UPSC » Tips for UPSC Preparation » How to Prepare for UPSC 2024 without Coaching?

How to Prepare for UPSC 2024 without Coaching?

How to prepare for UPSC without coaching? Find the tips to crack UPSC prelims, mains and interview in the first attempt without coaching.

Table of Contents

  1. Tips to Crack the UPSC Exam Without Coaching
  2. How to Crack UPSC Prelims in First Attempt without Coaching?
  3. How to Clear UPSC Mains in First Attempt without Coaching?
  4. How to Prepare for UPSC CSE Interview without Coaching?
  5. Problems Faced By The UPSC Aspirants
  6. UPSC Exam Pattern
  7. UPSC Preparation Tips
  8. Download UPSC Notes and Syllabus

With the beginning of the new session, UPSC aspirants are all ready to begin their preparation for India’s most challenging exam, UPSC. The aspirants must be in turmoil and under a lot of pressure on “How to prepare for UPSC”. Well, no worries, as we have got you covered! 

You need a good strategy and a dedicated mind to crack it with flying scores. Undoubtedly, the competition is going to be worth fighting for. Hence, a proper understanding of each concept is crucial. Most aspirants believe that cracking the UPSC exam without coaching is not possible. Not anymore! Unacademy has developed the entire UPSC preparation strategy for beginners, which can help you cope with the syllabus without any external help.

How to Crack UPSC Without Coaching? Hear it from Mrunal Patel

Tips to Crack the UPSC Exam Without Coaching

Here is the complete preparation strategy for UPSC without coaching:

How to prepare for UPSC: Understand the UPSC Exam

The candidates preparing for the UPSC exam without the coaching must have complete information about the exam, such as the UPSC exam pattern, UPSC exam syllabus, UPSC marking scheme, how to choose the optional papers for the UPSC exam, etc, to start their preparation in the best manner. UPSC conducts the examination in 3 phases i.e. prelims, mains and interviews.

The strategy to approach both prelims and mains needs focused study. UPSC prelims and mains are not two very different from each other, it’s just a big overlap of the chapters. The candidates should focus on the integrated preparation for both UPSC prelims and mains.

Know more about UPSC 2023

How to prepare for UPSC: Importance of a robust Study Plan for UPSC

Once you get a full idea about the UPSC exam pattern and syllabus, then the next important part will be how to prepare for the exam without coaching. The candidates should understand that the coaching institutes will just help in the preparation, but to crack the exam only hard work and dedication will take you there. The UPSC exam is like any other exam which requires reading, writing and speaking skills.

Those who are preparing for the exam without coaching can have the benefit to create plans as per their strengths and weaknesses. Also, they don’t have to spend their time travelling for coaching classes.

How to prepare for UPSC: Importance of regular practice

Once you have made your basics strong, read the standard books for each paper. The next step of preparation will be practice. Also, practice answer writing as well. Make sure you are giving the proper time for the CSAT which is qualifying in nature, in which you have to score more than 66 marks to qualify for the Mains. Hence, the best source for the preparation can be the mock tests and test series. So, join a good test series that will help you prepare for the GS paper and CSAT.

How to prepare for UPSC: Know your syllabus

The first thing is to know your syllabus completely. If you’re planning to appear in the UPSC exam, having a thorough understanding of the syllabus is of utmost importance. You can buy a syllabus book from any of the nearby stationery. Remember, the syllabus of UPSC is vast; however, it might not be as complex as it may seem.

Read the complete UPSC Syllabus

How to prepare for UPSC: Previous years’ question papers

The next preparation tip is to overview the past years’ question papers. Check the question papers of the last 10 years from any popular books such as Arihant and understand the types of frequently asked questions. This will give you an overview of the entire paper. Do not try to solve questions.

Check out UPSC Question Papers

Download UPSC Prelims 2023 Question Paper

UPSC Prelims 2023 GS Paper-1Download PDF
UPSC Prelims 2023 GS Paper-II (CSAT)Download PDF

How to Prepare for UPSC: Online videos

If you’re not attending any coaching, the best way to get through the UPSC exam is to watch online videos. If you’re uncomfortable with these videos or find it difficult to understand them, the best you can do is visit any nearby coaching centre and get the book list and required details. It will help you to get the right mix of resources.

How to prepare for UPSC: Start with NCERT

Now that you’ve decided to sit for India’s most challenging exam, start your UPSC preparation with NCERT. When you read NCERT, do not over-highlight the book. Make sure you highlight only those extremely important points, including figures, abbreviations, exceptions, years, etc. Keep your NCERT clean because you will go through it at least 3-to-4 times throughout your UPSC journey.

