How to Crack IAS Exam? 10 Tips for IAS Preparation

Candidates often find difficult how to crack IAS Exam not due to lack of hard-work or potential, but due to lack of right start up. Civil Service exam tries to select candidates who are creative and innovative and aware of day to day life. Civil Service exam never wants one to be ideal. For cracking these exam take guidance from others but make your own strategy and follow it. So, evaluate yourself before UPSC evaluates you.

Don’t Miss: IAS Exam Preparation Strategy for beginners by Rachit Raj, UPSC Exam Topper

These 11 points explains How to Crack IAS Exam?

  • Before starting the preparation, it is very important to have a complete understanding about the exam process.The syllabus is huge but remind yourself that it is something that you have already studied before! Brush up your past knowledge to give your IAS vision a start.
  • Start by simply jotting down the entire syllabus into points and divide them into sections according to your strengths and weaknesses, and then proceed with designing a study plan.
  • For Civil Services Exam only studying is not important. But here important is how one is using his knowledge to write particular paper within three hours counts the most. What one writes during these three hours makes one topper and anther failure. Here how much you studied it doesn’t matter, but how you are using your knowledge to write particular answer matters a lot. Hence having regular practice of answer writing is highly necessary.
  • One who is able to make Mains exam never counts the hours and how many books he/she has read. But they know what to read, what not to read, how much to read, how to use when required writing the answers. Before starting the preparation find out properly what to read, what not to read, what types of question are asked from particular topics.

Also Read: IAS Preparation – 15 Time Management tips of IAS Exam aspirants

  • Do not make a timetable how to crack IAS Exam rather than study for more than 4-5 hours of your day to dedicate to your IAS preparations. Once you have decided on the amount of time you will put in everyday and what topics you will cover when, make sure you follow it religiously and you shall step closer to cracking IAS in the first attempt itself.
  • Make sure you solve enough number of mock papers for both Prelims and Mains; this is a must before you step into the UPSC exam for your first attempt. Regular evaluations will help you keep a track of your progress and help you keep yourself motivated.
  • Keep a habit of discussing all important developments that take place in India and or has an impact on her diaspora. This is a tip given by all former IAS toppers who have cleared the exam in their first attempt itself. Informed discussions will give you an edge over others – not just in Prelims and Mains, but in interviews as well.

Also Read: 10 Must Read Books for UPSC Aspirants – Advanced Studies

  • The focus should be on gaining basic clarity in each topic, which will come only through lot of logical questioning. This is most important for clearing the prelims stage.
  • For any topic, try to do a horizontal and vertical reading of all the related current topics which will definitely help to cover any topic holistically.
  • A thorough analysis of the previous year’s question papers and the recent trends so that one is in tune with UPSC recent trends.
  • For General Studies read Newspapers, Magazines, Journals, Internet (Most Important), and books of general reading. NCERT school books of history, geography, polity, economics, sociology and all humanities and arts (excluding languages, mathematics and science) from class 7th to 12th. Must read Science NCERT school books of only class 9th and 10th.

Also Read: Books for UPSC Civil Services Preliminary Exam Preparation

111 COMMENTS

    • DEAR Mousumi Nag Das,

      THIS IS eligibility for IAS exam :-

      The government intends to raise the upper age limit and number of attempts of applicants of the UPSC Civil Service Examination with effect from 2015.

      According to information published on the website of the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances, the upper age limit will be 37 years for SC/ST candidates with unlimited number of attempts; 35 years for OBC with 9 attempts; and 32 for the unreserved (general) category with 6 attempts.

