Do’s & Dont’s for UPSC Preparation

People often have apprehensions about clearing the UPSC exam in one single attempt. They are made to believe that it takes more than an attempt to get the desired service. Therefore, most aspirants start their preparation with a mindset that they will not be able to do it one attempt. Some spend more than a year or two gathering various materials and trying to by heart them. This is definitely not the approach to cracking civil services examination. Smart study coupled with consistency can sail you through this exam. There is no “prescribed time” within which you can complete the syllabus and ace the exam. You might feel like you have just started your preparations even after you have received your UPSC admit card. This is what makes the exam more challenging. There is something new you learn and analyze every single day, even after you have given your interview.

Here are a few Do’s and Dont’s to Crack the so called “Mother of all the exams”, UPSC Civil Services Examination.


  1. Start early

There is never going to be a “right time” to start your preparation. Start with whatever knowledge you have. Start with all the fears and faith. Just begin.

  1.  Understand the requirements of the exam

Visit the UPSC website, learn about the eligibility criteria, age limit, number of attempts, educational qualification etc,. Also, read through the UPSC syllabus thoroughly. The syllabus is vast, but is indicative. Align your preparations with the syllabus.

  1. Prepare a time table

Prioritise your work. Make a study schedule in such a manner that it turns your weak points into strengths. Plan such that the whole syllabus is covered once and there is enough time left for revision. Integrate your prelims and mains preparation.

  1.  Read the newspaper regularly

The newspaper is the life and blood of UPSC preparation. Its importance cannot be emphasized enough. Pick up a newspaper of your choice and read it thoroughly. Relate the current happenings to the static syllabus to get a link between the concepts and the current affairs. Also, make short notes out of the articles. This will surely come handy at the time of revision.


  1. Do not neglect optional subject

Optional paper carries 500 marks in the Civil Services Mains Examination. It could decide your rank in the final list. So, make sure you decide on an optional that you are comfortable with and give a good chunk of your time for optional subject preparation.

  1. Do not procrastinate answer writing practice

Do not wait until you have completed the whole syllabus to start answer writing. Answer writing practice must start on day one of your preparation. Mains exam will require you to be fast in thinking and writing. You must be able to pen down your answers precisely in a simple manner in about 9 minutes per question. This can be possible only with enough practice.

  1. Do not by-heart things

Merely reading topics or by-hearting will not help in clearing the UPSC exam. Make sure you create your opinions by analyzing the subject. This will also help you in developing your personality for the interview/ personality test.

  1.  Don’t get stressed unnecessarily

There will be many instances where you feel like giving up. Make sure you are consistent and dedicated. You don’t have to burn yourself out. Clearing UPSC is all about smart work and consistency. There will be frequent rumors about a change in the UPSC age limit, syllabus, pattern etc.  Do not listen to rumors that get you off track. Always verify any information that you receive, from an authentic source.

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