Whether you are a beginner in the arena of UPSC Civil Services Exam preparation or an experienced candidate, knowledge about the requirements of the UPSC is essential for success.

So we bring most essential tools and gears one should have to start IAS preparation.

1. Prepare yourself

Before trying to understand how to start preparing for UPSC at home, you should prepare yourself for the journey. Before starting your preparation, prepare mentally and physically for examination. Set the goals and devote time effectively. There are many services in civil services. One has to choose their career accordingly. The different position has different roles. To know how to prepare IAS exam in home, keep in mind the following points.

2. Know the eligibility criteria of the IAS exam first

The aspirant should be a Graduate in any subject.
To apply, the age of the applicant should be between 21-32, if general category.
Go through our article “frequently asked questions on IAS exam preparation”.

3. Know the syllabus for Civil Service Exam (IAS Exam)

Start Preparation

To start Civil Services Exam preparation, it is not a must to attend any coaching institutes. But good coaching (either online or offline) can be of great help to the students for proper guidance and knowledge.

First Method: Self study

Newcomers generally tends to start with self preparation at home which is great. They should see some fantastic online portals like Mrunal.org, insightsonindia.com, forumias.com, iasbaba.com to get daily news updates and question practice. 

See basic books and free material details here

Benefits: Self study is big saver of money. You spend like 1/20th of the money you will spend if you take coaching. Also you keep yourself away from time wasting gossips of coaching classes so you save lot of time too. 

 IAS preparation by its nature require some peer discussion and help. At home you are alone and you might end up joining all waste telegram channels and Whatsapp groups in the name of free study material.  

 Also while doing self-preparation, if not following a systematic approach by referring right IAS books, prelims mock exams, magazines and websites, one will lose focus. So you waste your effort and time for the sake on money. Remember only success matters in the end not the money.

Suggestion: Learn what toppers did. Take periodic mock tests and solve previous years question papers to evaluate your performance. As you may know, only when tested in an exam atmosphere with negative marking, you can improve the ability to deliver in the actual exam hall.

Don’t worry, you can clear IAS exam without classroom coaching!
In case due to any reasons, if the aspirant is not in a position to attend classroom coaching, there is nothing to worry. There are many who has cleared IAS in the past without coaching. But there is one thing common to all of those – they had proper orientation, and they knew what to study and what not.

Note: Self-preparation cuts the expense cost to a minimum, but you need to keep aside a sum in the range of Rs.5000- Rs.10,000 for essential IAS books, magazines, and newspapers. 24*7 access to the internet (over laptop/mobile) will be an added advantage.

Second Method: Taking Coaching

If IAS coaching is focused according to the requirements of latest UPSC requirements, this approach can quickly place aspirants in the right path. Besides there will be the advantage of peer learning and competition, mock tests, analysis etc.

Demerits: Very expensive, time/space constraints, unavailability outside metros, non-updated materials/ strategy, misguidance etc.

How expensive is Civil Services Exam Preparation?
If you plan to join any classroom coaching class in metros like Delhi, for a package covering Prelims and Mains, the coaching fees can be in the range of 1-1.5 lakhs. Optional subject preparation may cost you extra. Expense for food and accommodation might cost you additional 1-1.5 lakhs.

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