5 ace strategies to kickstart your UPSC Civil Services exam preparation

Here are 5 strategies to help you begin your UPSC exam preparation and crack the Civil Services.

5 ace strategies to kickstart your UPSC Civil Services exam preparation
5 ace strategies to kickstart your UPSC Civil Services exam preparation

The trick to cracking your UPSC Civil Services exam lies in preparing a winning strategy. And creating a sound strategy is an art in itself. While in most cases, students try to follow the toppers blindly or go with a preparation hack they discovered online, this may not be the right approach.

What you need is a plan of action based on your learning abilities, the time available with you, and the guidance you receive. Start slow but formulate a strategy as per your understanding. If your goal is to clear your competitive exam, your first step is to start working on a master plan that works for you.

Let’s take a look at some guiding principles to kick-start your UPSC Civil Services exam preparation.

1. Break down your syllabus into parts

Start with a thorough analysis of your UPSC Civil Services exam syllabus. As they say, ‘know your enemy’ in advance, chart out the topics you struggle with.

It will help you assess your core strength and weakness. The next step is to create a strategy where you first work on the tough topics and then move on to the easier ones.

2. Make a timetable that suits you

Always remember, do not make hectic and unrealistic study plans for UPSC. It will overwhelm you in just a few weeks and drain all your enthusiasm for preparation.

Take your current schedule into consideration, whether you are a working professional or a student preparing for the exam simultaneously while studying for college.

These factors will help you determine the time you can devote each day. And once you chart out a plan according to your timetable, you’ll definitely be able to follow it well.

3. Assess yourself at each step

Once you start preparing for UPSC, monitor your progress at each step. During an assessment, the key points to note are the questions you got wrong in a test, the topics you failed to answer, and the tricky questions you got wrong because you didn’t remember the details.

It will help you keep track of the topics you need to work on.

Besides this, make sure to note down even the correct answers as it will help you remember the topics in detail. This will help you assess if you are on the right track.

Well, assessment is the key to progress, and you’ll ace your exams with the right preparation strategy.

4. Don’t divide your study into Prelims and Mains

If you consider Prelims and Mains as two distinct UPSC exams, stop doing it right now. This is because they are two parts of the exam with the same syllabus.

So, from day one, start practicing answer writing, essay writing, and note-making to do well in both of them. Your aim should be to command the syllabus, not individual exams.

5. Seek guidance and support

UPSC preparation drains aspirants emotionally and physically. It can even lead to social isolation, but you need your safety net to fall back to for mental well-being. So, make sure you stay in touch with your friends and family.

In fact, an experienced mentor can be of great help in times like these. When times are tough, proper guidance can get you back on track. Try cultivating a network of friends, mentors, and peers who’ll be by your side as you dive deep into your preparation phase.


If you plan to kickstart your preparation soon, the best foot forward is to prepare yourself mentally, physically, and emotionally from the very start. In the long haul, a well-planned strategy can do wonders for you.