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Detailed Guidelines for Civil Services Preparation

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How to prepare & clear Civil Services Examination


After answering about more than thousand individual queries regarding “how to prepare & clear civil service examination”, since I got selected into this service; finally today, I decided to put it at one place so that interested persons can access it easily without waiting for my answer….. and get whatever benefit they can….!
Here it is … the method which I tried to follow…. Hope it would help you in realising your dream……!

Re-orientation of Thought



Before you actually start preparing for civil services examination, I suggest you to read at least one of the following motivational books to boost up your morale, to build up confidence within you & to remove the fear of not getting selected from your mind; which would definitely (if you read & follow the book) ease you from tons of crunch, pressure & tension faced by ignorant students/aspirants :-

  • The Secret – by Rhonda Byrne / Hindi Version: रहस्य – रोन्डा बर्न
  • “The Power of Positive Thinking” – by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale
  • “Many Everests” – by Mr.Ravindra Kumar
  • ‘‘एवरेस्ट: सपनों की उड़ान – सिफर से शिखर तक’’

The crux of all four above mentioned books & many other motivational books, which I have studied & followed, may be summarised in following few lines- The secret behind any success in your life lies in your thought – Because more than 2500 years ago “Gautam Buddha” had said : “All that we are, is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think, we become”. It means the man is product of thought. You become what you think you can become. Your thought is your maker or destroyer.

So, the first and the most important requirement for becoming an IAS officer is to re-orient your line of thought from your earlier thought that you want to become an IAS officer and so you have come to prepare for civil services examination to the intermediate one that “you are born on this earth to serve as an IAS officer and you have all the qualities of an IAS officer and so, you are fully eligible to become an IAS officer and in fact, you have all the characteristics and qualities to come above all the students in the merit list irrespective of lakhs of students preparing for this examination” to the new line of thought that “you have already become an IAS officer and start behaving as an IAS officer. Behaving means that you have to start showing/reflecting all the characteristics and behaviour of IAS officers in your day-to-day activities. I mean to say that you should be confident, have thorough knowledge about the subject matter of talk, polite but firm, short and brief in communication extra. Once you would start showing behaviour of IAS officer or act like an IAS officer with full faith and confidence, you primary obstacle is cleared because, some great thinker has said:

” Everything exists twice, first in the mind then in the material.”

So, if you really want to become an IAS Officer then first, you have to first mentally become an IAS Officer and then it will materialise i.e. you would become same in real world. This is the crux… if you follow it.. You would definitely become an IAS Officer.

Now, All the secondary things, which are generally advised to prepare for civil devices examination are as follows:-

Target High

It is generally observed that in civil services examination when you are targeting to be topper with your best effort then you would land up somewhere in top 10, if you are targeting to be in top 10  in the merit with you best effort then you get land up somewhere under 100 rank, if you target to be in top 100 ( i.e. getting IAS) then you would land up in top 500 in the merit list (i.e. you a oils be getting IRS/IAAS) and if you are just targeting to clear this exam then you would rarely clear it….. I meant to say that you always lag behind your target in spite of giving your best effort because you are not fully aware of the standards and efforts given by students from other part of India. Therefore, I suggest you to target high ( may be topper or top 10 in the merit list ) and give your maximum effort to achieve that target.

Please don’t prepare separately for prelims, mains and interview. Prepare all together as far as common subject matters are concerned. General thinking is that prelims is more objective & less subjective ( so you need to by heart lots of factual datas), mains is more subjective & less objective ( so you need to clear your concept about subject matter ) and interview is fully subjective ( so your concept needs to be crystal clear to give confident answer). Therefore, students prepares separately for 3 stages of exam. I suggest you to prepare comprehensively for all 3 stages together and so, you should read comprehensibly and clear your concept in one go and it would make your task easy.

Wholesome preparation

Revision Schedule

Once you something then don’t leave it easily. Try to keep your memory fresh on that subject matter by regular revision schedule.
Once you learn something for first time then it goes into your temporary memory and if you don’t revise soon then slowly, your memory starts fading and after few weeks, you remember only very small part of it and forget rest all. If you revise at least 3 to four times during next few months ( around 1 to four months) then most likely, it would go into your permanent memory and then rate of memory fading would be lesser i.e. you would remember significant part of it.
After frequent revision during first few months, the time span between revision required to retain memory would be larger and larger and thus your work load and effort required would decrease and you would find it easier just before exam and also would feel more confident during exam.

Civil Services examination becomes comparatively easier with group efforts than individual efforts. So, make a group of 3 to 4 friends who are staying near by and use the group for sharing f notes and group discussion in the evening time or any leisure time. Don’t study together all the time, that may spoil your time in useless conversation.

Specially for GS Preparation, you may divide responsibility of making note from daily news papers ( The Hindi, indian Express ) and magazines ( The chronicles and Pratiyogita Darpan) and so that one person will cover one newspaper or magazine and later, take photo copy and shares each other. Like this, you can save time from covering up so many news paper and magazines and use same town for covering up other subject matter.

