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how to prepare for UPSC examination without coaching

How to prepare for UPSC examination without coaching?

We will discuss it in some Steps

Step 1: Know the level of difficulty

As you all know to become an IAS or IPS is not a simple task, every year more than 10,00,000 people fill examination form and an approx 4,50,000 students appear but only 15000 clear the prelims and 3000 mains then at the last stage of examination that is Interview only approx 1000 get the dream job.

It does not mean that you can not be in the final list. Your name can be in selection list but it requires a lot of hard work, determinacy and as well as luck….. luck is a small factor…very small…. but never forget if you are trying to get something, trying to achieve something then you can face failure but do not forget “failure is the first step to become successful”

Actual we are not trying to demotivate you by talking about luck and failure but we have to talk because we want you to do proper homework about all the pros and cons of you and your goal….no one can say that you will not become an IAS/IPS officer and no one can say that you will become an IAS/IPS officer. It is only you who can judge yourself so make sure that you can do it or not??

Do not be over confident because every year thousands of student spoil their future because of this factor called over confidence.

Step 2: Keep yourself motivated

Once if you have decided that you can, one day you will achieve your goal but meanwhile do not forget that-

Nanhi Chiti Jab Dana Lekar Chalti Hai

Chadhti Deewaron Par Sau Bar Phislati Hain
Man Ka Viswas Ragon Mein Sahas Bharta Hain

Chadhkar Girna Girkar Chadhna Na Akharta Hain
Akhir Uski Mehnat Bekar Nahin Hoti

Koshis Karne Walon Ki Har Nahin Hoti

Step 3: Find out that you need coaching classes or not

Eklavya was best and he bacame best with self help which we can consider self study in our context but also he had a teacher called Dronacharya.

Do not forget “there is no substitute for teacher” so you will also need a teacher or guide.

Do not think we are asking you to get enrolled in any coaching institute but if you can bear this cost please join.

And if you are going to prepare with self-study then do not think you are alone . We are with you (if you wish) so let us talk about the examination and how to prepare without

Step 4: Know the subjects you have to study

  • History
  • Geography
  • Indian Polity & Constitution
  • Economy
  • Current affairs

But we can further divide History into four parts

  • Arts and culture
  • Ancient Indian History
  • Medieval History
  • Modern History

And Geography into four parts

  • Environment
  • World Geography
  • Indian Geography
  • Human Geography

Now, Let us discuss subject wise-

Step 5: Analysis of each subject separately

Arts and Culture:

In this subject, you will always feel which book I should read.

A lot of people and some toppers may suggest you Indian Art and Culture by Nitin Singhania, It is a good book but 99.99% teachers suggest India’s Ancient Past by R. S. Sharma and we are also with teachers.

After analyzing the nature of questions are being asked we can say, current affairs for this subject plays an important role but to understand current topics you will have to be familiar with theory part.

Also Read: Detailed strategy for How to Prepare Art & Culture for UPSC prelims and Mains?

Books suggested-
  1. India’s Ancient Past by R. S. Sharma (Must have)

  3. The Wonder That Was India – A.L. Bhasham.
  4. Indian Art and Culture Nitin Singhania (Suggested by some toppers)

Or you can prefer these notes –

  1. Art & Culture in 7 Days by Pramesh eLib
  2. Art & Culture by Vision IAS


History can be boring for anyone but in civil service preparation, it is interesting because you will have to analyze the thing, you do not need to remember years but you need to know reasons behind the things, nature of society and leaders for certain time period. one should go through NCERTs (old and new) and after this reference book like Bipin Chandra and Satish Chandra.

Nature of questions in IAS exam:

  • What happened first (years not required)
  • Names of various taxes, posts etc.
  • Public reaction and participation.
  • Provisions of various acts, laws, and movements.
  • Important books written in ancient, medieval and modern India
  • Kings and their contributions in various fields.
  • Major changes etc

Do not mug up, try to read it like stories and find out

Books suggested by toppers-


  1. Old NCERTs
  2. New NCERTs
  3. History Of Modern India – Bipan Chandra.
  4. India’s Struggle For Independence – Bipan Chandra.
  5. India’s Ancient Past – R.S. Sharma.
  6. History Of Medieval India – Satish Chandra.
  7. From Plassey to Partition – A History Of Modern India
  8. India After Gandhi – Ramchandra Guha (For Mains Examination)


  1. Adhunik Bharat Ka Itihas – Bipan Chandra.
  2. Aadhunik Bharat Mein Vichardhara Aur Rajniti– Bipan Chandra.
  3. Pracheen Bharat Mein Bhautik Pragati Evam Samajik Sanrachnay– R.S. Sharma.
  4. Madhyakaleen Bharat Rajniti, Samaj Aur Sanskr– Satish Chandra.
  5. Palassi Se Vibhajan Tak Aur Uske Baad– A History Of Modern India
  6. Bharat: Gandhi ke Bad – Ramchandra Guha (For Mains Examination)

Read: [Detailed Strategy] How to Study Indian MOdern History for UPSC Exam


Here we are talking about Geography, not Geology and we want you to search difference between the both but after reading this article… HAHA… 70-90% of its syllabus covered by NCERTs and ATLAS, but for your AATMA KI SHANTI you can read G.C. Leong to reach approx 100% and there is no need to read any other book.

Geography is a concept based subject and 20-25 mindmaps are sufficient to solve questions in Prelims as well as Mains examination but do not try to skip ATLAS it will be harmful for your preparation.

You have to be focused on current affairs and various terms used in current affairs and frankly speaking teacher can boost your preparation for this subject 4 to 5 times.

Teachers and toppers usually do not suggest more books for this subject (*If they do not have Geography as Optional subject).

Books suggested 


  1. NCERTs
  2. Geography of India – Majid Husain.
  3. Oxford Student Atlas – Oxford. New October 2017 Edition
  4. Certificate Physical and Human Geography – Goh Cheng Leong.


  1. NCERTs
  2. Bharat Evam Vishwa Ka Bhugol- Majid Husain

  3. Oxford School Atlas(HIndi)- Oxford

Read: [Detailed Strategy] How to Study Geography for UPSC Exam

Indian Polity & Constitution:

Indian Polity & Constitution require sufficient time (Minimum 45-60 days). Possibly you have heard that one can read M. Laxmikant or D.D. Basu in maximum 10 days and it is true that you can read one book in 10 days and even 7 days but you will not be able to mark 95% questions asked in IAS prelims exam (try it your self). So we always suggest to read both books one by one and take moke test separately for this subject as much as possible.

Also, there is no need to mug up the whole constitution but you have to create proper understanding for every single aspect.

In this subject, words play an important role. Be very careful while reading any book.

Finally, You can easily read or revise both books 3 or 4 times but without mock tests, you will not be able to complete this subject.

Skip NCERTs for this subject (if you wish).

Suggested Books


Remember, Economy not Economics. Frankly speaking, it is an easy subject and does not require a lot of books. But You have to read Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh or Coaching class material.

You have to mug up and understand current affairs. It is sufficient.

Nature of questions is easy, factual and conceptual so get ready to fight with current affairs after reading theory.

It requires regular updates as much as you can and keep a keen eye on the current scenario.

Suggested material

  1. Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh

To Be Continued…

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