Average to Exceptional – Tips to excel in Civil Services Examination

“There is no substitute to Hard Work” – Thomas Edison

Professional career advisers, counsellors and experts often come across a very common Question – ‘I am an average student. How can I master my subjects to crack Civil Services Examination?’ or ‘I want to become an IAS, but I have always been an average student. What do I do?’.

Honestly, as the above mentioned Quote says, there is no shortcut to hard work, same is the case with your aspirations. If you wish to achieve it, you will have to work for it. But we can always follow some golden rules to succeed in our quest for a glorious career in Civil Services.

Initially, do consider these elements, before you start with your UPSC CSE Prelims Exam preparations:

  1. Draw a fine line between your desires & your goal –Desire is when we want to see ourselves as a bureaucrat while goal is when we unknowingly start figuring ways to get this desire fulfilled. If you find yourself memorizing something important you saw in the news today and analyzing the same in your perspective as to how would you act if in that situation, congratulate yourself, you need to give your preparation a go, right away!

“Never Underestimate the power of Dreams”

  1. You can be more intelligent than others, you only must realise you are – No person is a mere average only because they think so or their average marks during the education phase of their life made them believe so. You may just not be better in expressing yourself in some subject or manner, but that nowhere means you are lesser or not intelligent. You only need to realise what interests you the most. Now that you are reading this part of the article probably because you have willingly desired to become an IAS, consider yourself like one! The moment you have decided to work towards your goal, that very moment you must start believing that you are an Administrator. This self believe will work wonders!

  1. Trust in all that you are bestowed with – Telling yourself constantly that you are an average person for any silly reasons like difference in language or medium, background, education, or anything else, will only lower down your morale; which is not acceptable in Civil Administration wherein you will constantly face challenges, that you cannot run away from. Don’t consider these differences as your weak point rather strengthen what you are good at and utilise the same in your favour. When you know you are the best and your actions are in favour of the society, everything else falls into place. Just be patient and maintain a constructive attitude towards people around you.

  1. Be sincere to your efforts – Success always comes hand in hand with sincerity, and with Civil Services, this is a key factor. No expert hack or magic can help you crack IAS, if you are not sincere with your efforts. You have to promise yourself that all your upcoming actions and steps will be in lieu of your dreams to be an Administrative Officer and by no means you will fail to maintain a sincere and disciplined attitude towards your goal.

“Without Hard Work & Discipline it is difficult to be a top professional” –  Jahangir Khan


  1. Coaching is a boon, believe it or not – It is an old saying that ‘Tough roads must not be taken without expert guidance’, same is the case with a competitive examination like Civil Services. Civil Services, being India’s most coveted career choice, you will have to face thousands of candidates with similar dreams and even better reasons to aspire for the same. But then to stand out of the league, it is very important to take expert help with coaching institutions. IAS Academies help you prepare with a more focused approach, relevant study material and expert guidance to make your efforts count. A true mentor will always want to watch you rise while they extend their support below your feet, IAS academies does that for you.
Either join the right academy or if this is not possible, get the relevant and concise study material to begin your preparation in the right direction
Golden Tips to excel in Civil Services Prelims Exam –
  1. Read the UPSC syllabus carefully & know the exam pattern – UPSC syllabus is a window to the actual UPSC exams and you must have a very good knowledge of the same before you even think of starting to prepare for the prestigious Civil Services.

  1. Choose your optional wisely – Optional subject in Civil Services Examination carries a good weightage of marks and thus equals all other GS subjects. Hence, before you kick-start your preparation, choose your optional, wisely, from the list of subjects offered by UPSC. It will help you focus your preparation accordingly. In case you are confused with what subject shall be the best choice for you, list out the 3 subjects you have a good hold on. Out of these 3, analyse your existing knowledge, and other factors like if you have studied the same, with good interest, in school or had the same for your graduation. Pick the one that suits you the most and go ahead with it.

