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12 Tips for Civil Service Preparation

CSE is one of the dream careers for youth today. If you want to make a positive impact on thousands of lives, the Civil Service is the best job. They are valued and respected for their contribution.



If you are an aspirant, please be aware of the exam pattern before you start your preparation. CSE exams have three phases – prelims, mains and interview. Prelims are a screening test before the Mains exam. Prelims examination have two papers on general studies. There will be a sectional cut-off for both papers. Questions are asked in an objective multiple-choice format. Mains exam is descriptive in nature and consists of 9 papers which include an Essay, general studies and an optional paper. Finally, the interview is mainly a personality test and not a knowledge test. The panel just observes how a candidate approaches a question.


The UPSC exam has a detailed syllabus. Read it twice and understand it carefully. This will help you get clear focus while studying the topics. While you read the newspaper you may get an idea of expected questions.


To crack any exam, the best tactic is to be aware of Previous Year Questions (PYQ) This will help you to know what UPSC expects from an aspirant, making it easy to track the trends of the exam. The PYQs are easily available on UPSC’s official website.


Having a personal schedule gives you motivation and focus to study. You should make your preparation a habit. By preparing a timetable, you can easily cover all subjects within a specific period and get time to revise. You should also include your hobbies and extracurricular activities in your timetable. Those slots will help you re-energise and improve your focus. Though the exam is tough, you need not spend studying the whole day. An eight-hour study plan is sufficient but can vary from person to person. Above all, it is important to be committed to your timetable.


Divide your syllabus into different slots and find similar or parallel topics that go together. Especially some topics may overlap with the optional subject you choose. You can club those together and study.


The most difficult part for many aspirants is note-making. Is it necessary to make notes? It is not possible to revise all your books on the eve of your exam day. It is best that you make notes while you prepare. Never make a mess by reading many books and try to make notes from all of them. Instead, you can stick on to one or two authentic books.


Make it a ritual to read the newspaper daily. Try to follow and read one English newspaper which will help you be up-to-date with current affairs. Keep notes from what you read. Newspaper reading will also help you improve your comprehension skills.


There are abundant online resources, websites, apps and platforms for your help but always choose wisely.


Since the syllabus is vast you should revise topics at frequent intervals. The revision plan must correspond with your study plan.


‘’Practice makes a man perfect’’. CSE preparation needs many practice tests. Practicing frequently makes you understand which topic you need to revise again and study thoroughly.


As a civil servant, time management is essential in your service. Likewise, it is required in your preparation phase too. Keeping in mind the vast syllabus and the time to revise, you need to manage time effectively.


Last but not least, stay positive and calm throughout the preparation phase. You may be weak in one topic but strong in another. There may be ups and downs in this phase. It is important to keep the faith and do your best.


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