Beginner Guide

Best Tips to Prepare for UPSC Exam without Coaching

Today, we are sharing a self-study plan on how to prepare for UPSC exam without coaching. To crack the IAS exam it is required for a candidate to choose the right strategies and direction.

No matter whether you are studying at home without any coaching institute. If you have prepared a good plan with the proper execution strategy, the self-study becomes more effective to clear IAS exam in the First attempt. Moving ahead, let’s know how to prepare for UPSC IAS exam without any coaching

How to Prepare for UPSC/IAS without Coaching?

Many aspirants across India have this question in their mind – ‘Do I need to join coaching centres for cracking IAS?’ IAS preparation demands only self-belief and confidence than believing or relying on someone.

Problems that you will face While preparing for IAS without coaching

In the initial stage of preparation, aspirants would face problems – ‘How to start my preparation?’ ‘What books need to be referred?’ ‘How to read the newspaper for IAS?’

Students also face some problems in understanding few subjects in the UPSC syllabus, for which they don t have any academic background (Eg: Economy and Polity subjects will be difficult in the initial stage for technical students). But if they are determined, then by way of hard work and dedicated effort, they will able to understand it.

Once a candidate understands the nature of the exam, they can prepare on their own without joining any coaching institutes.

However, it must be noted that more than 95% of the selected candidates had opted for coaching. It helped them in guiding their preparation and optimizing time as the syllabus is vast and one needs to complete the same in 1 year of time.

For example, in History subject, one needs to cover Ancient, Medieval, Modern, Post-Independence history of India and also World History.

Similarly, for geography, economics, etc. It is difficult to optimize time if one doesn’t know what all to focus on and what not to. That s where teachers who have years of experience comes to help.

Tips to know How to prepare for UPSC at home without Coaching?

1.Formulate your strategy

It includes choosing your optional, finding the right study material, looking at the syllabus and previous years question papers and analyzing.

  • Watch videos on Youtube and go through guidance material of coaching’s available online to decide on the optional and get the study material by contacting them or one can even enroll in online courses.
  • Based on previous year questions and syllabus, read study matter selectively. Do smart work.
  • Follow some websites to be regularly updated and reorienting your efforts in the right direction.
  • Also, the focus should be on integrated preparation of mains and prelims both till only 2-3 months remain for the prelims.

2.1 What to do in the days before Prelims Exam

  • The candidate needs to cover the whole syllabus of mains (including optional) and prelims both well before 2-3 months are remaining for the prelims. It is needless to say that multiple revisions should have been conducted regularly in the meantime.
  • Now when only 3 months remain from prelims date, the utmost attention should be given to clearing prelims. Go through multiple tests in exam like conditions. Nowadays, online tests are available as well. Here, Full-Length Test can be helpful. Learn from your mistakes and keep on improving.
  • It is not important how many mock tests you do, but it is important that you revise all those you have attempted.

2.2 Changing gears towards Mains Preparation

Once you are sure that you are getting more than the expected cut-off marks for Prelims (even if 5-6 marks less than that),

  • Prepare a plan (including timeline) to cover the whole syllabus of mains. The focus has to be given to all subjects like the optional, GS and Essay and does not ignore any paper, even the language papers.
  • To gauge your understanding level, go through the Previous Years Papers.
  • Enroll in a test series (available online nowadays) which ensures that you stick to the scheduled plan and improve your quantity and quality of answers by working on your mistakes. The key here is to practice, learn and improve and again practice.
  • You can also look at toppers answer sheets to learn from them.
  • Also, it is advisable to form a group of hardworking and sincere candidates to discuss and learn from each other.

2.3 Post Mains

After the mains exam, analyze your performance and then prepare a plan for the future course of action. If you expect interview call, then start preparing for the interview within a few days after mains. And if you could not do well in mains then introspect and find out how to improve and go ahead. If ambivalent, then focus on both simultaneously i.e. interview preparation as well as improving the mains score for next year.

2.4 Mains Improvement and Interview Prep Simultaneously

Divide the time for both.

  • Analyse mistakes in mains and rectify e.g. Improve on knowledge and content or answer writing skills
  • For the interview, devote time for the more in-depth reading of newspaper preferably 2 newspapers now and listen to news discussions and prepare topics mentioned in your Detailed Application Form submitted during mains.
  • Once the results for mains are out, fully dedicate yourself to the next phase be it the interview or next year pre and mains.

3. Don’ts in the UPSC preparation

  • Don’t indulge in unnecessary information gathering. Have an exam orientation and do smart work. Study smartly and selectively based on the syllabus keywords and previous year questions
  • Don’t indulge in habit of collecting books and study material. Be very specific about the books and material you need to follow. Focus on limiting resources and keeping on revising them multiple times.
  • Don’t waste time on the Internet. Judicious use of the internet is what you require.
  • Don’t blindly follow anyone/toppers or anything. There are 1000’s ways to crack the exam. Learn from others and prepare your own strategy which suits you.

Hope it will help in clearing doubts about the overall picture and strategy of UPSC exam. Please refer to our posts on the detailed preparation strategy for each phase and book list and other study material required for the exam.

Wish you all the best for your preparation.


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