UPSC Civil Service Examination is one of the most prestigious exams in India. Every year lakhs of aspirants try their luck and hard work. Unfortunately, the success rate of the UPSC is low i.e. only some hundreds can clear it. Often candidates are found hanging between taking coaching classes or going with self-study. The low success rate of this exam is simply because of the vast syllabus, changing exam pattern, competitive nature, etc.

In this article, let’s find out if coaching is necessary for upsc? And also answer common questions like can I clear IAS without coaching? And how to prepare for IAS without coaching?

UPSC CSE – What Makes It the Most Difficult Exam in India?

Several factors contribute to making UPSC CSE one of the toughest exams in India.

Wide Syllabus

UPSC has a wide syllabus to add to the difficulty. There are diverse subjects and candidates are required to give equal time and attention to each. You need to have proper knowledge of each subject to score well in UPSC CSE.

Negative Marking

While the questions are already confusing, negative marking adds more. With one wrong answer, 0.25 marks are deducted. Candidates should only mark those answers with whom they are 100% sure.


Every year around 3-4 lakhs of students try their luck and hard work in UPSC. This increases the competition for the exam.

Ever-Changing Pattern

UPSC changes its question and exam pattern regularly. Which makes it confusing for students to understand.

Different Phases

UPSC CSE involves three phases: Preliminary, Mains, and Interview. While the preliminary exam is all about objective questions, the mains is about descriptive questions. The interview is all about your personality. Therefore candidates have to learn many things from solving objectives to practising answer writing. Moreover being a bookworm also does not guarantee you success, a good personality is also important.

When to Start UPSC Preparation?

Starting early is always the best strategy for UPSC. This gives you a mountain of time in your hands while you prepare and cover the vast syllabus of UPSC.

Generally, it is often advised to start your preparation at least around 1.5 years before your exam. However, if you have one year then you can clear it with proper strategy and determination. Moreover, with an early start, correct strategy and proper time management are equally important for ensuring your success. Otherwise, time can slip from your hands just like that.

How to Start UPSC Preparation?

So are you preparing for UPSC 2022 or 2023? Well, in both cases here are some perfect tips to begin your preparation to ensure success. The priority is understanding the UPSC well.

Do you know why candidates choose a coaching institute, because of their understanding of the UPSC syllabus? Therefore if you are going with self-study you should not skip this step.

Then start with reading the syllabus and dividing it into several sub-topics. Then use these sub-topics as different milestones for you to cover. Then try to analyze the question paper pattern and type.

For this, analyze the previous year’s question papers carefully. Understand the type of question that is asked in the exam. After this divide your time into different slots, giving more focus on weak subjects. You can also read or watch different topper strategies. Also start with NCERTs and newspapers.

Is Coaching Necessary for Your UPSC Preparation?

It will be a myth if we say that coaching is necessary or standalone important criteria for your success. Though we also cannot deny the fact that coaching is not beneficial. It has some advantages too. If you are completely new to UPSC and it’s your first attempt, taking coaching can be beneficial for you.

Taking coaching does not depend on you and your time but what makes the real difference is your hard work, discipline, and determination.

Let’s take a more comprehensive look at the advantages and disadvantages of coaching and self-study.

Also Read: What made Anshuman chose UPSC Pathshala after researching other coachings

Advantages and Disadvantages of Coaching Institutes

Every year students enrol themselves for one or another coaching institute. Here are some advantages and disadvantages of coaching institutes.


#1. Helps to cover syllabus fast

Teachers of coaching institutes are professional and well experienced with the UPSC syllabus. They know what needs to be covered for sure success. They guide their students to cover the vast syllabus fast.

#2. Better guidance

The teachers at coaching institutes prove to be good mentors. If the students have any doubts regarding UPSC they are readily available to solve them. They help students to form better strategies, time management and provide preparation tips.

#3. Mock tests

Coaching institutes conduct regular mock tests for the students to evaluate their skills and help them to cope up with their pre-exam nervousness. This exam is conducted in a similar environment as the UPSC exam.

#4. Update

UPSC changes its syllabus and exam pattern regularly. Coaching institutes provide better information about any change in the UPSC.

#5. Active learning

Active learning is the best way to understand concepts. It is an ancient method of learning used by Greek philosophers to understand and widen their horizons. In a coaching institute, students meet others and they form a group where discussions and debates are common.

#6. Clear concepts

Coaching institutes give assurance to students that if they don’t understand a concept they can ask the teacher to explain again until their doubts are cleared.

#7. Competitive spirit

In a coaching institute, you get to meet people of similar fields. This helps you to fuel your competitive spirit and keeps you motivated.


#1. Wastage of time

Commuting consumes a lot of time when a student enrols in a coaching institute.

#2. Unnecessary peer pressure

Students have to face lots of peer pressure from their parents, teachers, friends, seniors when they enrol in a coaching institute.

#3. Money drain

Today coaching institutes are hoarding profits of around Rs 3000 cores per year. You can find a coaching institute of UPSC easily in my corner of India. These institutes charge high tuition fees.

#4. Focus diverts

While a person goes to coaching his focus diverts. It is common for students to bunk their classes for fun.

Also Read: Self Preparation for IAS: How to Crack IAS by Self Study?

Advantages & Disadvantages of Self Study


#1. Save time

One of the major advantages of self-study is that you save time for commuting and classes. You can use this time for better and focused self-study.

#2. Focus

In the comfort of home, you can sit alone and focus more deeply than in a coaching institute with hundreds of students.

