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How To Prepare for UPSC IAS 2024 - Ultimate Tips To CSE Preparation

How To Prepare for UPSC IAS 2024 - Ultimate Tips To CSE Preparation

Edited By Soujanya K | Updated on Feb 14, 2024 03:46 PM IST | #UPSC CSE
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Candidates preparing to attempt the IAS Exam must take care to prepare thoroughly and efficiently. They must also know how to prepare for CSE exam effectively. Given the low selection rate (around 1%) of candidates for the Civil Services, a strategic and well-put-together study plan becomes imperative for candidates to perform well.

Achieving good results in the UPSC IAS exam 2024 requires both hard work and smart work on the part of the candidates, as the syllabus is vast. Candidates must start preparing for the IAS exam at least a year in advance to cover the myriad of subjects and topics covered by the exam.

Candidates might be confused about what to study and how to prepare for the CSE 2024 exam. For further information on the particulars of the IAS exam and how to prepare efficiently, candidates can read the tips given below.

How To Prepare for IAS Exam 2024: Myths & Facts

Myths on How to Prepare for UPSC?


IAS Coaching is important for exam preparation.

Every year, thousands of small-town candidates qualify for the IAS without coaching

It is important to stay in Delhi during the IAS preparation.

Nowadays, online study material and coaching classes are easily accessible

You need to be a bookworm to clear the IAS exam.

Clearing the IAS exam takes a lot more than mere intelligence. It requires a strong character - patience, determination, continuous efforts, self-motivation and discipline.

The first step to UPSC preparation from zero level is having the right attitude and drive to clear the CSE 2024 exam. Applicants must be highly motivated to succeed with a focused, energetic, disciplined and proactive demeanour. There is no substitute for hard work while preparing for the IAS exam. Go through the IAS exam preparation tips below for some pointers on how to channel your efforts in the right direction-

Tip 1: IAS Exam Preparation 2024 - Make a CSE Study Plan

Make a study time-table for UPSC preparation 2024

  • The UPSC syllabus is vast, so one must take care that they give adequate time to all subjects and topics. It is important not to ignore any important topic for UPSC 2024 preparation.

  • Set deadlines, while preparing for IAS 2024 and stick to it.

  • A planned IAS preparation timetable will give you more clarity on how you will complete your IAS preparation 2024 - how fast you need to be, how much time you must allot for a particular topic/subject and so on.

Tip 2: CSE Exam 2024 Preparation - Know the IAS Exam Pattern and Syllabus

The UPSC exam pattern has three stages:

  1. Prelims

  2. Mains

  3. Interview

You need to clear all three stages of the UPSC to be eligible to fill the IAS Vacancy 2024. All three stages require different strategies.

  • The prelims stage of IAS preparation 2024 is more about gaining knowledge on a vast number of topics. You don't really need to go very deep while studying a topic. While preparing for prelims applicants should also have an idea about the IAS cut-off

  • The Mains stage of IAS 2024 preparation requires you to delve deep into a topic within the defined UPSC syllabus of Mains. You may find yourself reading B.A. and M.A. level books, practically becoming a graduate in your optional subject.

  • The interview is a personality test. It will test various aspects of your personality and qualities such as diplomatic skills, communication skills, presence of mind and reaction to stress and pressure.

UPSC CSE Preparation Strategy and Best Books
UPSC CSE preparation strategy along with best books for prelims as well as mains exam for sure success.
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Tip 2: IAS Exam Preparation 2024 - Cover CSE Syllabus

The UPSC syllabus pdf is the foundation on which you must plan and build your IAS preparation. The candidate must know the UPSC syllabus thoroughly. The UPSC notification contains the detailed syllabus for the UPSC Civil Services Preliminary and Main examination.

  • The knowledge of the complete UPSC syllabus will help you know which books you need to read. It will also help you to avoid missing any important topics.

  • For IAS preparation it is very important to know what to study, from where to study and what to skip.

  • Remember, UPSC 2024 preparation is not made up of one particular topic alone. It is a vast collection of topics, so be sure to allot an appropriate amount of time to each one for effective IAS preparation.

