How to Start UPSC Preparation From Zero Level?

By Balaji

Updated on: March 24th, 2023

How to Start UPSC Preparation From Zero Level? To start preparing for UPSC from the zero level, you must first understand the entire syllabus and exam pattern and focus on basic NCERT textbooks. 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. 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. To make things simpler, in this article, we will cover how to start UPSC preparation from zero level.

Table of content

  • 1. How to Start UPSC Preparation From Zero Level? (more)
  • 2. Tips for UPSC Preparation From Zero Level at Home (more)
  • 3. Conventional Way To Start IAS Preparation for Beginners (more)
  • 4. UPSC Preparation with Job from Zero Level (more)

How to Start UPSC Preparation From Zero Level?

You must know that being a bookworm won’t help you crack the UPSC Exam. Even if you crack the UPSC Prelims and Mains, you still have to go through the UPSC 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 better deal with all the challenges 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 a solid plan is ready.

Make a Robust UPSC Time Table for Daily Practice

To become an IAS officer, it is necessary to have a solid, well-organized schedule. If you want to succeed, come up with a timetable and stick to it at any cost.

  • Having a rock-solid schedule will make your Preparation more streamlined. If you give yourself deadlines, you can complete the UPSC Syllabus faster.
  • Analyzing the compulsory UPSC Subjects and making your schedule per your strengths and weaknesses.

Know the UPSC Syllabus 2023

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 UPSC study materials.

Read Best Newspaper for UPSC

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.

Choose Best Optional Subject for UPSC

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, carefully analyze the pros and cons before choosing one.

Study NCERT Books Thoroughly

The NCERT Books for UPSC are going to play a significant role in the IAS exam preparation. Understand how to read NCERT books that 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.

Make Relevant Notes

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.

While note-making, candidates can pen down their views and perceptions on various topics. Apart from that, it also helps enhance time management and analytical skills.

Practice UPSC 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’s 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.
  • Solving these question papers can boost your confidence and develop an effective preparation strategy.

Solve Mock Tests

Besides the previous year’s question papers, candidates must take mock tests to access themselves.

  • It is important to understand your strengths and weaknesses before your Preparation.
  • Those who are preparing from zero level should join the mock test series as it can help them boost their confidence level.

Rely on One Best Study Resource

Candidates need to have all the important and advanced books for effective Preparation.

  • UPSC Magazines like Yojana, Kurukshetra, Economic & Political Weekly, etc., is 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 time to exercise and meditate daily.

Tips for 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 aspirants preparing for UPSC at home.

Tip 1: 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.

Tip 2: Current Affairs for UPSC

  • 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 daily and note the important news and event for topics like Polity, Indian Economy, National & State news, Environmental News, Sports news, etc.

Tip 3: 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 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.

Tip 4: 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.
  • Practice through mock tests, and join a good test series to take care of CSAT.

Conventional Way To Start IAS Preparation for Beginners

Beginners can follow some traditionally known strategies while starting their UPSC preparation. Go step-by-step to avoid any confusion and do not get panic after looking at the syllabus and exam pattern.

Improve your basics in every subject and solve at least the last 10 years question papers to strengthen your pace of solving even the most difficult questions.

  • Research the UPSC syllabus carefully
  • Make a proper and feasible timetable
  • Read newspapers on a daily basis and assemble the best Current Affairs for UPSC magazines
  • Commence with standard NCERT books
  • Make subject-wise notes in your own handwriting
  • Download copies of PYQ papers and toppers’ answers
  • Practice test series

UPSC Preparation with Job from Zero Level

If you are very enthusiastic to enter into Indian civil services, it is important that you manage your time well. Whether you are in college or employed in a company, you can still begin your UPSC preparation just by designing a proper timetable and following it strictly.

  • The first rule for working UPSC aspirants is not to quit their jobs. Having decent work experience can help you score well in the interview round. You should try to balance your activities well for a day.
  • A working candidate should not compromise on any of the core areas like Current Affairs, General Studies, and the selected optional subject due to the lack of time.
  • You should prepare a pertinent timetable so that even on your busy office days you are able to take time out to prepare for UPSC along with proper rest.
  • An ideal workaround is when you divide your study time into prior to work, during work, post-work and revision schedules.
  • Create a specific schedule for weekends. During the forenoon, you should revise the entire week’s preparation, practice writing answers, and solve mock tests during the afternoon.
UPSC Articles
How to Become IAS Officer After 12th? How Many Questions to Attempt in UPSC Mains?
Is UPSC Tough? How to Prepare for UPSC at Home?
NCERT Notes for UPSC How to Prepare for UPSC Prelims?
How to Choose Optional for UPSC? UPSC Result 2022 State Wise List
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