How to start UPSC preparation from zero level

The UPSC Civil Services Exam is one of the most prestigious exams in India. It is attempted by lakhs of people across the country every year. One of the key objectives of this book is to give you a complete understanding of the pattern and order of questions that are asked in an Preparation of IAS exam so that you get maximum chances of qualifying.

How to start UPSC preparation from zero level

The first step to appear for UPSC is getting registered. The procedure of registration itself is easy and straightforward.

UPSC Preparation tips

Basic preparation-Once you make up your mind, prepare for the background of the battle. If you are moving to Delhi or anywhere else, choose the location, cleanliness and meals very wisely. When you participate in the competition, you should not waste time on these things.

Plan: Develop your preparation plan. Set the date of your first/next attempt: Calculate the number of days remaining, then plan your trip accordingly. Always start planning on the day of the exam. When you start, you should know what you should do in the last month, which should guide your preparation today. If your plan is flawed, you are likely to suffer later, so please spend a lot of time in this step.

Syllabus: First read the syllabus, and then divide it into several sub-parts. To plan each subsection, such as a book, you will allocate time for each subsection. Talk to the selected candidate (if you know it) to find out which subsections need the most attention and which are the least.

Last year’s documents: YES at least solve the initial problems of the past 3 years (static + CSAT) and the main problems of 3-5 years (GS + optional)) In addition, the trial period is 5 to 10 years. Because it allows you to understand the types of questions expected in the exam. Resources: Collect all resources one by one. Keep standard books and class notes (1-2 books for each subsection of the syllabus). Get the correct book list. And learn to read these books wisely (this saves time and improves efficiency).

 Online resources: Use technology to give you an advantage. Use trusted websites. Interview: Read some DAF. If you have a hobby, you will find it helpful. Start to develop a hobby (whether it is reading, singing, dancing, painting, sports, etc….anything that can help you relax) and practice for one hour a day.

Optional: Optional is a game changer. Decide your choice wisely-the 5 factors to consider are: your score in the past 3 years, your interests, help in other GS jobs, the availability of books/guides, and your graduation or prior knowledge. Choosing an incorrect option can really cause a lot of headaches! Your goal should be to read the Optional before the preliminaries.

Prepare at the same time: start studying the principal and preparatory courses at the same time. The last 2-3 months before the Prelims exam must be fully dedicated to Prelims preparation. The time before that should be spent reading Optional, the entire main exam, and Current Issues. Time Management-Develop a timetable, including your GS, optional and answer writing preparation. Strictly follow your daily schedule.

 Month (first and second)-Covers NCERT and Laxmikant, as it will help you better understand current events. In addition, solve current affairs and policy MCQ after the second month-prepare for GS, history, geography, etc. They are very helpful in improving your score. Resolve issues related to these topics on a regular basis. Also covers your optional items. Current Affairs-Read Hinduism. And follow the monthly gk magazine. That’s enough. Coach: This is not a necessity.

If you don’t know UPSC at all, then you should. Otherwise, there is enough material to produce results. Test series: mandatory. You cannot test yourself. Therefore, before entering the final exam, take 5-8 simulated preliminary and main tests. Enjoy-UPSC preparation is not a prison.

Therefore, if you feel uncomfortable and engage in activities to enjoy. Talk to your family, friends, etc. You can set aside one hour a day for these things. Discuss: If you are fully prepared, go discuss it. You should not spend more than an hour on this. Keep the group with only 2 to 3 people.

Exercise: Stay healthy. This disease will affect your preparedness. So exercise every day. Interpersonal relationship: If you are not in a romantic relationship, please don’t go out and look for it. This is your preparation time. So, take a break. That will help you better. Be brave: always believe in yourself. People will not have much confidence in you. Just believe that you have a place in 100. So, do your best to achieve it.

Whether you are appearing for the civil services prelims or the main exam, you must prepare the topics which you will be asked in the exam. The topics which you should focus on are: Current Affairs: The UPSC exam is a mains exam. The questions which you will be asked are general knowledge questions. Hence, you must be very familiar with current affairs, to be able to answer such questions.