      For physically handicapped candidates age limit is 42, 45 and 47 years for General, OBC and SC/ST category respectively while the number of attempts is 9 for General and OBC and unlimited for SC/SC category.
      Eligibility Table
      Category Maximum Age Attempt
      General 32 6
      OBC 32+3=35 9
      SC/ST 32+5=37 As many as upto age limt
      Physically disabled
      (Blind, Deaf-mute, Orthopedic) 32+10=42 if general then 9
      OBC then 9
      SC/ST- then upto age limt
      J&K domicile if general then 32+5=37
      OBC then 32+5+3=40
      SC/ST then 32+5+5=42
      PH then 32+5+10=50
      depending on above categories viz.Gen, OBC, SC/ST, Disabled
      Disabled serviceman discharged from duty if general then 32+3=35
      OBC then 32+3+3=38
      SC/ST then 32+3+5=40
      -do-
      Ex-serviceman with five years duty* specific condition on page2 of notification if general then 32+5=37
      OBC then 32+5+3=40
      SC/ST then 32+5+5=42
      -do-
      Academic Eligibility for IAS Exams
      The candidate must hold a degree of any of Universities incorporated by an Act of the Central or State Legislature in India or other educational institutions established by an Act of Parliament or declared to be deemed as a University Under Section-3 of the University Grants Commission Act, 1956, or possess an equivalent qualification
      Candidates who have appeared or intend to appear for the qualifying examination and are awaiting results are also eligible to appear for the Preliminary Examination. All such candidates who qualify to appear for the Civil Services Main Examination must produce proof of having passed the said examination along with their application for the Main Examination.
      The UPSC may in exceptional cases treat a candidate without the foregoing requisite qualification as an eligible candidate if he / she has passed an examination conducted by other institutions, the standard of which justifies his / her admission in the opinion of the Commission.
      Candidates with professional and technical qualifications recognised by the Government as equivalent to professional and technical degrees.
      Candidates who have passed the final year of MBBS or any Medical Examination but are yet to complete the internship can also appear for the Main Examination. However they must submit along with their Main Examination application, a certificate from the concerned authority of the University / Institution that they have passed the final professional medical examination. At the Interview stage they must then produce a certificate from a competent authority that they have completed (including internship) all the requirements for the award of the Medical Degree.
      Restrictions on applying for the examination:
      A candidate who is appointed to the Indian Administrative Service or the Indian Foreign Service on the results of an earlier examination and continues to be a member of that service will not be eligible to compete at this examination. In case such a candidate is appointed to the IAS/IFS after the Preliminary Examination of Civil Services Examination, 2015 is over and he/she continues to be a member of that service, he/she shall not be eligible to appear in the Civil Services (Main) Examination, 2015 notwithstanding his/her having qualified in the Preliminary Examination, 2015. Also provided that if such a candidate is appointed to IAS/IFS after the commencement of the Civil Services (Main) Examination, 2015 but before the result thereof and continues to be a member of that service, he/she shall not be considered for appointment to any service/post on the basis of the result of this examination viz. Civil Services Examination, 2015.

      Other Eligibility Conditions for IAS Exams:
      (i) Nationality:
      For the Indian Administrative Service and the Indian Police Service, a candidate must be a citizen of India.
      For other services, a candidate must be either :—
      a citizen of India, or
      a subject of Nepal, or
      a subject of Bhutan, or
      a Tibetan refugee who came over to India before 1st January, 1962 with the intention of permanently settling in India, or
      a person of Indian origin who has migrated from Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka, East African countries of Kenya, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire, Ethiopia and Vietnam with the intention of permanently settling in India.

      Provided that a candidate belonging to categories (b), (c), (d) and (e) shall be a person in whose favour a certificate of eligibility has been issued by the Government of India.

      Provided further that candidates belonging to categories (b), (c) and (d) above will not be eligible for appointment to the Indian Foreign Service.

      A candidate in whose case a certificate of eligibility is necessary, may be admitted to the examination but the offer of appointment may be given only after the necessary eligibility certificate has been issued to him/her by the Government of India.

