For smart aspirants, college is the best place to start IAS exam preparation.

With all the energy of the young age and the sharpness of the student’s mind, the just-out-of-college guys have higher probabilities to clear IAS exam. But unless the preparation is focused on right guidance and strategies, the attempt may turn futile, resulting in the loss of precious attempts.

Aspirants should never let this happen. We hope this post would surely help those who are looking for right guidance to prepare IAS exam while in college, especially the final year students and pre-final year students.

1. Take the early advantage

Please remember the eligibility criteria for UPSC Civil Service Exam (CSE) is 21 years and a graduation in any subject. You should also take note that final year students can apply for IAS Prelims. Many candidates miss this early opportunity and come into UPSC Civil Service Exam preparation field only very late. This is clearly reflected in the fact that the average age of candidates who make it into the final UPSC CSE rank list is 28 years.

If you start early, that would give you a lot many advantages. And, we have no doubts that aspirants who start early can clear IAS exam without compromising the thrill and happiness of campus life. But for that, you need right guidance.

2. Realise that you have time constraints, so prioritize your time!

Unlike many other aspirants who can dedicate a full year for UPSC preparation, those who prepare parallel for UPSC CSE while in the college will have time constraints. So what is very important is your ability to prioritize things. Do only what is extremely important.

Be thorough with the UPSC syllabus. Go through the previous year UPSC CSE question papers. This should give you the right direction.

3. Buy the most recommended books for IAS preparation

Once you have decided that IAS/IPS as your career goal, buy the most necessary books for UPSC CSE preparation. We have compiled the master list of UPSC books on a separate page. But to begin with, the below are the books you should start with.

  • NCERT Books  – Buy online from Amazon or download NCERT PDF.
  • Polity – by Laxmikanth
  • Economics – by Ramesh Singh
  • History – By Bipan Chandra


4. Read newspapers and magazines

Don’t compromise your newspaper reading irrespective of the time constraints. Once you get into the mood, believe us, it’s not that boring! We prefer The Hindu or Indian Express for quality articles. Give importance to editorials and op-ed articles.

And regarding magazines, EPW is a good magazine for getting current perspectives. For understanding, Government schemes and initiatives subscribe Yojana and Kurukshetra.

5. Keep writing

In UPSC CSE Mains, the speed of writing is very important. Aspirants just out of college will have a big advantage here as they are not out of touch with pen and paper when compared to working professionals. Take maximum leverage on this.

Some tips to polish your writing: Participate in essay competitions in your college. Write letters to editors of famous newspapers. Practice ClearIAS main mock questions.

6. Finish 1-2 subjects during semester break

It is the strategy of some toppers to finish the optional subject during semester breaks during college so that they can concentrate on General Studies (GS) and current affairs after graduation.

7. Read toppers interviews

IAS preparation strategies keep on changing with the availability of new materials and new question patterns from UPSC. Always refer the UPSC toppers interviews. This would keep you motivated. Have big dreams. All the best!