How to prepare for civil services examination

Are you preparing for the civil services examination 2021? Are you worried about how to prepare for the civil services examination? Read this article and find easy tips to prepare for this exam. Here, some useful tips are given for the preparation for examination as well as how to keep fit and healthy during the exam.

Right from the beginning, to crack the civil services examination has been a big dream for all civil aspirants. The civil services exam is considered one of the most prestigious exams in India. This exam is a very competitive examination in India conducted by the Union Public Service Commission for recruitment to various Civil Services of the Government of India, including the Indian Administrative Service, Indian Foreign Service and Indian Police Service. It is conducted in three phases - Prelims, mains and interview. A preliminary examination consisting of two objective-type papers (General Studies Paper I and General Studies Paper-II) and a main examination consisting of nine papers of conventional (essay) type, in which two papers are qualifying and only marks of seven are counted followed by an interview. For appearing in this exam, the candidate must have attained the age of 21 years and should not be more than the age of 32 years for the General category candidate. Prescribed age limits may vary for caste reservations.
Here are some tips which would help prepare for an exam which is listed below:-

1. Time management

Time management along with work hard is a compulsory requirement to crack this exam. Before starting your preparation, you should prepare a time table so that you could focus on all subject. Try to give more time to the tough subject. A making timetable will ease your preparation and make it more streamlined. In this way, you would work better and complete the syllabus faster.

2. Regular study

Regular study is compulsory for getting success in this exam. Regular studies help the student in keeping up to date related to the subject. Studying regularly for 6-7 hours is very effective for a better result in the examination.

3. Clear the concept of the subject

Always try to understand the concept of the subject. This would be helpful in memorizing the learnt lesson as well as writing an answer on your own. Aspirants should understand the syllabus thoroughly so that they could collect relevant study material accordingly.

4. Make notes while studying

Try to make notes while studying which consist of all the important point. Highlighting important point would help them at the time of revising the lesson so that you need not go through the entire text at the time of examination. It is understood helpful to make brief notes during exam preparation. Since the UPSC syllabus is vast and tough, so, making notes helps the aspirants keeping track of the portions covered. You should keep separate files for separate subjects. Files are liked by many students since they help to add notes to a topic easier. This is more important in the case of adding current affairs-related news to a particular topic.

5. Solving Previous Years' Question Papers

As you know, it is a very tough exam so civil service aspirants need to make the practice of Previous year question papers so that they could answer easily. By making practice it, They can judge the trends in the UPSC exam paper easily. It will also help in understanding the most important area in a particular subject

6. Self-assessment

Self-assessment is an essential part of civil services examination. It can help civil service aspirant in understanding and learning from mistakes, shaping what approach they need to follow in continuing the preparation and identifying strengths and weaknesses. Mock test series is highly recommended for this exam, especially when you are studying at home only. This will help you to assess yourself and help you further.

7. Answer Writing Practice

As you know, The civil services main exam papers are descriptive type. So, It is related to testing your analytical, critical, and communicative abilities. It requires conceptual clarity and organizes your views, perceptions, and thoughts perfectly. Another important thing that needs to be kept in mind is the time and space constraint in the answer booklet to candidates could answer the questions quickly and effectively. All these are possible only through adequate answer writing practice.

8. Group study/discussion

Oftentimes, group study and group discussions have proved fruitful. Group discussion is the best way of knowledge sharing, especially for this exam. Group studies make the learning process interesting and more effective. In group studies, student strictly involves themself in academic discussions without any diversions in the subject or topic.

9. Proper diet and exercise

It is compulsory to be healthy and fit during the exam. For staying healthy, It is necessary to take a proper diet because a healthy mind stays in a healthy body only. You should include meditation and exercise in your daily routine. This would help in increasing the concentration of the mind.

10. Self-motivation

Develop the habit of self-motivation. Motivation encourages dedication and commitment to work. If you have a role model then try to get motivated from his work and follow him.

11. Develop self-confidence

Building self-confidence is understood as a vital aspect to achieve success in exams. At the same time, don't be over-confident as this will have an adverse effect. For developing self-confidence, be positive and never underestimate yourself.

