How many hours should one study to become IAS

hours of studies to clear upsc

Do you want to be an IAS officer in the future?

Do you feel motivated and have what it takes, but don’t know how to start!?

Are there a hundred questions in your mind right now, from making the right study plan to decide between self-study and a coaching institute? And most importantly, are you confused as to how many hours of studies it takes to clear the UPSC CSE?

Well, all this is absolutely normal!

With so much advice and suggestions (mostly unasked!) thrown at you from all angles, it is easy to feel stuck in your head. From 2 hours per day to a mind-freezing 18 hours, every person will put forward a specific number to you.

So, how do you know what is right for you? Does the perfect hours for UPSC study even exist?

Well, let’s find out. In this article, we will explore not only the biggest misinformation that will rattle your faith, but also tell you exactly how many hours is enough and how to make the most of it!

5 Horror Stories About UPSC CSE Preparations That’ll Haunt You At Night

UPSC Exams Are The Hardest To Pass

From your friends to that annoying uncle in your neighborhood, and from your teachers to some misguided fellow aspirant, everyone has only one thing to say- UPSC examination is the momma of all exams in India. It is the toughest to crack, and you had better study hard, harder than ever you have in your life!

Trust us, like any other exam; this too has its limits. With the right strategy, you can break it down and successfully crack it. This exam demands a longer study process, but definitely isn’t as hard as everyone fears!

As Long As You Study For 15 Hours A Day, You Are Good To Go!

No! You will probably end up with an anxiety disorder or worse, nervous breakdown! UPSC prepping is all about Smart Study And Not Hard Study. Your study schedule should accommodate good hours for relaxation, socializing and sleep as well.

If You Don’t Know About Everything Under The Sun, You’ll Fail

The UPSC doesn’t expect you to know everything. There is a syllabus that you’re supposed to stick to. There are standard books available for reference. What is expected of you is to have a general understanding of the given syllabus that is enough to pen down your thoughts diagnostically and conceptually.

A Good Coaching Institute Will Save You

No, they won’t. There are many coaching institutes out there thriving on age-old reputation and presently have nothing substantial to offer in the present. Some are out there only to churn money out of your pockets. Irrespective of the institute, success comes only to those who truly prepare for it. There are many toppers and officers out there who have made it on their own.

The More Books You Read, The More You’ll Know

Actually it’s the opposite. The more information you’ll inject into your brain, the more are the chances of overload and probable leakage! Anyone who tells you to refer to multiple sources for one topic shouldn’t be taken seriously!

Time To Answer The Big Question Now!

You might find it hard to believe, but according to our experts at UPSC Pathshala, an IAS aspirant should study for exactly 4 hours everyday for one whole year.

Yes, you read it right!

4 Hours – Everyday – One Year!

I know it sounds crazy and impossible. But this is all you need.

How Does This Even Work?

As we have already mentioned above, UPSC study is not about hard study, it is about smart study!

Think like this,

You have a thousand page novel at hand to finish. And you vow to finish it in two days?

Is it possible?


Is it worth it?



Because –

  • You didn’t enjoy the read
  • Your brain couldn’t process all those thousand pages in such short time
  • You can’t recall half the story
  • Your nerves are numb, your eyes hurt, you’ve lost sleep, you feel sick, and your friends think you’ve left town!

So, what went wrong?

The two major scenarios at play are: –

  1. You were swept away by popular advice, and misjudged your own capabilities. The novel had all your attention, and you took the first thought that hit your brain to complete it.

    Instead, had you given lesser hours every day for a whole week, wouldn’t you have enjoyed the novel better and understood its essence?
  1. You chose the wrong time to start reading. if time was an issue, maybe you should’ve started earlier.

5 Tips To Successfully Master Our “4-hours-in-24-hours-For 1 Year” Mantra

  • Start At The Right Time

You must be practical and realistic in your approach towards your UPSC exam preparation. The syllabus at hand is vast. Lesser days combined with longer study hours lead to nothing but information overload and unsuccessful memory retention.

It is best to prepare for your exam for a complete year, with the same amount of zeal and dedication you had on the first day till the last.

  • Start With The Right Plan

The right plan is formulated around your individual capabilities. You must identify your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to subjects in the UPSC syllabus.

Understand which topics demand more attention as per syllabus weightage and also your potential. Plan your schedule based on a proper balance of topic weightage and self-ability.

  • Start With The Right Source

You must remember- One topic one source.

One book is enough to study one topic. You can select the aid of The Hindu, specific magazines or the Internet for additional knowledge or current information.

  • Start With The Right Focus

One year is a long time. It is easy to lose motivation midway. Tell yourself everyday that you must study every day for four hours with the same focus, drive and interest that you had on the first day of the year.

This is the essence of smart study!

  • Start With The Right Method

Smart study also means enough time for recreation. Do not allow your preparation to alienate you from the society. You must dedicate one-hour everyday to meeting your friends, going out for a walk, and breathing some fresh air.

It is crucial to get a sleep of 8 hours everyday.

I hope this article has cleared all your doubts regarding the hours of studies required to clear UPSC CSE.

Good luck!

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