Are you trying to prepare for UPSC 2021? Then you have come to the right blog. Use this blog to help you get started on preparations for your preliminary exam with a one-year strategy.

There are websites that will help you boost your grades by providing you with online classes. They will help you break down UPSC syllabus into different areas and will help you in easing it out.  UPSC 2021 syllabus is pretty much the same as last year except you will have to change the current affairs strategy.

Sources you can use:

  1. UPSC Pathshala
  2. Byjus
  3. Gradeup
  4. Jagranjosh

One Year Strategy for Exam Preparation

It is recommended that you start preparing for one year in advance for your UPSC 2021 exam. That means you had to start earlier this June. In case you have not done that yet, do not worry. Take a day out and chalk out plans first. Start preparing for your prelims and do not worry about your optional subjects right now.

You will have to focus on working on the important topics like polity, history of India, Geography of India and economics. This will be the base of your questioning. Make sure you use NCERT books to your advantage, as most questions are framed from NCERT books as a base.

Tips for Preparing

You can also use special UPSC preparation books that will be more direct for your syllabus for civil services. The first step is making sure you know the UPSC 2021 syllabus.

The UPSC syllabus is not small so you have to make sure that you are giving enough time and if required study online. What that implies is that if you feel the need for mentoring, then use online classes for yourself. It can be an asset in your armour.

UPSC Syllabus

The UPSC exam has three parts, preliminary exam, mains exam and personal interview. There are 2 papers in the preliminary exam and 9 papers in the mains exam. The prelims exam has a duration of 2 hours for each paper and they are of 200 marks each.

The mains exam has a duration of 3 hours each and for 300 marks each. You have to write a qualifying exam in English and one language of the candidate’s choice. So for the general studies exams, the syllabus is the same. The remaining papers of the mains exam are:

  1.     Essay based on the writer’s choice
  2.     General studies 1 (Indian heritage & culture, history & geography of the world & society)
  3.     General studies-2 (governance, constitution, polity, social justice & international relations)
  4.     General studies-3 (technology, economic development, biodiversity, security & disaster management)
  5.     General studies-4 (ethics, integrity and aptitude)
  6.     Optional subject 1
  7.     Optional subject 2

They give the aspirants an option to choose from 48 different subject lists for their optional subjects.

Optional Subject

Make sure you have taken an optional subject that you have good knowledge about. This will help you to write your exam well. Do not start to prepare for your optional subject before your mains exam. Start about two months before the mains exam as you need to focus more on your general studies exams.

You need general studies for both the exams so focus more towards that. Your optional subject should be your of your choice and do not be influenced by others. Your optional subject has almost an importance of 500 marks so make sure you have a pros and cons list for this as it may help you to decide.

Also read: A Complete Guide to Choose the Right Optional

Current Affairs

You may think that people are overstating the need for preparation of current affairs but do not feel that. Current affairs are very important for your exam. Read the newspaper every day. USe newspapers that are reliable. They should verify their source and should not spread any propaganda. This will help you to have a clear view of what is happening in the government.

You can also use free blogs on various sources mentioned at the start. They are well verified and use a reliable source if there is any factual information. If you cannot read newspapers every day, you can use magazines or weekly blogs to keep yourself updated.

Also Read: Click to Ace UPSC Current Affairs

UPSC Preparation Books

Are you confused about what books to buy for UPSC preparation? The best books you can use are – NCERT textbooks. They are used for framing questions. Use NCERT textbooks of grade 6-10 and make sure that you are referring to this regularly, especially throughout 2021 rely more on the basics of this book. Why? Most questions in UPSC exams are based on NCERT content, so be careful with that. If you want other books too, go for it.

Make sure you research well and look for various books and go through reviews. Do not just take opinions from friends but use the internet as a tool and get the most of it. Go to a library and check for 2021 editions of the book. This is important, as you may get updated questions and more sample papers based on recent and last year’s papers.

Also read: Here’s the List of The Best Books for UPSC

Be an All-Rounder

Do not just keep studying and studying. This will put a lot of mental pressure on yourself. Workout your physical attribute as well as your mental attribute. It is very important to stay fit for the next year especially if you want to be an IPS officer. So eat well, sleep well and stay hydrated, This will also help you to study well and always manage your time. Keep a timetable and stick to it. Only self-discipline and hard work will get your results.


If you are looking to write the UPSC 2021 exam and have not started yet, do not freak out. This article will help you by giving you a few tips on how to prepare for your exam. Just cause you started slowly does not mean you will end up slow. Work hard and put the time in, your results will come to you. All the best!

Also Read : UPSC Exam Calendar 2021: Checkout the IAS Exam 2021 Date and Time Table

Content Protection by
Preparing for UPSC 2021? Here are the Online Sources You can Use
Article Name
Preparing for UPSC 2021? Here are the Online Sources You can Use
Are you an IAS aspirant? Looking for a UPSC strategy? Want to tackle civil services exam syllabus? Learn how to tackle your IAS mains exams and clear civil services with ease.
Publisher Name
UPSC Pathshala
Publisher Logo

About the Author


Shilpa is a professional web content writer and is in deep love with travelling. She completed her mass communication degree and is now dedicatedly playing with words to guide her readers to get the best for themselves. Developing educational content for UPSC, IELTS aspirants from breakthrough research work is her forte. Strongly driven by her zodiac sign Sagittarius, Shilpa loves to live her life on her own notes and completely agrees with the idea of ‘live and let live. Apart from writing and travelling, most of the time she can be seen in the avatar of 'hooman' mom to her pets and street dogs or else you can also catch her wearing the toque blanche and creating magic in the kitchen on weekends.

View All Articles