How to Start UPSC Preparation From Zero Level?

By Ritesh|Updated : September 14th, 2022

How to Start UPSC Preparation From Zero Level? This question plays in the mind of all the candidates preparing for the UPSC Exam from scratch. UPSC CSE is one of the toughest exams in the country, and it demands dedication, hard work, and effective strategy from a candidate. Those in their early stage may feel overwhelmed and confused about where to start. To make things simpler, in this article, we will cover How to Start UPSC Preparation From Zero Level.

Everyone knows the success rate of the UPSC exam is low, putting so much pressure on the candidates. The UPSC exam is challenging not only because of the vast syllabus but also for its unpredictability. Moreover, the competition is immense. Here we will cover step-by-step processes to help candidates prepare for UPSC from the zero level.

How to Start UPSC Preparation From Zero Level at Home

You must know that being a bookworm won't help you crack the UPSC Exam. Even if you crack the UPSC Prelims and UPSC Mains, you still have to go through the Interview round, where your personality test will be conducted. So it is important to develop in all spheres apart from academic knowledge. So let's see how you can start UPSC preparation from zero level.

Prepare Yourself Mentally

  • The competition for IAS Exam is immense, and to absorb all the pressure, candidates need to be physically and mentally prepared.
  • A sound mind and body would help the candidates deal with all the challenges better and put them in the right direction.
  • Make sure you prepare at your own pace and don't get too intimidated by how others are doing.
  • Understand the UPSC Exam Pattern and start your preparation accordingly.
  • If you are leaving your job for Preparation, ensure that you have a solid plan ready.

Make a Robust Timetable

  • To become an IAS officer, it is necessary to have a solid, well-organized schedule.
  • Come up with a timetable and stick to it at any cost if you want to succeed.
  • Having a rock-solid schedule will make your Preparation more streamlined. If you give yourself deadlines, you can complete the syllabus faster.
  • Analyzing the UPSC Subjects and making your schedule per your strengths and weaknesses.

Know th UPSC Syllabus

  • Before starting the Preparation for the UPSC exam, the most important strategy is to have an in-depth understanding of the UPSC Syllabus.
  • The syllabus is the soul of any exam, and knowing the syllabus should be the foremost thing. It would help the candidates prioritize the subjects and gather relevant study materials.

Newspaper Reading

  • Build a newspaper reading habit, which holds huge importance in the UPSC exam preparation,
  • The fact is, if you don't read the newspaper daily, you won't be able to clear this exam easily,
  • Many questions in the UPSC exam can be directly or indirectly related to Current Affairs, and reading newspapers will help you with relevant news and current events.
  • Choose the Best Newspaper for UPSC and level up your Preparation, which will also help the interview round.

Choosing Optional Subject

  • The optional subject carries 500 marks in the UPSC Mains exam, and this weightage is enough to tell its importance.
  • These 500 marks would play a crucial role in the selection of the candidates; therefore, a candidate must put a lot of thought while choosing this subject.
  • If you have options in mind, carefully analyze the pros and cons before choosing one.


  • The NCERT Books for UPSC are going to play a significant role in the IAS exam preparation,
  • NCERT books provide information very coherently, and any beginner can make his/her basics clear with the help of these books.
  • In previous years, UPSC has asked questions directly from the NCERT books.

Note Making

  • The UPSC Syllabus is vast, and candidates must keep track of all the portions covered by making notes.
  • Candidates can make separate notes for separate subjects and revise them frequently for maximum retention. Additionally, the notes also serve a great purpose during the revision period.

Practice Answer Writing

  • Note-making will be more effective in UPSC Prelims, but candidates need to write explanatory answers for UPSC Mains.
  • In this case, practicing answer writing would be the best choice. Here candidates can pen down their views and perceptions on various topics.
  • Apart from that, it helps in enhancing time-management skills and analytical skills as well.

Previous Year's Question Papers

  • UPSC Previous Year Question Papers are the most reliable sources apart from the UPSC Books and UPSC Study Material for the UPSC preparation.
  • By solving the UPSC previous year question papers, candidates will be able to gauge the level of difficulty of the UPSC exam, exam pattern, etc.,
  • It will also give a clear picture of the most important topics and trends. By solving these question papers, you can boost your confidence and develop an effective preparation strategy.

Mock Tests

  • Besides the previous year's question papers, candidates must take mock tests to access themselves.
  • It is important to understand strengths and weaknesses before your Preparation.
  • Those who are preparing from zero level should join mock test series as it can help them boost their confidence level.

Rely on Resources

  • Candidates need to have all the important and advanced books for effective Preparation.
  • Magazines like Yojana, Kurukshetra, Economic & Political Weekly, etc., are a must for the IAS exam.
  • Additionally, there are many government websites like PIB, PRS, and national television programs that can be beneficial for the Preparation.

Stay Positive

  • One of the most important for the candidates is to keep a positive mindset throughout the Preparation.
  • Panicking won't help, and it will certainly create various problems.
  • You need to believe that you will crack this exam, or no amount of Preparation will be enough for you.
  • Keep your body and mind healthy, and find some time to exercise and meditate daily.

How to Start UPSC Preparation From Zero Level at Home?

Many candidates believe that coaching is necessary for the UPSC exam. However, in the past, many candidates have cleared the UPSC exam by preparing at home. It may feel difficult for beginners at first to start the Preparation on their own, but it gets easier with time. Apart from the below-mentioned strategy, here are some additional tips for those who are preparing for UPSC at home.

Deal with General Studies

  • General Studies papers are the hardest part of the UPSC Prelims Syllabus and the UPSC Mains Syllabus.
  • So to clear the IAS exam, you need to have an excellent understanding of the topics covered in general studies papers.
  • For the UPSC Mains exam, practice writing descriptive answers.

Current Affairs

  • Many UPSC questions are asked from the news and event that have taken place within a year of the commencement of the exam.
  • So when preparing for UPSC, you must sit with a newspaper every day and note the important news and event for topics like Polity, Indian Economy, National & State news, Environmental News, Sports news, etc.

Build a Strong Foundation

  • As a beginner, you must build a solid foundation for each subject covered in the IAS syllabus.
  • A strong foundation will help you answer all types of questions in the UPSC exam.
  • You have a solid foundation; you can start with basic reading NCERTs for Polity, History, Geography, Economy, and General Science.

Practice as Much as You can

  • Once you have made your foundation strong, follow advanced books for each paper.
  • After that, practice writing rigorously, and remember to practice for the CSAT even though it is qualifying in nature.
  • Practice through mock tests, and join a good test series to take care of CSAT.


write a comment

FAQs on How to Start UPSC Preparation From Zero Level?

  • To prepare for UPSC from the zero level, one must properly analyze the UPSC syllabus. After that, the candidates must gather all the study materials and books to start the Preparation. The candidate needs to analyze the previous year’s question papers to understand the paper pattern and question types. Additionally, candidates must strengthen the current affairs section.

  • A beginner should give at least 12 months for the UPSC Prelims exam preparation. The UPSC Syllabus is vast, and the beginner should build a strong foundation in the subjects. Additionally, he/she must cover the syllabus comprehensively and give mock tests.

  • To start the UPSC Preparation at home, you can choose a subject you find interesting. Make sure you make notes and read newspapers daily. Practice the previous year’s question papers to understand the exam's difficulty level and assess yourself.

  • Yes, it is possible to prepare for UPSC on your own and get selected. Many candidates have cleared the IAS exam without taking coaching in the past. For self-studying, you need to follow a dedicated routine and give enough time for Preparation.

Featured Articles

Follow us for latest updates