How to Plan for UPSC Preparation?

UPSC Preparation: The dates of UPSC prelims and mains have been declared. Contenders have started gearing up with their plan of action already. Usually, the date is announced a year before the prelims, but this year it’s different because of the pandemic. Not to worry because you can crack the exam with ease if you follow a proper routine.

UPSC Preparation: Few Things that are to be ingrained in your mind

  • Eight months are sufficient for preparing for UPSC if you are determined.
  • It would help if you were consistent. Sometimes you may not feel like studying, but try to invest 8 hours a day.
  • Focus on both the main topics as well as the optional ones. Prepare their notes beforehand.
  • Remember to trace your eyes on the questions from previous year papers.
  • Revise! Split your revision periods into three phases.

Phase I- Revise within a day.

Phase II- Revise at the weekend.

Phase III- Revise at the month-end.

  • Read the newspaper daily.

UPSC Preparation: Basic Goals

  • Score the required marks in prelims to be eligible for the Mains.
  • Score the required marks in the Mains to be selected for the preferable office/department.

UPSC Prepration: If this is your first attempt, then phase-wise practice will help fulfill your primary goals. We will divide the preparation time into phases. This gives the entire strategy an organized attitude and prevents confusion.

Day-Wise Subject Allotment

  • History- 30 days
  • Ancient and Medieval History- 10 days
  • Modern History- 20 days
  • Polity and Governance- 30 days
  • Geography- 30 days
  • Economy- 30 days
  • Environment- 20 days
  • Art and culture- 10 days
  • General Science- 7 days

Along with this, put on some time to the Mains as well as the Optional subjects.

Subjects References
History NCERT World History by Arjun DevNCERT Indian Ancient History by R S SharmaNCERT Indian Medieval History by Satish ChandraBipin Chandra’s India’s struggle for Independence India’s struggle after Independence
Geography 11th NCERT Fundamentals of Physical Geography11th NCERT Physical Environment of India12th NCERT Human GeographyCertificate Geography by G.C. LeongMap book
Environment Last four chapters of the 12th NCERT Biology bookICSE BooksNewspapers and magazines
Economy 11th NCERT Indian Economic Development12th NCERT MacroeconomicsEconomic SurveyBudget
Art & culture Art and culture chapters of:NCERT Indian Ancient History by R S SharmaNCERT Indian Medieval History by Satish Chandra11th NCERT An Introduction to Indian Art
Polity M.Laxmikanth D.D. Basu
IR V. N. KhannaNewspapers
Current Affairs Newspapers and magazines
Ethics  For case studies refer to Subba RaoARC- Ethics in Governance
General Science NCERT books of classes 9th and 10thNewspapers and magazines
Other topics 12th NCERT Indian Society12th NCERT Social Change and DevelopmentSecurity- Challenges to Internal Security of India by Ashok KumarDisaster Management- ARC Report Government- ARC report, Unacademy videosSocial Issues- ARC reports, Newspaper, PIB, PRS.

Let’s now look at the phases of your plan.

Phase I- In this phase, you’ll get 90 days of preparation. Know how you will prepare yourself in Phase I.

  • Go through the NCERT books to build a strong base and get a clear idea about the syllabus.
  • Select optional subjects. Prepare their notes. Finish at least 80% of them.
  • Invest 45 minutes of your study hour in reading newspapers. Make sure you read newspapers daily.
  • Keep yourself updated about current affairs. UPSC 2021 aspirants are expected to keep themselves updated about all recent happenings from Jan 2020.

Phase II- In this phase as well, you will get 90 to prepare. But topics of concern and plans change here. Here’s what you should do.

  • Centralize NCERT books.
  • In the previous phase, you were suggested to finish at least 80% optional subjects. But here, you need to complete all of them.
  • Try writing answers and essays within a fixed time.

Phase III- Here, you have approximately four months. This phase expects you to revise and only revise. You have built a strong base and have completed your syllabus. You have started practicing writing answers and essays. Now all you need is revision.

  • Revise!
  • Work on previous year’s papers.
  • Take tests regularly.

And your Prelims are over! Ready for the Mains?

Phase IV- Now comes the time for your Mains preparation. The center of your attention should be scoring more points out of 1750 in the Mains. So, practice writing answers and essays within a fixed time.

Here’s a systematic study plan for candidates who are taking UPSC for the first time.

Period Hours to invest Topic
1st Period 3 hours Subject 1
2nd Period Not more than 2 hours Any one optional subject
3rd Period 1-2 hours Newspapers and magazines
4th Period 2-3 hours Subject 2

Experience Candidates

  • Finish your optional subjects within 120 days and start taking moc tests on optional subjects.
  • Invest at least one month in each main subject.
  • Keep your notes prepared so that you have go-to study materials for the Mains.
  • Practice writing at least three answers or essays daily.

This a chart for experienced UPSC aspirants.

Periods Hours to invest Topic
1st Period 2 hours Subject 1
2nd Period 1-2 hours Newspapers and magazines
3rd Period Not more than 3 hours Optional
4th Period 2 hours Subject 2

If you are a working candidate, We have you sorted as well.

Some tips for you to follow:

  • Study for optional daily. It is suggested to complete them within 4-5 months.
  • For Economy, Polity, History, Geography, Environment- Complete them within 5-6 months. And then in the last month, all you need is to revise.

Here’s a systematic plan that you can follow.

Period Hours to invest Subject
1st Period 1.5 hours Subject 1
2nd Period 1 hour Optional
3rd Period 45 minutes to 1 hour Newspapers and magazines
4th Period 1.5 hours Subject 2

UPSC Preparation: Given below is a fascinating statistical report of the success rate in UPSC in the last five years.

Year No. of Candidates applied for Prelims No. of Candidates who cleared Prelims No. of Candidates selected for an interview No. of Candidates selected for jobs
2019 Eight lacs 11,845 2034 829
2018 17 lacs 10,246 1992 1056
2017 Ten lacs 13,366 2568 990
2016 11.3 lacs 15,452 2961 1099
2015 9.5 lacs 15,008 2797 1078

So, now that you have all the information, tips, and tricks, what are you waiting for? Let’s crack UPSC together.