UPSC preparation tips: Simplifying the complexities of preparation

UPSC Preparation Tips, IAS Preparation tips

UPSC Preparation Tip 1: Work smart, not just hard

Read selectively but reading well. UPSC requires consistent smart work. Judicious book reading, coupled with making notes and micro-notes must be done with proper time management. The most crucial part is to know what not to read. We @ETEN IAS work continuously to guide you through the above aspects and handhold you through the different phases of UPSC/IAS preparation.

ETEN ENLIGHTENS: 10 simplifying UPSC preparation tips for securing a good rank

UPSC Preparation Tip 2: Single-tasking rather than multitasking

Pick one subject, let’s say, economy. Combine it with current affairs which need to be covered on daily basis. Follow the same for the other subjects. Also, proper time must be allocated for revision and re-revision. After all, you must retain what you read!

Always follow this cycle:


UPSC Preparation Tip 3: Follow more than one newspaper

To accommodate the changing trend of prelims in UPSC preparation, it is advisable to follow two newspapers; preferably,

  1. The Hindu
  2. The Indian Express

Here in ETEN IAS, we have a dedicated channel for current affairs where aspirants get the daily analysis of current affairs from various newspapers, pib, prs etc. Current section team of ETEN IAS works 24*7 to provide you with precisely selected materials from diverse sources.

UPSC Preparation Tip 4: Sound sleep is indispensable!

The information input that you give to your brain must be properly processed. This happens only when you sleep properly for 6-8 hours daily.

The exam requires minimum 8 hours of planned study. If you can stretch more, well and good, but it should not at the cost of your health. Good health and sound sleep are the vital prerequisites for a consistent long-term preparation.

UPSC Preparation Tip 5: Strategy for CSAT paper-2 prelims

Paper 2 (CSAT) is qualifying in nature. This implies that it only requires 33% or 66 marks to qualify. This considerably reduces your workload.

Marks obtained in this paper will not be counted in your final marks.

Comprehension, Data Interpretation, Interpersonal Skills and Decision Making are relatively easy to prepare when compared to mental ability and logical reasoning topics.

There is no negative penalty for questions on Decision Making and at least 5 such questions will be there in Paper 2, so you can attempt these questions without any fear.

UPSC Preparation Tip 6: Make effective notes

Taking down notes effectively will help you revise quickly before the Prelims exam.

UPSC Preparation Tip 7:  Make a habit of planning and executing daily targets

Always try to plan your daily schedule/time-table and keep small feasible targets. Ensure that you meet these consistently. For example, start your day by reading newspapers and dedicate 2 to 3 hours for current affairs. Then make your target, say, it is completing few chapters from Laxmikant. In this way, you can plan your day and subsequently, your weeks and months.

UPSC Preparation Tip 8: Forget about popular misconceptions

Can one succeed in the UPSC exams only by preparing with a coaching institute from Delhi?

Not true at all. Your success in the exam depends on three important factors –

  1. Determination and motivation
  2. Hard work with lot of smart work
  3. Perfect guidance

Nowadays, innovative coaching platforms like ETEN IAS in association with KSG have brought Delhi-based classroom coaching in various towns and cities where aspirants can get the quality lectures direct from Delhi in their respective hometowns.

Preparing online for this examination is the most effective and economical way of learning where one can get online materials, notes and current affairs in a systematic manner.

Here in ETEN IAS we have a dedicated team that works continuously to give you

  1. Right guidance.

2. Right study material.

3. Selective learning methods.

4. Right approach and direction.

UPSC Preparation Tip 9: What to read and how to read it

List of highly recommended books (must read) for an IAS aspirant


It goes without saying that NCERTs are very much compulsory for a serious IAS aspirant. It is the basic building block that nurtures your foundation, and clarify your concepts. Reading Bipin Chandra, for example, becomes easier after you have read History NCERT.

P.S – you don’t need to worry about old and new NCERTs. New ones are as good as the old ones. So, without worrying, go for anyone that you get conveniently.

What to read in NCERTs: A guided approach
  • Economics

Class 9th to 12th: Clears and Strengthens base

Important sections

  • Indian economic development – class11
  • Macroeconomics – class 12


  • Polity

Class 6th to 12th: Covers basic concepts

Important sections

  • India constitution at work- class 11
  • Political theory – class 11
  • Politics in India since independence – class 12
  • Contemporary world politics –class 12


  • Geography

Class 6 to 12 – must read all chapters

Important sections –

  • Fundamental of physical geography- class 11.
  • India’s physical environment – class 11
  • Human geography- people and economy- class 12


  • Art and culture

Class 11- Introduction to Indian art (important)

  • Science and technology
  • Class 6th to 10th must read both for science and non-science background students
  • Class 11th &12th – physics and chemistry – not much important (avoid it)
  • Biology- if you cover the whole book it is well and good but if not then read at least last 4 chapter of class 12 biology only


  • Other recommended books
  • Previous years question papers
  • Lucent G.K


  • History of modern India – Bipin Chandra
  • India’s struggle for independence – Bipin chandra
  • History of medieval india- Satish chandra
  • India’s ancient past- R.S Sharma
  • Modern india – Spectrum publication
  • Gandhi Nehru tagore- Spectrum publication


  • Tamilnadu board books – ancient and medieval India  ( good material)
  • The Wonder That Was India – A.L. Bhasham.
  • Indian Art and Culture – Nitin Singhania
  • Facets of Indian culture – spectrum


  • Geography of India – Majid Husain (Geography)
  • Oxford School Atlas – Oxford (Geography)
  • Certificate Physical and Human Geography – Goh Cheng Leong


  • Indian Polity for Civil Services Examinations – M. Laxmikanth


  • Indian Economy – Ramesh Singh (Economy)
  • Economic Survey (Economy)

Science and Technology

  • Science and Technology in India – TMH


  • Environment – by Shankar

Current Affairs

  • India Year Book.
  • PIB
  • ETEN ENLIGHTENS- online daily current affairs analysis of THE Hindu, Indian express, PIB etc.


  • CSAT Paper – 2 Manual by TMH or CSAT-II – Arihant
  • Analytical Reasoning – M. K. Pandey
  • Verbal & Non-Verbal Reasoning
  • Previous years question papers.

For UPSC Mains

  • Essays for Civil Services – Pulkit Khare (Essay Paper)
  • India After Gandhi – Ramchandra Guha  (History – GS1)
  • Norman Lowe OR History of Modern World – Jain and Mathur (World History – GS1)
  • Social Problems in India – Ram Ahuja ( Indian Society – GS1)
  • IAS Mains General Studies Paper 2 ( Arihant Manual – GS2)
  • Governance in India for CSE (Governance – GS2)
  • Pax Indica  – Shashi Tharoor (Foreign Policy – GS2)
  • India and the World by Surendra Kumar (Foreign Policy – GS2)
  • IAS Mains General Studies – GS3( Arihant Manual – GS3)
  • India’s National Security: A Reader (Internal Security – GS3)
  • Challenges to Internal Security of India (Internal Security – GS3)
  • Lexicon for Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude (Ethics – GS4)

Online Sources:

  3. Lok sabha television
  4. Rajya sabha television
  6. PIB youtube channel

UPSC Preparation Tip 10: Make learning fun

Always try to make preparation a fun loving, enjoy reading and learning. Love what you do and do everything to please your heart and mind, not the society

Becoming an IAS officer is not an easy job. Here @ETEN IAS, we make it less difficult for you.

                                                                                               TEAM ETEN IAS