Here is a list of books you can go for

  • Indian Polity for Civil Services Examinations by M. Laxmikanth
  • Indian Art and Culture by Nitin Singhania (Culture)
  • Oxford School Atlas by Oxford Publishers (Geography)
  • Certificate Physical and Human Geography by Goh Cheng Leong (Geography)
  • Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh (Economy)
  • Economic Survey by the Ministry of Finance (Economy)
  • India Year Book (Current Affairs)
  • A Brief History of Modern India by Rajiv Ahir (Modern India)
  • General Studies Paper 2 Manual by MHE (CSAT)
  • Class 6-12th NCERT Books

Read through the complete list of UPSC Books

Read The Hindu daily

Apart from NCERT, make a habit of reading The Hindu daily. There is a column in The Hindu called “Advertisements”. There will be a list of coaching institutes conducting free sessions for students. While reading NCERT, the best practice is to make notes of all your doubts in a small diary.

During these free sessions, ask your doubts and interact with teachers. If you’re looking for rapid answers, type your topic on the Unacademy website, which will reflect all answers.

Is the second attempt worth it?

Most students generally ask this question. UPSC is one of India’s toughest exams, which requires a dedicated preparation of at least 2-3 years. If you feel you will not make it on the first go, there is always a second chance. It never means that you’re weak or capable – your marks only say you need more preparation.

NCERT time

Another common question that most students ask is how much time should I devote to NCERT. If you’re starting from class 6 to class 12 NCERT, it will take you 2-3 months to cover all subjects. Try to cover at least two topics in a month.

Answer-writing skills

How you present your answers truly impacts your overall marks. The best way to enhance your answer writing skills is to practice writing answers regularly. Once answer writing becomes your habit, it is easier for you to frame qualitative answers without creating chaos. There are many questions at the back of NCERT, which you should practice daily without the help of the book. This will give you an understanding of how to write the answer.

Join test series

Students preparing for UPSC without coaching can consider joining the test series. In the test series, there is a well-defined timetable that increases your consistency. Also, several questions in the test series help you gain more knowledge.

Revision strategy

When studying for UPSC, thorough knowledge of every concept is essential. Along with this, learning all concepts gives you an upper hand. Therefore, revision is critical. Once you’ve studied a topic on the 1st, make sure you’re rereading it every 7 days.

  • Droppers have ample time on their hands. Hence, they should revise every day. Either in the morning or during the evening, revise everything you’ve learned on the same day
  • Regular students should devote their weekends only to revision
  • Take out at least 2 hours for revision every day. Do not procrastinate
  • Stick to the proper revision cycle. The day your chapter notes are completed, revise them the next day. Revise the same chapter after every 7 days three times
  • Keep repeating this cycle until and unless you’re feeling every topic
  • Keep on participating in revision tests
  • Once you’re done with the tests, a thorough analysis of every topic is important

How to Crack UPSC Prelims in First Attempt without Coaching?

To crack the civil service exam is the dream of many aspirants. Check the following tips to crack the UPSC prelims on the first attempt without coaching –

  1. Be punctual – Make a timetable and follow it without fail. Also, make your daily, weekly and monthly targets and try to complete them. This will help you to be motivated and do more.
  2. Choose one book out of the course each month – This will improve your capabilities to express yourself and this way you will read and know the various ways of projecting ideas also. This will help you in answering your writing skills and will groom your personality.
  3. Develop One Hobby – Take up a hobby which can be anything reading, singing, dancing, writing or anything else. It tells about who you are and what is your personality. This will help you to protect yourself and your innovative ideas.

UPSC Prelims – All you need to know!

How to Clear UPSC Mains in First Attempt without Coaching?

Once the aspirants clear the UPSC prelims exam, they start preparing for the UPSC Mains. So here are some steps which tell you how to clear the UPSC mains on the first attempt without coaching –

  • UPSC mains exam demands an exhaustive study plan which can cover a wide range of topics
  • Prepare a plan which includes the timeline to cover the whole UPSC syllabus of Mains. The main focus is to give more time to the subjects like Essay, GS, and Optional
  • To cover the UPSC mains syllabus, the candidates need to study a sufficient amount of current affairs. The syllabus is open-ended and needs a lot of analysis and understanding
  •  Enroll in a test series and follow the one study plan which improves your quality as well as the number of answers by working on mistakes.
  • The key to success is to practice more and learn

UPSC Mains – All you need to know!

How to Prepare for UPSC CSE Interview without Coaching?

