How To Prepare For UPSC Online?

Before starting the preparation for the UPSC one must go through the detailed structure of syllabus and thoroughly understand the exam pattern of UPSC. Let us have a look at what exactly this exam is, the difficulty level of the exam, the exam pattern and other factors which are necessary to understand before starting the preparations.

Step 1- Detailed Analysis of the UPSC Eligibility Criteria, Reservation Criteria and Exam Pattern-

Let us start with knowing about the exam conducting body that is UPSC. UPSC stands Union Public Service Commission. The headquarters of the commission are situated in New Delhi. The contact details and address is also mentioned below-

Postal Address: UNION PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION, DholpurHouse, Shahjahan Road, New Delhi – 110069
Facilitation Counter: 011-23098543/23385271/23381125/23098591

The exam is also referred by some other names like the UPSC examination, UPSC CSE and the Civil Services Exam.

It is a national level examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission- UPSC for recruitment in the services of the Government of India like the Indian Administrative Service, Indian Foreign Service, and Indian Police Service. The UPSC CSE exam is conducted in three phases: 

1- a preliminary examination which consists of two objective-type papers 

2- a main examination that consists of nine papers that include essaywriting, in which two papers are qualifying and only marks of seven are counted

3- an interview round

Listed below are the services that one gets recruited on after the successful qualification the examination-

All India Services

• Indian Administrative Service (IAS)

• Indian Police Service (IPS)

Central Services (Group A)

• Indian Foreign Service (IFS)

• Indian Audit and Accounts Service (IA&AS)

• Indian Civil Accounts Service (ICAS)

• Indian Corporate Law Service (ICLS)

• Indian Defence Accounts Service (IDAS)

• Indian Defence Estates Service (IDES)

• Indian Information Service (IIS)

• Indian Postal Service 

• Indian P&T Accounts and Finance Service 

• Indian Railway Protection Force Service (IRPFS)

• Indian Revenue Service (IRS-IT)

• Indian Revenue Service (IRS-C&CE)

• Indian Trade Service (ITrS)

Central Services (Group B)

• Armed Forces Headquarters Civil Services (AFHCS)

• Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands Civil Service (DANICS)

• Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands Police Service (DANIPS)

• Pondicherry Civil Service (PCS)

• Pondicherry Police Service (PPS)

Eligibility Criteria for the UPSC examination-

In order to appear for the UPSC examination there are some eligibility criteria that need to be fulfilled by the candidate and in case any criteria is not fulfilled the candidate is not eligible to apply for the examination. 

Given below are the different eligibility criteria issued by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC):

The UPSC 2023 uploaded a notification on 1st February 2023. The age limit is a very important eligibility criterion so before the preparation starts one must go through the age eligibility criteria.

IAS Exam Age Limit21 to 32 years
Age RelaxationAs per category (mentioned below)
Educational Qualification for IASGraduation
NationalityIndian citizens only

UPSC Age Limit – Minimum and Maximum Age for UPSC Exam-

The candidates must be 21 years old and should be less than 32 years as of on 1st August 2023 it means that the candidate should have born not before 2nd August, 1990 and not later than 1st August, 2001. 

CategoryMinimum Age Limit for UPSCMaximum Age Limit for UPSC
IAS exam Age Limit for General Category2132
IAS OBC Age Limit2135

UPSC Reservation Criteria-

There is no specific reservation for women in UPSC civil services examination. Although there is reservation in UPSC exam for categories such as Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes, and Economically Weaker Sections to promote social equity and diversity.

Category                                                     UPSC Reservation Quota
Schedule Caste                                                             15%
Schedule Tribes                                                             7.5%
Other Backward Classes                                               25%
Economically Weaker Section                                       10%
Persons with Benchmark Disabilities                             4%

There are some age relaxations also, they are listed below-

Age Relaxation & Number of Attempts in UPSC Exam-

The age relaxations are given below-

UPSC Exam Age Limit for General, SC/ST, OBC & Other categories
CategoryUPSC Age Limit- Upper RelaxationNumber of Attempts
SC/ST37Unlimited (Up to age limit)
Disabled Defence Services Personnel359
Persons withBenchmark Disability – EWS (Economically Weaker Section)429

UPSC Qualification Criteria-

• Minimum qualification for UPSC exam is that the candidate must hold a bachelor’s degree from Government recognised University or possess an equivalent qualification.

• Candidates who are in their final year or those candidates whoseresults are awaited are also eligible to appear for UPSC preliminary Examination but for main exam there must be a proof of qualification.

• Medical students who have passed the final year of MBBS, but are yet to complete their internship also have eligibility for the UPSC exam.

UPSC Eligibility Criteria – Nationality

For IAS and IPS:

• Candidate must be a citizen of India

All other Services:

• Candidate must be either:-

1. A citizen of India, or

2. A subject of Nepal, or

3. A subject of Bhutan, or

4. A Tibetan refugee who came to India before 1st January 1962 intending to settle in India permanently, or

5. A person of Indian origin (PIO) who has migrated from Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka, East African countries of Kenya, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Ethiopia, Zaire and Vietnam intending to settle in India permanently.

Although there are some exceptions for recruitment in certain posts-

• The candidates belonging to categories (2), (3), (4) and (5) should furnish a certificate of eligibility issued by the Government of India

• A person belonging to categories (2), (3) and (4) is not eligible for appointment to the Indian Foreign Service (IFS).

The UPSC CSE exam is conducted in three phases: 

1- a preliminary examination which consists of two objective-type papers 

2- a main examination that consists of nine papers that include essaywriting, in which two papers are qualifying and only marks of seven are counted

3- an interview round

One must go through the details of the eligibility criteria before starting the preparations because if a person is unable to fulfill any of the eligibility criteria he/she is not eligible to take the UPSC exam.

