July 22, 2024

Things You Must Know Before Attempting The IAS Exam

The IAS exam, also known as the Civil Services Examination, is considered one of the toughest exams in India. The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) conducts the exam in three stages – Preliminary, Mains, and Personality Test – and is designed to test candidates on various aspects such as knowledge, aptitude, communication, and leadership skills.


Table of Content


Things You Must Know Before Attempting The IAS Exam

Everything To Know Before Attempting IAS Exam

  1. Understand the Exam Pattern
  2. Choose the Right Optional Subject
  3. Create a Study Plan
  4. Make Notes
  5. Read the Newspaper Daily
  6. Practice Writing
  7. Consider Right Sources
  8. Watch the UPSC Announcements closely.
  9. Go at the UPSC test questions from prior years.

Wrapping Up


Everything To Know Before Attempting IAS Exam

If you’re planning to take the IAS exam 2023, there are a few things that you must know before you start your preparations.

  • Understand the Exam Pattern

The first and most crucial thing you must know before attempting the IAS exam is its pattern. As mentioned, the exam is conducted in three stages, each with its requirements and challenges.


The Preliminary stage is a screening test, and the questions are objective. The Mains stage is a written examination that comprises nine papers, and the Personality Test is a face-to-face interview. You need to know each stage’s syllabus, exam pattern, marking scheme, and time duration. Familiarize yourself with the exam pattern and syllabus by referring to the official notification released by UPSC.

  • Choose the Right Optional Subject

In the Mains stage, you must choose one optional subject from a list of more than 20 subjects. The optional subject carries a weightage of 500 marks out of 1750 marks. Choosing the right optional topic is critical because it can make or break your chances of success. 


The subject should interest you, and you should understand it well. Consider the availability of the subject’s coaching and study materials as well. Analyze the previous year’s question papers to understand the pattern and level of difficulty of the questions asked in your optional subject.

  • Create a Study Plan

Once you have understood the exam pattern and chosen your optional subject, the next step is to create a study plan. The IAS exam covers a vast syllabus, and it is only possible to cover some things quickly.

Divide the syllabus into smaller sections and allocate time for each team. Make sure that you give enough time for revision and practice. Also, set realistic targets and timelines to complete each section.

  • Make Notes

Note-making is an essential part of the IAS exam preparation. It helps you retain information for extended periods and saves time during revision.


Make notes of important topics, concepts, and current affairs. Keep them organized and easy to understand. Use bullet points, flow charts, and diagrams to make your notes more appealing and easily remembered.

  • Read the Newspaper Daily

The IAS exam tests your awareness of current affairs. The best way to stay updated on current events is by reading the newspaper daily.


Read a national daily like The Hindu, Indian Express, or The Times of India. Make notes of noteworthy news items and editorials. Focus on issues related to national and international politics, economics, social issues, and science and technology.

  • Practice Writing

Writing is an important part of the IAS test. In the Mains stage, you must write nine papers, including two language papers, four general studies papers, two optional subject papers, and an essay paper.


Practice writing essays, answers to previous year’s question papers, and mock test papers. Get your answers evaluated by an experienced teacher or mentor. Analyze your mistakes and work on improving your writing skills.

  • Consider Right Sources

Every IAS aspirant must know the appropriate sources to refer to before commencing their exam preparation. Many IAS experts suggest selecting a few essential books instead of multiple ones. 


Therefore, candidates must choose their study materials carefully to avoid overburdening themselves with excess information. Aspirants often like numerous books to cover a single topic or subject, leading to a sense of overwhelm and under pressure. 


To prevent this, choosing suitable sources for UPSC exam preparation is advisable. These are some critical factors that every IAS aspirant should consider before beginning their preparation blindly. Before embarking on UPSC 2023 Civil Services Exam preparation, candidates should take some time to analyze the exam and its requirements. 


Once aspirants have grasped the fundamental concepts and the UPSC exam pattern, they can establish an effective preparation strategy, choose appropriate sources to refer to, and learn how to make comprehensive notes, among other things.

  • Watch the UPSC Announcements closely.

The UPSC publishes announcements every year with all the exam information, including the test fee, dates, scheme, timetable, thorough syllabus, and much more. 


In order for applicants who wish to sit for the Civil Services Test to properly organize their study and have enough time to cover the UPSC Syllabus, the UPSC provides notice for the exam a year in advance.

  • Go at the UPSC test questions from prior years.

Solving the UPSC Previous Years’ Question Papers makes a significant impact. Go into UPSC Past Years’ Question Papers to get a sense of the kinds of questions that have been asked in the past before you start your preparation. 


As you read through the question papers, make notes of what you notice, such as the types of questions asked, the weight given to factual and conceptual questions, the format of the questions, etc. 


Your use of this will be beneficial while attempting to solve old question papers and taking practice tests. The ability to predict questions the UPSC could ask during the prelims or mains test is another benefit of using this method for applicants.


Wrapping Up

In conclusion, attempting the IAS exam requires extensive preparation, dedication, and hard work. Understanding the exam pattern, selecting the right optional subject, creating a study plan, making notes, staying updated on current affairs, and practicing writing are some essential factors that every aspirant must consider before starting their preparation.


A focused and disciplined approach, along with a positive attitude, can go a long way in achieving success in the IAS exam. Therefore, it is crucial to prioritize one’s efforts and use available resources effectively to maximize the chances of success. With the right mindset and adequate preparation, any aspirant can fulfill their dream of becoming a civil servant through the IAS exam.




  • Which Age is Perfect for IAS?


The age range for UPSC’s Civil Services is 21 to 32 years old, according to the official announcement. The maximum age for UPSC for the OBC group is 35 years after the addition of a 3-year age relaxation to the civil service age restriction.


  • Can I pass the IAS exam by self-study?


The self-study or self-preparation won’t help you pass the IAS Test is one of the major myths surrounding the civil services examination, but its not true. Many IAS Toppers who simply relied on studying at home and investing more time in self-study have achieved success throughout the years. 

  • How Long Does the IAS Interview last? 

The UPSC IAS interview is the test of each candidates personality. The panel questions is depends on the topics from their DAF’s  Detailed Application Forms), as well as some questions about national and intyernation affairs. The conversation last between 30 to 45 minutes. 


  • How Do I Crack My Intrerview? 

Before responding take some time to listen and consider. It indicates that the person is attentive to consider the information. Be ready to response to some challenging behavioral questions. This inquiries will measure a candidat’s ability for managing  obligations and resources. 

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