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IAS 2019 Preparation Tips, Important Books and Exam Pattern

Updated On - February 8th 2019

It is never bad to follow certain IAS Preparation Tips to prepare for UPSC Examination. IAS Exam is conducted in two successive stages – UPSC Prelims which is Objective type in nature and UPSC Mains which is both subjective and objective in nature. 

  • UPSC sets certain syllabus of UPSC Prelims. A candidate can prepare properly by following IAS Preparation Tips related to the IAS Exam.
  • A candidate can study the important topics mentioned in the IAS Exam Syllabus and continue his/her preparation in the direction.
  • There are two sets of paper in UPSC Prelims i.e. Paper I and Paper II. Check IAS Exam Pattern
  • UPSC Prelims is taken for the selection of candidates for IAS Mains that comprises of written exam and Interview for the final selection of candidates for the various posts. Check IAS Selection Process

Before reading the IAS preparation tips, candidates must take a look on some recommended books to prepare for IAS 2019 Exam.

Important Books for IAS 2019 Exam

It is very much important for a candidate who appears for IAS 2019 to choose the right and useful IAS Preparation books. It is not important to study a large number of useless books but to read a few but actually useful books that cover all the topics effectively of IAS Syllabus.

Given below is the list of some important IAS Preparation Books along with the names of their author or publication:

Book TitleAuthor/Publication
History Of Modern India (History)Bipan Chandra
India’s Struggle For Independence (History)Bipan Chandra
India’s Ancient Past (History)R.S. Sharma
History Of Medieval India (History)Satish Chandra
A New Look at Modern Indian HistoryBL Grover
The Wonder That Was India (Culture)A.L. Bhasham
Indian Art and Culture (Culture)Nitin Singhania
Our ParliamentSubash Kashyap
Geography of India (Geography)Majid Husain
Oxford School Atlas (Geography)Oxford
Science and TechnologyTMH
CSAT Book Cracking the CSAT Paper-2Arihant
Certificate Physical and Human Geography (Geography)Goh Cheng Leong
Indian Polity for Civil Services Examinations (Polity)M. Laxmikanth
Indian Economy (Economy)Ramesh Singh
Environmental Studies: From Crisis to Cure (Environment)Rajagopalan
A History of Modern WorldRanjan Chakravarti
Environment for Civil Services Prelims and Mains (Environment)Khuller
Facets of Indian CultureSpectrum
Indian ConstitutionPM Bakshi
Verbal & Non-Verbal ReasoningR. S. Aggarwal

IAS 2019 Exam Preparation Tips

IAS Exam is believed to be a very tough government examination in India. Around 97% of total candidates appearing for IAS Exam fail to qualify IAS Prelims Exam which is the first stage of IAS Selection Process

Reasons being a few vacancies are there and another main reason for such poor result is that student lacks the right approach while preparing for the IAS exam. But, if a candidate is serious enough, embraces the right strategies, guidance and study material then even self-study is enough to get through IES Prelims. Given below are some major IAS Preparation Tips which a candidate can follow to score high in IAS Exam:

  1. Mock Test Papers or IAS Question Papers

Mock Papers are an essential part of regular preparations of successful candidates. This is one area which tells apart successful candidates from those who fail to crack UPSC Prelims. By revising the attempted tests you get a chance to identify your mistakes. Writing mock tests not only helps you to revise your IAS Syllabus but also helps to increase your speed to solve the exam in time. There is always a crunch of time in IAS Exam, one has to be very fast in solving questions. Mock test papers help in increasing the speed of mind to make calculations. Download IAS Practice Papers

  1. Right Choice of IAS Books

It is of utmost importance to pick up only recommended books and right study material for IAS Preparation. NCERT books are always highly suggested and are considered as a must-read by experts as well as successful candidates, as they clear up doubts at a fundamental level and help candidates in scoring higher scores at both stages i.e. IAS Prelims and IAS Mains.

Although there are the number of books available for IAS in the market but one needs to select only the best out of them and should prepare for only a few best ones.

