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How to Crack UPSC CSE Exam in 1st Attempt ?

How to Crack UPSC CSE Exam in 1st Attempt ?

In spite of a very low selection ratio, the number of aspirants for UPSC CSE is increasing year by year. UPSC CSE is considered as the most difficult exam in the country but still students are willing to prepare for this examination. To Crack UPSC CSE examination it needs a lot of focus and dedication. UPSC CSE examination is conducted by the Union Public service commission and is conducted once in a year. In the Month of February UPSC releases the notification to fill the form for the UPSC CSE exam and most of the times exam is conducted in the month of May or June.

Before entering for the preparation of UPSC CSE exam with aim to Crack IAS Exam one must know all about the Examination which Includes syllabus, exam pattern and analyses of previous year questions, etc. UPSC conducts this exam every year. UPSC CSE takes place in 3 stages (Prelims, Mains Examination and personality test).

Three stages for the UPSC CSE are:

  • 1. Prelims Exam: contains two papers General studies-I and General Studies Paper-II (CSAT)
  • 2. Mains exam: consists of 9 exams namely 2 compulsory papers, 1 essay paper, 4 General Studies Paper and 2 optional subject papers.
  • 3. Personality test One can Crack UPSC Exam with the right strategy and guidance. Here below are the points mentioned that can help aspirants to crack UPSC CSE Exam in first attempt.


  • First things first know all about the exam. Gather all the details related to this examination to Crack IAS Exam.
  • Know about the eligibility, number of attempts, minimum qualification, nationality, age limit etc.
  • How many questions are asked, in which format are questions asked etc., gather all these information before starting preparation. This will help you crack the  UPSC CSE Exam in the first attempt.
  • As the syllabus is the most important part of the exam, one must always have in mind every point mentioned by UPSC in its syllabus during studies.
  • Make an understanding based on the syllabus.
  • Except in some parts, the syllabus for prelims and mains exam is almost the same so go through the syllabus very well.

Previous Year Questions

  • Previous year questions are as important as the syllabus is to Crack UPSC CSE.
  • PYQ’s help in identifying the important topics and the frequently asked topics in the examination.
  • Make a list of topics which you will carry during your whole preparation.
  • Identifying these may help students to crack UPSC CSE Exam in the very first attempt.
  • It will also provide you an understanding of from which subject the questions are asked most and from where UPSC is decreasing its scope.
  • PYQs are easily available on UPSC’s website; one can download it from there.
  • Here is the trend for the last 7 years in the prelims Exam.

Current affairs

  • For the students who want to crack UPSC CSE Exam in the very first attempt it may seem to them as a difficult task but for every problem there is a predetermined solution and for current affairs related confusion UPSC has provided syllabus for the civil services examination.
  • Events which are relatable to the syllabus and those which are mentioned directly in the syllabus are important topics to be covered from the newspapers.
  • Don't read the same newspaper for too long because it will develop your thoughts towards one segment only, try to read some other newspapers in between so that you can get ideas for a balanced approach during the mains examination.
  • Newspaper reading not only helps in current affairs, it is also useful for CSAT's comprehension part.
  • Apart from newspapers for current affairs students can check websites like PIB, Official sites of government of India, UN, WHO, IMF, World Bank etc.
  • Monthly Magazines are also a good Option for students who are willing to crack the UPSC CSE Exam in very first attempt. Some of the magazines are: Yojana, Kurukshetra, Down to Earth etc.

Start reading NCERTs and some basic books

  • Before reading any of the basic books for UPSC one must go through NCERT books from class 6th to 12th for a strong foundation.
  • NCERT provides a basic understanding of the subjects to make your preparation easy and crack UPSC CSE Exam.
  • After NCERTs students can shift towards the Basic books which can help to boost preparation of students and crack UPSC CSE Exam.
  • With the help of NCERTs you will have a clear understanding of the subject matter.
  • Some of the books are: M Laxmikant’s Indian Polity, GC Leong’s Physical and Human Geography, Oxford student Atlas for mapping, history of Medieval India by Satish Chandra, modern India by Bipin Chandra, Ancient India by RS Sharma, spectrum etc.
  • These books will supplement you with additional information and data for your prelims as well as mains Exam.
  • Here is the list of NCERTs subject wise:


  • As CSAT is a qualifying exam in prelims it does not impact your final result but don't take it so casually if you failed in CSAT, your score in GS doesn't matter.
  • Most of the students make this mistake so don’t be one if you want to crack UPSC CSE Exam.
  • Improve your comprehension skills with the help of newspapers. Try to learn new words for better understanding of passages.
  • As an aspirant who wants to crack UPSC CSE Exam in first attempt you need to work on CSAT. Dedicate a time slot for CSAT in a week.
  • Do practice some maths and reasoning questions from previous year question papers. For more conceptual clarity in maths and reasoning you can read quantitative and qualitative aptitude related books.
  • To improve in CSAT and to crack UPSC CSE Exam one can do following:

For Comprehension

  • Reading newspapers can help strengthen your skills in comprehension. Try to focus on word sentences and most importantly the context of the passage. Try to read a variety of topics on a daily basis in the newspaper.
  • Initially it will take time to read, understand and analyse but try to minimize the time and improve your analytical skills.
  • Try to introduce yourself with new words for better understanding of passages.

For Reasoning and Mathematics

  • First go through all basic concepts for UPSC prelims CSAT.
  • Try to solve small problems initially and then to bigger ones.
  • Practise more and more to improve accuracy and speed.
  • Topics include: HCF and LCM, Probability, Number Series, Ratio Proportion, Percentage, Time, Speed and Distance, Permutation and Combination, Alphabet, Coding – Decoding, Venn Diagram, Syllogism, Clocks and Calendars etc.
  • Books:
  • Qualitative aptitude and Quantitative Aptitude: R.S Aggarwal 


  • Revision is an important part of an aspirant’s life. It doesn’t matter how much you read, the thing that matters is how powerful your revision technique is and how efficient you are with your revision technique. 
  • Before going to bed if candidates revise what they have learned all the day it will definitely improve grasping and increase efficiency.
  • Have a specific time schedule for revision in your time-table.
  • Remember revision is the key to success not only in UPSC CSE but in every Exam.
  • For those who want to crack UPSC CSE Exam in the first attempt, remember to do revision as much as possible.
  • There are lots of revision techniques that one can refer to or make your own revision technique.

Practice Tests

  • As practice makes the man perfect, it is important that after reading and revision one should consider mock tests and practice tests for UPSC Prelims as well as mains.
  • For those who need to crack UPSC CSE Exam in first attempt before appearing in the exam, do as many practice tests as you can.
  • To review yourself it is important that one should keep practising tests.
  • Tests will help in identifying strengths and weaknesses so that one can improve and do well on the day of Examination.
  • Do SWOT analysis after each test.
  • Keep in mind the mistakes that you have made before every test you practice.
  • Do practice in an examination like environment; this will help you in handling Pressure of the exam on the very day of Examination.

Answer writing

  • Understand the demand of question
  • Identify the key words.
  • Write a required introduction for your answer.
  • Frame your answer
  • Try to give your answer in precise and demanded form
  • Keep in mind the word limit for your answer.
  • Support your answer with facts and data.
  • Give a forward looking conclusion to your answer and suggest progressive ideas

Essay writing

  • Essay is the part where you can score high in the mains Examination.
  • If aspirants want to crack UPSC CSE Exam they must practice writing essays from the month they start preparing for mains.
  • Essay can help aspirants in improving final score in the selection list. Good essay marks are important for improvement in rank of candidates in UPSC CSE examination.
  • Try to identify social issues from the newspapers and write essays on it.
  • For more you can make a list of topics asked by UPSC in the essay examination and try to write essays on them.
  • Your essay should carry: Quotes; quote some famous personalities, reformers and institutions related to your topic, Facts: put some facts, data from authentic sources,  Arguments supported by some references, and incorporate value points in the essay too.
  • Try to complete writing your essay within word limit by UPSC.


  • Optional subject is the liberty provided by UPSC to score in the subject of your choice so it is very important to opt a scoring optional subject to crack UPSC CSE Exam in first attempt.
  • Preparing for optional subject is important because marks obtained in optional will improve your rank in the final Examination merit list.
  • Do practice writing answers related to your Optional subject during Preparation because by writing answers you can analyse your strengths and weaknesses related to your optional subject.

Compulsory exam

  • To crack UPSC CSE Exam this part of the Examination is also important. It  consists of two language papers namely English and a second language (any one language from: Assamese, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Bengali, Bodo, Malayalam, Sanskrit, Manipuri, Dogri, Konkani, Maithili, Marathi, Nepali, Odia, Punjabi, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu)
  • Similar to CSAT, it is qualifying in nature. One has to score only 33% marks in this Exam.
  • Keep in mind that it is important that aspirants must practice this part also because if you fail in this you will fail in the whole mains examination.
  • Allocate a particular slot for this section to crack UPSC CSE Exam in first attempt.

All The Best!