How Much Time is Required to Prepare for UPSC?

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

The time required to prepare for UPSC is subjective to the preparation level, and calibre of the candidates, but on average it takes at minimum 10-12 months of preparation. If you are among those gearing up for the forthcoming UPSC 2023 exam, you must know the number of hours, days, and months you must dedicate to preparation. Candidates must give their full attention to mastering their art of self-study and work hard to acquire their dreams in less than a year. This article will furnish the answer to the question of how much time is required to prepare for UPSC.

To reduce the time required to prepare for UPSC, aspirants must get disconnected from all distractions, read pertinent study materials, and draw a practical timetable to be followed. In this article, aspirants can get a brief and approximate idea about how much time is required to prepare for UPSC.

How Much Time is Required to Prepare for UPSC?

On average, individuals take 10-12 months to prepare thoroughly for the exam. But, some UPSC toppers have even cleared the exam in just 6 months, depending on their learning power and caliber. Several factors play a major role in determining the preparation time for varied candidates.

  • Time is precious for UPSC aspirants, and they need to receive adequate guidance and strategic skills to apply them in learning relevant study materials.
  • Though the syllabus remains similar for everyone, but the attitude to approach the same differs.
  • Much of it depends on commitment, devotion, persistence, and seriousness.
  • The time taken to prepare for the IAS exam depends on the potency of the interior characteristics.
  • More dedicated candidates can clear the exam in one year, whereas some take 4 or more years to crack it.

How to Prepare for IAS in Less Time?

UPSC conducts the most challenging exam annually, and the UPSC syllabus is undoubtedly comprehensive. It comprises many diverse subjects, and the current affairs segment needs to be grasped and revised frequently.

  • UPSC preparation takes time so does its execution.
  • The format is a long-stretched process extending for almost a year.
  • The exam consists of 3 stages, each responsible for eliminating a specific number of candidates.

The UPSC exam format includes the listed rounds:

  • UPSC Prelims: Two objective papers (Conducted in May/June).
  • UPSC Mains: 9 descriptive papers (Conducted in September/October).
  • IAS Interview: UPSC Board Interview (Conducted in March/April/May).

Time Required to Prepare for UPSC Prelims

Beginners must begin their preparation 10 to 12 months before the UPSC Prelims exam to cover the whole curriculum and spare time for revision. They should start practicing GS papers first and then move on to learning optional subjects.

Read the Syllabus Carefully

Beginners must subscribe to The Indian Express or The Hindu newspapers and get the PIB app whenever they decide to start the preparation. Reading newspapers should be a daily habit till the interview phase, and different days should be committed for different UPSC subjects.

  • Newspapers help provide up-to-date information about current affairs topics, shape one’s personality, and boost overall qualities.
  • Aspirants should be capable of analyzing and criticizing the news they read.
  • Pursuing this will benefit candidates in writing better answers for the Mains questions and foster their performance in the interview round.

Become a Planner

To become an IAS officer, knowing how to plan your day well is essential. A strategy should be designed for the year to cover the entire UPSC syllabus and to enhance knowledge skills.

Proper planning is required to support and optimize one’s results. Aspiring candidates can watch toppers’ success stories and apply them in their strategy according to their personality and forte.

Reduce Study Sources

UPSC beginners can have a dilemma regarding which books and study materials to choose. It is crucial to find an authentic, reliable, and comprehensive source and refrain from indulging in varied study materials.

  • Candidates can select the best-suited books by superficially reading the textbooks referred by teachers and toppers.
  • Students should always start their preparation using NCERT books for UPSC and not any supplementary books.

Create Last Minute Important Notes

Aspirants should refer to a minimum of 1-2 study sources other than NCERT. While studying, they should highlight the important facts and finally assemble them into notes. The points listed below will help the candidates decode the answer to the question of how to make notes for UPSC.

  • Beginners should first collect all the relevant UPSC books and information, then create notes constantly.
  • The notes prepared are useful in the last-minute preparation before exams, so applicants must dedicate most of their time to making important notes from NCERTs.
  • Candidates can assign a separate section to less significant points at the end of notes.
  • After making notes, students can take references from 6th to 12th NCERT books, jot down details in the bulleted form or make special boxes to highlight the important part that would be useful during quick revision. The NCERT notes for UPSC are a highly essential factor for preparation.

Frequent Revision

It is evident that going through the vast UPSC syllabus; one can forget minor things they have learned before. Even the simplest topics have the broadest information available.

  • Before moving to a new topic, aspirants must revise their notes from the previous day.
  • A daily revision will take less time than completing an entire topic.
  • Revisions help intensify proficiency in one particular subject.

A Strong Foundation is a Key

Beginners need to start everything from scratch. There is enough time to read and absorb all the NCERT books. For many applicants, the concepts are yet to be cleared since childhood.

  • During this age, the comprehension level increases, which will help candidates to grab the concepts faster from the junior standard NCERT books.
  • Clearing basics are of utmost importance, after which students can learn advanced topics.
  • The topics may appear tough if the aspirant lacks a strong foundation of the topic.

UPSC Preparation Time for Mains

Aspiring candidates who are highly motivated to clear the UPSC mains exam with a good score can crack it in less time. As mains is the higher level of the recruitment process, it needs a minimum of 6-7 months of preparation. The candidates can follow the undermentioned guidelines for uplifting the level of preparation.

  • Candidates must read NCERT books for the Prelims and Mains exam (Up to XII standard NCERT books).
  • Students should focus on answer writing and substantiating the answers with real-life illustrations and examples.
  • Aspirants should complete exam preparation at least two weeks before the upcoming examination stage so that more time is available to revise what is learned.
  • In the last phase, candidates must practice and solve IAS mock test papers and focus on areas in which they are vulnerable.
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