Can UPSC be Cleared in First Attempt

Acing UPSC CSE exams is not very tough if the candidates prepare a robust plan to clear it. However, they need to have proper exam strategy and familiarity with UPSC syllabus PDF to hit the bull’s eyes on the very first attempt. Before moving ahead, let’s discuss a brief about the UPSC exam. Every year, the Union Public Service Commission invites online applications from eligible aspirants for various civil services posts including Indian Administrative Service, Indian Foreign Service, Indian Police Service, etc.

Candidates need to ace the selection stages i.e Preliminary Exam, Mains Exam, and Personality Test/Interview round in order to be considered for the provisional appointment. Thus, cracking the UPSC exam is no cakewalk as each stage is indeed difficult with the massive syllabus to be covered. Next, the competition is high as the civil service posts are rewarding & reputed citing the attractive salary package, job security, and career growth.

Furthermore, a total of six attempts are given to the general category candidates to ace the civil services exam, and therefore every aspirant desires to clear the exam on the first chance itself.

Hence, they are advised to adhere to the unique UPSC preparation strategy and the finest books to stand out. Check this blog to know the top 8 preparation tips to clear UPSC Civil Services Exam on the first attempt.

Can UPSC be Cleared in First Attempt

UPSC Exam Pattern Overview

Candidates should be well versed in the UPSC paper structuring before moving ahead with the exam preparation. This will provide them with real insights into the number of sections, exam structure, and marking scheme prescribed by the commission. Furthermore, the UPSC selection process is divided into stages such as

  • Preliminary Examination
  • Main Examination & Interview/Personality Test

Let’s look at the exam pattern of all three stages of UPSC CSE recruitment below:

UPSC Paper Pattern for Preliminary Exam

  • The CSE prelims exam consists of two papers of Objective type and carries a total of 400 marks.
  • This stage is just a screening test to shortlist the candidates for the CSE Main exam round.
  • A negative marking of one-third (0.33) marks will be applicable for each incorrect answer.
Subject Maximum Marks Duration
General Studies Paper I 200 marks 2 hours
General Studies Paper II 200 marks 2 hours

UPSC Pattern for Mains Exam & Interview/Personality Test

  • Candidates who will qualify for the CSE prelims will be called to participate in the mains exam.
  • The Main Examination consists of 9 papers of conventional essay type.
  • Paper A and Paper B will be of qualifying nature. Also, the marks obtained in these papers will not be considered for the final ranking.
  • The CSE Mains exam will be of three hours duration for each paper.
  • The final merit list will be prepared on the basis of marks obtained in the Mains Exam & Interview/Personality Test.
Paper Subject Maximum Marks
Paper-A Indian languages 300 Marks
Paper-B English 300 Marks
Paper-I Essay 250 Marks
Paper-II General Studies-I 250 Marks
Paper-III General Studies -II 250 Marks
Paper-IV General Studies -III 250 Marks
Paper-V General Studies -IV 250 Marks
Paper-VI Optional Subject - Paper 1 250 Marks
Paper-VII Optional Subject - Paper 2 250 Marks
Sub Total (Mains Exam) 1750 Marks
Personality Test 275 Marks
Grand Total 2025 Marks

Top 8 Tips to Crack the UPSC Exam on the First Attempt

The UPSC IAS exam is one of the toughest examinations in the country as each exam stage demands a unique approach due to the severe competition among lakhs of candidates.

Expert guidance and unlimited practice of the UPSC question paper can improve the qualifying chances of the candidates. Hence, we have shared below the list of the top eight UPSC preparation strategies to help aspirants ace the CSE exams on the first attempt.

  1. Check the UPSC Syllabus
  • The first and foremost UPSC preparation tip for the candidate is to download the UPSC Syllabus PDF from the official website and understand it properly. After gaining clarity, divide the entire syllabus into parts based on the difficulty level of each section & previous papers' trends, and then move ahead with the preparation of the study schedule.
  1. Make a Proper Schedule
  • Curate a study schedule and make sure to stick to it till the end of the UPSC selection process. Candidates should design their daily schedule according to the prescribed topics and the number of hours they can devote to their IAS preparations. Also, it is advised to include short breaks & revision sessions in their schedule to stay focused and refreshed.
  1. Attempt UPSC Mock Tests
  • The next UPSC preparation strategy for the aspirants is that they should attempt as many mock tests as possible for both Prelims & Mains to stay ahead in the competition.
  • Solving mock tests is not enough till they analyze their progress report and work towards improving their weakness for a favorable result.
  1. Solve UPSC Previous Year Question Paper
  • By practicing previous UPSC question papers, the candidates will get to know the type of questions along with the level of difficulty in the exam. Moreover, it will boost their time management skills and help them to discover the areas that are more important to clear UPSC on the first attempt.
  1. Follow Current Affairs Daily
  • Current Affairs is an important part of the Civil Services Examination as most of the questions are asked from this section in both the Prelims & Mains exam.
  • So, the candidates must be familiar with all national & international current events happening in the world. Also, they can refer to newspapers like “The Hindu” or monthly current affairs magazines to excel in this section.
  1. Make Short Notes
  • Preparation for the UPSC exam is incomplete without maintaining short notes. These notes should be prepared in easy language so that there is no difficulty in recalling the topics covered during the preparation. Also, make the notes short & crisp for the quick revision of the entire UPSC syllabus PDF.
  1. Answer Writing Skills
  • Since the UPSC Mains exam is descriptive in nature, it is crucial to assign sufficient time to answer writing in the UPSC preparation strategy. Thus, candidates must practice answer writing regularly to improve their speed and writing skills. Also, they can get their answers evaluated by the experts/seniors to understand where their preparation level stands.
  1. Regular Revision
  • Limited learning materials with regular revisions play a pivotal role in the selection for civil services recruitment. One of the best UPSC preparation tips for the candidate is to devote at least one hour to revision every day.
  • Follow a proper revision strategy and revise everything once every seven days. Along with this, attempt revision tests regularly to increase the confidence level and clear the UPSC exam in one attempt.


So, this is how the candidates can crack the UPSC exam on the first attempt with the help of the 8-step UPSC preparation strategy recommended by our experts. Also, they must practice UPSC Previous Year Question Paper and mock tests to achieve a good rank in the exam.

To ease the IAS preparation journey, candidates can download the Physics Wallah App from the play store and subscribe to our youtube channel for unlimited study material, quizzes, and expert guidance.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q.1. How many hours do I need to study for the UPSC exam?

Ans. Candidates need to devote at least 8-9 hours daily to their IAS preparations to perform well in the civil services exam.

Q.2. Can I ace the IAS exam without coaching?

Ans. Yes, one can clear the UPSC exam without coaching, For this, the candidates need to get familiar with the UPSC syllabus and solve UPSC previous year's question paper to boost their qualifying chances.

Q.3. How long does it take to clear the UPSC exam on the first attempt?

Ans. Average candidates need to start their exam preparation at least 10-12 months before the exam to clear the UPSC exam on the first attempt.

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