How to Prepare for IAS at Home? - 5 Tips to Follow for UPSC Preparation at Home

By Durga Prashanna Mishra|Updated : September 27th, 2022

Firstly, every UPSC aspirant must know that it is definitely possible to prepare for IAS at home. It doesn’t matter where you are from and where you have prepared for the IAS Exam. The only thing that matters is how well prepared you are for the IAS exam, which is one of the toughest exams in the country. Only hard work won’t be enough to crack the IAS exam. It is the combination of hard work with smart work that would do wonders for UPSC aspirants,

Those who want to start their IAS preparation at home must have an effective plan, and they must execute that plan to perfection for fruitful results. In this article, we have come up with an analysis that will guide the aspirants to clear all the roadblocks and pave their path to Civil Services. Here we will answer how to prepare for IAS at home. Also, those who are still wondering if I can prepare for IAS at home must read on till the end.

Table of Content

Tips to Start Preparing for UPSC at Home

IAS Exam or which is also known as UPSC Civil Services Examination is carried out in three stages- UPSC Prelims, UPSC Mains, and Personality Test. Each stage of the IAS Exam demands a different approach. However, some basic tips would prepare you for each stage of the UPSC Exam.

  • Start with making a list of all the standard books that you must have to start the IAS preparation. You can find the hard copy or even soft copies that are available online.
  • Subscribe to the Best Newspaper for UPSC, and the best and safest option is now The Hindu.
  • Make separate copies for each subject while making notes.
  • Make a copy only for the current affairs.
  • Think about an optional subject that you will pick in UPSC Mains
  • Come up with a realistic and practical timetable that works best for you.
  • These are the initial preparation tips that you shouldn’t spend more than 2 days.

How to Start Preparing for IAS Exam at Home?

After you are done with the basic preparation strategy, it’s not time for you to plan ahead. Initial days of preparation will be crucial for you as they strengthen your basic foundation. You need to be careful with every step you take these days. Here are some tips that will be beneficial in setting up the tone for IAS preparation at home.

Choose an Interesting Subject to Start with

To get that initial push, you can start with the subject you find interesting. It will help you to keep your motivational level high when you are preparing for IAS at home. Remember to make notes along with your preparation.

Prepare Robust Study Plan

Go through the UPSC Syllabus and analyze it properly. Take time to understand every subject and topic covered in the syllabus. Know everything about the UPSC Exam Pattern, and then come up with a robust study plan. Set your daily, weekly and monthly goals to cover the UPSC Prelims Syllabus and UPSC Mains Syllabus efficiently. Don’t get too overboard, and make small goals that are achievable. In addition, keep the weekends for revision which will help you in concept retention and concept building as well.

Build a Strong Foundation

The way UPSC has been framing questions is extremely tricky, and those with strong fundamentals can only survive this. That’s why focusing on making your foundation strong will help you in scaling up your preparation strategy to cover the syllabus extensively. You must have the NCERT Books for UPSC to strengthen your concepts.

Read Newspapers

You can’t keep the newspapers out of the UPSC exam preparation. Reading newspapers will help you to develop your theoretical knowledge and writing skills and is extremely helpful in dealing with Current Affairs section. The Hindu and the Economic Times are highly recommended newspapers for UPSC preparation. Supplement your knowledge with the monthly magazines as they have great articles on current news and static areas.

Go through Previous Year Questions

UPSC Previous Year Question Papers will help the candidates in assessing where they stand in terms of preparation level but also give them an idea about the trend and pattern of the questions asked in the UPSC CSE. this will allow the candidates to readjust the part which is relevant and mastering the art of relevant studying.

Problems Faced while Preparing for IAS at Home

Once you get a complete grip of this examination and gain a little experience, then you can slowly follow tougher timetables. Preparing for IAS at home is not a big deal. Just keep your confidence levels high. However, there are some problems that you may face while preparing at home.

  • The UPSC syllabus is vast, and hence lack of resources and expert guidance can be a key problem for the candidates.
  • There are thousands of books and study material available for UPSC, and the fresh aspirants get confused while choosing the right ones,
  • Fresh aspirants may feel overwhelmed with the vastness of the syllabus, and they may feel lost without coaching.
  • Coaching helps the candidates to prepare an effective timetable, but those preparing for IAS at home may find it difficult to manage their schedule at first.
  • Candidates preparing for IAS at home can find it hard to fix their difficult areas without coaching.
  • Evaluation of descriptive answers can’t be done by the candidates. But it doesn’t imply that the candidate should join coaching. There are some key factors one should consider while preparing at home; let’s check them out below.

5 Tips to begin IAS Preparation at Home

Most of the important points have been covered in the previous section to ensure that your UPSC preparation at home is efficient and result oriented. 5 most important tips to note before and during your IAS preparation at home are as follows. These are tried and tested by experts and toppers. 

  1. Stick to the UPSC Syllabus. As it is exhaustive and lengthy, it is important to cover all topics mentioned in the syllabus for both Prelims and Mains. Make the syllabus your checklist as it will help you plan your time well and you will be able to complete the syllabus before the exam. 
  2. Choose the best UPSC Books - Always choose quality over quantity. There are hundreds of books and study materials on the internet. Do your research and select the best IAS books to aid your home preparation. They should cover the syllabus and must be easy to understand. 
  3. Revision is important. No matter how smart you are, if you don't revise you will lose your chance at qualifying the exam. Because there is too much to learn, make time for revision. 
  4. Mock Test is the key to success. Choose the best UPSC mock test online to regularly practice and revise the syllabus. It helps you fill the gap in your preparation and also limits the negative marking. 
  5. Follow a schedule. Planning is the most important part of your UPSC preparation at home. 

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FAQs on IAS Preparation at Home

  • Yes,  you can definitely prepare for IAS at home. However, an effective strategy and robust study plan are needed for a fruitful result. Many IAS officers have cleared the IAS exam by preparing at home so can you.

  • To start self-studying for the IAS exam, you need to analyze the IAS syllabus first. After getting familiar with the topics covered in the syllabus, gather all the relevant UPSC Books and UPSC Study Material. Subscribe to the newspapers, and go through the previous year’s question papers. Lastly, try to solve as many as mock tests possible.

  • Yes, 1 year is sufficient if used wisely for the IAS exam. One can crack the IAS exam in a year with proper strategy and planning.

  •  A native of Nawada, Bihar, Lal Ayush Venkat Vats has cracked the IAS exam in the first attempt that too without coaching. It shows that with the right preparation and planning, everything is possible.

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