#3. Saves money

You can save money by self-study and use this for more effective preparation.

#4. Evaluates your strengths and weakness

With self-study, you can evaluate your strengths and weaknesses in a better way.

#5. Working professional

For working professionals self-study is the best choice. As they already have only 5 to 6 hours every day to prepare for UPSC they need to devote this time solely to self-study.

#6. Self note

It is always said that self-made notes are better than coaching notes. While making your notes you have to read different books and sources. In this way, your preparation gets a level up.

#7. Save yourself from unnecessary peer pressure

Self-study saves you from unnecessary peer pressure. Rather than coping with peer pressure, you can save your time in use for effective UPSC preparation.

#8. Video resources

Today on the internet you can find different video resources and notes material for the UPSC preparation. You can take advantage of these materials and ensure your success in the upcoming civil service examination.


#1. No expert guidance

One of the biggest disadvantages of self-study is no expert guidance. While in self-study you have to rely on only yourself for guidance if you are going wrong there will be no one expecting you to correct yourself.

#2. Can take more time to cover syllabus

Which self-study you need more time to cover the vast syllabus of UPSC. As in coaching institutes, they provide you with a second-hand experience so it is covered fastly but in self-study, you have to gain experience first and then understand which one you should give more focus.

#3. Lacks self discipline

One of the biggest disadvantages of self-studies is a lack of self-discipline. If you are a disciplined student then you can easily clear UPSC but if you are not then there is minimal chance of your success.

#4. Unclear concepts

Another disadvantage of self-study is that if you have any unpaired concept there will be no one to explain it to you.

Also Read: Do’s and Don’ts During Self Study for UPSC Civil Services: To Get a Knack of It

How to Prepare for IAS with Coaching?

As you can see from the above disadvantages, one of the biggest disadvantages of coaching institutes is the diversion of focus and wastage of time. Therefore you can save your time by listening to audiobooks while commuting and sacrificing unnecessary enjoyment and hangouts.

How to Prepare for IAS without Coaching?

The disadvantages of self-study are self-discipline and no expert guidance. You can cope up with these cons by practising self-discipline and seeking out help from other seniors or teachers of your colleges.

Online Coaching- Perfect Choice for UPSC Preparation

As you can see from the above mentioned that there are some disadvantages and advantages of coaching centres and self-study but what if I tell you that there is an option where you can enjoy the benefits of a coaching institute as well as self-study without any cons. Wondering, what is that? Well, that is online coaching.

Through online coaching, you can seek expert guidance, customized courses, high-quality video, and one on one interaction with mentors at your home. Through online coaching, you can save your time and focus more on your studies.

Also Read: Why Take Online Classes for Your UPSC Preparation? How is Online Coaching Better?

Which Online Coaching is Best for UPSC?

While you can find a plethora of online coaching, choosing the best one is surely a difficult task. But don’t worry, here we have sorted some of the best online coachings for you.

Top 10 Online Coaching for UPSC

#1. UPSC Pathshala

UPSC Pathshala is one of the best online coaching providers. It not only provides standard online coaching but customized classes for its students. You will also get a personal mentor to guide you.

#2. Unacademy

Unacademy is another reputable online coaching institute. Their courses are present at reasonable prices.

#3. Byju’s Online Coaching

Byju’s Online coaching is recently gaining popularity. It is known to provide the best teachers for its students to solve their doubts and understand concepts.

#4. Drishti IAS

Drishti IAS coaching institute is a popular offline coaching institute. It also has launched an online learning program for students.

#5. Vision IAS

Vision IAS is a popular choice among students. Many renowned toppers have given credits to this coaching institute for their success.

#6. Clear IAS

Clear IAS online coaching aims to provide its students best and innovative ways of learning.

#7.Vajiram Institute Live Classes

Vajiram is another renowned coaching institute. They are known to provide expert assistance at minimal costs.

#8. Plutus IAS Academy

Plutus IAS Academy is another top-ranking IAS coaching. It aims to provide the best assistance to students who cannot make it into any coaching centre.

#9. Legacy IAS Academy

Legacy IAS Academy is one of the main academies of online IAS classes.

#10. Rau’s IAS Academy

Rau IAS academy is a one-stop solution for UPSC preparation. They help students to understand UPSC well and give more importance to important topics.

Also Read: Best Online Coaching for IAS: Which Platforms Should You Try for UPSC


To conclude, we can say that it depends on whether you want to take coaching or not. But we will suggest you give online coaching a shot.

UPSC Pathshala provides the best online UPSC coaching. Not only does it provide customized courses, high-quality videos, one and one interaction with expert mentors, and many more. Enrol yourself in a free trial class now.

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Is Coaching Necessary for UPSC Exam Preparation? Know the Pros and Cons of Coaching and Self Study
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Is Coaching Necessary for UPSC Exam Preparation? Know the Pros and Cons of Coaching and Self Study
Often candidates ask whether coaching classes are necessary or they should rely on self-study. Answers on this matter always differ. But in this article, we have found an easy way for you.
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Deeksha Paswan

Deeksha is a content writer at Ufaber EduTech. She writes well-researched, SEO-friendly articles to satisfy the reader's search intent. Until now, she has written over 300+ articles for various websites on different genres. She goes by the motto “flowing like a river, rather than an immobile pond.” She is a headstrong girl who follows her heart. Apart from this, she is a nature lover, bibliophile, dancer, artist and skilled cook. She is set on her journey to unveil the mysteries of life.

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