  1. Design a subject wise preparation strategy – As an UPSC aspirant, you must know that only you can design the best strategy for yourself because it is only you who knows your existing knowledge base, family responsibilities and other priorities in life. You can take help from toppers videos and tips, but then make necessary changes as it suits your need. Don’t forget to:
  • Allot few days to each subject depending upon their level of difficulty, portion of syllabus and knowledge base
  • Separate a day for optional preparation
  • Keep your weekends for revision
  • Find your relevant study sources beforehand.
  • Keep enough time for family moments, social outings, fitness regimes and leisure hours.
  1. Strengthen your base with NCERT’s – NCERT’s from 6th – 12th standard is crucial to form a strong knowledge base and it is not very hard to study them, as the books are same as what you have already studied in school. NCERT’s get you acquainted with all the core information about the topic along with the analytical & conceptual understanding of each subject. After NCERTs you will require standard books for each subject and current affairs knowledge to excel in the quest.

  1. Solving Previous Year Papers & Test series will solve your purpose – Previous year papers &  Test Series are most important tools that will solve your purpose for an effective exam preparation. Where previous year papers help you understand the pattern and type of questions asked by UPSC, Test Series help you assess your preparation and rectify the weak areas in regard with current & most relevant information that can be asked at the forth coming UPSC Civil Services Exams. Hence, It is very crucial to solve previous year papers & enroll for Test Series well in time.

“Efforts are the best indicator of Interest”

  1. Make current affairs your strength – As an IAS/IPS/Other administrative services aspirant, you must already know the importance of effective current affairs preparation for atleast a year’s updates and follow-ups of stories that hold Local, National or International importance. With dedicated preparation for current affairs you can master the same and utilise it not just for current affairs-based questions but also to answer subject based questions, in GS paper, with recent and factual points.


  1. Don’t Skip the Budget & Economic Survey of India – These two are the finest and the most comprehensive documents, knowledge of which is important to understand the rationale behind every policy decision, comparative analyses, important welfare schemes and road map for the future of Indian Economy. You must note down all the important policy decisions from the budget & Economic Survey by the Government of India and prepare them very carefully.

  1. Understand and don’t memorize – One of the most common myths that prevails amongst the IAS/IPS aspirants is that memorizing is the only way you can crack UPSC Civil Services Examination. Practically the syllabus is so vast that it is almost impossible to memorize it all and if you tend to forget anything with few hours or days of memorizing it, it is normal. For exams like Civil Services, understanding is what goes in hand with memorizing to make best use of the efforts you put in during the preparation phase. If we talk about the Prelims stage of the Civil Services exam, it is about testing your concepts and not how many facts you know. So, if during your preparation, you focus on understanding the 5 W’s & 1 H (What is the topic, issue, subject, event/When & Where it was invented, found, happened, etc/ Why & Who – the reason & important people involved/ How did it happen, etc). If you have answer to all these questions, you will not have to memorize at all. Rather your subconscious mind will automatically start framing logical analysis & reasons for the topic and later this will help you recall the same, more effectively.

  1. Revision will rescue your ignorant self – As we mentioned above that understanding is the best way to prepare effectively for the UPSC Civil Services Examination, revision is what helps you retain that piece of information while writing the examination. Revising a topic in the same week as you have prepared it, and again before sitting for the exam, helps you retain more – and this is scientifically proven as well. Your inner self might often want to ignore the fact and try to convince you that once studied you will be able to retain the studied syllabus, but nothing compares to the revised portion. Even the most inspiring stories of IAS/IPS/IFS toppers, say so!


  1. Make sure you enjoy your leisure time – Overdose of anything will never suffice your purpose and thus over-burdening yourself with studies is also not advisable. You must make sure that you keep enough time for your family (for, they will always be your strength), social circle, and other things you love to do. Leisure time will keep your mind sound and healthy along with keep you feeling fresh. Say, you love to paint or just sit back and enjoy good music, spare good 30 mins for the same and you will find yourself at a more relaxed state of mind. Spending an hour with your family and friends will help you keep sane and not go absurdly lost in the dilemma of weather you will or not crack the Civil Services Examination, in one go.


  1. Be Positive – To accomplish a goal in life it is extremely crucial to replace all the negative thought with the positive ones. God Forbid, if at a certain point during your preparation you feel you are losing the track of your preparation & mind or despite your efforts if you ever surface a failure, raise your chin up & tell yourself – ‘It is never too late to start again!’. Take a break, do things you love to do or go for a refreshing trip with your loved ones. A little gap from routine study schedule and the saddening feelings will automatically subside, giving more power & energy to start again!


Always remember, that the best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today. Your positive actions combined with positive thinking today, will reap you sure-shot success tomorrow!





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