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How To Start UPSC Preparation From Zero Level After 12th

Starting UPSC Preparation From Zero Level After 12th is a commendable decision, but it is definitely achievable. Of course, it requires careful planning, right approach and dedication.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you kickstart your UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) journey from the ground level. 

Understand the Exam

Get familiar with the UPSC Civil Services Exam pattern and stages (Prelims, Mains, and Interview). Understand the syllabus and the subjects you need to cover for the exam. So, buckle up and let’s get familiar with the exam pattern, stages, and the fascinating subjects you’ll explore.

The Journey Ahead: The UPSC Civil Services Exam has three stages: Preliminary Examination (Prelims), Main Examination (Mains), and the Personal Interview (Interview). Each stage has its unique magic.

Prelims – The First Step: The Prelims is like a thrilling warm-up round. It has two papers – General Studies (Paper-I) and Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT – Paper-II).
Paper-I is a treasure trove of exciting topics like History, Geography, Polity, Economy, Science & Technology, Environment, and Current Affairs.
In Paper-II (CSAT), you’ll showcase your superpowers of aptitude, comprehension, and reasoning.

Mains – The Real Challenge: The Mains is where the real adventure begins! It consists of nine papers, out of which seven contribute to your ranking. You’ll wield the pen of knowledge to tackle papers like Essay, General Studies (four papers), and your chosen Optional Subject (two papers). The Indian Language and English papers are like friendly gatekeepers to the Mains realm.

Interview – The Ultimate Test: The Interview is like the grand finale where you meet the wise sages (the UPSC panel) who’ll judge your personality, communication skills, and suitability for the civil services.

The Enchanting Syllabus: The UPSC syllabus is a magical map that guides you on this adventure. It covers a vast array of subjects like History, Geography, Indian Polity, Economy, Environment, Science & Technology, Ethics, and Current Affairs.
For your Optional Subject, you get to choose from a fascinating array of disciplines like Literature, History, Geography, Political Science, and more.

The Magic Formula: To conquer this quest, start by understanding the entire UPSC syllabus from the official website. Divide your time wisely for Prelims and Mains preparation, and keep your focus on understanding concepts rather than rote learning. Embrace the power of newspapers and magazines to stay updated with current affairs. Practice answer writing and take mock tests to level up your skills.

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With your sword of determination and the armor of knowledge, you’re set for this enchanting journey. Remember, it’s not just about cracking an exam; it’s about becoming a superhero civil servant who’ll shape the nation’s destiny! So, spread those wings and soar high, brave heart! The UPSC world awaits your extraordinary journey! 🚀

how to start upsc preparation from zero level

Complete Graduation

Since UPSC requires a graduation degree, enroll in a Bachelor’s program in a subject of your choice. It is during this time you can start building a foundation for your UPSC preparation.

Choose the Right Optional Subject

In the UPSC Mains exam, you need to choose an optional subject. Pick a subject you are passionate about and comfortable studying. It can be any subject from your graduation course or any other subject of interest.

Read NCERTs Books

Start your preparation with NCERT books from Class 6 to 12 for subjects like History, Geography, Polity, Economy, and Science. This will provide you with a strong base for advanced studies. They are the perfect starting point for your UPSC preparation.

Like building a magnificent castle, strong foundations are essential. NCERTs lay the groundwork for your advanced studies and make sure you’re well-prepared for the challenges ahead.

NCERTs make learning enjoyable! They are written in a friendly and easy-to-understand language, helping you grasp complex concepts with ease.

NCERTs cover the fundamentals of each subject. They’ll give you a solid understanding of historical events, geographical wonders, our political system, economic principles, and scientific marvels.

Stay Updated with Current Affairs

To Start UPSC Preparation From Zero Level After 12th, You have to stay updated with current affairs. It is a crucial aspect of UPSC preparation as it forms the backbone of the entire examination process. Current affairs not only constitute a significant portion of the UPSC Prelims and Mains examinations but also play a vital role in the Personality Test (Interview).

How to Stay Updated with Current Affairs

Newspapers: Reading reputable newspapers like The Hindu, The Indian Express, or other national dailies is an excellent way to keep yourself updated with current events. Focus on editorials, opinion pieces, and special supplements for in-depth analysis.

