The Civil Service Examination (CSE) is among the toughest exams in the world held by Union Public Service Examination (UPSC) every year. The CSEs are segregated into three different stages: Prelim exams, which are objectives, the second is Mains, a written examination, and the third stage is Interview, where candidates are evaluated based on their verbal skills.

Lakhs of students appear for the exams every year, but only some know how to crack Civil Service Exam. This has instilled fear in the mind of many aspirants. Everyone has the question: will they be able to crack IAS on their first attempt? Yes, it is possible to crack IAS on the first attempt, and many have done it. But it is a difficult task for which one must strictly adhere to the strategy to crack IAS.

Study from Important Books

To prepare for the civil service exams, it is of utmost importance for every aspirant to refer to all the NCERT books. The NCERT books are the basis of all the study material of UPSC exams. There are a total of 42 books published by NCERT for the Examination, and you can make your notes from that. The study material for UPSC isn’t just limited to NCERT books, but you can also refer to other important books available on the internet. You can check those books and buy the ones which are essential.

Cover the Whole Syllabus 

UPSC doesn’t ask questions only about modern times. They can ask about Indian culture, Indian history, geography, current affairs, science and technology, and many more. You or any IAS aspirant can not possibly study the entire syllabus. Therefore, an effective tool to cover the syllabus will be making notes of what you study.

Ensure the notes you are jotting down are not too long, so you can easily understand them when you revise them. This is one of the best strategies to crack IAS on the first attempt, as you will be able to cover the whole syllabus and won’t be worried about missing out on any topic during exams.

Schedule Your Study Time 

A lot of time is required to prepare for and crack the IAS in the first attempt. Many believe that they are required to study 12 hours a day, which is a myth. Every individual needs to dedicate only 9-10 hours daily. You can schedule these 9 hours accordingly. You can opt to study multiple subjects in a day. Plan out what subjects you will study in a day for how much time. Then you just need to follow the schedule strictly to crack the IAS on the first attempt.

Attempt Mock Tests Regularly

Solving mock tests regularly is amongst the best strategies to crack IAS in the first attempt. This strategy is a must before an aspirant appears for both the Prelims and Mains. Solving the mock tests will help you examine your progress. Regular mock tests will help you know where you are lacking, and you can work on those aspects accordingly. Mock tests will also help you gauge where you stand among the competition.

Solve Previous Years’ Question Papers 

Solving previous years’ question papers will boost your confidence to the next level. Question papers from previous years can act as a direction for your preparation for exams. Practising them will help you know where to focus and which topics should be eliminated. You will get a rough idea of how difficult the exam will be and then prepare for it accordingly. Get your hands on as many question papers as you can.

Never Avoid Newspaper

Newspapers are like nectar for the preparation of civil service examination. You can start reading newspapers like The Hindu, Economic Times, and various others. Reading the newspaper will help you keep up with current affairs. Many questions in the exam come from the newspaper, and as you will be attempting mock tests, you will know what part of the newspaper you need to focus on. In time, you will know what to read in a newspaper and what not to read for the preparation of civil services examinations.

Practice Answer Writing

Practising writing answers for the exam is crucial. You don’t want to go to the exam hall and not be able to complete the exam in a given time. It is important how skillfully you can write in exams. A student with slow writing can face huge problems during the exam if he/she doesn’t practice answer writing. The same can happen to the students with good speed writing. Practising answer writing will help you manage the time accordingly.

IAS aspirants should also focus on the word limits, as there is limited space provided for the answers to be written. Alongside time management, candidates are also required to learn how to write an answer in limited space, present the answer, include pointers, and include paragraphs. All this practising is a necessary strategy to crack IAS in the first attempt.

Revision is Necessary 

Revision is necessary in order to retain all the studying that you have done. It can help you remember quick pointers/formulas/numbers that you need to keep in mind. Revision before the exam will help you to remember information. The last month before examination should be dedicated solely to revision. You shouldn’t pick any new subject or topic in the last month. To get the best results, try to revise the whole syllabus at least twice. A good amount of revision guarantees that you are going to clear IAS on the first attempt.

Improve Communication Skills

We have discussed a lot about the writing part for Prelims and Mains, but not to forget that the Interview is the final and most important examination stage. Once you have cleared your Mains, start preparing for your interview. Don’t avoid reading the newspaper as it will help you with the current affairs that can be asked during the interview, and the newspapers can also help build the vocabulary.

Aspirants should watch English news channels and debates on various subjects to get a good grasp of the language. Engage yourself in conversing with people in English. A candidate shouldn’t search for words during the interview. They should be confident, have a good hold over the language, and communicate effectively. But aspirants have the option to give interviews in their mother tongue.

Maintain Your Health

Preparation for UPSC exams does involve long hours of studies, but that doesn’t mean you should stop living a healthy lifestyle. Ensure you are getting an ample amount of sleep every day, and your diet includes healthy food. Avoid bringing down yourself with the stress and nervousness for the exam. Practice meditation to stay stress-free and calm.


These strategies to crack IAS in the first attempt are very effective, only if the aspirant follows it in a disciplined manner. One just needs to motivate themselves and put in the effort to crack the IAS. To prepare for the UPSC examination, get online study material by visiting the UPSC Pathshala website. UPSC Pathshala is a space specifically made for the aspirants to grow and learn more. You can also call to book free demo classes. For further information, check out the official website.

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Best Strategy to Crack IAS in First Attempt: Ten Best Tips for UPSC Aspirants
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Best Strategy to Crack IAS in First Attempt: Ten Best Tips for UPSC Aspirants
Want to know how to crack the civil service exam on the first attempt? Read this article to know the strategies for all the three stages of CSE, i.e., Prelims, Mains and Interview.
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UPSC Pathshala
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