How to start IAS preparation at home

It is not impossible to start IAS preparation at home. If one wishes to start it all alone, one has to be very strategic in creating a framework for it. A guideline is needed to start with it necessarily. Checking out all details of the facets of the criteria of being a potent IAS shortly is a needful part of the journey.


A simple yet strategic guideline is an indispensable part of the whole preparation. One needs to follow it for making the aspiration successful in real life. 

Start it early

It is better to start with the preparation early. If one plans to be an IAS, one can start this preparation from college days. Selection of graduation subject can also be accordingly to the future selection of optional subjects of IAS Mains Exam. Early preparation at home will help to find out a framework for detailing everything related to the UPSC syllabus. First of all cover the syllabus of the Prelims part. It can be done alone easily as Prelims is a qualifying exam in nature. 

Check all criteria

Before starting with preparation it is necessary to check all criteria for appearing in the exam. If one needs criteria yet to be fulfilled, one should take initiative for it, for example, it is like completing graduation. 

Check the syllabus

A detailed analysis of the syllabus is necessary before starting with anything. The syllabus of IAS is very vast and profound. It is needed to check it in depth for a better understanding. The syllabus of Prelims has two papers comprising of both General Studies and CSAT. And the Mains syllabus is almost 4 times larger than The Prelims one as it consists of nine written papers. So check all the nine papers thoroughly before buying books and materials. It is suggested to start with Prelims part first.

Know about the roles of an IAS

Roles of an IAS officer is not common for everyone. Be mentally prepared about the roles of an IAS officer. The administrative power given to an IAS comes after judging his or her in the personality test. So, start preparing with decorums, strategies, and formalities of being like the same. If one clears the Mains, one does not get enough time to prepare it for the Personality test. Start practicing with video tutorials online for learning these things. Write down all the mistakes made in every step. Rectify on the next step.

Prepare in details

Always keep ample time before scheduling the syllabus. If one is preparing the whole thing all alone at home, more time is needed for self-analyses and self-actualization. Read the syllabus and go for every line. The IAS syllabus for Prelims and Mains- both are large enough. Select the preferred newspaper for updating the news every day. Study online current affairs. Mains syllabus should be prepared along with prelims as if one passes in Prelims one gets only around 5 months to prepare Mains syllabus. It is not possible to complete everything in 5-6 months. So, better start preparing Mains also with Prelims for quick success.

Provide an ample amount of time

Time is needed for in-depth study, mock tests, revisions, and correction. It is suggested to provide 12 hours a day at least to study for IAS preparation. Before Prelims, study 5days  a week only Prelims. Study 2 days a week for Mains. So, it will be easier to get in touch with the Main syllabus along with Prelims. Break twelve hours in two equal parts of Paper-I and Paper-II. 

Schedule everything

Schedule parts of the syllabus with chapters and revision time. Write down everything done. Rectify incorrect areas of learning. Schedule syllabus according to your comfort.

Mock tests

Appear in online mock tests for better self-assessment. Mock tests will be a guide to do better performance in the exam.


Revise thoroughly. If one faces any doubt, search it online. It will not be a big issue if one revises every chapter of every paper. It will help to remember answers. Revision is necessary with writing answers. 


Follow yearbooks for keeping current knowledge updated. Yearbooks are an authentic guide for the same.

Follow daily news and current events

Keep updated with social network and news for getting every new news and events in time. Search online for editorial explanations of news.

Grow habit of writing

Growing habit of writing will help in self-assessment. One can study and correct one’s problem areas by reading and writing and practicing.

To conclude

It is never impossible to practice for IAS Prelims and Mains Exam at home. Many toppers conveyed that they practiced all alone without anyone’s help. All one needs is willingness and dedication to touching the dream of being an IAS.

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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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