      (ii) Age Limits :
      A candidate must have attained the age of 21 years and must not have attained the age of 32 years on the 1st of August, 2015 i.e., he/she must have been born not earlier than 2nd August, 1983 and not later than 1st August, 1994.
      The upper age limit prescribed above will be relaxable:
      Upto a maximum of five years if a candidate belongs to a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe.
      Upto a maximum of three years in the case of candidates belonging to Other Backward Classes who are eligible to avail of reservation applicable to such candidates.
      Upto a maximum of five years if a candidate had ordinarily been domiciled in the State of Jammu & Kashmir during the period from the 1st January, 1980 to the 31st December, 1989.
      upto a maximum of three years in the case of Defence Services personnel disabled in operations during hostilities with any foreign country or in a disturbed area and released as a consequence thereof.
      upto a maximum of five years in the case of ex-servicemen including Commissioned Officers and ECOs/SSCOs who have rendered at least five years Military Service as on 1st August, 2015 and have been released
      on completion of assignment (including those whose assignment is due to be completed within one year from 1st August, 2015) otherwise than by way of dismissal or discharge on account of misconduct or inefficiency,or
      on account of physical disability attributable to Military Service, or
      on invalidment.
      Upto a maximum of five years in the case of ECOs/SSCOs who have completed an initial period of assignment of five years Military Service as on 1st August, 2015 and whose assignment has been extended beyond five years and in whose case the Ministry of Defence issues a certificate that they can apply for civil employment and that they will be released on three months notice on selection from the date of receipt of offer of appointment
      upto a maximum of 10 years in the case of blind, deaf-mute and orthopaedically handicapped persons.
      UPSC not to relax upper age limit

      NOTE I:
      Candidates belonging to the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes and the Other Backward Classes who are also covered under any other clauses of para 3(ii) (b) above, viz. those coming under the category of Ex-servicemen, persons domiciled in the State of J & K, blind, deaf-mute and orthopaedically handicapped etc. will be eligible for grant of cumulative age-relaxation under both the categories.

      NOTE II:
      The term ex-servicemen will apply to the persons who are defined as ex-servicemen in the Ex-servicemen (Re-employment in Civil Services and Posts) Rules, 1979, as amended from time to time.

      NOTE III :
      The age concession under para 3(ii) (b) (v) and (vi) will not be admissible to ExServicemen and Commissioned Officers including ECOs/SSCOs who are released on own request.

      NOTE IV:
      Notwithstanding the provision of age-relaxation under para 3 (ii) (b) (vii) above, a physically disabled candidate will be considered to be eligible for appointment only if he/she (after such physical examination as the Government or appointing authority, as the case may be, may prescribe) is found to satisfy the requirements of physical and medical standards for the concerned Services/posts to be allocated to the physically disabled candidates by the Government.

    • If you are a graduate student or in the last year of your graduation than you can apply for it and along with this your age must be above 21 year….than you are definitely eligible for it…

    • Hello sir…i m pursuing my masters in chemistry…now and had qualified my graduation in 2015….i want to appear in civil services exam i.e i want to join ips…but i m not able to choose my optional subject as it is too tough if i choose chemistry as optional….so plz suggest me sir what subject should i choose as my optional ..can i choose chemistry or some other subject..for e.g..also have intrest in geography..but i had never studied geography as a main subject because i hav completed my graduation in PCM …plz anyone suggest me the right choice of subject…thanxxxx

      • If you are a graduate student or in the last year of your graduation than you can apply for it and along with this your age must be above 21 year….than you are definitely eligible for it…

      • Hello harsh,according to me you should go with chemistry as your optional becoz this the subject that you have read a lot as compare to any one else.you are familiar with it since you have done your graduation in this subject.it is not too much difficult it just take a hard word and regular study.see the last year papers and try to analyse the questions and according to that start your preperation.of you are thinking about geography and not studied this subject since last 3-4 years it won’t work in the main exam.with geography you will start from 0 but with chemistry you will going to start from 1 and that matters a lot…..mind it….

  1. hello sir i have completed my graduation in BE .i want start my preparation for upsc .
    tell me the books list need to prepared for exam

    • First Started the IAS preparation from 6 to 12 NCERT BOOKS.
      For current affairs Follow Hindu Newspaper and YOJANA MAGAZINE religiously.
      Then laxmikanth 4th edition for Indian Polity, modern indian history by spectrum publication, Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh.
      This books are reference books after completing the NCERT BOOKS.
      Do join test series…
      It’s mandatory for preparations and it’s helps also to increase your guessing power….

  2. Venerable sir
    I am a hindi medium student. Sir how far will this medium be useful to appear at this exam(upsc). Are there useful books available for this exam in hindi medium. Plz sir….
    I am totally in dialema. Plz suggest.

