How Many Hours to Study for IAS? – UPSC Toppers Preparation Strategy

By Balaji

Updated on: February 17th, 2023

How Many Hours to Study for IAS? This is one of the foremost questions that strike the mind of a UPSC aspirant. Many professors and toppers suggest studying for approximately 15 hours daily during IAS preparation. In contrast, several fast learners clear the exam by studying for 6-7 hours daily. The number of hours one should dedicate to studying for IAS depends upon their abilities and requirements. For every student, the study hours may vary; hence, there is no best answer to this question. Many candidates initially study for more than 12 hours a day for about 7-10 days, but eventually, this schedule aggravates as it is challenging to study for such long hours.

It is recommended that aspirants have at least 1 year in hand before they start IAS preparation. Having sufficient time can aid in managing time well for studies. The intensity of preparation must be divided equally among the 10 to 12 months, with the passion growing during the last few days of the exam. This article explains how many hours to study for IAS preparation are advised by most experts.

Table of content

  • 1. What is IAS Full Form? (more)
  • 2. How Many Hours to Study for IAS? (more)
  • 3. IAS Topper Study Hours (more)
  • 4. Hour-Wise Timetable for IAS Preparation (more)
  • 5. Myths Concerning How many Hours to Study for IAS (more)
  • 6. Tips to Reduce Study Hours for IAS Preparation (more)

What is IAS Full Form?

IAS Full Form is Indian Administrative Services. The IAS officers are recruited by Union Public Service Commission, which conducts the CSE exam to screen the best candidates for the job role.

IAS Full Form in Hindi

Since the UPSC Exam is considered the most competitive exam in India, one must know how many hours to study for IAS before intending to appear for the examination. The exam occurs in three stages – Prelims, Mains, and interview.

How Many Hours to Study for IAS?

Candidates should focus on the efficacy and quality of the study, which counts, rather than the study duration. IAS Toppers generally study between 4 to 16 hours a day, which differs in their strategy for preparation.

Some candidates outperformed in the UPSC exam by devoting just 3 hours in a day or less. Studying efficiently with full concentration on one subject at a time is important. The key to their success is comprehending the UPSC Syllabus, its general exam pattern, and ultimately, the structure of the exam.

UPSC Study Time Table

IAS Topper Study Hours

Below, we have mentioned the approximate number of hours the following IAS toppers with All India Rank 1 devoted to studying in a single day. Students preparing for the exam in the coming year can get a brief idea of how many hours of study are required for the IAS Exam.

IAS Topper Study Hours

Exam Year

IAS Toppers

Study Hours


Shruti Sharma

14-15 Hours


Shubham Kumar

Prelims – 8 Hours and Mains – 10 Hours


Pradeep Singh

12 Hours


Kanishak Kataria

8 to 10 hours/a day or 12 to 14 hours/a day


Anudeep Durishetty

15 hours on 5 weekdays and + a total of 20-24 hrs on the weekend.


Nandini KR

Prelims – 8 Hours and Mains – 10 Hours


Tina Dabi

Roughly 12 Hours


Gaurav Agarwal

10-12 hours


Shena Aggarwal

5 – 6 hours per day


S Divyadarshini

4-5 hours per day + Extra during exam time

Hour-Wise Timetable for IAS Preparation

UPSC aspirants can follow the below hour-wise timetable while preparing for the UPSC exam 2023. Many experts and toppers have emphasized the relevance of consistency throughout the IAS preparation time to get desired results.

Time Allotment

IAS Study Time-Table

6:30 a.m.

Wake up and get freshen up

7:00 a.m – 7:30 a.m

Have Breakfast

7:30 a.m – 8:00 a.m

Do Exercise

8:00 a.m – 11:00 a.m

Slot 01 of Studies (3 hours)

11:00 a.m – 12:00 noon

Focus on Current Affairs

01:00 p.m – 02:00 p.m

Have Lunch

02:00 p.m – 03:00 p.m

Take afternoon nap

03:00 p.m – 05:00 p.m

Slot 02 of Studies (2 hours)

05:00 p.m – 05:30 p.m

Indulge in any Hobby/Sports/Activities

05:30 p.m – 08:30 p.m

Slot 03 of Studies (3 hours)

08:30 p.m – 09:30 p.m


09:30 p.m – 10:00 p.m

Relax and watch something useful on TV or listen to radio

10:00 p.m – 12:00 a.m

Slot 04 of Studies (2 hours)

12:30 a.m

Go to sleep

Myths Concerning How many Hours to Study for IAS

A lot of myths have been spread by people regarding IAS preparation. Aspirants should be cautious not to believe them and follow the direction of their unique study plan. Below are the 3 myths that are quite prevalent.

Myth 1: You must study for 15 hours daily to be fully prepared!

Different students have different grasping abilities, so studying for 15 hours is not mandatory. Long study hours can cause nervous breakdowns and anxiety issues; it is better to do smart work than work hard the whole day. A timetable should be prepared, including good hours of sleep, proper leisure time, and socialization.

Myth 2: It is compulsory to join a Coaching Institute.

Success depends upon the efforts one has put in during preparation. There are examples of several toppers and IAS officers who cleared the exam without coaching. Even reputed coaching institutes do not offer much to the students; few centres open up just to pull a bunch of money out of their pockets.

How to Clear UPSC Exam Without Coaching

It is advised that if candidates need help, they should prefer online coaching or websites, where they can find solutions in just one click, all day.

Myth 3: Multiple books should be referred to know more things.

It is recommended that reading fewer and more appropriate UPSC books helps in the exam. If students try to feed additional details into their brains, it may lead to overload and spill the information.

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Tips to Reduce Study Hours for IAS Preparation

Students who cannot invest much time in their studies can follow a pattern of studying for 5-6 hours every day throughout the year. The most practical tips and tricks that can help improve the study quality are below.

  • It is necessary for candidates to understand the concepts and not cram the facts and details of any specific topic. Mugging up will only let the brain retain information for a short time.
  • Studying continuously in a day can mix up all the details, so students must take short breaks at regular intervals.
  • Focus on studying with full concentration, and avoid using electronic devices while studying, which may cause distraction.
  • Refrain from studying for 3 hours in one go; instead, take a 10-15 minutes break after every hour to relax your mind and body.
  • Instead of hard work, concentrate on smart work by creating short forms or tricks to learn every formula or factual data.
  • Manage your time as per the need of the exam. Check the weightage of the subjects and different sections, then plan a study timetable accordingly.

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