Magazines: Magazines like Yojana, Kurukshetra, and Frontline provide valuable insights into government policies and diverse issues impacting the country.

News Apps and Websites: Utilize news apps and websites that curate relevant and reliable news from different sources. This ensures you get a broader perspective on various topics.

Government Websites and Press Releases: Visit government websites like PIB and read official press releases to gather authentic information on government schemes, initiatives, and policy decisions.

Online Platforms: Follow reliable YouTube channels, blogs, and websites that focus on current affairs and provide valuable insights and analysis.

Make Notes: Maintain a separate notebook or digital document to jot down important points from your daily current affairs reading. Organize the notes subject-wise for easy revision.

Weekly or Monthly Compilations: Some coaching institutes and websites offer weekly or monthly compilations of current affairs. These compilations help in quick revision.

Social Media: Follow verified and credible news sources on social media platforms to receive real-time updates. Be cautious about misinformation and verify facts before believing and sharing news.

Join Study Groups: Participate in UPSC preparation study groups or forums where aspirants discuss current affairs and exchange relevant information.

Regular Revision: Set aside time for regular revision of current affairs notes to retain the information effectively

Refer to Standard Books

For each subject in the syllabus, make a list of standard reference books recommended by experts and toppers. Focus on understanding concepts rather than mugging up facts.

Here’s a list of standard reference books recommended by experts and toppers for various subjects in the UPSC syllabus. It can help you to Start UPSC Preparation From Zero Level After 12th. Remember, these books focus on building a strong foundation and comprehension rather than rote memorization of facts:

1. History:

Ancient India: “Ancient India” by R.S. Sharma
Medieval India: “Medieval India” by Satish Chandra
Modern India: “India’s Struggle for Independence” by Bipan Chandra

2. Geography:

Physical Geography: “Certificate Physical and Human Geography” by Goh Cheng Leong
Indian Geography: “Indian and World Geography” by Majid Hussain

3. Polity (Indian Constitution and Governance):

“Indian Polity” by M. Laxmikanth

4. Economy:

“Indian Economy” by Ramesh Singh

5. Environment and Ecology:

“Environment for Civil Services Prelims and Mains” by Khuller & Shankar IAS Academy Notes

6. Science and Technology:

“Science and Technology in India” by Kalpana Rajaram

7. Current Affairs:

Newspapers: “The Hindu” or “The Indian Express
Magazines: “Yojana” and “Kurukshetra

8. Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude:

“Lexicon for Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude” by Niraj Kumar

9. Optional Subjects:

The choice of optional subject depends on your interest and background. Refer to UPSC syllabus and standard books recommended specifically for your optional subject.

10. Essay Writing:

151 Essays for UPSC Mains” by Disha Experts

Remember, these are just recommendations, and you can adapt based on your personal preferences. Alongside these books, regularly read newspapers and magazines to stay updated with current affairs. Practice answer writing and focus on understanding the concepts rather than memorizing facts. Use these resources as tools to build your knowledge and analytical skills. Happy studying, and best of luck on your UPSC journey! You’ve got this! 🚀

Enroll in a Coaching Institute (Optional)

Let’s talk about this optional, yet super helpful, idea of enrolling in a coaching institute. Picture it like having a superhero mentor by your side on this exhilarating journey!

The Perks of Coaching Institutes: Coaching institutes are like treasure chests filled with valuable tools. They offer structured guidance, study materials, and a roadmap to navigate the UPSC maze. You’ll get expert insights and tips from experienced tutors who know the exam inside out.

Structure and Discipline: Life can be a whirlwind, right? Coaching institutes bring in some much-needed order. They provide a study plan and keep you on track. It’s like having a study buddy who keeps you motivated and accountable.

Interaction and Networking: Studying with like-minded aspirants creates a positive energy bubble. You can discuss ideas, share knowledge, and learn from each other. It’s a beautiful support system that keeps you going.

Cracking the Code: UPSC has its quirks, and coaching institutes know them well. They understand the exam pattern, trends, and the tricks to crack it. It’s like having a secret cheat code to ace the game!

But Remember, It’s Optional: Here’s the deal – joining a coaching institute is not the only path to success. Many superheroes have conquered UPSC without it. Self-study is a superpower too! If you’re disciplined, motivated, and have the right study materials, you can rock this exam on your own.