UPSC Exam Pattern-

One should go through and understand the syllabus in detail. All the compulsory subjects and optional subjects should be understood and then only the candidate must make the choice of the subject which are comparatively easy for the candidate and help in scoring better in the UPSC CSE exam.

Step 2- Strictly Adhere to the Syllabus

The UPSC exam syllabus is tough and very lengthy. One must stick to the syllabus so that you can complete it on time and also get adequate time for revision. Make a list of important topics, difficult topics and topics you have completed so you know what to study next. Plan your schedule well so you can complete everything on time. Analyze the syllabus properly before starting the preparations.

Step 3- Choosing an Optional Subject For UPSC

Once you have analyzed the syllabus rightly choose the optional subject before starting the preparations. It is very necessary to choose an optional subject which is right for you and helps you score better marks. Many candidates do their graduation in fields that they wish to choose their optional subjects in the UPSC exam or even you can choose the subject which you are most familiar to.  Choose a subject which you feel is easy for you and has less syllabus to cover. Many applicants adopt the overlapping technique, in which they select an optional subject that is also a significant component of General Studies. Optional choice should be made correctly as this can boost your marks in the final exam.

Step 4- Right guidance makes path easier

To succeed in an exam it is necessary that you are guided rightly so that you don’t waste time on unnecessary stuffs and topics. You can even join any online coaching classes or you tube channels or join coaching institutes offline for daily lectures.

Step 5- Making Strategies

Once you have read about the detailed syllabus, make strategies and plan on how to start and from where to start. Start finding the necessary reading material, books, newspaper reading should be made a habit, read the magazines for current affairs and general knowledge. The NCERT books should not be ignored. The notes made in Class 11, 12 and graduation level should also be used. Organize everything like books, notebooks, text books, magazines etc. so you they become easy to access.

Step 6- Making a time table of the daily routine

UPSC exam is a tough exam and requires a great level of preparation. You should make a time table so you can make every day productive and don’t end up wasting your time. You can also make a to-do list for the next day before you go to sleep this will help you work in an organized pattern. Make a list of topics to be done on a particular week so at the end you know what is left and what is done. You can also work in a pattern like difficult topics first and easy topics later or vice- versa, whatever suits you.

Making a time table is not enough; you must adhere to the schedule you have made for yourself. It would certainly be difficult in the starting but once you do it on a regular basis it will become a habit and easy to follow.

Step 7- PYQs

Analyze PYQs, that is, Previous Year Questions. Analyze the previous year papers thoroughly, practice the questions, make a list of repeated topics or the topics which make the highest weightage and are repeated almost every time. This will help you mould your preparation in the right direction and will help you in working smartly.

Step 8- Practicing Questions and Answer Writing Technique

You should practice the questions from every topic you read. A proper time should be dedicated to practice the questions daily. This helps in clearing the confusing topics and memorizing important points. 

You should analyze the exam writing pattern followed by UPSC. You must practice writing sample answers and try to use all the information you have gained to answer the questions in the most efficient manner.Compare your answers. Ask someone to judge them. Make improvements if needed. Practice more and more.

Step 9- Attempting Mock Tests For UPSC

Mock tests are a very important factor that boosts your exam preparation. You can buy test series and mock tests from a renowned institute. Do not skip tests because they help you in analyzing your preparations. These tests help you in keeping a check about your progress. This also helps in limiting the negative marking.

Step 10- Revision is the KEY

Revision is the key to success. Reading once and covering a topic is not enough until and unless you revise it again and again. The number of times you revise is important but at the same time how well you revise is the most important thing. Revision is the main thing that gives you success in a competitive exam. Make a weekly or daily schedule of topics that are to be revised. The difficult topics should be revised again and again. One must not ignore the easy topics as sometimes those easy topics get ignored and then they create problem while writing the exam. Revision should be done effectively and efficiently.

Step 11- Interview Preparation For UPSC

Once you clear the first two phases of the exam then you must start preparing for the last round that is the interview. Be prepared for questions related to your education, the optional subject that you chose. You can even join coaching classes for this as there they have experience panel and they create a perfect environment for practice. Do not take this round lightly. In the interview do not mention anything that you do not have enough information about. Be confident and prepared for each and every question that is asked.

Step 12- Living a Healthy Lifestyle

During your preparation time it is very important that you are healthy and free from diseases. If unfortunately you suffer from any type of illness it can waste your complete year. So it is necessary to stay fit and healthy. One must take balanced diet and avoid junk food. You can also go for walks as they refresh your mind. You can also practice yoga or simple exercises at home. Self care is also very important.  

Step 13- Staying motivated and focused For UPSC

Do not get demotivated during your preparation period. Stay positive and focused during your journey. Don’t let yourself feel bad because of other people who are settled or at a better place then you. People will judge you and make comments which will let you down but you need to ignore them and work on your goal. Listen to motivational speakers when you feel bad. 


Along with self study right guidance is very necessary to pass any examination. A candidate must inculcate positive attitude and mindset which is really very necessary before one starts to prepare for an exam. Self discipline is must. One should consider all the subjects and then choose the optional subject. It is very necessary to make right choice of the optional subject so it helps you in scoring better marks and gives you an overall good ALL INDIA RANK. The right guidance and a proper schedule can help a person to crack an examination with flying colors. Along with hard work it is very necessary to do smart work. One must not waste time on unnecessary topics or easy topics. Clearing the UPSC exam is not easy but it is also not impossible. Hard work and dedication can help in achieving every dream in life. Also it is very necessary to keep yourself motivated throughout the journey. If you stay focused and prepare thoroughly you will definitely succeed.

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