[seeking advice] - How to prepare for UPSC 2021 at home as a beginner? - ForumIAS

[seeking advice] - How to prepare for UPSC 2021 at home as a beginner?

I'm a 2019 batch law graduate who wants to start preparing for UPSC 2021 from my hometown. I do not want to come to Delhi (that is when normalcy returns to our lives) as I suffer from certain mental health conditions which can be best managed when I'm with family.


I'm a little lost rn as there are tons of topper strategies available online and tbh, all that information is daunting and overwhelming. I've been trying to navigate through all of that and come up with a strategy and a daily study schedule. Any suggestions from veterans in this regard will be genuinely appreciated. I would like to know -
1. Where to start from?
2. Minimum number of hours to invest daily.
3. Other sources to refer to apart from NCERTS and books mentioned in every topper's strategy.
4. A rough timeline which can help me complete the syllabus if I start from June 2020.
5. How to incorporate multiple revisions of the vast syllabus?
6. Is it wise to go all in for Prelims while devoting 2 hours for Optional - PSIR daily till Prelims exam?
7. Mocks to be solved three months before the Prelims or 1-2 every week to test your preparation?
8. Does not being in Delhi put an aspirant at a considerable disadvantage in terms of access to material and guidance? Could you enlist the pros and cons of the same?
9. How to cover current affairs (without going overboard with the sources)?
10. Any other tip(s) or words of wisdom that you've learnt from your journey. Thank you :)

Neyawn,faildomand4 otherslike this
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24 comments

Take some Test Series from forum or vision. Otherwise, you will end up wasting time. And post daily targets here! That is the best way to begin.
gameofthrones,GreenArrow
4.5k views

1. Start from NCERT.

2. 6-8 hours daily (or 40-50 hours per week)

3. Geography: only NCERT class 11-12

 Ancient & Medieval history: TN board books

 Modern history: spectrum

 Economics: any coaching notes (popular one is Sriram IAS)

Env: Shankar IAS

 polity: Lakshmikant

4. Persistence is the only key.

5. By keeping sources limited.

6. No idea

 7. Any strategy will do. But don’t compare your marks with others. Try to maximise your individual score.

8. No. 

Pros of being in Delhi: Competitive environment, disciplined routine, attempting tests in exam like condition etc.

Cons of being in Delhi: difficult to adjust, hygiene problem, every body is in aimless race etc.

 If you are disciplined at your home, and take help of this forum, then you are at advantageous position. 

9. Any one daily or monthly or yearly magazine. Newspaper everyday. Don’t make notes from newspapers. You’ll realise at the end that all your efforts were futile, because coaching materials will be better than yours. Only look for ideas in Newspaper. For example: Sustainable development (in environment), Cooperative federalism (in polity), etc.

10. Don’t strive for perfection. But cover every topic of your syllabus.

At last, an experiment done to show that “Perfection is a myth “.


sonder,GaryVeeand11 otherslike this
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@Naadan_Parinda Thank you so much for taking time out to write this and for sharing the experiment about 'perfection'. It has opened up my eyes about wanting to have a 'perfect strategy' before starting my preparation. I think I will have to make my own mistakes in the course of this preparation and learn from them. Thanks a lot :)


4.3k views
@gameofthrones welcome. All the best.
gameofthrones,
4.6k views
@goldberry Thank you, I will join a test series to keep me occupied and build my preparation around it. 


4.3k views
@Naadan_Parinda Thank you so much for taking time out to write this and for sharing the experiment about 'perfection'. It has opened up my eyes about wanting to have a 'perfect strategy' before starting my preparation. I think I will have to make my own mistakes in the course of this preparation and learn from them. Thanks a lot :)


Yep, and the forum is here to help you. Its okay to make mistakes. Its not okay to learn from them.

gameofthrones,Nomadic_mahn15
4.6k views

Trying to answer again

1. Where to start from? 

Start by reading the Hindu editorial. Not the news. Not every news is important. You will get Vision magazine that will help you sum up monthly CA. dont waste time on every news item. That is one big mistake people make. From editorials, pick up good articles and just focus on that. If something is important, they will make an editorial out of it.

You can go thorugh Our Constitution NCERT for Polity, but would not say to go for all NCERTs. See the basic problem is that there are so many NCERTs that you will run out of enthu by the time you do them. And they are not essential. I have not done NCERTs , but have cleared prelims 3 times. In the end for prelims, you have to rato and do laxmikant, shankar for env, eco - ramesh singh or sriram's notes - geography - 11th and 12th ncert and so on. So doing 6th to 10th ncert will take your two months away. You will realise that you cant answer any question of prelims also and you have wasted 2 months. 




2. Minimum number of hours to invest daily. 

If you are preparaing full time then go for 6-8 hours of study. try to do it. Take one day break. Usually after Sunday test or something.



3. Other sources to refer to apart from NCERTS and books mentioned in every topper's strategy.

I will strictly say that take up some test series and follow it otherwise reading NCERTs without a deadline will mean 2-3 months gone and no progress. the books for prelims are standard as i have mentioned above. For Mains, do the sources mentioned in test series.



4. A rough timeline which can help me complete the syllabus if I start from June 2020. 

Follow vajiram + forum mix broad plan - like doing most of Mains specific topics first, inlcuidng optional from june -oct and then go for prelims focus from december. One thing i have learnt in these year is that most people prepare for prelims betwen june - septmber and prepare for mains from oct to feb - and then are not able to give prelims enough time. you can read this article , which very well talks about exam calendar, follow it to the T

https://blog.forumias.com/two-cents-how-to-clear-civil-services-with-a-top-rank-and-avoid-exhausting-attempts/



5. How to incorporate multiple revisions of the vast syllabus? 

Try to finish basic books in 1-2 months. Follow test series plan for doing it, or your first revision itself will last 6 months



6. Is it wise to go all in for Prelims while devoting 2 hours for Optional - PSIR daily till Prelims exam? 

For Pol Science, take Shubhra ma'am notes. Write it in own handwriting. In college most of us think that we will read once and get through, but we cant. You should have notes in your own handwriting. And dont do prelims right now in my opinion. People prepare for prelims 3 years and cant clear it, because when actual prelims comes, most of my roommates join some mains test series. Even I used to do this. Go for GS Mains and Optional. Make notes in own handwriting. 