12. Be optimistic

The most important aspect of the entire exam is to stay positive. Many situations will come when you will feel depressed. Remove negative thoughts from your mind.


As you know, it is a very tough exam so it is important to prepare for this exam in a planned way. There is no short cut for this exam. Always keep in mind Swamy Vivekanand saying" Awake, arise and not stop till Goal is achieved.

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Author: Umesh28 Feb 2021 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 4

The author has given some time tested tips and that would certainly help the students while preparing for this coveted examination and in fact not only for this one but for many other similar competitive exams also.

In my experience, one has to have a good foundation for learning and assimilating the various subjects. The root has to be strong if the tree is supposed to go up. It is not that one fine day after completing one's UG degree one decides that one would appear in these exams and with selective study clear it.

What I want to emphasise is a thorough study of the subjects is required and superficial learnings would make one smart but not help in qualifying in an exam of that level.

I would conclude by saying that an early starting and thorough studies are necessary for the big target of achieving success in Civil Services.

Author: K Mohan25 Mar 2022 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 1

It is the fact that cracking the civil services exam is very difficult and the author has given some tips. The understanding of the regular studies along with happenings in the country is very important and without general knowledge one cannot pass. It is always advisable to follow the previous years question papers so that there would be some sort of idea of the question patterns. What is more important is the time management and self test of the question in prescribed time and how best it is answered to be assessed time and again. Over and above, before writing exam one must have the "I can" trait so that it would be easy to crack the exam.

Author: DR.N.V. Srinivasa Rao25 Mar 2022 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 4

A person has to work hard and smart to be successful in the civil service examinations. One has to clear preliminaries, then the main examination and final interview. So a candidate should select the optional subject very selectively and the subjects in which he can score better. A student should plan it early and should start reading some extra subjects other than his curriculum. A science graduate should not go for two science subjects. Instead, he can select one science subject and another subject from the arts faculty.

One should concentrate on understanding the concept rather than trying to remember. Reading various subject books that will deal with the subject in a very detailed way will be helpful. One should not neglect minor points also. Making notes while reading will give the student a special advantage.

Study planning is one important factor. The student should allocate more time for the subject which requires more time. Giving the same timing to all the subjects is not the correct planning.

A student should have self-confidence and he should also have a positive attitude. That makes him more competitive and the chances of winning will increase.

Author: Sheo Shankar Jha25 Mar 2022 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 4

Civil Service Examination, though difficult, can be managed with ease with the proper handling of the chosen subjects. There is no restriction that a candidate having the science stream at his graduation level has to stick to these subjects but can choose other subjects too. Here the important consideration is how far he is comfortable with the chosen subjects. They would be substantially benefited with the mock tests arranged by the professional institutes and apart from that they should take part in the group discussions arranged by the institutions for strengthening their communication skills. This is important for their subsequent examination in the final interview where they would be tested for their inherent potentials and capabilities with the varied twisted questions raised by the members of the board. Throughout their preparation of this examination, they should be positive and must see that they are clear in the basics of their selected subjects.

Author: Partha K.31 Mar 2022 Member Level: Gold   Points : 4

I started reading this article thinking that it provides some useful tips for civil services aspirants. But, in actuality, it is an article of general nature which mentions about some abstract qualities which make a student successful in all types of study.

The author has forgotten about the Prelim examination, which is qualifying in nature. She needs to mention that Prelims is a MCQ test with General Studies paper and an Optional paper. She needs to discuss how to choose Optional paper by a student to score maximum marks.

In the Mains examination, there are nine papers which are: Compulsory Indian language, English, General Studies I, General Studies II, General Studies III, General Studies IV, Essay, Optional I, Optional II. The author hasn't discussed how stress should be given on General Studies, how to prepare for Language papers and the Essay paper which are qualifying in nature, how to chose Optionals, etc. She hasn't mentioned that each paper in the Mains is of 3 hours duration carrying 250 marks.

Further, the author has not given any tip about the grueling 45 minutes interview in front of a 5-member Board of UPSC.

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