  • For the UPSC interview, there will be a panel at the Dholpur House that wants to evaluate the candidate’s personality and critical thinking ability
  • UPSC interview is a one-to-one communication between the UPSC candidates & the interview panel
  • The key to acing the UPSC interview is to prepare for the DAF very well. It is the basis of the questions that will be asked along with the candidate’s critical thinking analysis of the recent happening occurring at the national level as well as international level
  • Get full coverage of the newspapers, and Rahyasabha tv channel programs such as India’s World, Big Picture, World Panorama, etc

Problems Faced By The UPSC Aspirants

To clear the UPSC exam, the candidate needs to dedicate a lot of time and effort to prepare for this vast syllabus. Here, we are mentioning some problems which are faced by the UPSC aspirants –

  • How to Start the Preparation
  • How to cover this vast syllabus
  • Number of papers to clear
  • How much time to give for one subject preparation
  • Number of papers to qualify
  • Unavailability of smaller unitary mock test
  • Self-study or join coaching
  • How to handle failures
  • What if it does not happen ever

UPSC Exam Pattern

The candidates who are appearing for the UPSC exam should check the overview of the UPSC prelims exam pattern from here –

Two Compulsory PapersGeneral Studies Paper-I & General Studies Paper-II (CSAT)
Number of Questions asked in GS Paper-I100
Number of Questions asked in CSAT80
Total Number of Marks

400 marks

  • GS Paper-I – 200 Marks
  • CSAT – 200 Marks
Negative Marking1/3rd of the total marks allotted to the question will be deducted for every incorrect answer
Time Allotted

Two hours each;

  • GS Paper-I – 2 Hours (9:30 AM -11:30 AM)
  • CSAT – 2 Hours (2:30 PM – 4:30 PM)

Here, we have mentioned the UPSC Mains 2024 exam pattern –

Paper-IIGeneral Studies – I (Indian Heritage & Culture, History & Geography of the World & Society)250
Paper-IIIGeneral Studies – II (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice & International Relations)250
Paper-IVGeneral Studies – III (Technology, Economic Development, Biodiversity, Security & Disaster Management)250
Paper-VGeneral Studies – IV (Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude)250
Paper-VIOptional Subject – Paper I250
Paper-VIIOptional Subject – Paper II250

Download UPSC Notes and Syllabus

Download UPSC Prelims Syllabus PDFDownload
Download UPSC Mains Syllabus PDFDownload
Download UPSC Syllabus PDF in HindiDownload
Download UPSC Notes for PrelimsDownload

UPSC Preparation Tips 

Discover effective tips for UPSC preparation, including time management, targeted study schedules, emphasis on current affairs and static subjects, and the importance of self-study. Balance resources, revise regularly, and seek guidance from mentors to maximize your chances of success in the UPSC exam.

Here are some tips to prepare UPSC exam 2024:

Tip #1 Start early: 

The UPSC exam is a competitive exam that requires a lot of hard work and dedication. It is important to start your UPSC preparations as early as possible to give yourself enough time to cover the syllabus and practice enough.

Tip #2 Understand the exam pattern and syllabus: 

Familiarize yourself with the exam pattern and syllabus for the UPSC exam. This will help you understand the topics that you need to cover and the types of questions that you can expect in the exam.

Tip #3 Create a study plan: 

Create a study plan that allows you to cover all the important topics and subjects in a systematic manner. Make sure to allocate enough time for revision and practice.

Tip #4 Practice regularly: 

Regular practice is key to success in the UPSC exam. Make sure to set aside enough time for practice and solve as many previous year’s question papers as possible.

Tip #5 Stay updated: 

Keep yourself updated with current affairs and developments in the country. This will help you in the General Studies paper and the essay paper of the exam.

Tip #6 Take mock tests: 

Take as many mock tests as possible to get a feel of the actual exam. This will help you identify your strengths and weaknesses and allow you to work on them.

Tip #7 Stay healthy: 

Make sure to take care of your physical and mental health while preparing for the exam. Eat healthy, exercise regularly, and get enough sleep.


Preparing for UPSC without coaching is possible with a strategic approach. Create a study schedule, gather relevant study materials, utilize online resources, join online study groups, practice mock tests, and self-evaluate. Stay disciplined, focused, and regularly update yourself with current affairs. Consistency and perseverance are key to succeed.

Explore UPSC Exam Tips

Related Articles:

UPSC SyllabusUPSC ResultsUPSC Question Paper 2019
UPSC Exam PatternUPSC EligibilityUPSC Question Paper 2020
UPSC Question PaperUPSC CalendarUPSC Question Paper 2022
UPSC NotesHow to Prepare for UPSC without CoachingUPSC 2023
UPSC Preparation BooksTips for UPSC PreparationUPSC Prelims Exam

Frequently asked questions

Get answers to the most common queries related to the UPSC 2024 Preparation.

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