You need to leave no stone unturned when you sit for the UPSC aka one of the toughest exams in India. If you think that the coaching centre won’t help you, and you want to go on this journey alone, then here is the complete guide for you to follow and understand how to prepare for IPS exam without coaching and if you are thinking how should I start preparing for the IPS exam at home? Then read the article till the end.

 Is it Possible to Prepare for IPS Exam without Coaching?

If you have faith in yourself and you know that you have the capability to prepare for the IPS exam all by yourself, then don’t be afraid because that is possible. It seems difficult at once, but when you start in the right direction with the right material then you will see that it is not that hard. But for UPSC preparation all by yourself, you need to have, very powerful will. As it is said, “When there is a will there’s a way”.

Similarly, your dedication, compassion, consistency, hard work along with smart work, will pay your way. And apart from heaving these values, you will need to be resilient, that is, you will need to bounce back from all hurdles that will come your way.

Also Read: IAS Toppers Story without Coaching: All You Need for the required Dose of Inspiration

 The Beginning of Your UPSC Preparation Journey

The UPSC exam is one of the toughest exams in the country where around 8 lakh of candidates enrol themselves for this exam with the dream of being the IPS officer and serving the country. Knowing that this is a tough exam, many candidates go for coaching centres that allure the candidates into their advertising tactic.

The fees of these institutions are 1-2 lakhs, and due to such a high fee requirement, not all candidates are able to pay the fees. And it’s okay to choose, not to go with coaching centres. Because of what has been believed: the coaching centre is only for providing you with the guidance and the structure. But if you find that guidance and structure on your own, then you will be doing fine without the coaching centre.

So, if you are the candidate who is ready to go on this voyage all by yourself with lots of expectations then you will have this first question in your mind “ But where to start from?”. Read on to know.

Also Read:- 7 Websites that you Should Visit to Amp up Your UPSC Exam Preparation Strategy

What General Problems do Candidates Face?

Before you start this journey of UPSC preparation it is important to know all about how many hurdles and what type of hurdles you may face. This is important because once you know all these, you become mentally prepared and when you actually face these problems, you are already ready to face them. You become more resilient in the face of these problems. So here is the list of problems that you might face, it is not necessary that you will definitely face them, but to be on a secure side you should know them for your own benefit.

Vast Syllabus

UPSC exam has a vast syllabus, it will become difficult for you to structure all the content together and collect all the resources for IPS preparation. Without any expert guidance, this becomes difficult.

Choosing the Right Book and Resources

It will be difficult for you to choose from an ocean of books and resources available to you on the internet and in the market. You will be perplexed and you will end up spending on the books that you don’t require.

Time Management

When you start this journey alone, you don’t have a plan where to go and how. But coaching centres have planned it all and thus they follow this direction which makes the path easier for the candidate.

Also Read:- Best Telegram Channels for UPSC Preparation: Find What’s Best for You


The coaching centres keep on evaluating your progress through various test series. When you are preparing for it all along, you may feel yourself in the middle of the sea where you no longer see any direction.

How should I Start Preparing for the IPS Exam at Home overcoming these Hurdles?

The problems listed above are not to make you fear the exam but to make you aware of them. After you are acquainted with the problems, the next task for you is to research thoroughly. Research is the key for you to move in the right direction. But what research do you have to do?

You should try and find the answer for this by yourself because the research technique would be your own. But few topics to find the answer for are:-

  • What is the pattern of the UPSC exam?
  • What syllabus comes in the UPSC exam?
  • What resources to gather for the IPS preparation?
  • What is the ideal timetable for UPSC preparation?
  • How can I get expertise guidance without coaching?
  • Which are the best books?
  • Which newspaper is ideal?

Start your thorough research on these questions and keep making notes of whatever you come across. Make a habit of writing when you are preparing for the UPSC IPS exam, as when you write, the chances of you retaining the material becomes higher.

Get introduced to the Syllabus

To know the syllabus you can take help from any of your friends who have given the exam or are preparing for the same. Or you can search on various sites and you can also refer to the official site.  Referring to the official government site is more secure.

For detailed syllabus knowledge, you can prefer other trusted sites as well, and note down the syllabus subject wise and stage-wise. There are 3 stages in the UPSC exam: Prelims, Mains, and interview. So you need to find out the subjects and their syllabus and write it down in the register which is solely made for UPSC preparation.

