UPSC: Civil Services Exam Preparation Tips

Here are few common tips that may help aspirants in preparing for civil services examination:

  • Choose subjects which have an availability of books and reading material
  • Begin preparing for the main exams along with the prelims
  • For the General Studies paper, it is important to be updated in all fields. For History, Economy, Polity, etc, it is advisable to read Class 11 and 12 books published by the NCERT.
  • As for Optional subjects, do not choose completely new subjects. Go for the subjects you have already studied in school/college.
  • NCERT, IGNOU booklets and National Book Trust (NBT) publications are quite helpful. For the Preliminary paper, try studying with the following books:
History: NCERT books of class XI and XII, Freedom Struggle (published by National Book Trust)
Geography: Class XII books of Geography (NCERT)
Indian Polity: Introduction to the Indian Constitution
Indian Economy: NCERT and other books on Evolution of the Indian Economy
General Science: NCERT books on science, a science magazine or newspaper supplements on science
Current Events: A national newspaper, news magazines
General Mental Ability: Do the Quantitative Aptitude published in various Civil Services examination magazines, past test papers

For the main examination, study should be done in more detail. In addition to the above readings, the following are also suggested:

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History: India's Struggle for Independence, IGNOU publications on Modern India
Indian Culture: Art and culture portions of history books, India Yearbook (culture chapter), Encyclopedia on Indian Culture, Gazetteer of India, books on culture published by Publications Division and National Book Trust
Current Affairs: A national newspaper, various Civil Services examination magazines, current affairs programs on Television, Magazines, Internet. Statistics: Class XI NCERT book on Statistics.
Indian Polity: Introduction to the Constitution, Parliament
Indian Geography: NCERT books on Indian geography
Indian Economy: NCERT and other books on the Indian economy, financial newspapers

For current affairs and general knowledge



  • Reading newspapers, watching TV news, surfing relevant websites and participating in quiz contests may help in your prelims general studies paper
  • For the interview, you need more than just the details. Your mental alertness, critical power, logical and reasoning ability will count. The interview is an assessment of not only your intellectual qualities, but also social traits and interest in current affairs.
  • For IPS, you should be medically fit



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