Find What Works for You: Choose the path that suits you best. If you opt for coaching, go for a reputable one with a good track record. And if you go solo, create your study plan, gather the right books, and stay focused. It’s your journey, and you get to decide how to conquer it!

Believe in Yourself: Whether you choose coaching or not, the real hero of this story is YOU! Believe in your abilities, stay positive, and put in the effort. With determination and hard work, you can conquer UPSC and make your dreams come true!

So, my friend, whether you choose to join a coaching institute or go solo, remember that you’ve got what it takes to shine. Let your passion drive you forward, and soar to success in the grand UPSC adventure! You’ve got this! 🌟

Develop Answer Writing Skills

Let’s talk about the magical art of answer writing for the Mains exam. It’s like the secret sauce that makes your answers stand out and impress those UPSC evaluators!

Why is Answer Writing Important: Answer writing is like showing off your knowledge in the most awesome way possible. In the Mains exam, you need to express your ideas clearly and convincingly. A well-crafted answer can make a powerful impact and earn you those precious marks.

Practice Makes Perfect: Imagine you’re learning to ride a bike or play a musical instrument. The more you practice, the better you become. The same goes for answer writing! Regularly write essays, tackle sample questions, and review past papers. It’s like training for a marathon – you build up your writing stamina and skills over time.

Be Clear and Coherent: No one likes reading a jumbled mess of words. Keep it simple and organized. State your points clearly, provide relevant examples, and back up your arguments with facts. Remember, the examiner should easily understand your genius ideas.

Master the Art of Expression: Writing is your creative playground! Use the right words to convey your thoughts and opinions effectively. Sprinkle in some impressive vocabulary, but don’t go overboard. Be yourself and let your personality shine through your writing.

Time Management Matters: In the Mains exam, time is your BFF and enemy at the same time. Practice writing within the given time limits, so you get comfortable with expressing your brilliance in a limited space. Balancing your time between questions is like juggling – tricky, but you can totally do it!

Seek Feedback and Improve: Show off your writing skills to friends, teachers, or online communities. Embrace feedback like a champ! Constructive criticism helps you identify areas to improve and fine-tune your style.

Be Confident and Positive: You’re a rockstar, and your answers are gold! Stay confident in your abilities and believe in yourself. Positive energy can work wonders in your writing and in life.

So, my friend, let’s rock those answer writing skills! Polish your talent, practice, and let your unique style shine. When you step into that Mains exam, you’ll dazzle everyone with your brilliant answers! Keep going, and remember, you’ve got the UPSC world in the palm of your hand! 🚀

Solve Previous Year Papers

Practice previous year’s question papers to understand the exam pattern and the type of questions asked.

Take Mock Tests

Taking mock tests is like having friendly practice sessions for the UPSC exam. It’s super important and actually fun! Here’s why mock tests are awesome for your preparation:

Know Yourself Better: Mock tests help you understand how much you know and what areas need a little more love. It’s like a friendly quiz that shows you where you’re strong and where you need some extra attention.

Get Comfortable with the Real Deal: Imagine it’s like rehearsing for a big performance. Mock tests let you get familiar with the actual UPSC exam format, so you won’t feel nervous when the real thing comes around.

Tame the Time Monster: Time management is key! With mock tests, you practice answering questions under the clock. You’ll get better and faster, so no need to stress about running out of time during the real exam.

Review and Reinforce: After each mock test, you get to check the answers and learn from your mistakes. It’s like having a friendly teacher who shows you where you went wrong and how to improve.

No More Exam Jitters: Facing a real exam can be nerve-wracking, but regular mock tests reduce that anxiety. You’ll feel more confident and calm on the big day, knowing you’ve already handled similar situations.

Experiment and Find Your Groove: Mock tests let you try different strategies. Want to tackle the easy questions first? Or maybe focus on your favorite topics? You can figure out what works best for you.

Boost Your Confidence: With practice, you’ll see yourself getting better and better. That’s a fantastic confidence booster! You’ll be like, “Hey, I got this UPSC thing in the bag!”

Outshine the Competition: Since lots of folks are also prepping for UPSC, mock tests give you an edge. You’ll be more prepared and ready to shine among the crowd.