UPSC General Studies Books

Recommended Books for UPSC General Studies

The Foundation and the First Line of reading while preparing for the Preliminary Test and Main Examination is the 18 Volumes of ‘Yellow Books’ on General Studies and the Monthly Current Affairs Digest published by Vajiram & Ravi. Apart from these Volumes, the aspirants should study the following books:


Basic Books:

  1. NIOS course books for classes XI and XII on – Ancient India, Medieval India, Modern India, National Movement & Contemporary World and Culture of India. (All these are available in PDF format on internet)

Advance Level Books:

  1. India’s Ancient Past by R.S. Sharma published by Oxford University Press
  2. A History of Ancient & Early Medieval India by Upinder Singh
  3. History of Medieval India (800–1700 AD) by Satish Chandra published by Orient Longman 
  4. History of Modern India by Bipin Chandra (2009 Edition) 
  5. India’s Struggle for Independence by Bipin Chandra & Others
  6. India After Independence (1947 – 2000) by Bipin Chandra & Others 
  7. From Plassey To Partition And After by Sekhar Bandopadhyaya 

World History:

  1. The Story of Civilization, Part 2 by Arjun Dev, NCERT
  2. Contemporary World History for class XII (Old NCERT Book) 
  3. Mastering Modern World History by Norman Lowe 


  1. Certificate Physical & Human Geography (Oxford) by Goh Cheng Leong 
  2. NCERTs (New Editions)
  • XI Standard: (1) India – Physical Environment (2) Fundamentals of Physical Geography 
  • XII Standard: (1) India – People & Economy (2) Fundamentals of Human Geography 

3. School Atlas – Orient Black Swan 

4. Indian Geography by D. R. Khullar 

Social Issues

  1. XI Standard NCERT on Indian Society (Chapters on Unity & Diversity and Population Issues) 
  2. XII Standard NCERT (Chapters on Communalism, Secularism and Urban Issues such as Poverty, Housing, etc.) 
  3. The Hindu or Indian Express Newspaper

Indian Polity

  1. Constitution of India at Work (Class XI) NCERT Publication 
  2. Indian Polity by Laxmikant 
  3. The Hindu or Indian Express Newspaper
  4. Yojana Magazine

Governance Issues

  1. From Government to Governance by Kuldeep Mathur 
  2. Ethics in Governance, ARC Report 
  3. Citizen Centric Administration (Chapters 2, 5, 6, 7 & 8 only and box items in the report)

Developmental Issues

  1. Human Development Report & World Development Report 
  2. Panchayati Raj in India by Kuldeep Mathur 
  3. The Hindu or Indian Express Newspaper
  4. Kurukshetra & Yojana Magazines

International Relations

  1. India’s Foreign Policy Since Independence by V.P. Dutt 
  2. The Hindu or Indian Express Newspaper

Indian Economy

  1. Indian Economic Development XI Standard NCERT 
  2. Indian Economy by Sanjiv Verma
  3. Introductory Macro Economics XII Standard NCERT (Ignore all diagrams & mathematical formulas) 
  4. The Hindu or Indian Express Newspaper
  5. Economics Dictionary published by Collins & Penguin 
  6. Economic Survey

Ecology & Environment

  1. Certificate Physical & Human Geography by Goh Cheng Leong (Second Half of the Book) 
  2. XII Standard NCERT Book on Biology (Chapters pertaining to Ecology) 
  3. India Year Book (Chapters on Environment)
  4. Chapter on Climate Change from Economic Survey
  5. The Hindu or Indian Express Newspaper

Security Issues

  1. India’s Security in a Turbulent World by Jasjit Singh, published by National Book Trust of India 
  2. The Hindu or Indian Express Newspaper

Science & Technology

  1. VIII, IX, X Standard NCERT books on Biology
  2. The Hindu or Indian Express Newspaper
  3. Monthly Magazine ‘Science Reporter for Science & Technology’

Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude

  1. Ethics in Governance, ARC Report 
  2. Lexicon by Chronicle Publications 
  3. The Book on Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude published by Access Publication 

Current Affairs : Daily New paper and monthly magazine


UPSC exams offer great scope for candidates who are looking forward to break through the clutter and get to the place they aim to. It is one of the most competitive exams and you have to be at your best to even qualify for a score. So, take a cue from the next few steps and prepare yourself for the tough exam.

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