How to Become an IAS Officer? Step-by-Step Guidance Tips

The UPSC Civil Services Exam, popularly referred to as the “IAS exam” (CSE)  is widely regarded as the most challenging exam in India. Every year, approximately 5 lakh people take the exam, but only a few thousand make it through. The UPSC CSE is divided into three stages: preliminary, mains, and interview round.

The preparation planning is where you’ll get the actual answer to “How to become an IAS officer in India”! It usually takes 8-12 months to prepare for the Civil Services examination. To have holistic coverage of the entire syllabus, you need to start your preparation about a year in advance.

On that note, let us go through some fundamental steps that you need to follow to figure out how to study for IAS at home effectively to crack the exam.

Know Every Detail of the Exam

It is vital that you are well-versed in both the UPSC exam pattern and the exam syllabus. Always have a copy of the syllabus on your desk so you can refer to it whenever you need to assess the relevance of a topic for an exam. As a result, it is critical that you have the syllabus by your side all the time to prepare effectively. After that, go over a few past years’ papers to get a sense of the type/pattern of questions asked.

Build a Strong Foundation

The majority of the questions on the IAS exam will evaluate your conceptual knowledge. Therefore, clarity of concepts and a solid foundation are essential for cracking the UPSC IAS exam. NCERT books are an important source of information that will introduce you to the basics in subjects and therefore you need to go through them thoroughly for UPSC preparation. As a result, begin your UPSC prep with the NCERTs!

Refer to Standard Books

The first question that may arise is, “What are the standard books for UPSC preparation?” For each subject, standard books must be referred to and read thoroughly. Make certain that the books/study material you purchase contain up-to-date and relevant content that conforms to the most recent IAS exam pattern and syllabus, and that the books/study material is written in an easy-to-understand language.

Keep Abreast of Current Affairs

Every year, direct questions on current affairs are asked in the Prelims exam. As a result, reading current affairs of the last 12-18 months before the exam date is crucial for UPSC. You can either enrol in an online current affairs course, which will surely help you swiftly gain critical knowledge, or you can easily get it by reading newspapers and magazines.

Mock Tests and Answer-writing Practice

Routine Mock tests and answer writing are the two most important pillars of UPSC preparation. Without them, you will be unable to conclude your UPSC preparation! While mock tests assist you in analysing your preparation and identifying your weak points, answer-writing practise assists you in honing your writing skills and refining your answer-writing tactics. As a result, consider both when planning your preparation. Finally, as the exam date approaches near, increase the frequency of mock tests.


Another crucial part of UPSC or any exam preparation is revision. To retain concepts and facts, it’s essential to go over what you’ve learnt several times. It’s important to go over the dates and events from General Studies multiple times to help you remember them because we have a tendency to forget them.

Additionally, keeping separate, short notes on each subject while you are studying will not only save you time during regular revisions but will also be very helpful for you during a last-minute revision immediately before the exam.

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