“Cracking UPSC: From Zero to Hero, Aiming to become a Civil Servant”

This blog post aims to guide aspirants preparing and cracking UPSC .It is an ultimate guide to start their journey for UPSC preparation from Zero to Hero level and to excel in the Civil Services Exam. The post will provide comprehensive information on developing a study plan, choosing the right study material, managing time effectively, and enhancing subject knowledge. Additionally, it will cover tips for writing practice, the significance of mock tests, stress management, and last-minute preparations before the exam day.

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“From ZERO to HERO: Ultimate Guide for UPSC Preparation”

Starting your UPSC preparation from scratch can be a daunting task. This comprehensive guide is designed to help you build a solid foundation and navigate through the entire preparation process.

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Understanding UPSC Exam 

The UPSC (Union Public Service Commision ) is India’s premier central recruitment agency for recruitment of all the Group ‘A’ officers under Government of India.It conducts a three-stage selection process comprising the Preliminary Examination, Main Examination, and the Personality Test (Interview) for the recruitment of Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS), Indian Police Service (IPS) and other Central Services and posts in accordance with the Rules published by the Government . It offers the chance to rise to positions of influence while having compassion for the nation’s needs.

UPSC Exam Pattern

The UPSC exam is conducted in three stages – Prelims, Mains, and Interview.  The UPSC Exam Pattern for prelims includes two papers with objective-type questions where paper 2 is qualifying in nature. The UPSC mains paper pattern consists of 9 papers.And then the Interview round.

The 9 papers in UPSC (Mains) are as follows: Paper-A (Compulsory Indian Language); Paper –B (English) which are qualifying in nature, while the other papers like Essay, General Studies Papers I, II, III, and IV, and Optional Papers I and II are considered for the final ranking.

Preliminary Exam

It comprises 2 MCQ-based papers that are conducted on a single day. General studies paper –1, consists of 100 questions of 2 marks each. General Studies paper-2 (CSAT) consists of 80 questions of 2.5 marks each.Each paper carries 200 marks.

Aspirants must attempt at least 70-85 questions accurately in UPSC Prelims General Studies Paper 1 to be on the safer side since the cutoff marks usually range between 90 to 120. Whereas the GS-2 paper will be qualifying in nature, and candidates require at least 33% to qualify for it.

Mains Exam

According to the UPSC exam pattern for the Mains exam, there will be a total of 9 papers in the Mains round. Of these 9 papers, two will be qualifying in nature, and the other seven papers will be considered to prepare the merit list. From these seven papers, there will be two papers for the optional subject. Candidates need to secure at least 25% in these papers to be considered for the merit list per the UPSC marking scheme. The time duration for each paper will be 3 hours.

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Building the Strong Foundation

UPSC is considered to be the most difficult exam of the nation therefore it is crucial to build a strong foundation to crack this highly competitive exam. However, it is not important to be a topper to prepare for this exam, an average student can also crack this exam with the right strategy and comprehensive abillity as this exam needs the general understanding of topics whatever is happening in our surroundings and this exam needs smart study not merely hard work . One can bulid the strong foundation through the following ways:

Choosing Optional Subjects

Select optional subjects based on your interests, background, and scoring potential. Seek guidance from mentors or successful candidates.Also research on the books and study material available in the market.

Recommended Books and Study Material

Following are the recommended books for each subject:

Current Affairs:  

The Hindu Newspaper, Yojana Magzine , Kurukshetra Magzine , PIB .


NCERT books, Bipin Chandra , Spectrum


UPSC aspirants studying

NCERT books, Mohjid Hussain geography, maps .


NCERT books, Economic Survey, Mains 365, Ramesh singh .

Environment & Ecology :

Shankar IAS

Art & Culture:

Nitin Singhania

Science & Technology:

NCERT books, Current Affairs and prepare through Internet.

International Relations:

Current Affairs


Laxmikant , NCERT books.

 Online Resources and Courses

Explore reputable online platforms offering UPSC courses and study materials. Supplement your preparation with quality free online resources.

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Creating a Study PlanLBSNAA, UPSC training academy

A well-structured study plan is the key to success in UPSC. Break your preparation into manageable chunks:

 Time Management Techniques:

Create a daily and weekly study schedule. Allocate time to each subject and stick to the plan.

Setting Realistic Goals:

Set achievable goals and track your progress regularly. Reward yourself for completing milestones.

Weekly and Monthly Targets:

Plan your weekly and monthly targets, covering both syllabus completion and revision.

Improving Writing and Analytical Skills

Effective writing and analytical abilities are crucial for the UPSC Main Examination, one needs to practice alot for the mains examination, use facts, figures, charts, maps in your answers, find out creative ways to represent your answers which show you different from others.

 Answer Writing Practice:

Regularly practice writing answers to previous year questions. Focus on clarity and structure.

Essay Writing Tips:

Develop the art of essay writing. Work on coherence, critical thinking, and expression.

 Mock Tests and Previous Year Papers:

Mock tests are essential for evaluating your progress and understanding exam patterns. Practice as much as you can through mock tests. There are various mocks tests available in the market like from DHRISTI IAS, IAS BABA,

 Importance of Mock Tests:

Take regular mock tests to identify strengths and weaknesses. Analyze the results to improve.

Analyzing Previous Year Papers:

Review and understand the trends and question patterns from previous year papers.Study and analyse atleast 20 years previous year papers.

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 Revision and Time for Relaxation

Revision is crucial for retention. Revise your syllabus frequently to keep it in memory. Take out time for some leisure activities to keep yourself active and refreshed . Take proper sleep of 8 hours as less than 8 hours of sleep can effect your memory. Do some exercises daily to keep yourself not just physically but also mentally strong and healthy. Do meditation for atleast 5 mins a day .Take out time for friends and family always .

Hopefully this post will help aspirants to get a brief idea on how to get yourself started for this beautiful jouney of UPSC, to become a Civil Servant and serve our Country.

Thank You for reading.

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