    • If you follows the total entire syllabus then you can understand that coaching is really not needed for Gs preparation. You may need coaching for optional paper not for Gs.
      But if you really want to join coaching Institute then Sriram IAS Academy is best. Join this Institute and buy all the yellow books of Vajiram and ravi Ias Academy. But the main problem is that sriram ias Academy coaching fees is extremely high. Very difficult to afford such amount of money for lower middle class people. But if money is not a big problem to you then you should definitely join Sriram ias Academy….

  3. respect sir….
    I m pursuing b.tech in mechanical engineering..
    I will complete it in 2018 .
    plz tell how should i start to study to have first attempt in 2009

    • Dear Swarna Kumari

      Please read the book “Aap IAS Kaise Banege” By Dr. Vijay Aggarwal . in this book you can read that what is civil services exam ? if have you any problem you contact me my whatsup No – 8826855280

  4. Respected sir/madam,
    This is Dayanand, from hyderabad. I’m studying B.com and very much interested in CIVILS. I want to crack it in the very first attempt.
    I’m not knowing what books to study, what optionals to choose, how much time should i spend, where to appear from.
    Please provide me with the above mentioned queries. Your reply would be greatly appreciated.

    • Dear Laxmi meena

      Please read the book “Aap IAS Kaise Banege” By Dr. Vijay Aggarwal . in this book you can read that what is civil services exam ? if have you any problem you contact me my whatsup No – 8826855280

    • first improve your english language if you are thinking to give exam in english.
      even if you are opting other language, pls get the basics clear

    • Dear Selva Kumar

      Please you can for syllabus http://www.upsc.gov.in & Please read the book “Aap IAS Kaise Banege” By Dr. Vijay Aggarwal . in this book you can read that what is civil services exam ? if have you any problem you contact me my whatsup No – 8826855280

  5. Hello,
    I’m an undergraduate, final year candidate with B.A.General Studie, Political Science discipline.
    I’ve been just a passing remarks acquirer throughout my graduation stages, yet believes to crack All-India Services Examination.

    Now the concern is that the syllabus contained within the prescribed regulations, have made me pessimist about its completion as My final year examination is about to commence from April,2016 till first quarter of May,2016.
    As per the attachments related to conformity of regular study routines I’ve analyzed of different Civil Servants, I’m finding my ability to be nullified at the end, reasons are apparently visible, as I’m just a graduate level candidate, with just a passing remarks of about 35% in aggregate in both 1st & 2nd year, collectively, whereas, the final year remarks are likely to lift it a greater level, hopefully.

    Please, guide me in some ways to build my career, I just need a light.

    Thanks.

  6. SIR I HAVE COMPLETED MY MBA IN HR& MARKETING IN 2013. IN 2011 BSC IN ZOOLOGY AS HONS. NOW I WANT TO PREPARE FOR IAS .please give some suggestion about preparation and which subject will good for me .

  7. Sir,
    I am a mother of 2 year baby boy.I am very eager to prepare for upsc exams.but now only I started my preparations by studying ncert books n r.s.agarwal num aptitude. Apart from this what other things I have to do for preparation.

  8. hello sir I have masters in social work and in graduation my subjects are political science economics English and education. plz suggest the subject which I chose.

  9. Respected sir/madam
    Im completed my bachelor’s degree in civil engineering(2015).my passion from my childhood onwards is to become an ips officer.im started my preparation. But suggest me the best ever books to clear the prelims and mains.im somewhat getting confused to select the books.there are plenty of books showing on internet.so please suggest me some important books so that I will follow them only.thnq

  10. Respected sir
    I am hindi medium student. my passion from childhoid is become a IAS officer. so i want to know that how much matter the medium concern in upsc civil service exams and how to prepare. please give suggestions.
    Thanks

  11. Minimum everyday 6to8 hr compulsory going on studies v imp ncert study material.magazine previous year question paper.every mnt s very very imp

  12. Hello…. I am 26 years old general category aspirant.. I hardly get 3 to 4 hours a day
    Is it possible to Crack such kind of exams??