So, take those mock tests with a smile! They are your friendly allies on this UPSC adventure. Embrace the challenge, have fun learning, and get one step closer to your dream of serving the nation! You’ve got this! 🌟

Stay Consistent and Motivated

UPSC preparation demands consistency and patience. Stay focused on your goals and maintain a positive attitude. Let’s delve into why they are so crucial:

1. The Power of Consistency: UPSC preparation is like a marathon, not a sprint. Consistency is the steady pace that will carry you through the ups and downs of this adventurous quest.

2. Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day: Remember, every small step counts. Consistent efforts, even in bite-sized chunks, accumulate into significant progress over time.

3. Embrace the Daily Grind: Establish a study routine and stick to it. Consistency turns studying into a habit, making it easier to dive into the world of books and knowledge each day.

4. Beat Procrastination: Consistency is the mighty weapon that slays the procrastination dragon. When you’re consistent, there’s no room for delaying your tasks.

5. Stay Committed to Your Dreams: Amid challenges, remind yourself of your goals and aspirations. Consistency fuels your commitment to becoming a superhero civil servant.

6. The Magic of Motivation: Motivation is like a spark that ignites your passion and keeps the fire burning brightly within you.

7. Feed Your Soul with Positivity: Surround yourself with positive vibes. Read success stories, watch inspiring videos, and interact with like-minded aspirants who share your dreams.

8. Transform Challenges into Opportunities: Stay motivated when you face setbacks. Treat challenges as stepping stones, learning from them and emerging stronger.

9. Celebrate Every Milestone: Acknowledge and celebrate your progress, no matter how small. It’s a reminder of your dedication and a boost for the next leg of the journey.

10. Remember Your “Why”: When you feel like giving up, recall why you started this adventure. Your purpose will fuel your motivation and keep you going.

So, my Braveheart, stay consistent and motivated throughout your UPSC expedition. Keep your eyes on the prize and maintain that unwavering focus on your goals. Embrace each day with positivity and enthusiasm. The journey may be challenging, but remember, you are capable of greatness! Keep the fire of motivation burning brightly within you, and success will be yours to claim. Onward and upward, my superhero friend! 🌟

Follow a Healthy Lifestyle

Take care of your physical and mental health. Get enough rest, exercise regularly, and maintain a balanced diet. Let’s explore why a healthy lifestyle is essential for your success:

1. The Power of Self-Care: UPSC preparation is demanding, and self-care is the superpower that will keep you energized and focused.

2. Rest, Recharge, and Revive: Remember, even superheroes need rest! Get enough sleep to recharge your mind and body for the challenges ahead.

3. Exercise – Your Secret Weapon: Regular physical activity is like unlocking a hidden power. It boosts your energy levels, enhances concentration, and reduces stress.

4. Choose Your Workout Adventure: Pick a physical activity you enjoy – be it jogging, yoga, dancing, or any other form of exercise. It’ll make staying fit feel like a fun adventure.

5. Embrace the Magic of Nutrition: A balanced diet is the magical potion that fuels your brain and body. Nourish yourself with healthy foods for optimal performance.

6. Mindfulness and Meditation: Practice mindfulness and meditation to quiet your mind, reduce anxiety, and enhance your mental clarity.

7. Stress Busters: Identify stress triggers and find healthy ways to manage them. Engage in hobbies, spend time with loved ones, or simply take a leisurely walk in nature.

8. Break Time is Hero Time: Take short breaks during study sessions. Stretch, take deep breaths, or simply relax to stay refreshed and alert.

9. Social Support: Connect with friends, family, and fellow aspirants. Social interactions are like a magical support network that keeps you motivated.

10. A Happy Heart is a Strong Heart: Don’t forget to do things that make you happy! Laughter is the best medicine, after all.

So, my health-conscious hero, let your well-being be your top priority. A healthy lifestyle will fuel your UPSC superpowers and keep you on top of your game. Take care of your physical and mental health, and remember that self-care is not a luxury; it’s an essential part of your journey to success. Embrace the magic of rest, exercise, and a balanced diet, and you’ll conquer UPSC with boundless energy and a smile on your face.🌟


Remember, the UPSC exam is challenging, and success may not come overnight. It requires consistent effort and dedication. Stay committed to your goal, and with the right approach, you can achieve it. All the best! Keep reading this article on ‘How To Start UPSC Preparation From Zero Level After 12th’ every few days. This will give you an accurate direction towards your goal.

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