The UPSC-CSE has 3 stages of scrutiny– Prelims, Mains, and the Personality Test. When it comes to self-preparation, a well-planned strategy and correct guidance through UPSC online preparation is a must. There are coaching institutes that provide free online preparation for IAS so you can start your preparation for the UPSC exam at home. Moreover, the Prelims and Main exam require a comprehensive approach whereas the Personality test demands the presence of mind. We will tell you all about the online preparation of IAS exam through UPSC exam online classes.

Step by Step Preparation for UPSC Exam at Home

With the right guidance, focus, and motivation, students will be able to perform well in the IAS exam. There are multiple UPSC exam online classes out there. We will help you with all the details on preparation for UPSC exam at home. So, go along with the following guidelines one by one and your IAS exam online coaching will be fruitful.

Understand the Syllabus

Firstly, it is very important to be thorough with the syllabus of the exam. The syllabus will be the guiding light to all your confusion. You will understand what UPSC wants you to learn and produce in the exam. Reading the syllabus will give you an insight into the vastness of preparation for UPSC exam at home. You can also visit various websites to get a break-up of the syllabus in case it appears too vague. Also, download a list of the books you have to read.

Before you dive into the preparation journey, it is imperative that you understand the approach of the exam. The syllabus will aid you to understand the direction in which you have to move ahead. You will be able to prioritize the subjects and know which subject needs more attention.

Previous Year Question Papers – Important for Preparation for UPSC Exam at Home

The Previous Year Question Papers are an insight into the mindset of the question creator. Although UPSC does not follow a strict pattern of asking questions, you can easily make out the purpose of the questions. However, when you solve previous questions, it will give you an idea about what to read and what to omit in the syllabus itself.

Previous Year Question Papers will help you save time as you will be reading only the relevant topics rather than soaking up everything under the sun. Also, solving these papers within the stipulated time will speed up your thinking and answering ability. Therefore, preparation for UPSC exam at home should start with solving these papers within a stipulated time to help develop critical thinking and increase the speed of answering. You can download the Previous Year Question papers from UPSC’s official website for free.

Newspaper Reading

Daily newspaper reading is one of the most important aspect of Online Preparation of IAS Exam from home.
Newspaper reading is crucial for IAS preparation | Image source

The most important source of preparation for IAS aspirants is Newspaper reading. The dynamic portion of the syllabus is based on newspaper reading – Current affairs. The infamous newspaper which covers events of current importance is ‘The Hindu’. It does not pay heed to unnecessary news and the articles are backed by expert analysis. Supplement it with other newspapers like Indian Express or Business Standard.

Keep a thorough eye on the Editorial page followed by Science and Technology, Art and Culture, etc. Read any news item that is of national relevance as well as has global importance with reference to India. The editorial will also boost your vocabulary which is an added benefit for answer writing. You can join any of the platforms for free online preparation for IAS. They contain a section for newspaper analysis in a concise manner. Many websites also provide a free download option for these newspapers. Ensure that you read the newspaper on a daily basis.

NCERT books

These are government-sanctioned books and form the foundation for the Civil Services preparation. Without a strong base, you will not be able to understand advanced books or new concepts. Ideally, you should read NCERTs from Class 6 up to Class 12. But, if you have a good hold over the NCERTs, a speed reading will do the trick. Often, UPSC puts up direct questions from NCERTs. So, do not skip these books under any circumstances. It will take up only 1.5-2 months of your preparation depending on your speed. You can download the list of NCERTs as well as e-books for free online preparation for IAS.

Optional Subjects

One of the most important paper is your optional subject. If you are an expert in it, you can score the maximum in this paper. It can escalate your overall marks and subsequently your All India Ranking. For optional, be thorough with the syllabus for both the papers (Paper – I and Paper – II). Then, make a list of the books that you will have to buy. It is thus imperative that you choose your optional subject after serious deliberations with friends and teachers. Often students take up their graduation subjects as their optional. It may not necessarily be the case with everyone. Always opt for a subject that you have an interest in or want to learn about it. Join IAS exam online coaching after researching the availability of coaching and study material in that subject.

Reference Books & Magazines

Reference books and Magazines will supplement your foundation while you study for any course

Reference material for a better understanding of the subjects is important. Polity by M. Laxmikanth, Spectrum by Rajiv Ahir, Shankar IAS for Environment, etc. are some of the important books. Magazines like Yojana and Kurukshetra will supplement your knowledge of current affairs and give you an edge over others. You will find these on various websites of coaching institutes for free online preparation for IAS.

Comprehensive Notes – Tip for Online Preparation of IAS Exam

Taking notes for Prelims and Mains from a comprehensive perspective is a necessary part of the steps in Online Preparation of IAS Exam.
Comprehensive note making (Prelims and Mains) approach is best for IAS preparation

The smartest way to make notes is combining the Prelims as well as Mains material because the maximum amount of their syllabus coincides. This approach will give you a holistic approach and provide variety to your answers. Your Prelims as well as Mains preparation will be taken care of at one go. The idiom ‘killing two birds with one stone’ aptly fits in this context. For UPSC online preparation, you can join UPSC exam online classes.

Also, make notes according to the papers (GS-I, GS-II, GS-III and GS-IV) and not subjects. Prepare notes in loose sheets so you can add anything that may come up in the future. You can also use apps like Evernote to prepare digitized notes.

Online Preparation of IAS Exam at Home

You do not have to attend classroom programs if you like preparing sitting in the comfort of your home. There are many ways of preparing for the IAS exam from home and they have been listed below for you.

Enroll in a Test Series

Mock tests will help you analyze whether you are moving in the right direction or not. The SWOT analysis – internal strengths, weaknesses, external opportunities, and threats, provides a precise yet detailed analysis of your preparation. You can compare your results with other students at an All India Level as well. Most importantly, mock tests will allow you to grow and examine your mistakes. Hundreds of such tests are available for free online preparation for IAS on the internet. For preparation for UPSC exam at home, online test series are a must.

