The UPSC Prelims 2020 just got held a few days back but this is also the time for a new batch of aspirants with a dream to be a civil servant to start preparing for the exam next year in 2021. Starting anything new from zero levels is a tough job, especially for UPSC aspirants as most of them are either fresh graduates or working professionals. To be able to dedicate your time and effort and be ready to make the sacrifices needed to be a civil servant is expected of any aspirant.

Hence preparing yourself mentally and physically is always the first step for this journey. The article gives you an ideal month-wise study plan or a one year study plan for UPSC IAS 2021 for beginners to competitive exams.

Strategize Your Personal Study Plan (Month 1)

According to a general IAS planner, the first month of your one year study plan is generally utilized in preparing for the learning process. There are a lot of details that have to be researched, about the exam, the syllabus, the question paper or the eligibility for candidature, etc. First thing first, get a copy of the updated UPSC 2021 syllabus, then get old question papers and book lists accordingly.

Take your time and properly understand the whole structure. Check for current topics and relevant current affairs today. Ask known experts and acquaintances for advice. Also start reading the newspaper and following news blogs and channels for current affairs. Devise your UPSC study plan and guide and set your goals.

Also Read: Complete Study Material For IAS Exam

Get Your Foundation Your Basic Concepts Right (Month 2-5)

NCERTs are a must-read for UPSC exams. Spend the next two months reading the fundamental books like NCERTs that build your foundation and learn up all basic concepts so that your technicalities are absolutely clear for every subject given in the General Papers.

Do not focus only on Prelims but give equal importance to the Mains too as both papers have considerable overlappings and simultaneously learning for them will give better results. Make notes, mind maps, and cue cards for not only better learning but efficient revising at a later date. Do not neglect current affairs during this too.

Decide Your Optional Subject (Months 6-8)

These two months of your one-year study plan ideally should be when you finally decide on what your optional subject will be for your UPSC Mains papers. The list of optional subjects is provided by UPSC with its corresponding syllabus and candidates are allowed to choose any one subject from the list.

The candidate should choose one subject and start preparing for it according to the provided syllabus. These months are also when you should start practicing answering mock papers for your UPSC Prelims 2021. Answer mock papers, test series, topic worksheets, and past papers to investigate your progress and revise topics accordingly.

By this time you will sit for your UPSC Prelims 2021.

Also Read: Which Optional Has Maximum Selections Every Year

Mains Answer Writing Practice (Months 9-12)

At this time start practicing writing answers for Mains exams for the descriptive type question pattern that is used in the Mains Paper. Start solving past questions, mock series, etc. Also, revise the Prelims syllabus as they are basic concepts that come in handy. Do not stop reading the newspaper and following the current affairs. Make sure you practice your essay writing skills for your essay paper.

Read editorials and government reports to enrich your knowledge and also learn how to efficiently put forward your thoughts and view topics from different perspectives.

Also Read: 7 Tips To Boost Your Answer Writing Practice

Post Mains Period

After the Mains exam is over, the ride still doesn’t end though you do have enough time to slow down and catch your breath now. However, do not let go of the habit of reading the newspapers. Research about the kind of questions asked in the personality round and be sure to prepare yourself adequately for it. This is also the time that the results will come out. Do not panic or think about it too much and try to enjoy yourself and be at leisure.

Other Miscellaneous Tips

  • Sign yourself up for coaching or online training courses if you feel like you require so, however, there is no compulsion for this. Many candidates find it easier to learn by themselves too. But for some people, they find it better if they sign up for coaching as it gives them an extra external motivation to keep moving forward.
  • Take adequate breaks when required like enjoy your Sundays and don’t absolutely isolate yourself from the outside world.
  • Revise topics multiple times to really cement it in during your one-year study plan.
  • Record and maintain notes for important Current Affairs and News that happened throughout the past year so that you do not forget important events.
  • Make sure you go through all the important legalities and documents that are needed for the examination and sign up on time to confirm your candidature.


The first step towards success is always to choose your goal according to your personal wishes. Do not get influenced by external reasons like your father/mother has a dream or you face some kind of pressure from your social circle. It should come from your heart, and once you have decided upon your choice, be determined and stick with it. Drive your own motivation forward towards your goals.

This exam is not like any other competitive exam. It demands more than a usual amount of time to prepare with time and effort, which will only be possible for you to dedicate if you genuinely want it.

Also Read : UPSC Study Plan for 2021: When and How to Start Preparing for IAS Exams?

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UPSC One Year Study Plan: Start Preparing for UPSC 2021 Right Now
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UPSC One Year Study Plan: Start Preparing for UPSC 2021 Right Now
Now is the optimum time to start studying for the UPSC Exams next year. One year study plans carefully constructed for new UPSC IAS aspirants going to sit for the exam in 2021.
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UPSC Pathshala
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