How to crack UPSC

UPSC IS NEVER EVER A TOUGH NUT TO CRACK. And for it need a goal-centric strategy.

A goal without proper planning remains a mere dream. AND THESE STATEMENT STANDS VERY TRUE IN CASE OF CIVIL SERVICES. IT IS NEVER ONLY LUCK THAT LEADS ONE THROUGH BUT HIS/HER DEDICATION , STRATEGY , PERSEVERANCE. The UPSC exam, being the toughest one in the country, requires more than just preparation. It requires what is called “strategic added preparation”. A ROUND 360 STRATEGY DRAWS A THIN LINE OF DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ASPIRANTS AND SMART ASPIRANTS. The latter becomes more productive with fewer inputs.

Important Links:

UPSC Syllabus

IAS Exam Pattern

Understand the UPSC’s requirements

UPSC civil service exam is neither like a board exam like CBSE or ICSE, nor a degree exam like PhD, etc. UPSC demands those talents who can serve the country, and do something for society. You have to be a ‘jack of all trades’ personality. Aside from academic knowledge, this necessitates an individual’s overall development. Even in academics, the emphasis should be on constantly acquiring information and insight into the latest happenings/current affairs in the country and beyond, rather than simply finishing the syllabus.

The syllabus is the king

Understanding the actual difference between CSE Prelims and Mains is that while the Prelims focus on recognition (of information) and require a comprehensive study covering a wide variety of topics, Mains need the ability to recall, analyze and express (ideas and information, including one’s own thoughts) properly which can only be done through an intensive study of the topic. Therefore it is very important to stay focussed and cover in-depth, the topics that you have picked for Mains and in doing so you have to match your skills with the subject at hand. Using the right approach and picking the right parts of the syllabus for the intensive study will not only help manage time but also garner more marks in the end.

Don’t read 10 books 1 time, instead revise 1 book for 10 times

The UPSC exam cannot be passed simply by being a bookworm.

A basic funda to have a grip on UPSC preparation is not to read multiple books on the same subject. Instead, read a book multiple times. Besides, limit your other resources also.

Solve PYQ papers as many times as you can

After coverage of a substantial portion of the syllabus, the first attempt of the static part (Prelims & Mains) PYQs must be attempted. That will be your first small step & giant leap for concrete preparation. Past year papers should be like a radar of preparation that provides direction and orientation to your preparation. Apart from enhancing your knowledge base, last year’s papers help in forming your mental outlook. This increases your common sense and helps you in eliminating options in prelims.

Attempt 1 mock test per month

To find your preparation gaps, one mock test in an interval of 30 days is essential. After coverage of a substantial portion of the syllabus, a decent number of mock tests must be attempted. The number of mocks should be reasonable. Too many tests would precious energy and too few numbers would go you unprepared. Mocks should be given in an exam-type environment only. Joining only one standard Test Series would be a wise idea. Post Test analysis with a mentor is a must exercise. High performance should not bring elation and poor performance should not bring frustration. Just run the race to continuously improve yourself.

Focus on the 4 pillars: strategy, consistency, Confidence, and Time Management.

Success does not lie in Results but in Efforts, Being the best is not so important, Doing the best is all that matters. 

Strategy: don’t follow toppers blindly. Listen to them, understand the ‘pain & aggitate’, and devise your own flexible strategy that actually works for you. 

Time Management: It’s not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is, what are we busy about? Poor time management frequently leads you to stress and frustation. 

Consistency: The more you remain consistent, the more you can manage your time and energy effectively. It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives. It’s what we do consistently.


I once heard the famous quote “….the intelligent people are full of doubts while the stupid one is full of confidence” by Charles Bukowski.

It can be proven to be great advice.

  • Avoid acting like an intelligent one. It’s not good becoming intelligent and reading with confusion and doubts.
  • Have confidence in what you can learn in your strategies.

Remember, doubt begets more doubts and confidence begets more confidence.

Grow the habit of  ‘critical thinking, ‘mark-leaving writing’

The personality test round is the final stage of the UPSC exam process. The UPSC board interviews the candidate to assess their personality and suitability for a service career. 

Divideyour answer writing into three sections – Basic, Intermediate and Advanced. 

Remember: millions of aspirants read the same book, materials. So, developing only a mark-leaving answer writing skill with relevant information can help you to beat cut throat competition.

Keep a safe distance from social media.

Yes, there is not restriction on using social media for a UPSC aspirant. But, you should use them and don’t let them use you anyway. All the toppers, in their candid interview, mentioned this.

Finally, becoming a UPSC hero is not an easy task. Right direction, determination, and the guidance are the warriors for such unpredictable journey. Don’t deprive yourself from the right guidance of experienced IAS mentors.


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