Friends Selection

Books Selection

Always select a book which use simple language and you understand the subject matter easily without struggling to decipher the meaning . Don’t get carried away by suggestion that book with tough language needs to be read for clearing this exam. UPSC checks whether you have understood the tenets of the subject matter and that is achieved easily by reading books in simple language.

Select a coaching with good reputation and good success history. don’t get Carried away by big promise of teachers who will show you big dreams but they themselves have not cleared even prelims. Tutor in reputed coaching institute makes complex topic simple and you understand the subject matter easily. In contrast, all jhola chhap tutor would teach in such a way that simple things would become complex by their complex language.

Coaching Selection

Writing Answer

Write in simple language and in short sentence. There should be fluency of ideas in your answer. Always have positive thought and optimistic approach about any problem. I don’t mean that you don’t accept the fact regarding real problem in the society/system but I mean to say that you should have optimistic approach towards finding the solution because same thought reflects your approach in life. If you show in you answer that certain problems have been perpetuating for last many decades and thus, the likelihood of getting solution is rare then the examiner may feel that you have negative approach in life and thus, you won’t be able to solve the long pending problem of people while being posted as DM. So remember that your answer shows your approach in life and that ultimately is going to affect the quality of service you are going to provide to people.

Please don’t get puzzle just before entering the interview room. Remember that you can’t hide such expression on face and board members are experienced enough to make it out clearly which is definitely not going to support in fetching good marks in the interview. Enter room after taking permission & after entering room, at first, greet everybody with smiling face and then take your seat when said or indicated to do so.
Please be confident & sit with pleasant face but careful mind. Please be polite & obedient throughout the interview & don’t get aggravated/deviated by their scoldings/negative comment because they may be checking your temperament by such action.
While answering, the most important thing to be careful about is to be fully honest while framing answer & not to beat around the bush. If you don’t know the answer, accept it politely. Answer confidently and in brief but with clear concept in mind.
Don’t get puzzled if you are not able to answer 3-4 question in a series. Even if they comment on this, please accept but say politely that it may be just a coincidence & stay cool. Show your sincerity by saying that although you can’t don’t know about these topics but you are keen to know and will find out immediately after returning back after interview.
Always say Thank You, Good Day extra before leaving interview room. Don’t show hurry while leaving room as if they are chasing you out. Leave room at normal pace while keeping cool. While exiting room, close the door gently and don’t bang it.


Take Advise from Successful People

Please don’t take advise from students who have been passing time for many years on the name of Civil Services Preparation.
Remember that serous students generally don’t take more than two or three attempts. Always take suggestion from students who have been successful in initial one or two attempts.

All the Best for your examination & future life With Best Wishes

Ravindra Kumar (IAS 2011 Batch)

Books for G.S. (Civil Services Examination)

Suggested Books for GS Mains (Civil Services Examination) by Mr. Ravindra

History & culture

  • India’s struggle for Independence – Bipan Chandra
  • India since Independence – Bipan Chandra
  • To cover cultural part – read selected part of NCERT Book Ancient Inidia and Medieval India


  • Fundamentals of physical geography (class XI semester I)
  • India Physical Environment (class XI Semester II)
    Above Both are old NCERT Books.
  • India people and Economy ( NCERT class XII Edition 2007)
  • Certificate Physical and Human Geography – Gohcheng Leong / Oxford University Press
    You can start with Gohcheng Leong book which is the most basic.


  • Indian Contituion at work ( NCERT text book in political science class XI )
  • Indian Polity – Laxmikanth
  • IndiIan Constitution by D. D. Basu

International Relations

  • Contemporary World Politics (NCERT text book of political sc. class XII )
  • Foreign Policy of India – U.R. Ghai
  • “India and world” section from “ Democracy in India – Issues & challenges “ ( NCERT Political sc. Class XII )

International Organisations

  • Manorama Year Book
  • Pratiyogita Darpan – Economy special Issue (Read chapter – International Organisations )


  • India Economic Development ( NCERT Class XI Edition 2006 )
  • Micro Economics ( NCERT Class XI )
  • Macro Economics ( NCERT Class XII )
  • For Foreign trade and balance of payment : Indian Economy by B.K. Bhargava & Vandana Sethi ( Professor in D.U.)
  • For update in economics , pls. read Praiyogita Darpan ( Economy special Issue) or Annual Economic Survey by GOI

Social Issues

  • SociaI Change and development in India ( NCERT Class XII )
  • Yojna magazine


  • Statistical Analysis – Spectrum Publication

Science & Technology

  • India Year Book – Sc. & Tech Section
  • Printed notes of Sriram coaching

Other Newspaer and Magazines

  • Newspaper : The Hindu
  • Magazine : Chronicle , one hindi magazine “ Dristikon Manthan “ comes every fortnightly…

Note : For current events, make note from newspapers as well as regularly read Chronicle highlighting the important points but you can’t be sure that you have covered up all important events , so try to cover remaining topics from various coaching centre notes like VAJIRAO & RAVI, SRIRAM, DISCOVERY , ALS.. which are available in the photo copy shops.

All the Best..!