How to Make a Study plan for UPSC & IAS

UPSC IAS exam is one of the most prestigious exams in India. This exam requires 2-3 years of hard work on an average; thus, it requires patience, consistency to adhere to a study plan. Now the question comes how to make a study plan for UPSC IAS exam. The answer to this question cannot be precise and accurate, because effectiveness of a study plan also depends on one’s qualities and capabilities, such as Memory, concentration skills, occupations, lifestyle and other habits.

However, there are some common best practices that can be adopted by any student albeit of the above factors.

In the UPSC IAS exam, two types of aspirants are most common. First, who are freshers and devote their full time for preparation and second, who also takes care of other works like home or office and able to devote only 5-6 hours.

In this article, we will discuss the study plan for UPSC IAS exam for both type of students so that both will get guidance and support in their journey of UPSC IAS preparation.

UPSC IAS exam is conducted in three phases- Prelims, Mains and Personal Interview. In this article, we will discuss mainly about study plan for Prelims and Mains.

Before you start your preparation, you should keep some of the points in your mind:
  • UPSC IAS exam date:It is very important to mark the calendar with the exam date so that it will remind you about the exam every time you see the calendar. It also helps one to exactly have an idea about how much time is left.
  • Syllabus of UPSC IAS exam:You should have the syllabus in your hand (hard copy would be preferred) before you start the preparation. You should thoroughly see the syllabus and also try to remember it (its utility we will discuss when we will discuss about UPSC IAS Mains) as much as possible.
  • Make a diary for one year study plan for UPSC IAS exam: You should make a habit of writing down your study plan on a daily basis. This will help you to recall the things which you have studied in last week or month.
  • Prepare your mindset: You should prepare your mind for the next few years till you achieve the success for the ups and downs and all the upcoming challenges.

Myth about Study plan for UPSC IAS exam- First of all it is very important to clear one myth which most of aspirants have about the UPSC IAS exam preparation. This is about preparing for UPSC IAS Prelims and Mains separately. Most of us think that first we should think about clearing Prelims and we will start with the Mains preparation. Here is the turning point where most of us fail to understand what exactly UPSC IAS exam requires. UPSC IAS Prelims and Mains preparation go parallelly. It requires integrated approach rather than preparing both separately.

Study plan for UPSC IAS exam:
  • Start of the preparation:If you are a beginner, you should start your preparations at least 12 months before of the Prelims exam.
  • Dividing the months for Prelims and Mains:Initial 6 months you should devote for Prelims and Mains (General Studies). 3 months should be given for completing your optional at least once before the Prelims exam.
  • Preparation for Prelims and Mains should go hand in hand:At the start of your preparations in initial one month you should try to cover the basics mainly NCERTs and clear your fundamentals.  This will also help you to have some facts of the basic subjects. After one month, once you finish your NCERTs one reading, you should start answer writing practice immediately. At this point, you should not worry about qualities of the answer rather focus on writing answer consistently every day.
  • Dividing the day:In your study plan for UPSC IAS exam, you should try study at least 10-12 hours daily (for fresher students). For those who are working can devote their quality 6-7 hours for the preparation. Every day you should be determined to study following:
    • Newspaper reading- 1-2 hours (making short notes simultaneously).
    • Static subjects- 2-3 hours
    • Current affairs- 2-3 hours
    • Answer writing practice- 1-2 hours (try to write daily 2 answers and evaluate that on your own)
    • Revision- 2 hours
  • For working aspirants:For those who are working, they need to utilize their free time in office like tea break, lunch break etc. They can recall and revise the things in their office and likewise they can save their 2 hours. They can also take the advantage of online newspaper and they can read it and discuss with their colleagues as and when they get time. Because compared with others who are preparing full time for UPSC IAS exam, they have less time, they must do hard work and smart work together. Here smart work simply means utilizing the time quantitatively and qualitatively both.
  • Preparing advance books: Once you finish the NCERTs, you should start quickly the advance books. In your study plan for UPSC IAS exam, you should devote 3 hours daily for it. In this category, of books, Polity-Laxmikant, Modern History- Spectrum, Geography- G C Leong are the most important.
  • Preparing Optional subject:You need to finish at least 70-80% of your optional before the Prelims exam. This will help to revise the syllabus quickly after prelims and there is very less time gap between Prelims and Mains.
  • Preparing Ethics and Essey writing:These two subjects are very interlinked with your GS Papers. When you are preparing your General Studies, at that time you can have 2 separate note books for Ethics and Essay writings. You can write down the day-to-day examples, case studies which will help you to boost your answer and fetch more marks. Also, you should try to write one essay in a week.
  • Giving mock tests:In this digital era when everything is available over the internet, one should grab this opportunity by giving mock on current as well static subjects regularly (on alternate days or weekends, during revision time). This will keep you motivated for long and helps you to be in exam mode.
  • Revision:Revision is the key to Success. As the syllabus of UPSC IAS exam is very vast, one needs to revise the things on a daily basis to build their command on the subjects.
  • Curtailing the use of social media and television:One thing you should make very clear is that in this exam you have to give priority to study. Your one single mistake and careless attitude will throw you out from this race. Hence you should the use social media judiciously.
  • Preparation for Prelims exam:2-3 months before exam, you should start your preparation for Prelims exam. Now your study plan for UPSC IAS exam should consists of reading and revising basic subjects, revising current affairs, solving mock tests every day and analyzing the test simultaneously. Now you should only focus on clearing Prelims exam, the first gate of your success.
  • Making revision plan for last 20 days before the exam:Now you should start reverse counting and revise each subject and also the test papers which you have solved in last 3 months. In this last 20 days you must go through each and every thing which you have studied for Prelims in last 3 months.
  • Practice CSAT:CSAT now is qualifying in nature. If you are from science background and confident in CSAT then you should practice some mock tests. But if you are from other background then you should practice CSAT at least 2 months before the exam.

If you will dedicatedly and sincerely follow this study plan for UPSC IAS exam, then definitely you will achieve success and become an IAS your dream post.

Always remember one thing: “Slow and Steady Wins the Race”. So, work hard consistently till you achieve it.

All the best for your UPSC IAS exam.

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