If you have chosen to read this, then I presume that you wish to begin your UPSC preparation strategy at an early stage. I believe that the process of preparation for this exam can be life-changing for many. By starting early, you give yourself extra years to relish the education, the learning, the experience and the maturity, which this process will impart. You must be thinking, how to start UPSC preparation from zero level? Let’s find out.

UPSC Preparation Strategy

The UPSC exam preparation has four steps:

  • General studies, the static part
  • Current affairs
  • Optional subject
  • Writing skills

Now, let’s handle them one by one.

General Studies:

This is practically all that is challenging in this UPSC syllabus. It covers almost everything under the sky and requires some understanding and appreciation of concepts as well. It is very different from GK, and cannot be done by reading a number of who’s who kinds of books. It is suggested that you should start with this part immediately as it is the part in which you need to invest maximum time and effort and will get the maximum yield as well.

Also Read: Check-out the Best Timetable to Ace the Upcoming UPSC IAS Exam

Current Affairs:

This might not be relevant for you right now, as generally, the news and events of one year before the exam are asked. But still, it will be advisable, that you start spending at least half an hour every day with The Hindu. Just read it for fun as of now, with no agenda. This is one of the important parts of UPSC preparation strategy when you are starting from an early stage.

Optional Subject:

I would not recommend you to even think about it right now. You are very young right now, and your interests and level of ease with various subjects will change as you progress in college. Apart from that, there is an outside chance that by the time you appear, the optional subject might be done away with. So, don’t put any efforts in this right now. Don’t even think about it for a couple of years.

Writing Skills:

It is the most critical and most underrated aspect of civil services and UPSC preparation strategy. In mains, you are supposed to write subjective answers. Apart from that, you need to write an essay as well. This requires the skill to be able to express yourself clearly and logically. This skill, contrary to popular belief, cannot be learnt in a month or two. You need to start practice writing from right now so that it starts coming naturally to you, as in the examination, you do not get any time to think.

How to Start Preparing for IAS?

Every year, lakhs of aspirants appear for the civil service examination. Many of them at a very early stage so that they can prepare even better for the UPSC prelims and the mains. You can start preparing for the exam directly from your home. There is no need to go outside and look for coaching or search for UPSC preparation books. Everything can be done right from your home. Let’s see how to start UPSC preparation at home?

IAS UPSC Preparation Books:

Whenever preparing for any exam, it is suggested to begin it by reading books. For IAS preparation also, it is advisable to look for the best books and start going through those.

Get Idea About the UPSC Syllabus:

You must understand from a very early stage that the UPSC syllabus is huge. But, don’t get worried. If you start early and follow a proper UPSC preparation strategy, it will be a much easier journey. So start gathering ideas about the syllabus.

Also Read: IAS Preparation Tips For Beginners

Take Mental Preparation:

If you have already started thinking about the examination then it can be assumed that you must be well aware of how much dedication this IAS preparation needs. You have to cut a major time from your daily routine and devote yourself completely towards the exam preparation. You have to make yourself ready to work hard. From making a realistic UPSC preparation strategy, keeping updated with the current affairs, analysing the exam pattern to sit for mock tests, you have to do it all to crack the exam with flying numbers.

Video Lectures:

Search for video lectures offered by experts. Go through those, learn more about the exam pattern and get a clear idea about what to expect in the exam hall.

Download Helpful Apps:

These days, there are plenty of educational mobile applications available in the play store. Look out for Apps that will keep you updated with daily current affairs and produce relevant information about UPSC exam.

Take Help From a Mentor:

It is very normal that you may lose direction while gearing up for the IAS preparation. This is where the need of guidance can be felt. You can ask for basic guidance from someone you know who has cleared the exam or else you can always enrol in some online courses where you will be offered with personal mentors.

Enhance Communication Skill:

Even though the interview part is almost the last thing of the civil service examination but when you are starting early and you have got plenty of time for the real exam, it’s suggested that you must include gearing up for the interview in your UPSC preparation strategy. Start by talking in front of a mirror, indulge in more public speaking. You can also consider joining communication classes where you can also get feedback about your performance.

Also Read: A Detailed IAS Planner 2020 for Beginners: Guide to Crack the UPSC Civil Services Exam


Clearing the UPSC exam is not a cakewalk, it demands a high level of dedication and complete concentration. Starting from an early stage and making yourself ready as per the UPSC preparation strategy is a good thing. The earlier you start, the better you can score in the examination. Look for best books, find video tutorials, go through the previous year papers, practice writing and keep your confidence level high. So, how are you going to start UPSC preparation? Do you have any strategy in mind? You can share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.

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How to Start UPSC Preparation from Zero Level? Here's How to Prepare for IAS
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How to Start UPSC Preparation from Zero Level? Here's How to Prepare for IAS
How to start preparing for the UPSC exam from ground zero? How vast is the syllabus? What should be the UPSC preparation strategy? Read on to know every bit of it.
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UPSC Pathshala
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About the Author

Akshay Palande

Akshay Palande is a passionate teacher helping hundreds of students in their UPSC preparation. With a degree in Mechanical Engineering and double masters in Public Administration and Economics, he has experience of teaching UPSC aspirants for 5 years. His subject of expertise are Geography, Polity, Economics and Environment and Ecology.

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