UPSC 2018 Preparation (How to Start, Books, Exam Pattern, Strategy, Guide)

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UPSC 2018 Preparation (How to Start, Books, Exam Pattern, Strategy, Guide)

UPSC 2018: According to latest notification, registrations will begin on 7th February and will close by 6th march. The UPSC prelims exam will be held in June 2018 and Mains in October 2018. The final result will be declared in January 2019. The last round, i.e., Interview will be conducted in March 2019.

UPSC 2018 Preparation (How to Start, Books, Exam Pattern, Strategy, Guide)
UPSC 2018 Preparation (How to Start, Books, Exam Pattern, Strategy, Guide)

Things that must be known before starting preparation of UPSC 2018

1. Exam dates

The exam dates are subject to change so it is required to keep an eye on the new dates.

2. Why IAS/PI quotient

An aspirant must get his/her P.I. (Personal interview) quotient scoped-out. Once he/she gets the P.I. quotient, he/she would have a clearer mindset.

3. The subsets of IAS

IPS, IRS and IFS fall under the aegis of the IAS exam and a good understanding of the target will help to focus better.

4. How do you think you can contribute?

A candidate must ask himself what changes can he bring about as an IAS officer. He must prove his caliber.

How to start preparation for UPSC 2018?

Step 1: Know the exam pattern and marking scheme

The civil services exam is conducted in 3 stages:

Stage 1- Preliminary examination (Civil Services Aptitude Test – CSAT) (400 marks)

There are two papers in prelims exams- namely Paper I (General studies) and Paper II (Aptitude) of 200 marks each.

Paper I let you appear for the mains examination and Paper II is only of qualifying nature.

Both question papers are of objective type of two hours each.

Candidate can choose medium of examination as Hindi or English as per his preference.

Blind candidates will be provided with extra 20 minutes for each paper.

Stage 2- Main Examination (Mains)

Candidates who qualify Preliminary exam are allowed to appear in Main exam.

It is descriptive in nature and consists of the following papers:


  • Paper I(300 marks)

    One of the Indian languages to be selected as per the eighth schedule of the Indian Constitution.

  • Paper II(300 marks)







Essay (Section 1)

English comprehension




General Studies – I

(Indian heritage and culture, History and geography of the world and society)



General Studies – II

(Governance, Constitution, Polity , Social justice and International relations)



General Studies – III

(Technology, Economic development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and disaster management)



General Studies – IV

(Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude)



Optional Subject- Paper I



Optional Subject- Paper II


Stage 3- Personal Interview (275 marks)

Candidates who obtain minimum qualifying marks in Mains shall appear for an interview for a Personality test.

Grand total sets at 2075 marks.

Step 2: Know the exam syllabus

A student must clearly know the exam syllabus to score well. Syllables is much and should be understood at any cost. It must be on the tips while preparation.

Step 3: Preparation of General studies

IAS exam general studies comprise a lot of subjects and it needs to be mastered in order to appear in Mains. Complete knowledge should be gained of each subject.

There are 100 questions to be answered in two hours, each question carries two marks. Speed and accuracy is essential to tackle this examination. There is also negative marking of 0.66 marks per one wrong answer.

Step 4: Go through previous papers

Going through the last year papers (at least 5 years) will be use of the fact that candidate gets acquainted with the ‘type’ of questions being asked. IAS exam is a combination of both hard work and smart work.

Step 5: Subject wise preparation strategy

The civil services (preliminary) is more of factual in nature, while on the other hand, the Mains require a deep analysis and comprehensive evaluation of questions, as answers represent the overall personality of the candidate.

Choosing the optional Subject

Every optional is good for UPSC civil service exam, given that you must be interested in that subject. Choose that subject with which you have the level of comfort to read.

But If we talk about the easiest ones, Geography and Public Administration are scoring subjects. Sociology, History and Psychology are the most popular ones.

List of Books for UPSC exam 2018

Books for UPSC civil service main exam match with many books recommended for preliminary. But mains stage demands some additional books to study topics like Integrity, Foreign relations etc. There is a mix of NCERT books, government websites and newspapers (THE HINDU) for preparation.

  1. India’s Ancient Past- R.S. Sharma (History)
  2. India’s struggle for Independence- Bipan Chandra (History)
  3. History of medieval India- Satish Chandra (History)
  4. Indian Art and culture- Nitin Singhania (Culture)
  5. The wonder that was India- A.L. Bhashan (Culture)
  6. Oxford School Atlas- Oxford (Geography)
  7. Geography of India- Majid Hussain (Geography)
  8. Certificate Physical and Human Geography- Goh Cheng Leong (Geography)
  9. Indian polity for civil services Examination- M.laxmikanth (Polity)
  10. Economic survey (Economy)
  11. Indian economy- Ramesh Singh (Economy)
  12. Science and technology in India- TMH (Science and technology)
  13. Environment for civil services Prelims and Mains- Khuller (Environment)
  14. Environmental studies: From crisis to cure- Rajagopalan (Environment)
  15. Manorama Yearbook (Current affairs)
  16. India Year book (Current affairs)
  17. Analytical Reasoning- M.K.Pandey (CSAT- Paper 2: Analytical reasoning)
  18. Verbal and nonverbal reasoning- R.S. Agarwal (CSAT Paper 2: Reasoning)
  19. CSAT Paper 2- 2 manual by MHE or CSAT -II by Arihant (CSAT – Paper 2)

Additional Books for UPSC mains

  1. Essays for civil services- Pulkit Khare (Essay Paper)
  2. Selected Contemporary essays- Saumitra Mohan (Essay paper)
  3. India after Gandhi- Ramchandra Guha (History-GS1)
  4. Social Problems in India- Ram Ahuja (Indian society-GS1)
  5. Norman Lowe OR History of modern world- Jain and Mathur (World history-GS1)
  6. Governance in India for CSE (Governance -GS2)
  7. India and the world by Surendra Kumar (foreign policy-GS2)
  8. Pax India – Shashi Tharoor (Foreign policy-GS2)
  9. IAS Mains General Studies paper 2 (Arihant manual- GS2)
  10. Challenges to Internal security of India (Internal security-GS3)
  11. India’s national security: A reader (Internal security-GS3)
  12. IAS Mains general studies-GS3 (Arihant manual- GS3)
  13. IAS Mains General Studies- Ethics (Arihant manual-GS4)
  14. Lexicon for ethics, Integrity and Aptitude (Ethics -GS4)

Must read NCERT books

  • History- Class 6th to 12th
  • Geography- Class 6th to 12th
  • Economics- Class 9th to 12th
  • Political science- Class 9th to 12th
  • Sociology- Class 11th and 12th
  • Culture/Fine arts- Class 11th
  • Science- Class 6th to 12th

Undoubtedly, UPSC 2018 preparation is a lengthy process. But If enjoyed, stress will vanish and make preparation more fun.

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