So you have decided to appear for the UPSC civil services exam in 2020? That’s great since you now have ample time to study. However, the syllabus is so vast that time will fly very fast. 

Initially, you will start studying hard but as time passes you will lose steam. Or you would study a subject and like it so much that you keep studying it for months, ignoring the rest. The risk of going astray is high if you study haphazardly. Therefore, you must have a proper IAS planner to guide you.

So in a marathon exam like the UPSC civil services exam, creating a foolproof study plan is very important. And more importantly, sticking to it, is very very important!

As Benjamin Franklin says,’ If you fail to plan then you plan to fail.

Also Read: Check-out the Best Timetable to Ace the Upcoming UPSC IAS Exam

Your IAS Planner

If you are an aspirant of this prestigious civil service exam, then you must already be aware of the exam dates being postponed by the commission due to the COVID 19 pandemic.

The preliminary exam has been postponed to 4th October 2020 and the main examination will be held on 8th January 2021. So for the preliminary exam, you have approximately more than 2 months and for the mains exam, there are still 6 months left.

Take a piece of paper and make your macro plan first. Write down the various months on a piece of paper. From July 2020 to January 2021 there are 6 Months that you have to not just finish the syllabus but also to revise. 

Divide the Subjects

Now you need to divide your studies into these various months. List down the subjects which are there for both Prelims and Mains. 

In all, there are 9 subjects in General Studies:

  1. History
  2. Geography
  3. Polity
  4. Economics
  5. Environment
  6. S&T
  7. International relations
  8. Internal security
  9. Ethics. 

Now your plan is to complete studying these subjects and also to revise them.

Keeping this in mind let us now break up the syllabus in the various months that we have. Remember to keep the last 2 months for revision and practice.

Also Read: How to Start UPSC Preparation from Zero Level?

UPSC Civil Services Exam Study Plan from July

You have to follow discipline at this time. During this time you should start your preparation from General Studies. Take up two subjects as studying one subject becomes monotonous. Take up one subject which you are familiar with and one which you are completely new to.

This will help you have comfort and also step out of your comfort zone. You can opt for History if you are comfortable in it and Polity if you are afraid of it.

The idea is to first generate interest and discipline for your need to study for a long period of time. Understand and revise the various concepts in the two subjects that you have chosen.

IAS Planner for August and September

Now that you have studies for the previous month you will probably be in the mindset to study. Now the plan is to increase the hours that you study from 5 hours to 7 hours.

It is expected that you have finished the earlier chosen subjects. Now the target for these two months is to finish the tough subject completely and also begin the other subject.

You can choose the geography of India, environmental geography. The UPSC geography syllabus is easier to finish. 

IAS Planner for Prelims

With a complete syllabus for Prelims done and 2/ 3rds of optional like geography optional done, now the time has come to fully focus on the prelims. Keep the optional papers aside and revise the notes for GS that you have made while studying the subject the first time. You should revise the entire syllabus at least 3 times.

Solve as many question papers as possible for both GS and CSAT. If you do not solve at least 100 -120 practice papers then you are not going to pass. You should at least solve 10000 questions in all.

Refer to papers from many sources so that your brain is conditioned to expect the unexpected.  A warning to all aspirants, do not ignore CSAT as it can backfire in the exam.

Also Read: 6 Best Optional Subjects in UPSC: Guide to Choose Most Scoring Non-technical Subjects

UPSC Civil Services Exam Preparation Post Prelims

Post prelims focus on completing syllabus for Ethics, Integrity, and Attitude and the remainder of the optional papers like geography optional syllabus that are left. Here you should be running at full speed. Study a minimum of 10 hours. You will have 3 months before the mains. In this period complete the incomplete part in the first month itself. Later your complete focus should be on revision.

Keep notes handy on topics like the functional classification of towns, earthquakes tsunami, environmental pollution, Panchayati raj etc.

One thing that the majority of the UPSC IAS main exam aspirants miss out on in these three months is answer writing. Do not procrastinate. Write as many answers as possible in these three months. Pay close attention to answer writing for both GS and optional papers. It is said that UPSC is a writer’s exam.

Also Read: Time Table for UPSC Preparation 2021: Here’s the Study Schedule You should Follow


If you follow the tips, you can cover a lot during this time and will have a positive result in the exam.

During this preparation ensure that you read the newspaper daily or at least refer to some current affairs notes and keep yourself well aware of the different regions of the world and topics like space relationship of India. Even if you give 5 hours daily for your preparation initially and increase it to 10 hours later, you can comfortably complete the syllabus and succeed in cracking the exam.

You can get enrolled in the online preparation course for this so that you can get all the subjects in the form of videos. You can also get a customized study plan.

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A Detailed IAS Planner 2020 for Beginners: Guide to Crack the UPSC Civil Services Exam
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A Detailed IAS Planner 2020 for Beginners: Guide to Crack the UPSC Civil Services Exam
From cracking the prelims to the UPSC IAS main exam, every stage demands proper planning. But how to start? Which areas to focus more? Read on to get your IAS planner handy.
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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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