  13. Respect sir :
    Sir I m studying in 6th sem of diploma in mech. Engg. I want to clear UPSC exam for IAS after my B tech.I haven’t done 12th but directly got admission in diploma after 10th class.I want to ask that is it important to do 12th standard.Is it necessary for the eligibility criteria to clear 12th.

  14. Hello sir,
    My Name is Mohit. Sir I have a prblm. I have done my graduation(bsc general) from open university that is why I am weak in my subjects. I have read that It will be helpful in interview if have choose my graduated subject as optional but what if I take other subjects as optional????

  15. sir i became and ips officers it is my dream and now i am in 12th class pcm so sir plz give me tips how can i doself study an many more to became an ips officers

    • Dear Dhiraj

      Please read the book “Aap IAS Kaise Banege” By Dr. Vijay Aggarwal . in this book you can read that what is civil services exam ?

  16. Hello sir, i am BE mechanical finel year student. Sir want join Defence service. how upsc exam are helpful for me…
    Pleasss sir reply me, i’m so confused..

  17. I got very impressed with the tips give in it i too wana to crack the same exam but due to financial crunch and other domestic problems still i can’t but i am looking for the chance to appear

  18. sir, I completed my graduation in 2015 in stream of mechanical engineering on my childhood I want to become an IAS officer but I have no proper guidance please guide how to read the books in completely with guidence … and unable to offer coaching . please provide website of IAS.
    I follow regularly Hindu newspaper and reading ncert books 6 to 12 th class still now I not attempt exam … I have to crack my exam in first attempt only in preliminary and mains … please provide proper guidance sir :

  19. dear sir , i am holding a graduation degree in assamese literature from gauhati university. now i want to prepare for 2018 upsc exam. i want to take assamese literature subject as a main paper. so i want to know that what are the main things to look in a literature subject to take as a main paper. Is it possible to take indian laguage(i mean qualifying paper)paper in assamese language after taking assamese literature as a main paper…sir, please guide me…

  20. Hello Sir,
    I am Manish. I an airmen in Indian Air Force. I have completed BCA from distance mode. I want to crack CSE exam. I got 4 to 5 hours for study regularly. I have no option for joining coaching class. I Took guidelines from videos on YouTube from your site. Is it possible to crack the exam with self study? I have gone through syllabus 2 to 3 times. How frequently the syllabus get change? The problem with my plan is I am not aware from where to start and what should be the order of study to finish syllabus ?

  21. R/sir I’m a state employee of assam police but I’m not interested now.I’m studying degree for attending UPSC exam. Now at this time I’m 25 years & studying degree 2nd year. Sir I want to know that am I complete the preparation of UPSC before 32 years of my age?

    • Dear Rafikul Islam,

      yes, you can complete the preparation of UPSC before 32 years. If you read seriously then only in preparation takes 1-1.5 years.

  22. sir
    i have just completed my b.sc in mathematics honours. the optional math paper seems easy to me. but gs is kind of hard for me. i just started preparing for ias. should i try for this year’s preliminary exam? or should i try with complete preparation? please help..thanks

  23. Sir,I’m living in a small village in ananthapuramu dist.AP . i completed b.tech civil engineering.I want to become a IAS officer. But I’ve no financially support because I came from village. My academic record also having low profile. I completed degree in local collage .Is there possible with village guy. IAS is my life ambition. I don’t know where to take coaching.I heard one is huge amount will be required for IAS coaching.is it or not ? I have fully confident on if I will take proper guidelines. So please guide me sir…

  24. Respected Sir/madam,
    I’m planning to join Vajiram & Ravi IAS Academy for my prelims; is it best for my preparation in delhi or shud i go for some other coaching institutes ?

  25. I am a student of BCA so am I eligible for upsc preparation after completing my graduation from this subject??

  26. Hello sir
    I am a student of bca and I want to know that after completing graduation from this subject can I fill up the form of upsc. I am saying this bcoz I have heard that bca Students can’t fill the form of civil services examination. So Plzz suggest me

  27. Sir,i have completed B.Sc in chemistry…i am interested in Civil service..Is post graduation is necessary for prepation?plz tell me sir…

  28. Respected sir\madam,
    i m studying 1st year bca i m eligible for IAS exam and kindly tell ,me how to prepare i have no idea so kindly help me.

