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This exam requires lot of determination and focus, so before preparing for this exam make up your mind.

You can visit toppers blog and talk to students who have prepared for this exam and who have qualified. Once you have decided, then work with full determination and keep no plan B.

This exam is for public services so you will have to generate interest and curiosity in public affairs and state of the nation.

Before starting your preparation, it is important is to choose your optional subject. It is an important decision and one must give a proper thought before choosing an optional as it creates major difference in final marks having weightage of 500/1750 in written exam.

Criteria to decide your optional subject.

  1. Availability of coaching/study material
  2. How well it connects with GS preparation
  3. Syllabus and vastness
  4. Graduation subject or interest
  5. Past results of that subject
  6. In the end Popularity if still not decided

UPSC and APSC releases academic calendar on their website. One will have to start the exam preparation at least 6 months before he/she plans to give the exam.

  1. Start reading a newspaper regularly. Focus on issues which are of national importance.
  2. First go through the basic NCERT books mentioned below –
    1. History – Class 9th to 12th
    2. Geography – Class 9th to 12th
    3. Economy – Class 11th and 12th
    4. Politics – Class 12th – Contemporary world politics
    5. Art and Culture –  Class 11th – An introduction to fine art
    6. Environment – Class 12th Biology Chapters on Environment and Class 11th Geography on Vegetation
  3. UPSC/APSC preparation is not about hard work, it is about smart work.
  4. One is not required to read too many books, read bare minimum books and revise them multiple times
  5. Make handwritten notes or online notes in whichever way you feel comfortable
  6. CSAT papers are qualifying in nature. Often students from humanities and arts background face challenges in this. Make sure to practice the past year problems of CSAT paper.
  7. Plan your preparation, make goals and objectives and make sure these are met. Take help from seniors, mentors and candidates who have qualified in this exam to understand how to make goals for the preparation.
  8. After NCERTS, go through standard books and cover both mains and PT syllabus
  9. If you have joined any coaching, then make sure to attend the classes regularly. It is essential to revise the class content of the last class before coming to the next class.
  10. Take help from internet to understand any topic. However, spending too much time on internet and social media should be strictly avoided
  11. Write as much as possible. Look at the model answers from various sources and try to write good and objective answers.
  12. Go through previous years questions. If you have a good friend who is also preparing then form a group with him for preparation.
  13. Revise regularly and do full revision every week.
  14. Join any test series to check your level of preparedness.

This exam is held in 3 stages –

Preliminary Exam – Prelims is objective in nature (MCQs). The examination consists of two papers of two hours duration each. This examination is meant to serve as screening test only. The marks obtained in the preliminary examination by the candidates who are declared qualified for admission to Main examination are not counted for determining the final selection. The questions are of multiple choice objective types:

Paper

Subject

Marks

Duration

Paper-I

General Studies

200

2 hours

Paper-II

One optional subject to be selected from the list of optional subjects

200

2 hours

Main Examination and Interview

The Main Examination consists of a written Examination and a viva-voce test as below:

Candidates who are declared qualified in the Main Examination shall be summoned for a viva-voce test. The viva-voce test carries 200 marks with no qualifying marks.

The written examination consists of the following papers of 3 hours duration each. The questions of the Main Examination will be conventional essay type:

Paper

Subject

Marks

Duration

Paper-I

General English

300

3 hours

Paper-II

General Studies

300

3 hours

Paper-III

(a & b)

Any two optional subjects to be selected from the list of optional subject (two papers each)

200

3 hours

   200

3 hours

Paper-IV

(a & b)

Any two optional subjects to be selected from the list of optional subject (two papers each)

200

3 hours

   200

3 hours

Total

1400

 

Interview Test:  Marks 200

The candidates are interviewed by a Board which takes into account their academic career. The marks scored in the interview are added to the marks scored in the written examination (Main) and the rankings of the candidates are determined on the basis of the total marks obtained.

This exam is held in 3 stages –

Preliminary Exam – conducted in June. Prelims is objective in nature (MCQs). There are 2 papers of general studies and Civil services Aptitude Test (CSAT).

Mains Exam– conducted in October. The Main Exam (written) is applicable only for those who qualify in the Prelims. Main Exam syllabus has nine papers in total. Two language papers(one regional and one english), one essay paper of 250 marks and four G.S. papers of 250 marks each along with two papers on optional subject containing 250 marks each. Language papers are only qualifying in nature.

Personality Test – Only those who have qualified the Mains exam will be called by UPSC for the personality test round. Candidates are judged on the basis on their general awareness, confidence and personality and are given score out of 275. This score is added to their written total in Mains to calculate the final score, basis which UPSC recommends the final list of the candidates.

Students must be degree holders or graduates (degree recognized by University Grants Commission) to appear for this Examination. Indian students holding a foreign degree need to ensure that their degree is accredited or recognized by UGC.

Candidates belonging to General category and OBC (creamy layer) must have attained the age of 21 on 1st August of the year of the Exam but must not have attained the age of 32 on 1st August of the year of the Exam.

Candidates belonging to OBC (non-creamy layer) category must have attained the age of 21 on 1st August of the year of the Exam but must not have attained the age of 35 on 1st August of the year of the Exam.

Candidates belonging to SC category must have attained the age of 21 on 1st August of the year of the Exam but must not have attained the age of 37 on 1st August of the year of the Exam.

Candidates belonging to ST category must have attained the age of 21 on 1st August of the year of the Exam but must not have attained the age of 37 on 1st August of the year of the Exam.

General category and OBC (creamy layer) category have a maximum of 6 attempts.

OBC (non-creamy layer) have a maximum of 9 attempts.

For Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe category candidates there is no limit on the number of attempts till they attain the age of 37 years.

Students belonging to OBC/SC/ST can give the first 4 attempts as General category candidates (if they so desire) and thereafter they can avail the relaxation in the number of attempts by availing the category benefits.

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