10 Things You Must Know Before Starting The UPSC Preparation

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) conducts a national-level competitive exam known as the Civil Service Examination (CSE) for recruiting suitable candidates for the Civil Services of the Indian Government. Having a goal without proper planning is not going to help. Clearing this exam requires a tactical strategy combined with dedicated preparation.

Every year, lakhs of students appear for the UPSC exam, making the competition fierce. Keep reading this article to acquaint yourself with ten essential factors before following your UPSC preparation strategy.

10 Things You Must Know Before Starting The UPSC Preparation

Is UPSC suited for you?

You must be honest with yourself in answering this question. Before starting the UPSC preparation, ask yourself whether it is what you want. Find out more about the Civil Services. Learn about the role of Civil Servants. Furthermore, try to understand your motivation and personality and figure out if your goals align with the purpose of this exam. If you find yourself ticking all the boxes, then hesitate no further and brace yourself for the grueling UPSC preparation stage.

List of 10 points to consider before UPSC preparation for beginners

Let us make the acquaintance process easier for you. Familiarise yourself with the following factors before beginning your UPSC preparation.

  1. Know about the exam -

Track the UPSC notification for all the necessary details about the exam, such as the schedule and important dates. Go through this notification and catch up with the latest syllabus, exam pattern, duration, and eligibility criteria. Once you know about the ins and outs of the exam, go through a few previous year's question papers to understand the expected pattern and mark distribution better.

  1. Decide on the time you are willing to devote -

Think realistically about the number of attempts you would spare for this exam if you do not manage to clear it on the first attempt. If you are working and preparing simultaneously, you need to plan a systematic schedule to spare enough time for preparation. Fix a time frame within which you will clear the exam (ideally one to three years) and stick to that. Also, have a backup career option in mind always.

  1. Choose your mode of preparation -

Decide how you want to prepare for the exam. Do you want to opt for coaching classes? Or would you enroll yourself for mock tests? Or does self-study work for you? According to most toppers' recommendations, the best approach is self-study with access to authentic course material and mock test series from a reliable website like Physicswallah.

  1. Select the optional subject wisely -

Your choice of a suitable optional subject will directly affect your UPSC preparation strategy. Opt for one that is easy to understand, interesting, and scoring, and for which study material is conveniently available. Choose a subject with which you are well-acquainted.

  1. Learn to manage your time -

Time management is crucial in UPSC preparation for beginners. Because of the vast syllabus to cover, you need to allocate time limits based on the complexity of the subjects. Prepare a structured timetable, use your spare time efficiently, and ensure enough time for revision.

  1. Stay updated about current affairs -

Increasing your general knowledge is a vital UPSC preparation strategy. Make it a habit to read news articles (stick to one national newspaper) and magazines regularly. Focus on the op-ed articles and the editorials. Some recommended newspapers one can go through are The Hindu or The Indian Express. For current perspectives, refer to Economic and Political Weekly. Yojana and Kurukshetra provide information on Government schemes and initiatives.

  1. Prioritise your health -

For UPSC preparation, one must sit and study for long hours, which takes a lot of energy. Drink water regularly, eat nutritious food and take occasional breaks to avoid stressing out. Take care of your mental health too.

  1. The promise of consistency -

You must ensure consistency during the preparations. It makes you more self-disciplined and automatically directed toward progress. Being consistent for months together may sound intimidating, but once the momentum builds up, it eventually leads to success.

  1. Stress management -

UPSC preparation requires putting in long hours every day. Additionally, the fear of not being selected because of the fierce competition causes stress, anxiety, and fear. It will slow down preparations and may lead to mental health issues. Therefore, you must devise strategies to manage stress and brace yourself for what lies ahead.

  1. Have A Positive Attitude

Candidates need to ensure they are not affected by the negativity and fear of failure. Being positive can take them a long way. It will help them manage their stress, stay consistent, and achieve their goals.


Before you begin your UPSC preparation strategy, understand what you are aiming for, how much effort you are ready to put in, how to manage your time, and most importantly, how consistent you should be. Determination and motivation are necessary before preparations.

Visit Physicswallah to access structured course materials and mock test series on UPSC, attend live and scheduled lectures, and participate in doubt-solving sessions.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q.1. What are some common challenges faced by UPSC aspirants while preparing?

Ans. Confusion about where and how to start preparing, allocating sufficient time, remaining consistent, and social media distractions are the most common challenges faced during UPSC preparation.

Q.2. How many stages does the UPSC exam have?

Ans. The UPSC exam takes place in three stages - UPSC Prelims, UPSC Mains, and UPSC Interview. Clearing all three makes you eligible for recruitment to the prestigious Civil Services.

Q.3. Can I clear UPSC without coaching?

Ans. Dedicated and strategic self-study, enrolling for mock tests, and solving previous year's papers can help you clear UPSC without joining any coaching classes.

Q.4. What is the most crucial aspect of UPSC preparation?

Ans. Following a tactical UPSC preparation strategy and selecting the correct source materials for study are crucial factors for preparing successfully for UPSC.

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