  1. GS Paper 1 is the key: Deep study of every subject

Till 2014, scoring high in GS Paper 2 was the easiest way to clear UPSC Prelims. Putting less effort as compared to GS Paper I, aspirants used to score high and clear prelims. But, with changes in the IAS Exam Pattern in 2016 this strategy don’t work anymore. On the basic level, covering every subject of IAS Prelims Exam is the best approach to clear Prelims test. It's not recommended to give priority to any particular book or area thinking that questions will come from that source. Likewise, one must not miss the easy questions from traditional subjects like Polity, History, Geography, History and Economics. Current affairs are also important to prepare as they are definitely asked, other than that latest schemes and bills launched by the government are also valuable.

  1. IAS Prelims cum IAS Mains Approach

Even though the type of questions asked in UPSC Prelims and Mains are different, but there are also many areas where one can find some kind of similarity in the questions. For GS Paper I, an ideal strategy suggests covering GS Mains and Prelims syllabus in detail first that gives the concept clarity about all major topics. Good knowledge of overlapping and non-overlapping areas in the IAS Syllabus of General Studies for Prelims and Mains certainly fetches you more score than others.

  1. Mental Peace is the key

All your efforts and hard work go in vain if you lose your cool on the doom day. It's very much important to read IAS questions carefully and make sure that you do not make silly mistakes. And that can only happen if you are in a relaxed state of mind, otherwise, you gets confused and selects the wrong answer and even takes more time in solving a question then what is actually needed. So, all you need is to keep your calm and stay confident.

  1. Time Management

All you need to do is to manage your time in a way that you can easily cover your decided syllabus and gets proper rest and sleep at the same time. Distribute available time according to the sections you have to cover. One must note that you do not need books or notes on bulk to completely go through but only a limited no. of good books and a deep study of that study material. It is very must important for a student to get proper rest and sleep. Your mind needs break and rest to work on full force again.

IAS 2019 Exam Pattern for UPSC Prelims

  • In UPSC Prelims exam there are 2 compulsory papers namely the General Ability test (GAT) and the Civil Service Aptitude Test (CSAT) to test the analytical skills of the candidates.
  • Each paper is of 200 marks and carries a total of 400 marks.
  • The papers are objective in nature with multiple choice questions.
  • One-third of the marks is deducted for every wrong answer. 
  • Duration of each paper is 2 hours.
  • Blind candidates are allowed extra time of 20 minutes for each paper.
  • The IAS Question Papers are bilingual i.e. they are set in both Hindi and English language.

IAS 2019 Exam Pattern for UPSC Mains

  • There are total 7 papers in the IAS Mains Exam as per the IAS Exam Pattern
  • Each of the seven papers is of 250 marks.
  • There are two optional papers which the candidates would have to select.
  • Paper A is based on essay writing and Paper B includes various topics divided into seven subjects.
  • For paper A, candidate has to choose one of the Indian Language that is included in the 8th Schedule of the Constitution.  
  • While Paper B is of English. Papers A and B of the Indian Language and English, respectively, are of Matriculation or equivalent standard.

Both the papers are of qualifying nature. The marks obtained in the qualifying papers are not counted in the formation of IAS Merit List. The questions in UPSC Mains Exam are set to test a candidate’s general awareness of a variety of subjects, which have relevance for a career in Civil Services. The scope of the IAS Syllabus for optional subject papers (Paper VI and Paper VII) for the exam is broad of the honors degree level. In the case of Engineering, Medical Science and law, the level corresponds to the bachelors’ degree.

*The article might have information for the previous academic years, which will be updated soon subject to the notification issued by the University/College


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1 Comment


18 Jan, 2019 00:20
Sarthak Mahajan

Hi Madhavi, You may please check the eligibility criteria according to the age limit as given below:

  • The lower age limit for IAS Exam 2019 is 21 years as on August 1, 2019, while upper age limit is 32 years.
  • There is upper age relaxation for reserved category candidates, which is as follows:
    1. SC/ST- Upto 5 years
    2. OBC- Upto 3 years
    3. Defence Services Personnel disabled in operations during hostilities- Upto 3 years
    4. Ex-servicemen- Upto 5 years
    5. ECOs/SSCOs who have completed an initial period of assignment of five years of Military Service- Upto 5 years
    6. PwD candidates- Upto 10 years
    7. Domiciles of Jammu and Kashmir from January 1, 1980 to December 31, 1989- Upto 5 years. Check IAS 2019 Eligibility

18 Jan, 2019 10:58

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