Also Read: Most Important Topics for UPSC 2021: Focus on these Topics to Gain an Edge at your UPSC Exams!

Preparing a Robust Plan

When you have written the syllabus for all subjects down, then the next very important step is to make a timetable that is good for your preparation and your mental health. What many candidates prefer doing is, including other fun activities that are even less than 1 hour a day. If you do so, then there are high chances that you will get stressed out. You need to be good to your mind, and we understand that every minute of your preparation is important, but during the preparation, you cannot put your mental health at stake. You need to dedicate 2 hours to your mind’s relaxation in any way.

A Realistic Timetable

You can include exercise, dancing, painting whatever your hobby is. In this way, you are giving your mind a space to retain all the things. So make sure that in the time table you include your 2 hour leisure time.

Furthermore, divide your timetable according to the syllabus. Identify what are your strong points and what are your weak points, accordingly adjust the time devoted to those topics. You can choose your preference in starting first with your weakness or your strength.

Also Read: Checkout Tina Dabi’s Time Table and Create Your Own

 List of Books

You can refer to as many books as you can, but that will only confuse you. And books remain mandatory for the preparation because they have the knowledge or information that the internet resource may miss out. So it is important for you to research the list of books that are dedicated solely to UPSC. Also, you have to study the NCERT books thoroughly, you have to study all the subjects for the class 6th to 10th and then economics, history, and geography of class 11 and 12 also. Make sure you make all the required pointers for the knowledge given here. For UPSC books, you can also ask your friends and family members for lending the books that they bought.

List of books that you should read:-

  • Indian Polity by M. Laxmikanth
  • Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh
  • India’s Struggle for Independence by Bipan Chandra
  • Majid Hussain – Indian Geography
  • ‘A brief history of modern India’ by spectrum publications

Also Read: Recommended Books for IAS by Toppers: Must-Read Books for UPSC IAS Exam

Inspiring Biographies

The best way for you to see how others prepared for the UPSC exam is to read and know their biography. There are many inspiring IAS officers who have given their whole journey’s script to the authors to write and to let the new aspirants learn from their mistakes and learn their strategies. You can find the biography of many IAS officers on the internet.

Whenever you feel low about your preparation you should read these articles or watch videos of IAS officers as they will give you a boost to work harder for what you desire to achieve. And when we read or listen about other people we get inspired to become what they have already.

Also Read:- IAS Study Material in Hindi: NCERT and Other Guides’ Book List for Hindi Medium

 Say Yes to Newspapers

You can’t say no to newspapers when you know that current affairs are an important part of the UPSC examination. If possible you can refer to more than one Hindi newspaper and more than one English newspaper. But if you think that is too much to ask for, you can go for the best newspaper that is suggested to UPSC aspirants. The Hindu is considered to be the best among all and in the English language, the Business Standard is considered to be the best.

You should not study the whole of the newspaper because it will become difficult at one point of time. Till now you know what your syllabus is and what the subjects are. So when you are going through the newspaper, categorize the heading into the subject and read those which come into the subject of the UPSC Syllabus. You can skip the local news, as they are not so relevant from the UPSC examination point of view, but you need to read the national news and make the points according to the syllabus.

Previous Year Question Paper

Previous year question papers must go through. These are a great way for you to understand the structure of the examination, to know how questions are in the exam, and what is the pattern of the question paper. You can see the previous year’s question paper on the official UPSC website. And a major point that you need to keep in mind is that you have to keep yourself updated with this government site, if possible you should also turn on the notification for this site.

Go through the question paper over and over again in intervals, you should go through them at the starting of your preparation, then after you have completed 20%, then after 50 %, and when you have completed all the syllabus before the actual examination is held.


The learning and understanding method of every person is different, so use the best of those methods to get all the information inside your head. If you don’t have the writing practice, then it is suggested that you should try to read and write the main points for every topic. This way, you are able to retain what you have read, and you have points written in your register, which you can refer to any time, even if you forget a few points. So practice the writing notes as much as you can.


UPSC is one of the toughest exams. To clear this exam students have to burn the midnight oil, to achieve what they aspire to become. Every year approximately 8 lakh candidates enrol themselves in this exam to become IAS and IPS officers to serve the country. If you are one of these candidates who believe in self-study and that spending on coaching fees is a waste of money, then this article gives you a fair idea about how you can start your IPS preparation journey. If you follow all the points given in the article then you will feel less difficulty in preparing for the exam. Best of luck!

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