Importance of UPSC Preparation Strategy

woman wearing blue jacket sitting on chair near table reading books
Strategic study improves UPSC results


Starting with the UPSC preparation needs proper planning and strategy. Many students are unable to achieve their full potential and score due to lack of proper planning and strategic studying. Based on the extensive experience of all candidates we encourage you to take note of the perfect one year strategy that you will learn here. If you are already following a strategy, please continue to follow and you can skip this article, but you are welcome to get your ideas here along with other candidates who have effectively used this strategy.

Your Personal Guide

After finishing off all the academic books, we could easily leave you to finish off on your own. But we want to be with you, and we want to give you inputs and help you till the end until you reach your goal. With all our fresh quizzes and contents it is an exquisite opportunity enabling you to succeed and improve your preparation. Hundreds and thousands of candidates have already found our quizzes helpful, and with such a low price and subscription price it is a hugely discounted price among all the courses in the market. Time is currency in the exam, and you are extremely lucky to start your preparation so ahead of time.

Time is Relative

We have seen two types of students. Students who see 1 year as a long time, and think they can succeed by studying only 7-8 months. Other type is students think how to prepare in only 1 year, it will only be a mock attempt before they can assess their full potential. So we can see time is a very relative concept here. We can see how time flies when we watch a movie, but it seems like an eternity when we are bored and longing for time to pass. So as time moves on, the most critical thing that matters is what you are doing in that time. How are you spending your time? So assuming if we have 1 year, let’s see if it is more or less. Now, 1 year is 365 days, or 52 weeks, or 12 months, or even broken into hours, minutes, seconds. But it is not solely about how much time we have, instead what we are doing with it.

Create a Timetable

Creating a Timetable is the first step. It will be your best friend. The only thing that will try to help you every day. Be loyal to it, and see it creating the magic around you. Not only days, or weeks, make a schedule for every hour. Then execute every plan to the last detail. If you think of planning and deciding what to do when you wake up in the morning, it is the most ineffective way as it you will lose track of the focused plan that was helping you prepare holistically. You must stick to a standard operating procedure and a fix plan, i.e. an effective time table. Many exam toppers have attributed a large amount of their success to this technique.

We have come across various interviewees and details of individuals who have given their experiences. Students need to make a weekly time table that need to allow sufficient time to study, as well as time to relax. We are sharing you the information as learnt from hundreds of exceptionally intelligent candidates. Hence learning from the toppers and taking a leaf from them is really useful. So step 1 is creating an efficient time table that helps enhance your performance and potential.

Focus on Results

One candidate can say 3 months for GS1, 3 months for GS2 and so on. Then 2 months for Optional. Another candidate can say 6 months for Prelim, 3 months for Mains, then rest for Current Affairs and others. Anything is fine, as long as you get the work done. There is no correct single answer. The output and results should be there. Thus Step 2 is get a printout of the UPSC syllabus, and your time table should match the syllabus and cover every topic. Similar to how an army and military unit performs, precise and with purpose.

Assess your task, terrain, and threat – the way an army does. If you have done engineering, your threat is medical, environment, and other such topics which you have not touched upon in a while. This is how an army performs, the way missiles are used, or a different tactic under water, based on the condition. This is T-T-T analysis – standing for task, terrain, threat analysis. So first know what is this exam all about in details. The prelims is a qualifying exam. Then are the mains. In prelims you have GS 1 and GS 2. In mains you will have Essay, GS 1, GS 2, GS 3, GS 4, an optional subject, and a language paper. Finally there will be the personality interview.

Complementary Studying

Many candidates ask if you study for Mains will you be ready for Prelims. These are actually two different types of exams. The way Prelims approaches the exams is completely different than how the Mains approaches the topics and exams. One in a MCQ, another is Written, and the other is personality. We have to be wise rather than intelligent, utilizing all our resources at an optimum level. Knowing the syllabus, knowing the time we have, let’s plan how want to study. When fresh in the morning, and you are active, create your strategy so that you can study at a stretch of 3 hours, similar to the actual exam. Hence in the relaxed atmosphere of your home, practice studying for the duration for which you will need to be answering questions during the actual exam.