  29. I’ve lots of questions to ask….if any1 wiling to help me out contact me through my email sanjoyningthouja1@gmail.com

    I’ll be graduated by 2017 and I was hoping to give my best shot in the year 2018…so plzz suggest me and guide me
    Thnx

  30. Sir I’m also want to crack upsc exam but I don’t understand how to choose my subject and my hons subject is Physics but i want to choose other subject becoz Physics is tough for this exam .Please guide me .Thank you.

  31. Hello Sir,
    I am a student of class 10 having a CBSE background….of scoring CGPA 10
    and want to pursue IAS..
    How should I prepare myself from now?

  32. I would like to prepare upsc exam that to for IPS but the thing is more majority books are IAS so please…..find me a way so can I come out from this confusion

  33. I have few questions about UPSC in that I case any 1 can help me by giving a missed call my number 9035735747

  34. Sir I am Abinash from odisha I have completed graduation how much % need in graduation to appear in upsc exam

  35. I have just passed my inter first year and my passion for civils is from 8 class and it is very strong I want to tackle my exam only in 22 age or I would get married so please I want to be fame of my family before getting married so please suggest me my basic steps to start up studies for civils and my required max amount of time that I must give on it hope u give me the best abvise/direction

    shradha jaju

  36. hello sir
    my question is
    without any coaching istitute kya UPSC exam ke preparations karna theek rhega…or agar ha to kaunsi books self study ke liye better hai…

    sir plzzzzz reply me

  37. Sir
    M Bsc non-med student..
    i hv phy,comp.,nd maths subjcts….
    Thn how do i study sociology,pol sci etc??
    by self study is it possible..?

  38. Sir I want to know that I have sociology , economics. ,gen. Hindi and English lit . sub. In b.a can I take mathematics in optional sub. Pls …. Reply it is very necessary to me ……

  39. Sir, the age relaxation for OBC ex service men is (32+5+3=40) this year.
    Is the upper age limit 32yrs will be given in the year 2017/2018 or not?
    If so, I will have an opportunity to write the exam in 2017 and 2018.
    Cat: OBC
    Thanking you,

  40. Sir mai avi pcm(science) se inter kr liya hu. Ab mai geography se B. A. kr hu. mai civil services ki taiyari krna chahta hu. pls mujhe btaye ki kis tarah se taiyari kru or optional subject me geography rkhna shi rhega ki nhi. or iske liye kaun sa book pdna chahiye

  41. Hello Sir.. My ambition is to become an IAS officer… I’m now 18 and doing my Engineering… What are steps to be followed from now onwards to crack the UPSC examination in first attempt??

  42. hello sir I am a fresher teacher of MATH and I have a big interest in IAS.and I want yo become IAS Officer but I need help From you so please help me .and tell me a about of books of IAS.my WhatsApp no- 8059909096….

  43. Sir i studies ba 1st year with subject. English geography economics i want an ias officer. But I’m confused how to prepare. And my english subject is poor. Plz give me any suggest

  44. I am SEHAR. I am in 7th class . MDG girls’ school . My goal is to be an IAS OFFICER. Can u suggest any good book for me . And I like maths a lot . in 11th I am thinking to take COMMERCE MATHS. Is my decision good??

  45. Sir Iam doing first year engineering in computer. So now which optional subject will be better for cracking IAS?can i give exam of IES by choosing computer subject?

  46. Hai sir this is phaneendra.now I am pursuing b.tech 3rd yr as a mechanical engineering…. am I fit to start for IAS preparation….when and how I supposed to start my preparation.

  47. Hello sir myself Probir, working in a private sector since last 4 yr,presently my age is 27 ,I eagerly want to appear in upsc exam but I have very few time for preparation only Sunday is off,I need the job to support my family,I have both B.sc (hons in chem)&B.tech (in chem)degree
    sir please give me some tips how can I prepare myself,I am gen category student

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