As per the guidelines on the official website of UPSC, graduation from any recognised university is the minimum educational requirement to appear in the examination. But does that mean you should start your preparation just after the completion of your graduation and not after the 12th? UPSC examination is a long journey because of its vast syllabus and one year of the examination process. Hence, if you involve yourself in UPSC preparation immediately after your 12th standard, you will be able to save a lot of time. Moreover, you will have high chances of success in a single attempt at the examination.

Although the age limit to appear in the examination is 21 years, you do not have to wait for that much to start your preparation; you can already prepare your basics (NCERTs) and optional subject. Now the question is how to plan preparation for IAS after the 12th? Let’s get to the answer below.

How to Prepare for UPSC after 12th?

1. Read about IAS While you are in your college years, you have plenty of time to know your interest and to find out why exactly you want to be in the Civil services. You should read more about civil services, about the life of a civil servant and their journey. In this way, you will be able to know the difficulty level of the examination and how you have to deal with it.

2. Align Your Subjects: But which subject is best for IAS after 12th? Since you are already sure of your goals, your graduation subject should be the one that covers most of the UPSC syllabus or can be your optional subject for the Mains examination. Subjects like history, polity, sociology, economics are the most prefered subjects by UPSC aspirants.

3. Do Not Follow the Herd: Even if you are pursuing a subject that does not go with the majority of subjects chosen by toppers and aspirants, you should not be disheartened. You can start studying subjects like history, polity and economics on your own through the most suggested books and resources. Make sure not to leave these vast subjects to prepare after your graduation as there will be very little time available at that time.4. NCERTS: College years are the best time when you can prepare your basics by reading NCERTs from class 6th to 12th. During your graduation, you will have sufficient time to read and revise NCERTs multiple times. This will help you get a stronger base for most of the standard books that are usually suggested for the examination.

Also Read : 7 Websites that you Should Visit to Amp up Your UPSC Exam Preparation Strategy

5. Work on Basics: Even if there is no relevance of Maths required in your chosen subject, do not lose hold of the basic school maths i.e., maths studies till 10 the standard. Most of the aspirants fail to clear prelims because of not getting the minimum marks in the CSAT section.

6. Past Question Papers: Previous year papers are the gems for the UPSC preparation. Practising a number of previous year question papers will make you familiar with the pattern and type of questions UPSC generally have. In this way, you may also feel confident of your efforts in the preparation.

7. Read Newspapers: It might be a tough task for certain aspirants to inculcate the habit of newspaper reading and staying up to date with current affairs. If you have never been a newspaper reader before, then it may become a difficult task for you to build the habit of newspaper reading along with the UPSC preparation; hence, it is suggested that you should start regular newspaper reading during your graduation.

8: Interpersonal Skills: One should remember that UPSC is not just about writing an exam; it is about acquiring the personality of a civil servant. Hence, you should start working on your interpersonal skills and communication skills as soon as you get into college.

Which Subject is Best for IAS After 12th?

Which subject is best for IAS? The answer to this question depends on the student’s interest and situation. Here we have a detailed analysis of subjects that can be chosen by the candidate for their UPSC examination.


Humanities have been considered the vault of all UPSC exams for a long time, as it is believed to cover a large part of the syllabus. However, the current scenario may not find Humanities as the only subject for guaranteed success. Bachelor degrees in History, Economics, Polity, Sociology are considered the most appropriate subjects for UPSC because of their relevance to most of the syllabus. These subjects are also among the Mains optionals; hence, if you study these subjects at your graduation level, you may already be able to cover up most of the questions involved in the optional papers.

Many aspirants leave Humanities as their optional as they find it vast and challenging in comparison to the static science subjects. Most of the questions involved in social studies are to be written in accordance with current affairs, which means most of the topics have to be aligned with the present scenarios involved. Humanities can be challenging in a way that it is vast and variable, which means that you have to stay up to date with the changing geography, economics and politics of the country or the world.

Science: Engineering and Medical

The current data shows how the Engineering and Medical background students have been dominating the UPSC exam. However, because of the technical questions involved, some students may not find it suitable to choose them as their UPSC subject. The Science subjects may not seem appropriate for some candidates, as these subjects are mostly limited to the optional papers and may not significantly help in the other sections of the UPSC exam. The other sections here are the general studies papers or the prelims, which are generally filled with questions coming from the Humanities background. But this should not demotivate the students from science background as they can start preparing for the exam at the earliest during their graduation.

The undergraduates from the science field can start preparing their social studies’ static part and optional subject during their graduation. Because of technical subjects, you may not feel confident about your essay writing skills; therefore you should keep practising writing through model papers and toppers answer sheets available on the internet.

Also Read : Here’s How to Discover Your UPSC Exam Skills? Unleash your Potential by Understanding the Need!

Tips for Science Background Students

During graduation, all the science background aspirants should :

# Prepare NCERTs

# Get a habit of newspaper reading

# Practice essay writing

# Cover the static part

# Solve previous year papers for optional


Irrespective of the subject chosen, aspirants should focus on a planned UPSC preparation. Interest is the key to stay encouraged in the long journey of the UPSC examination and hence, you should stay confident of your choices. Utilise your graduation years to develop the activities of a UPSC aspirant and get started with the preparation of your basics and static part. For more UPSC orientated blogs visit UPSC Pathshala and try free demo class from experienced UPSC experts.

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Which Subject is Best for ias after the 12th? How to Prepare for UPSC after the 12th?
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Which Subject is Best for ias after the 12th? How to Prepare for UPSC after the 12th?
Confused about which subject is best for IAS? This article aims to clear your doubts regarding UPSC preparation after 12th. Read on to find out how you can prepare for UPSC after the 12th.
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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.

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