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Tip 4: CSE Exam 2024 Preparation - Select the Best Books for IAS

Pick your study material from the curation of Best Books for IAS recommended by experts. It is counterproductive to study from too many different books for the Civil Services exam, so just refer to the right books during your IAS 2024 preparation.


Recommended Books on how to prepare for UPSC



  1. NCERT XI (Ancient & Medieval)

  2. NCERT XII (Modern Indian History)

  3. Modern Indian – Spectrum

  4. From Plassey to Partition - A History of Modern India

  5. India’s Struggle for Independence – Bipan Chandra

For Prelims, the first 4 books should be sufficient. For Mains, you can also read India’s Struggle for Independence – Bipin Chandra.

Indian Art & Culture

Indian Art & Culture - Nitin Singhania

This book can be used for both Prelims and Mains



  2. Indian Polity – M Laxmikanth

For prelims, you don’t need to read any other book on Polity except Indian Polity – M Laxmi Kant. Many questions asked in the Prelims paper seem to have come directly from this book. However, for Mains, you should read D D Basu.


  1. NCERT VI – X (Old Syllabus)

  2. NCERT XI, XII (New Syllabus)

  3. Certificate Physical Geography – G C Leong

  4. World Atlas

Read and revise NCERTs thoroughly. A lot of questions in Prelims are asked from content given in NCERT.



  2. Sriram IAS Economics notes

  3. Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh

  4. Economic Development & Policies in India – Jain & Ohri

The Indian Economy –Sanjiv Verma is very good for beginners and for those who find economics distasteful and difficult. It explains concepts in very simple language. The book by Ramesh Singh can be read after the book by Sanjiv Verma.


  1. Class XII Biology (last 5 chapters)

  2. Environment by Shankar IAS Academy

  3. Environment & Ecology: Biodiversity, Climate Change and Disaster Management - General Studies for UPSC Civil Services (Main) Examination - Paper II and IV - Majid Hussain

The last 5 chapters of the Class XII NCERT Biology book are based on the Environment.
Nowadays, in UPSC Prelims, questions on the environment are not only related to concepts but also to the current issues related to the environment. Read the newspaper carefully

International Relations

  1. NCERT XII (Contemporary World Politics)

  2. Current Affairs

International relations keep changing and you must read the newspaper to keep yourself updated on the latest developments in the world.

General Knowledge

  1. Government websites like the PIB, and PRS

The candidate can make use of many government sources for their IAS 2024 preparation. All the content (study material) available on government websites and books are highly authentic and reliable.


  1. Yojana

  2. Kurukshetra

  3. Current Affairs magazine

If you can, try to get a gist/summary of these magazines. The gist is provided online by many coaching centres. You may subscribe to it. It will save a lot of time. You will not have to read unnecessary information.

You may refer to some Current Affairs magazines to fill up the gap in your notes.

Tip 5: IAS Exam Preparation - Reading Newspaper every day

  • White preparing for the IAS 2024, candidates must read the newspaper every day.

  • Newspapers and current affairs form an important aspect of the IAS preparation. Newspapers are a good source of knowledge about current affairs both in India and abroad. Candidates must read the newspaper every day to keep track of new developments around the world.

  • Reading newspapers is especially relevant for the main stage of IAS preparation as the questions are often opinion and reading the newspaper every day will help the candidate be aware of new developments around the world.

Tip 6: IAS Exam Preparation 2024 - Solving Previous Years’ UPSC CSE Question Papers

The exam questions are known to be unpredictable in nature. For example, one year it may focus on current affairs and a particular subject and another year it may focus on other subjects. However, solving previous question papers can help you judge the trends in the UPSC exam paper.

  • You can analyse the type and difficulty level of the question asked. This will help you strategize efficiently for your UPSC 2024 preparation.

  • IAS previous question papers are reliable sources of IAS paper pattern, difficulty level and question type.

  • It is also a good source of self-assessment in your IAS preparation and helps you build a strategy on how to crack the IAS exam 2024.

