How to Prepare for UPSC Exam without coaching?

New Delhi, 07 August 2018: Union Public Service Commission is the exam which you need to crack to be become an IAS/IPS officer. It is indeed the most prestigious and toughest exam in India. Lakhs of students spend thousands of money only in the coaching centers but still aren’t able to crack the examination. What is the reason? Simple, the lack of dedication and sometimes it is luck factor.  Do you know you can also nail UPSC exam by self studying?

Yes! You heard it right. You just need motivation, hard work and good internet connection. The digital world has completely revolutionized the way of learning. This article will explore the eligibility criteria, tentative dates for 2019 UPSC exam and how to prepare for your exam with reliable UPSC study material.


Eligibility criteria

The minimum qualification for the exam is graduation under any stream. No matter how many backlogs you have, only your final mark sheet will be counted. Even students in their last semester studying in any graduation program can also apply for the same. If you are an MBBS graduate, then you must have completed your internship before filing the application. If your distance education degree is validated by UGC/AICTE/any other law, even then you are eligible for applying the exam.

Age and Attempt limit

For General and creamy OBC: The age limit for this category is 32 and maximum attempts   which can be made are 6.

For OBC: The age limit for this category is 35 and maximum attempts   which can be made are 9.

For SC/ST: The age limit for this category is 37 and they can go for unlimited attempts.


The applications are filed on an online portal. Here the candidate needs to select the optional subject for his prelims exam. It will stay the same till your main exam. The online portal usually opens in Second week to February and remains open for 30 days approximately.

The first stage of your exam is Prelims. This is a Multiple choice questions (MCQ) based exam covering aptitude, general studies and the current affairs. You need to clear cut off in every section individually. The good part is that, if you remain absent in the prelims exam due to any circumstances, your attempt remains uncounted. The exam is conducted on first Sunday of June.

The second stage is Mains exam which is commenced from last days of September for 5 days.  After clearing prelims you need to fill a new Detailed Application Form (DAF). This will automatically contain your optional subject. Here you need to submit all your mark sheets and caste certificates. There are in total seven Subjective papers including your optional one.

Next goes the interview part. You need to be very confident in your answers. Prefer to choose Hindi and English as medium of conversation in your interview. There are basically two reasons, first it marks a good impression secondly if you choose a translator, the actual impact of your answer may be lost in translation.

How to start Preparation

Do you know many of the toppers have cleared on the basis of self study and no coaching in their first attempt! The first step towards UPSC preparation is download NCERT textbooks and their solutions from classes 6 to 10. For that you need a fairly good internet connection and computer/laptop. You can also study over your mobile but we recommend to study over a bigger screen to avoid stress on your eyes.

There are many websites available over the internet where you can freely download the textbooks. Make sure you grasp each and every concept by heart. Dedicate your first two months for studying NCERT books.

After completing NCERT books, it’s time to study some standard books. These standard books play a very important role in your mains exam. The questions asked in the exam are not direct but mostly application based.

Don’t forget to read newspaper every day. You can follow The Hindu/ The Indian Express/ The Times of India. Mark the important dates, events, names and remember them. Take out 1 hour daily to read the newspaper. If you don’t have a newspaper at your place, you can study from e-newspapers or can download the app such as the Hindu app and can study from there.

Now after completing your standard books now move on to solve the previous year question papers. By this time you must be confident enough to start with the mocks. There are many websites over internet which offers free mock tests. Enroll with them, so that you should know your shortcomings and your actual preparation level.

Work over your weaker parts. For more clear understanding of concepts, you can explore online video tutorials which are indeed a best way to learn.

Make sure you give one mock test every day. This will help to improve your speed as well accuracy. Good Luck for your exam.

About the Author: This article is contributed by Karan.  All information mentioned on the above article is updated as on 07 August 2018.

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