and facts are highly reliable and most importantly it’s trusted by UPSC paper setters since many questions are routinely asked in the Prelims from this book.

Move step by step. Next comes the preparation for Prelims, properly focus only on this first stage as it is the first gate.

You should focus on the books for prelims for your IAS preparation in the right earnest. But do not forget your school or college studies. Don’t put the burden on yourself by getting all the books. You might not have enough time to go through all the books at this time.

Rather get books that you can go through in your spare time like the Oxford Student Atlas it will also help you with your Geography studies. If you want to go even deeper, get the GS manual for paper 1 and paper 2 by TMH since this is a nice and reliable compilation of all the subjects and topics for prelims. Besides, it is a good source of general awareness issues; not to mention they are really fun to read.

Subject selection:

According to the new pattern, optional subjects comes only in the Mains and not in Prelims. If you’re still in school then you should not think about the optional subject at this stage. Just focus on the Prelims and follow the tips given above.

If you are an undergraduate or a Postgraduate student then you need to check whether your subjects have been offered as optional subjects in the UPSC Mains or not. If it is given, then again even after that you have a wide range of options. It is not necessary that who should stick to only those subjects which you have in your Graduation or in post-graduation.

You can also choose some other subject which you are confident about, that it will gain you good marks. Subjects of graduation class are more advisable as it is the subject for which you have already prepared and have good knowledge of it. Still, the choice of an optional subject depends upon person to person.

After selecting your optional subject so through its syllabus and so you can stress on the part that overlaps with the UPSC syllabus. This way you can save significant time during your actual preparation.

In case if you select the subject which is totally new and you are unable to prepare it along with your college subjects and not to worry wait till the time you can devote your full concentration for it. Don’t be too fast. After that, you can worry about selection and preparation.

IAS exam and its preparation are a layered process that requires constant effort and patience to complete. You have made the right choice by selecting the civil services as your career option early on during your school or college itself.

Now you need to channelize your enthusiasm and make the best use of your time by following the strategy listed in this post. This way you will get a head start over others when you appear for your first attempt.

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  1. S. Suresh Kumar says:

    Any schools are there for giving coaching for civils form schooling

  2. Rupshul Patil says:

    I am interested to preparing for IAS exam from my college now i am B.E 1st years student. kindly suggest how to study or join any coaching. I m residing at Nagpur kindly inform please.

  3. kashish says:

    Whats the difference b/w IAS and IPS

  4. Tidake shubhangi says:

    I’m excited to prepare for lAS exam. Please inform me how to study.

  5. T.Atul says:

    Hello sir/mam,
    This year I cleaned my 12th boards on science stream. And now I am thinking to do B.A. taking English as my honors subject.
    Will my decision of taking English as my honors subject help me for UPSC exams?
    Please suggest me.

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