Also, practice maximum answer writing with an analytical and critical approach. Consequently, you would be an expert in framing your ideas in a structured manner. For CSAT, you can devote your time once or twice a week as it is a qualifying paper. Make sure you practice enough to qualify this paper. Otherwise, you will be out of the competition. 

Government resources

You can rely on government websites like PIB, PRS, the official website of UPSC, etc. for UPSC online preparation. Information is updated accordingly and citing them in your writing will enhance your answer. After a full reading of specific subjects, supplement your knowledge with the information from these websites.

Online Coaching Class

ias exam online coaching: Online coaching classes is an extremely useful medium for Preparation for UPSC Exam at Home

Mentors are available online who will guide you through the IAS preparation journey. Even though some students find it feasible to study on their own, beginners should not take this risk. As there is no single strategy to crack this exam, you will need external guidance. Some of the top class online educators for preparation for UPSC exam at home are Unacademy, Mrunal, Vision IAS, etc. There are several packages to choose from and some even free of cost. Research and compare these online platforms and pick the best for UPSC exam online classes.

You can read about why IAS is considered the toughest exam here.


In the case of UPSC-CSE preparation, revision is the key! With a vast syllabus, it is not possible to remember everything you read. Regular revision is an indispensable part of the preparation. A minimum of 3 revision of the entire syllabus is ideal before you sit for the exam. Do not read multiple books for one subject. Instead, pick one book and revise it multiple times. Picking up material from everywhere will only make you “Jack of all trades and master of none”.

Tips for Preparation for UPSC Exam at Home

UPSC online preparation will require UPSC exam online classes. You will have to employ certain customized tricks for IAS preparation. We have demystified some of them for you.

Prepare a Time Table

After reading the syllabus, prepare a time table and follow it religiously. Base the time table according to subject requirements. Allot more time to difficult subjects. Stay motivated by watching videos of toppers. Pick up tips on how they managed to stay afloat during their journey. By following the time table, you will have instilled discipline and revised the syllabus 2-3 times. So, a well-formed time table is a basic step for IAS exam online coaching from home.


Your body and mind need regular conditioning for smooth functioning and bearing the pressure preparing for IAS exam online coaching from home. UPSC exam online classes require you to be physically and mentally fit. Let us know more about it.

Physical Exercise

Physical and mental exercise help reduce stress which often develops during exam during studies

Online Preparation of IAS Exam can be a stressful journey. More than lakhs of students appear for the exam every year making the success rate very low. You have to give your 100%. For that, indulge in physical exercises because it releases endorphins (the happy hormone). You may either go to the gym, a walk, do yoga, or a few cardio exercises. Physical exercise will not only keep your body fit but your mind active as well. Say goodbye to lethargic days and boost your preparation for UPSC exam at home.

Mental exercise – Meditation

When you feel your mind is not at peace or distracted, meditation comes to the rescue. Even a 5-minute session will help to cope up with the stress and pressure of preparation. If you are someone who easily procrastinates, uninstall social media. It might seem a lot in the beginning but you have to realize that doing so will keep your mind at peace without any distractions. This will serve as an important investment for your future. Meditation and uninstalling social media will do the trick if you sway away easily.

Recreational Activities

The famous proverb “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” applies to all situations in life. Make sure to take breaks in between your studies. You can sip some coffee with your parents, indulge in a fun activity, and then get back to your routine. It is important to give your mind some rest otherwise, the process becomes monotonous and boring.

Adequate sleep

Sufficient amount of sleep is indispensable part of Online Preparation of IAS Exam

You need the energy to concentrate and learn with full attention to your studies. This energy comes from a good night’s sleep which should last about 7-8 hours. Further, if you sleep less than the required amount for an adult human body, you will not be able to retain much no matter how much time you devote to studies. In fact, you will be able to perform smartly when your body is energized.

Study Duration

Finally, you have to study for at least 7-8 hours daily for optimum learning and retention. Set goals and reward yourself upon completing a certain task. Besides, small rewards will boost your confidence and morale for preparation for UPSC exam at home. Also, a general duration of 1 year to 1.5 years is a good time to prepare through free online preparation for IAS.

FAQs | Online Preparation of IAS Exam

Is it feasible to prepare for IAS exam at home through online coaching?

Absolutely. You can prepare for the toughest exam in the country – IAS exam without enrolling in a physical classroom. In fact, there are ample online coaching institutes that provide IAS exam online coaching. These classes are available at a price and some even provide classes for free. You can also check out YouTube videos where you will find topic-specific explanations. There is free material available all over the internet also. In fact, many successful candidates have prepared through the help of online coaching.

What is the most important aspect of IAS preparation?

Newspaper reading is the most important part of clearing this exam. Read ‘The Hindu’ and supplement it with ‘Indian Express or any other reputed newspaper. For free online preparation of IAS, many websites provide the facility of downloading newspapers for free.

Is one year a good time for preparing for the UPSC exam?

One year is sufficient time for UPSC if you engage in your preparation with full dedication and devotion. Regular studies supplemented with multiple revisions and mock tests will boost your preparation and increase your chances of securing a rank in the Indian Administrative Services.

COVID-19 Update | Online Preparation of IAS Exam

The Covid-19 pandemic has turned the world upside down, infringing the lives of many while providing opportunities to a few. As the virus set in, educational institutes shut down and the life of students came to a standstill. Amidst the huge disaster, digital platforms gained momentum, especially in the education sector. Students have access to free online courses for IAS exam preparation, which got halted initially. Mentors guide students as the dates of the exam have been postponed providing more time to cover the syllabus.

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