Exam guidance for ias indian administrative services

To crack the prestigious national level exam of India, IAS (Indian Administrative Service) conducted by UPSC is a dream for many aspirants all over India. This exam is generally considered as a hard nut to break from the students perspective in terms of the exam duration and various levels of testing, depth of the syllabus and the amount of stress required to face. However, despite putting some herculean efforts, many students fail to make it to the top either in the prelims, mains or interview levels of the clearing process.

Following are certain key guidelines which can help the aspirants to a large extent –

Understand the Exam Pattern

A complete understanding of the IAS exam syllabus is a must for all the aspirants appearing for the exam. This exam comprises of two compulsory papers – GS (General Studies) Paper I and II- 200 marks each. All questions will be of multiple choices (objective type). Marks obtained in prelims will not be counted for the final ranking and it is considered only to qualify the main exam. The (main) written exam consists of nine papers. However, only seven papers will be considered for the final merit ranking. For the remaining two papers, a candidate should get minimum marks prescribed by UPSC.

Choose the Correct Books

Keeping the revised exam pattern in mind, it is highly essential that you stress more on the clarity of your concepts rather than learning the topics by heart. Candidates must prepare a time table for reading the material in a planned manner. They need to extensively plan and prepare well in advance for all the sections including Prelims, Main and Interview. It is a good practice, if the aspirants can devote a substantial part of their precious time in understanding the basics. To build a sound foundation for your preparation of basics, you may refer to the standard NCERT text books for subjects like History, Geography in particular. For Indian economy, you can pick any book from a specialist in the subject or follow a reputed national newspaper. To have a deep insight of Environment, Ecology and Science & Technology, IUCN website can be your benefactor. What needs to be followed is to avoid referring the books suggested by your friends and those who boast knowledge here and there. For instance, General Knowledge is a vast and an ever expanding subject, which cannot be mastered but can only be build over a period with regular consistency. You can choose books like Manorama year book, current affairs magazine and a reputed news daily to build up your knowledge base.

Smart Work Vs Hard Work

Most of the students have an assumption that working hard is the most effective method to crack this exam. However, only hard work will not be sufficient when it comes to IAS preparation, smart work also plays an equally significant role here. For example, smart study may consist of studying selectively, reading a number of varied books, blending with classroom notes, preparing micro notes, having proper time management, taking mock tests etc. helps you in preparing in a better manner. You also need to be flexible as opposed to rigid, to experiment instead of going with the known, and to plan ahead instead of only short term basis.

Choose Single Tasking Over Multi-Tasking

It is true that candidates have to prepare history, current affairs, geography, mental ability etc. However, it is recommended that, you do not take up all portions altogether for the preparation. You must select one subject at a time. For example, the study of politics can be combined with current affairs as this topic should be a part of your daily study.

It’s noteworthy that once you start studying a subject be completely focussed on the subject till completion. Never try to multi-task and put yourself doing multiple learnings at one go. Since, multi-tasking may lead you to lose complete focus and lower down your performance.

On the other hand, the completion of a particular subject will get you a lot of confidence to plan rest of the subjects.

Significance of Mock Exams

Mock tests are of huge importance and IAS aspirants must attend mock tests, which will give them a clear idea of what type of questions are asked in the exam. This will help them increase the accuracy as well as the speed remarkably. It will also enhance the ability of the candidates to pick out the correct options in the exam.


The IAS exam not only tests your ability to be a quick and right decision maker, prudent and top of that someone who comes with presence of mind but also tests your patience and confidence.

For IAS preparation, no guide is a ‘bible’ unless you know significant sources for digging out the information. Above all, the importance of proper guidance cannot be underrated as this is the milestone on which you are going to build the castle of your hard work. Last but not the least, managing stress, staying healthy and motivated throughout your journey will play a decisive role to win this arduous battle.

Updated on: 01-Jun-2022


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