Now, let’s see what Prelims is about. We know it consists of different subjects like History, Geography, Science, Polity, Economics and so on. But we need to further dive into the details. Like Ancient History, Modern History, Geography of India, Geography of World, and so on. Sub dividing thus helps your brain understand every topic when you start planning this way. Then accordingly allocate time for each sub topic in your time table. Thus break your entire time table into small topics, and optimize and fit it entirely into your time table. Creating a 4 quarter strategy for example in 1 year, will help you optimize every 3 months of studying. Same can be applied for any time duration.

First Quarter Plan

Start with General Reading, it helps build general awareness. General awareness and reading NCERT is extremely crucial to build general awareness. Starting from 6th standard NCERT, it is critical to finish off these books starting with general reading. There is no need to focus if you remember every thing, but make sure you remember 11th and 12th standard NCERT of all topics. Any version of NCERT is fine as long as you are regularly reading. Laxmikanth is a good book for Polity topics.

Second Quarter Plan

In the second quarter, see Previous year questions. Think of details and backgrounds when you read every topic. When asked about the role of the President, think of how much power he has been granted by the Constitution, what he can do, what he cannot do, what he can delegate. Critically analyze every questions and read the background details. Read, study, revise, again read, study, revise, and so on. Keep revisiting these topics and details again and again until you feel comfortable with most of these regular topics.

Third Quarter Plan

Choosing an optional is crucial entering the third quarter. Even if it feels early this will help in doing a comprehensive preparation and an effective time table. Essay is a crucial part of the preparation journey. Depth of understanding on every topic will vary for every candidate, thus bringing the subjective knowledge and variability in context of the exam. Hence extensive learning, and in-depth reading is crucial for essay and optional subjects. This will also bring a difference to your personality test based on how vast your reading arena is. Choosing your optional subject is also a factor how you fare in the exam. It is strongly advised to pay due attention and start studying for the optionals, atleast 3-6 months is recommended.

Anthropology, Commerce, Civil Engineering, Chemistry, Economics, see all the subjects and see how comfortable you are. Based on your level of interest in each topic, then choose the subject. Else you will not be able to continue studying it in details. Now, many subjects are so vast that you will never be able to finish it, example Medical topics are extensively vast. Also, Law is a vast syllabus. Also see Language subjects. These are quite handy, because the competition narrows down to the particular candidates who has taken that language as optional. Only if you are good at the language, this is an area you can take advantage of. Solving previous year MCQs with us will help you provide you a strong preparation readiness, along with our extensive mock tests.

Fourth Quarter Plan

Into the fourth quarter, after the Prelims, assess yourself and introspect. Find your areas where you need to improve on. Get aware of all happenings in Current Affairs, install the UPSC Practice Mobile app to get all details daily. See and identify keywords in every article, this will help you complete and cover more content in lesser time. This will help you move to the next level with an extremely focused preparation. Our UPSC Practice app will help you with the Editorials from top resources like The Hindu, Indian Express, and so on. Find your optimum speed, intensity of study, how fast you want to read, how much information you can process.

Personality Test

Finally, for your personality test, it is a very balanced arena. You need to focus on every topic, raise your curiosity. Be confident, be aware of happenings around yourself. Have mock interviews, person to person interactions. Keep reading all sections of the UPSC Practice Mobile app, editorials, maps, topic-wise contents, every day. You will find immeasurable gain in this approach. This amount of daily exposure will provide a level of awareness that no amount of coaching can provide. Hence enrolling into a coaching institution is not as essential as it is seen in the advertisements. Focused and strategic studying with quality contents is crucial for succeeding in the UPSC exam.