Tip 7: IAS 2024 Preparation Tips - CSE Mock Test Series

  • Mock Tests help candidates become familiar with the IAS 2024 exam pattern and manage time in answering all the questions.

  • Taking time to solve IAS mock exams can help candidates realise their mistakes and learn from them.

  • Mock tests can also help candidates draft a better strategy for future use.

UPSC IAS Exam Preparation 2024 - Other Tips

You must prepare yourself mentally and physically for the long and hard journey of IAS preparation.

  • During IAS Exam preparation, it is important to keep yourself physically healthy. You don't want to get sick and lose days recovering. Time is precious given the vast UPSC syllabus.

  • Keep yourself mentally healthy. Focus cannot be attained if your mind is occupied with worrying. IAS preparation 2024 should be your topmost priority.

  • There are certain periods of time during the day when you are most productive. Some candidates feel fully focused during the early morning hours, some are most productive during the afternoon while others may be able to concentrate most during the night. Schedule your preparation around timings that work for you.

  • Stay disciplined in following your daily study routine. Take ownership of your preparation and keep yourself motivated to stick to the schedule.

  • Be prepared to cut down on your social life because IAS preparation 2024 demands long hours of study. Success comes at a price. Go underground during your UPSC 2024 preparation.

  • If you are a working professional, you must divide your time between your job and your IAS preparation 2024 and make a proper IAS study plan that works around your office hours.

How To Prepare for IAS 2024 from NCERT Books

  • The first step in IAS preparation 2024 is to get the basic concepts and theories right before you move on to more advanced content. NCERT books are easy to understand and provide content in coherent and precise form.

  • In previous years, UPSC has asked questions directly from NCERT textbooks, especially in subjects like Geography, History and Ecology.

  • The candidate should read the NCERT textbooks from classes 6 to 12.

How To Prepare for IAS 2024 Mains?

The UPSC CSE mains exam paper has a heavy curriculum especially because of the optional subject which requires post-graduation level studies. After IAS Prelims in May, you will have only 90 to 100 days to prepare for IAS mains. For Mains, you have to study for 9 papers having subjects like History, Geography, Economics, Science & Technology, Polity & Governance, Ethics, International relations, Social issues, Hindi/any language, English, Essay and optional subject.

It is not possible to prepare for the Mains exam in just 3 months. A candidate, therefore, should begin preparing for the Main Exam side by side with the IAS Prelim exam preparation. It takes at least one year for IAS 2024 preparation. A candidate should start his/her preparation one year prior if he/she wishes to appear for the Prelims exam the next year. Read the below tips on how to prepare for IAS Mains.

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Tips I: IAS Preparation 2024 Tips - Answer Writing Practice for Mains exam

  • The IAS Main exam papers are descriptive in nature and test the candidates’ writing skills.

  • In the CSE Mains paper, the candidate would be given an answer booklet with a fixed space for writing answers. Candidates have to answer the questions quickly and effectively in minimum words.

  • During IAS 2024 preparation, writing practice helps to learn to write answers within the space provided in the answer booklet within the given time limit.

Tips II: UPSC IAS 2024 Preparation Tips - Choosing Optional

  • The optional subject accounts for 500 marks in the final IAS 2024 result. Hence, it is important to choose the optional subject wisely.

  • Some of the factors to keep in mind before selecting an optional subject are:

    • Interest in the subject

    • Subject syllabus

    • Availability of study material

    • Number of applicants for that particular optional subject

    • The scoring potential of the optional subject

    • The success rate of the optional subject

    • Overlap with the GS papers

    • Availability of coaching

Tip III: UPSC IAS Preparation 2024 - Sources of Study Material are listed below:

  • Standard IAS Preparation Books

  • Relevant E-books

  • Websites (documents, reports and information available on websites of government ministries, national and international organizations, and others for various topics)

  • Videos

  • Mobile applications

Note: Remember, UPSC keeps in mind that candidates from small towns and villages may not have 24/7 internet access for their IAS exam preparation. So, most questions are from the ‘static’ theory part available in IAS NCERT and standard reference books, to provide a level playing field. Thus, reading a random internet article may not be useful.