7. Mocks to be solved three months before the Prelims or 1-2 every week to test your preparation? 

Do it around 4 months before prelims. Not right now. Dont try to do prelims and mains and optional at the same time. you will be frutsrtaed. And in the end you will end up doing nothing. Personal experience. 

8. Does not being in Delhi put an aspirant at a considerable disadvantage in terms of access to material and guidance?

Delhi is a myth= but yes you get mahaul, you have friends who are preparing, there is this whole student crowd, if you like that you go for delhi. Otherwise, most of us who prepared in delhi study from online only. I was in Delhi last year but did my mains test series and classes in online mode only. 


Could you enlist the pros and cons of the same?

Mentioned above.

 9. How to cover current affairs (without going overboard with the sources)? 

Most people follow Vision magazine, Factly for Forum. Some people also do Insights daily CA. But after 1-2 attempts you will realise that best is to make a list of issues for mains and preoare them once and not spend 2 hours everyday reading about it. Like for example, on covid you will have only 1-2 questions, so it is better to read one final issue rather than daily updates. 

You can check forum's online current affairs classes. They are the best in the market right now.



10. Any other tip(s) or words of wisdom that you've learnt from your journey. Thank you 

We are still learning. Unless selection happens , no wisdom can be assumed!


Happy Studying !! :)


Neyawn,sonderand11 otherslike this
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@goldberry Reading this was like getting an insider view of what really goes on during prep. I am so grateful for this. It was really nice of you to take time out and answer it. :)  


4.2k views

I have been in prep for 4 years now. I will also recommend that by doing self study, it is very difficult to cover the syllabus on time. All the toppers you see, they have taken classes in some place or other. After selection, they will say they didn't take coaching and did self study. My sister cleared IRS last to last year, I met a lot of her batch mates, and I knew them since my first attempt. But after selection, they all said no coaching and self study. Self study is what will get you selected, but classes help in making basic notes. 


Also, all coaching people and others will tell you that in one attempt you can clear this, but now that it takes at least 2 years to prepare well for the exam for 99% of the people who got selected. Even first time selected people like Tina Dabi and this year's Rank 1 they had been preparing for a few years before actually writing exam. So take toppers as well coaching words with caution. Be willing to give 2 years to preparation. Dont be disappointed by early failure. 

Neyawn,Naadan_Parindaand6 otherslike this
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I would suggest that as you are going for 2021 attempt, the very first thing  you should do is to spend the first week of your preparation by rote-learning the GS and optional syllabus and carefully read the past 15-20 years PYQs of prelims, Mains and optional several times.


This is my second year of preparation. I got to know about the importance/relevance of having a rough idea of syllabus continuously at the back of mind  a bit late. I wasted the initial 6-8 months of my preparation by reading everything that came in front of my eyes. I’m still learning the art of sticking to the syllabus only and this thing really helps a lot. UPSC syllabus is like an ocean, you won’t be able to cross it by swimming blindly. In order to sail through, you need to devise a sound strategy and this can only be done once you are adequately/sufficiently acquainted with the syllabus and demand of the examination.

I am sharing a link with you. This link contains some guidance kind of thing specially for freshers who are planning for 2021 attempt. The pdf also contains a very detailed and comprehensive division of the entire GS syllabus,for  both pre and mains. This is the most comprehensively divided UPSC syllabus that I have come across so far. Check it by yourself and you’ll get what I’m trying to say.


All the best.

Study hard and stay safe!


Link to the guide:-https://www.edenias.com/upsc-2021-syllabus-for-prelims-and-mains/

Neyawn,GaryVeeand2 otherslike this
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@TheNotorious I went through the document and it is wonderful, thank you so much for sharing it :)


TheNotorious,
4.8k views
@gameofthrones Valar Dohaeris!


gameofthrones,
4.5k views
@gameofthrones Valar Dohaeris!


??

It's a fictional valyrian language used in Game of Thrones, which means "All men must serve"

gameofthrones,DearDabanggand1 otherslike this
4.3k views
@gameofthrones Valar Dohaeris!


??

It's a fictional valyrian language used in Game of Thrones, which means "All men must serve"

Kirimvose!

3.7k views
@gameofthrones Valar Dohaeris!


??

It's a fictional valyrian language used in Game of Thrones, which means "All men must serve"

Kirimvose!

Thank you. Is this also the same thing?

3.5k views
@gameofthrones Valar Dohaeris!


??

It's a fictional valyrian language used in Game of Thrones, which means "All men must serve"

Kirimvose!

Thank you. Is this also the same thing?

Kessa!

4.4k views
Hi guys, I am studying in 2nd year graduation and preparing from home for cse 2022. How do I start preparing  for economics(GS) and geography (GS) especially maps?
4k views
Sorry for mildly hijacking this thread. What's the normal price of an A4 500 sheets in Karolbagh and also of a ring binder? TIA
3.1k views
@goldberry I read someone congratulating you on the other thread. 

Your last line in the answer was"We are still learning. Unless selection happens , no wisdom can be assumed!"

I think now all of us reading this thread can count on your words of wisdom. Congratulations :D  


3.2k views
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