Self-Preparation Strategy for UPSC CSE

One of the most common misconceptions regarding the civil services exam is that self-study or home study does not produce the required results when it comes to passing the IAS Exam. Many IAS toppers have emerged successful throughout the years by studying at home and devoting more time to self-study.

Every year, thousands of aspirants take the UPSC Civil Services test. This exam is divided into three parts: preliminary, mains, and personality test. Although many candidates seek help from coaching institutes, it is not required.

Some candidates assume that it is difficult to qualify for the UPSC exam without participating in coaching or classroom programmes. There are countless examples of applicants who have qualified for the UPSC CSE examination without taking any classroom courses or coaching by using self-study and material available on the internet. It is vital to exert effort, but knowing where to exert it makes all the difference in your preparation.  In this blog, we will discuss how to prepare for UPSC through self-study.

How to start preparation for IAS without coaching?

Following are the parameters that if followed religiously will help you crack the UPSC Civil Services in the first attempt. Stay till the end to know more about the Self-Preparation Strategy for UPSC CSE.

1. Get to know about the UPSC CSE syllabus and exam pattern.

The UPSC Civil Service examination is separated into three preliminary phases: Mains, Interview, and Personality Test. Both stages have their own curriculum. However, it would be advantageous if you began preparing for prelims and mains throughout your undergraduate years. Examine the curriculum and evaluate the topics based on your strengths and weaknesses. Make sure you have all of the necessary study materials and that you give each subject adequate time.

2. Make a timetable and stick to it.

Making a UPSC Exam timetable or strategy is one of the best strategies to begin your preparation. It will help you use and manage your time more effectively. You must stick to the schedule and divide your days into chunks, such as half time for statistics, half time for response writing, current affairs revision, and half time for the interview. It's also a good idea to double-check if the schedule is acceptable and comfy. It is also advised not to put yourself under any stress during the preparation process, as this could harm your health.

3. Prepare your current affairs

One of the most important components of the UPSC CSE test is current affairs. It is very important in the UPSC preliminary tests and interviews. To stay current, you can use reliable sources like newspapers, journals, and gazettes. In addition, there are certain websites that will help you in preparing current affairs. You can review your current affairs at any time, including if you're travelling or travelling a great distance, which will save you a tonne of time.

4. Join the mock test series

The mock test series significantly contributes to your level of preparation and a better understanding of the subjects.  By giving you frequent, time-bound subject targets, it pushes you to maintain consistency while also assisting you in identifying your areas of strength and weakness. You are given a clear image of the areas of the curriculum that require additional focus. Your caution and foresight in choosing the suitable questions and quantity of questions are essential because Papers I and II use the negative marking scheme.

5. Make notes and revise

Making proper notes is an important component of excellent preparation. When studying for the exam, you must take concise and useful notes, whether from newspapers or conventional textbooks. Also, make sure to review what you've learned on a frequent basis. The more you revise, the more you will remember.

6. Choose the right Optional Subject

Many applicants are still perplexed about which optional subject to pursue. Candidates are often wondering what subjects they may choose as optional to increase their scores. The selection of topics is the first step in that direction because it increases the likelihood of a choice, and the marks are important components in deciding the rank. The most popular majors among candidates are public administration, geography, sociology, political science, philosophy, and history. More than 70% of Civil Service applicants choose these disciplines. These subjects overlap with general courses, making them easier for students to manage—the most popular option among them is Public Administration.

7. Have faith and stay motivated

Going solo in your IAS preparation needs a lot of guts. However, if you study often and plan carefully, you will almost certainly succeed. Work hard and wisely, and never lose sight of your goals.


With a few lakh candidates, the IAS Exam is one of the most difficult examinations. As a result, it should not be taken lightly. In addition, aspirants must create goals and prepare intellectually and physically for the UPSC exam. You must devote sufficient time if you are to pass the exam by self-study. You can begin IAS Exam preparation by making a strategy. This will assist you in making better use of and managing your time. Set aside a couple of hours per day for study and the other half for revision. Best of luck.