Tip IV: IAS Preparation Tips 2024 - Making Notes

  • It is relevant to take short notes during IAS preparation 2024. The IAS syllabus is vast and short notes help to keep track of important points and also help in effective revision later on.

  • It is important to consolidate information in compact notes because one night before the exam you will not have time to go through a pile of IAS books.

  • During IAS 2024 preparation, candidates can take notes in notebooks or loose papers and keep them in files for separate subjects. Writing in loose papers may make it easy for a candidate to add notes to a topic, especially when any current affairs-related news needs to be added to a particular topic.

  • Highlight important lines in a book. You can write important keywords/names/terms/phrases on the margins of the book page.

  • The quality of short notes is important. You don't need to write trivial things or things that you already remember by heart.

Tip V: CSE 2024 Preparation Tips - Revision

  • Revision is an integral part of IAS preparation 2024. If you study a topic from an ABC book, newspaper or website today, but cannot recall it in the exam hall after four months, then the whole exercise is useless.

  • The UPSC syllabus is vast and diverse. It is natural to forget things that you had studied earlier. Humans have short-term memory. Whatever a candidate studies one day, he/she can forget the content in the next two days. Revision is important to retain the information for longer periods.

Tip VI: IAS Preparation Tips 2024 - Staying Positive

  • The most important aspect of the entire journey on how to prepare for the IAS exam is to stay positive and motivated.

  • The constant studies and pressure can be quite overwhelming for many and you may feel depressed and demotivated. So to clear IAS 2024. Believe in yourself. Remove negative thoughts from your head and focus on studying instead of worrying.

  • During the IAS preparation 2024, try and use the synergy of both your efforts in studying, making short notes and asking questions from each other. As the IAS syllabus is huge, group study and discussion can help to cover almost the whole syllabus. It makes studying fun and keeps you motivated.

How To Prepare for the IAS Interview?

The final stage in the IAS 2024 recruitment process is the Interview or Personality Test. The personality test is an important stage in the IAS selection process where applicants are assessed on their personality. Candidates can go through the preparation tips for the IAS Interview from below.

  • Introspect and ask yourself how you can contribute to the country and its people, how you can prove your calibre, and what changes can you bring to improve the society, etc. around you.

  • Prepare answers to general interview questions such as those about your interests, education and work experience if any, hobbies, why you want to serve in IAS, what would you do as an IAS officer etc.

  • Take care that your answers reflect knowledge, maturity and presence of mind.

  • When you go for the interview, you must dress up in formal wear and look presentable.

Also Read: How to Crack IAS Exam?

How to prepare for IAS 2024?- Do's and Dont's

Let us know some important tips to prepare for the IAS 2024 exam from the table below.



Quantify your IAS preparation 2024 in terms of the portion of the syllabus or amount of topics you covered.

Don’t quantify your IAS preparation studies in terms of the hours you studied.

Do not study for 1 hour and take a 2-hour break after that.

Keep your mobile phone switched off or away from yourself when you are studying (unless and until you are expecting a very important call).

Don’t waste time unnecessarily chatting on WhatsApp or surfing on Facebook or any social media platform.

Take short breaks or off days when you don’t feel like studying at all. Keep your mind fresh and energized.

Don’t let your mood dictate your studies or ruin your study plan.

Stay mentally healthy. Resolve your fights and keep away from people who ruin your mental peace.

Don’t waste time participating in unrequired debates and discussions online or offline with anyone.

IAS Preparation Tips 2024 - Tips for Working Professionals

Preparing for any exam while working is not an easy task, even more so with the IAS, which has such a vast syllabus. However, preparing for the IAS 2024 exam while working is not impossible, with several successful IAS candidates having attempted the exam while working. Below are some tips on how to prepare effectively for the IAS exam while working.

Time management is of utmost importance for working aspirants, as they have to study without neglecting the duties of the workplace. Make effective use of any time you have, such as the commute and breaks during work for revision. Start preparing around a year before exams.

Create a detailed study plan that involves the division of topics and the Choose an optional subject such as Political Science and international relations, History, or Public relations that have a lot of overlap with the syllabus of general studies. Working candidates must take special care of their weekend schedules and plan writing practice and revision during this time.

