How to prepare for civil service exam


This article gives general guidelines and tips that you may find useful in your preparation. First of all, Civil service is neither the easiest nor the toughest exam. It is a mix of both extremes. According to me, the level of civil service is restructured in such a way only knowledgeable person can crack it. I mean no one can crack it by mugging some dozens of suggested book. You should read everything with grass root approach. You should not study even a single sentence without asking yourself a question. Ask yourself how,why this thing happens when you are preparing for your exam.


1. IAS exam can be passed only by rigorous coaching

Not true. Now, Many aspirants crack it without coaching. Truth to be told, self study is the difficult choice. It depends on the person. Self study is only effective when you have effective time management skills , patience and self discipline. So IAS can be cracked by anyone with above skills. If you think you don’t have those, it is better for you join a coaching center or try to develop those skills.

2. Aspirant needs at least 3 years to crack IAS exam:

I dob’t what is level of expertise but i can assure you 9 months are enough to crack IAS exam. I am not kidding!!. I have seen many people who has cracked IAS exam with top ranks in first attempt itself. How? It is really easy to answer this question. UPSC will not ask any factual data such as the name of the person who won some award or number of persons qualified in particular event. They really feel very reluctant to ask such questions. It is really easy to understand the problem instead of mugging up the factual data associated with it.

General guidelines:

1. Stick to the syllabus:

Know your syllabus and know your limit. Of course in competitive exams such as Civil service it is really difficult to define your limit but it is essential to define your limit. In upcoming articles, i will try to define limit for each subject.

2.Be updated:

This is a really a crucial part of civil service exam preparation. Everyone will suggest you to study Hindu and to subscribe to various competitive magazines. I would suggest Hindu is fairly enough and magazines are not recommended. Why? It will waste your time and the time spent on reading various magazine is not really worth. Look for the news that is related to  polity, International relation, Diplomacy, Geography and environment and Economics. Take notes on them and research the most important news yourself. I would try to update in weekly manner in my site.

3. Practice more aptitude and reasoning questions:

CSAT or civil service aptitude test forms a crucial part in civil service preliminary exam as it contains 100 marks. Important aspect of solving aptitude question is speed and accuracy. Both the aspects need to maintained at reasonable level. The only solution to do that thing is to practice lots of question in such a manner that every model of question will become familiar to us.For solving aptitude and reasoning questions, i recommend Quantitative aptitude by R.S.Agarwal and A modern approach to non verbal reasoning by R.S.Agarwal. In our site, we do provide some practice questions and you can them check in this link.

4. Increase your reading skill:

If you don’t know Hindi, then you must consider improving your English reading skills for maximizing your score in CSAT. Basically, two types of questions will be asked in the RC: 1. Direct type 2. Indirect type. Direct type question will test your understanding of specific point said by a author. Indirect type question is little complicated one it will test your understanding of the complete Paragraph. Commonly asked Indirect questions are “What do you infer from the passage” “What is correct title for the passage. Hence, they should be answered only after the dept study of the passage.

5. Never Give up- Fill the vacuum:

It is very common to get demotivated during the preparation of civil service. Stay motivated and stay positive. Doing routine things will definitely incite you to give up. Hang on!! It is very important to fill the demotivated period by your confidence. If you are preparing for civil service for many years, you are more likely to give up. Before giving up, think of at least one reason why you still want to do it!!


Take at least 3 mock/practice tests. In this website i will try update a mock test on civil service soon. Take that test,take your time to analyse your strength and weakness in various subjects.  Remember: Just taking many tests will not make you score more. Learning the mistakes and correcting them will make you score more.


Although it may sound like an old advice, it will help you in understanding the syllabus.Warning: Don’t go beyond 2013 because before that period we had a different syllabus. However you can still study general studies from that question papers. You can the previous year question paper in the UPSC website.


1.Quantitative aptitude by R.S.Agarwal and A modern approach to non verbal reasoning by  R.S.Agarwal

2.Indian Polity by Lakshimikant

3.Indian economy by Ramesh Singh and 10th to 12th NCERT books for basics

5.India a history: John Keay and 10th to 12th NCERT books for basics

6.Indian and world geography: Majjid Yussain and 10th to 12th NCERT books for basics

7.General Science: 8th to 12th NCERT books and i will upload reference book from them in our site.

8. Environment: Our site ( I don’t find any book as comprehensive to cover this subject as questions on this subject are based on current affairs)

Note: I will update the strategy,syllabus and books for mains and interview in a separate article.

Feel free to comment if you have any doubt.


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