One Year Strategy to clear UPSC Civil Services 2020

UPSC is not an easy nut to crack, speaking of which, you must be thoroughly
prepared, for it spares no disregard or negligence in your preparation. Here the most common question arises- How long does it take to crack UPSC? What is One Year Study Plan For UPSC?

According to most of the toppers, you need only one year of wholesome systematic preparation with perfect time management. The vital point we
must look over is time management.

With a structured pattern and a planned out routine, UPSC becomes not that touch a nut to crack. The exam pattern and syllabus should be known well enough in order to prepare for UPSC.

Download: UPSC Prelims Question Paper (2014-2019)

Best Booklist For UPSC Civil Services

Booklist For Prelims

NCERT BooksNCERT books (6 th -12 th standard) are to be read thoroughly. It gives shape to your foundation of your knowledge.
Ancient HistoryAncient India by RS Sharma
Medieval HistoryMedieval India of India by Satish Chandra
Modern Historyi) ‘World History’ by Norman Lowe,
ii) Spectrum's Brief History of Modern India (Most Prefered for Modern Indian History)
iii) ‘India Struggle for Independence Indepedence’ by Bipan Chandra
Indian Culturei) Facets of Indian Culture by Spectrum
ii) Indian Art and Culture by Nitin Singhania
iii) CCRT website.
Geographyi)Certificate Physical and Human Geography by GC Leong
ii) NCERT Geography books (Class XI-XII)
Economyi) NCERT Book (Class XI-XII)
ii) Ramesh Singh’s Indian Economy
iii) Recent Economic Survey as well as PMFIAS Notes.
Polityi) Indian Polity by Laxmikanth (Most Preferred)
ii) An Introduction to the Constitution of India- D.D. Basu
iii) The Constitution of India by P.M. Bakshi (Optional)
iv) Old NCERT books for Indian Polity (Optional)
Current Affairsi) PIB
ii) Jagran Josh
iii) The Hindu
Science and TechISRO website and Newspapers are enough
Government schemes Civils Daily
Environment and Ecology-Shankar IAS Notes
Previous Papers20 Years Prelims Papers Book

Download: NCERT Books

Booklist For Mains

History India's Struggle For Independence by Bipin Chandra
GeographyGeography of India by Majid Hussain
CultureThe Wonder That Was India by A.L. Bhasham
Important Judgments that transformed India by
Alex Andrews George.
Economyi) Economic Survey

ii) Ramesh Singh’s Indian Economy
Science and Technology i) Environment Studies From Crisis to Cure- Rajagopalacharan
ii) Environment for Civil Services Prelims and Mains- Dr. Khuller
Current Affairsi) India Year Book
ii) Manorama Yearbook

Download: UPSC 2019 Mains Paper

Booklist For General Studies And Essay Paper

Essay PaperEssays for Civil Services- Pulkit Khare
General Studies 1: History
India after Gandhi
General Studies 1: Indian SocietySocial problems
IAS Mains General Studies 2 BookArihant Manual
General Studies 2: Current IssuesWhat’s Hot Today(ClearIAS ebook)
General Studies 2: Governance Governance in India for CSE
General Studies 2: Foreign Policyi) Pax Indica by Shashi Tharoor
ii) India and the World by Surendra Kumar
IAS Mains General Studies 3 BookArihant Manual
General Studies 3: International Security
i) International Security:A Reader
ii) Challenges to Internal Security of India
General Studies 4: Ethics
i) Lexicon for Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude
ii) IAS Mains General Studies 4- Arihant Manual

Read: UPSC 2020 Calendar, Exam Dates, Schedule.

How to prepare for PRELIMS?

  • You must remember that all the books mentioned above shouldn’t be
    mindlessly read to cover the same topics which you can cover
    from one book to avoid wasting time.
  • Your Current Affairs should be very strong. Keep yourself updated
  • Practice Aptitude/ Logical Reasoning skills related CSAT Questions.
  • Give as many mock tests as you can to get control over the amount of time you write.
  • Facts and Figures are not to be memorized but focus more on the issue
    and parties involved in the event- What and how?
  • Read newspaper not only in print form but also from the OTT platforms where the issues are deeply discussed.

Read: UPSC Prelims 2019 Question Paper Analysis with Detailed Explanation

How to prepare for Mains?

For Modern History

a) Go over the events and find as many links as you can while making
b) Focus more upon the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of a particular event rather
than just stating facts and figures.
c) Read Bipan Chandra thoroughly for the topics are discussed with
various perspectives.

For Art and Culture

a) Try to find out the significance of art and architecture, whether in
the lines of socio-economic, political, or religious grounds.
b) Analyse the question paper to see what kind of questions are being
asked related to Art and Culture.


For Other Subjects

  • Cover International Relations, Governance, Social Justice, and polity using not just books but update yourself with various schemes and policies being changed or created through reliable sources on Internet
  • Read a lot of Editorials, for they expose you various viewpoints that
    allows you to write from any point of view without being biased.
  • Prepare diagrams and flowcharts to improve your answers.
  • Give innovative sub-headings to your essay.
  • Be thorough with various agricultural schemes too. The benefits or
    disadvantages might be asked for which you need to have a well-framed answer with few quotes, statistics and facts.
  • Case studies are your number one priority. Use them in your answers to bring in comparisons.

Read: UPSC 2018 Topper Kanishak Kataria Preparation Strategy

Mistakes you can avoid by doing the following-
  • Read few newspapers like The Hindu and The Indian Express to
    avoid killing too much time.
  • No need of reading the entire ‘India Yearbook’. Rather go over
    important recurring issues that you have come across while
    reading newspaper.
  • You don’t have to read all the NCERT books cover to cover as most
    of them have the same topics. Just find the chapters relevant to
    your syllabus.
  • Don’t spend too much time on your Detailed Application Form.
    Rather spend that precious time going over Mains preparation

Read: Artika Shukla, the girl who Cracked UPSC in Just 8 Months

One Year Study Plan For UPSC

Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance

Keep practicing. Avoid procrastinating. Nurture yourself. You must also keep in mind that a healthy lifestyle can help you be more focused and efficient. How you will do in UPSC might be a big question in your life, but it is never unachievable.
Good Luck!

If you still have an query regarding One Year Study Plan For UPSC, do inform us in the comments section below, we will definitely help you in making your own One Year Study Plan For UPSC Preparation.


  1. Excellent Work dear exactly that is what connecting the dot means.

    Is there any alternative for news paper because reading news paper daily for working people is some how not easy .if any kindly suggest.

  2. Sir, Please tell me the online resources by which we can start preparation for upsc and sure crack the upsc exam by the prefered online resources.

  3. Plz Hume koi btao ki, hum kaise preparation kre upsc IAS ki.. hmne BA hons mass communication and journalism Kiya hai or hum reporting krte hai pr hume upsc IAS ki taiyari krni hai.. prblm yeh h ki hmre ps paise ni Hai or paise k liye hi ab hum reporting chhodna ni chahte Hai, paise kamae taaki preparation kr ske.. kaise time table bnae? Plz hme btao… Math important Hai mains exam mein? Ya math optional Hai?

    • Aap yeh answer upsc ki official website par easily paa sakte ya kahi aurse platforms hai jaise Quora, Upsc (apps from play store) and many more…
      Hope you start for upsc preps and study peaceful!
      All the best!

  4. Hello Sir my self sneha I have completed 2nd puc science (PCMB) I want to prepare for upsc from now itself still I have years to write exam and I have already started my preparation from NCERT u plz guide me how could I cover my preparation with the course biotechnology plzz help me I have an hunger to clear upsc ..plzz


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