Frequently Asked Question (FAQs)

1. Is 1 year sufficient for IAS preparation?

Generally, it depends on individual knowledge and personal qualities such as concentration, memorizing capacity etc. that may determine how much time he/she would need. However, given the vast syllabus, it takes about 1 year to prepare for the IAS exam.

2. Do I need coaching to clear the IAS exam?

No, many toppers have cleared the CSE exam with self-study without any coaching.

3. Is the IAS preparation difficult?

The vast syllabus that requires to be studied as well as remembered, the long hours of studies, etc. make IAS preparation difficult.

4. How many hours should I study for IAS?

The number of hours you need to study depends on your productivity, efficiency and memorizing capabilities. A lot of people recommend studying for about 15 hours per day during the IAS preparation, but some people have cleared the CSE exam with just 6-7 hours of daily study time as well.

5. How can I start preparing for IAS at home?

Go through the IAS syllabus, get a list of recommended books for Prelims and Mains, pick the optional and start reading, making notes and revising at regular intervals.

6. When is the IPSC IAS 2024 prelims exam?

IAS 2024 prelims exam is scheduled to be held on 26 May 2024.

7. When will the IAS 2024 notification be released?

The notification for IAS 2024 was released on February 14, 2024.


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Questions related to UPSC CSE

Have a question related to UPSC CSE ?

It's great that you are taking the initiative to pursue your dream of becoming an IAS officer, Bettaswamy. Many working professionals like you crack the UPSC exam every year.

Anxiety often stems from dwelling on uncertainties. Instead, focus on what you can control – your daily preparation. Break down your study plan into manageable chunks and celebrate small goals. Challenge negative thoughts with realistic and empowering self-talk. Instead of "what if I fail," tell yourself, "I am putting in the effort to succeed, and I am capable of learning from any outcome." Practice relaxation techniques like meditation, deep breathing, or yoga to calm your mind and reduce stress.

Plan your study schedule around your work commitments. Utilize pockets of time for revision and dedicate focused study time during evenings or weekends.

Plan your study schedule around your work commitments. Utilize pockets of time for revision and dedicate focused study time during evenings or weekends.

Connect with other UPSC aspirants or online forums for motivation and sharing strategies. Consider joining a coaching institute that caters to working professionals.

I hope it helps!


I assume you want to know the eligibility criteria to becoming an IAS. First of all, to become an IAS,  one has to clear UPSC CSE examiner. There are certain eligibility criteria for applying in this examination and they are as follows:

  • Bachelor's degree from any recognised college.
  • Age between 21-32; with some relaxation for reserved categories.
  • Citizen of India ora subject of Nepal/ Bhutan or Tibetan refugee who came to India, to permanently settle here before January 1, 1962, or People of Indian origin who migrated from Uganda, Burma, Pakistan, Zambia, the United Republic of Tanzania, Malawi, Sri Lanka, East African Countries of Kenya, Zaire, Ethiopia and Vietnam to permanently settle in India.

For more information, please visit the website by clicking on the link given below:

And other government jobs, the eligibility test is different for different jobs. It would have been if you could mention the government job you are interested in.

Hope this answers your query. Thank you

Dear aspirant !!

Hope you are doing good !

Yes it will be considered because Bachelor in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (BASLP) is a 4-year degree course . It is a multi-disciplinary profession with core subjects including speech pathology, language pathology, and audiology.

Hope it helps you ;

Thank you

Dear Aspirant !

Hope you are fine!

The main subjects for the UPSC Exam are Indian Politics, Indian Economy, International Relations, Science and Technology, Geography, History, Environment and Ecology, and related Current Affairs . There are 25 subjects and 23 literature optional that one can choose from in addition to this..

Thank you

Hello aspirant,

With the help of the IAS Answer Key 2024, applicants can estimate their potential score for the IAS preliminary exam, learn about the various IAS question types, gauge the exam's difficulty, and much more.

To get the answer key, you can visit our website by clicking on the link given below.

Thank you

Hope this information helps you.

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