Clearing the UPSC examination is not a piece of cake. Candidates are often intimidated with the strenuous preparation that goes into it. However, with consistent efforts and time management, one can make the cut. Students, especially those who have started their preparation from school or college, often have a dilemma about how to start UPSC preparation? They find it difficult to balance Optional and General Studies for the UPSC exam preparation.

How To Balance Optionals And General Studies To Clear UPSC?

  • Start Early

The eligibility to appear for the UPSC examination is graduation, and the minimum age required is 21. Candidates should make sure that they start the preparation for UPSC early so that they are all set to appear for the examination as soon as they graduate. UPSC gives six attempts to the candidates, and one can utilize them only if they have time. So it’s better to start early and save your precious educational years.

  • Adhere to a Strict Time Table

If you are balancing preparation for IAS and general studies parallelly, then sticking to a timetable would give you an upper hand. It helps you in visualizing what’s there in the schedule for the upcoming days. It also instils self-discipline and effective time management. Most importantly, a timetable would minimize the chances of forgetting the upcoming assessments.

  • Enroll for a Coaching

No matter the time constraints, a candidate should enrol in a suitable coaching centre. Coaching would act as your companion in the preparation. It helps you to prepare by providing comprehensive study materials, conducting regular mock tests, and creating a simulated environment for the preparation.

Also Read : What are the Toughest Questions asked in UPSC CSE Interviews?

  • Enroll for a Coaching

If you have some time in your hands, invest it in the UPSC exam preparation. This would be a headache at first, but something as simple as reading newspapers or watching UPSC related YouTube videos can be interesting and productive. Since the emerging technology has made life easier, one can access the information, news, and study materials through phones, tablets, laptops, etc. So even if you are travelling, utilize the time, and you are good to go.

  • Refer to Recommend Books for UPSC Preparation

Rather than going through several resources and wasting your time, one should research and list down the recommended books by the toppers and stick to some of them. Make notes and narrow down your resources. Focus more on the subject than on resources.

UPSC Preparation Strategy

Every year lakhs of students appear for this prestigious exam, and only thousands of them make it to the end. No matter how hard it is, it is not impossible to clear the exam. The right preparation strategy and a strong conviction to clear the exam can do wonders. Some strategies could help you to fetch better scores.

  • Focus on Current Affairs

It is the most extensive and baffling topic of the whole preparation. Students often get confused about how to cover current affairs, how old current affairs are important as per the exam point of view, rather than going through the rigmarole of resources. Stick to the newspapers. We recommend The Hindu. Make it a habit to read the newspaper daily, make notes of important events.

  • Revise Multiple Time

Since the syllabus of UPSC is vast, it is quite crucial to revise the whole syllabus. The ideal UPSC preparation time for the revision is morning because it’s a well-known fact that morning revision, sticks around for a long time.

  • Practice with Previous Years Question Papers

Previous year question papers are the best reference source for IAS preparation. It helps you to cover the topics in-depth. Candidates get an overview of the question pattern and the important questions that are frequently asked.

Self Preparation for IAS

Cracking the exam without joining the coaching is a candidate’s personal choice. Self-study is essential, even if you have joined coaching. The only thing with self-preparation is that one needs to be diligent and persistent. Meticulously set achievable daily targets and work towards them.

UPSC 2021 Exam Date

The IAS exam will be conducted on June 27, 2021. The main exam will take place in September 2021. According to the reports, the exam notification will be released on February 10 and candidates can apply till March 2, 2021.


There is no magic wand to clear the UPSC exam. Through conceptual clarity and consistent hard work, this goal can be achieved. Students who start their preparation in college often find it burdensome to handle academic syllabus and UPSC preparation. Smart work always outshines hard work. Make newspapers your holy grail.

Remember the people who crack UPSC have no different minds than you. One needs to have strong self-belief and determination. Start Identifying your strengths and leverage them in your preparation. UPSC Pathshala has numerous blogs and articles that will help you as an aspirant to clear doubts about various subjects. Visit our website to know more.

Also Read : How can One Consolidate His/Her Preparation for the UPSC Prelims in the Next 100 Days?

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How to Balance Optional and General Studies to Clear UPSC? Here's the Way to Ace the Balancing Game
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How to Balance Optional and General Studies to Clear UPSC? Here's the Way to Ace the Balancing Game
Worried about how to start UPSC preparation in college? If yes, stop here! This article gives you an overview of how to balance Optional and General studies easily.
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UPSC Pathshala
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