With a success rate less than 1%, UPSC exams are considered the toughest and hardest to crack in India. If you’re an aspirant but still in college, starting your preparation early will give you an edge over lacs of applicants who take the exam every year. The UPSC IAS application form releases early in the year and with the right planning and approach, you’ll get the exact head start you need to ace the examination as soon as you graduate.

Let’s take a look at the 5 tips that every student UPSC aspirant needs to follow to clear the exam:

Read Newspapers and Magazines

Not many people have a habit of reading and keeping up-to-date with the current happenings in the world. Since you’re still in college, you have ample time to build this habit and read newspapers and magazines daily. You do not need to mug up the entire newspaper to study for the examination, instead you should focus more on editorials and news that are relevant to the exam.

Avoid spending time on political parties, and instead focus on government bills, policies, economy, Supreme Court verdicts, international news, etc and understand the basic issues and how they affect the society. The Hindu, Press Information Bureau (PIB), and Yojana magazines are the top recommendations for UPSC aspirants.

Finish NCERT Books

Once you’ve decided that you want to clear UPSC, you should start working on your basics. It’s highly recommended that you finish class 6 to class 12 NCERT books for UPSC. The syllabus of the examination is extensive and requires a strong understanding of different subjects. And the NCERT books will help you lay that foundation in an easy-to-understand language.

Make sure you take notes and prepare flash cards once you’ve understood the basic concepts. Once you’ve finished these books (estimated period is around 4-5 months), you can move to subject-specific books like  Indian Polity by Laxmikant, Geography of India by Majid Hussain, etc.

Manage Time Efficiently

Preparing for UPSC, also known as IAS exams, while managing your college can be tough, hence it’s important to manage your time efficiently. Create a realistic timetable that you can follow in the long run, instead of completely occupying your days with prep materials. Remember it’s a marathon , not a sprint. Before starting the preparation, make a plan on how you’re going to study because the right strategy can massively cut down your preparation time.

Divide the subjects into subtopics, and set small goals that you can conquer. You can also make flash cards and use it to revise content during your free time in college. When you’re a college student, your preparation flow will break during final examinations but make up for it by studying more during the semester breaks.

Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle

As a college student preparing for UPSC, your schedule is going to be tight. But that shouldn’t stop you from taking breaks and enjoying life. It’s important to maintain a healthy balance with your academia and social life, so pick a sport or exercise daily to keep yourself active and healthy. But make sure you don’t overdo it and hamper your study schedule.

Stay Motivated

When you’re starting your preparation so early, there’s a high chance that you might get demotivated and leave the preparation mid-way. The journey to cracking the UPSC exam requires patience and consistency. So whenever you’re feeling down, read toppers’ interviews for inspiration, and remind yourself why you started preparing in the first place. This will help keep you motivated and going in times of high stress and anxiety. Resilience is key to cracking an exam like UPSC, and staying positive plays a major role.


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