Whatsapp 96259-93995 For Details

UPSC exam preparation requires relentless dedication and guidance which are provided by online or offline UPSC coaching classes. Let us tell you everything about the UPSC exam preparation. As school students, take a back seat and go through the entire process of UPSC preparation with us.

Many IAS aspirants who are in school are confused about starting their preparation for the IAS exam. . School students are assumed that they have to study all the subjects for this exam. There is little knowledge about the strategy and approach towards this exam. This article is meant to bust all myths that lead to chaos and confusion about the IAS exam regarding the syllabus, preparation, etc. Also, students will get a clearer picture of what and how to study for the UPSC Civil Services exam.

Get Free IAS Booklet

Get Free IAS Booklet

Table of Contents:-

    1. About UPSC
    2. Understanding the UPSC exam • The three stages
      o Prelims
      o Mains
      o Interview
    3. Role of UPSC coaching for school students
    4. Why school students should join Chahal Academy for UPSC
    5. Syllabus - UPSC coaching for school students
      • PRELIMS
      o General Studies paper I
      o General Studies paper II

      • MAINS
      o Indian Language paper
      o English
      o Essay
      o General Studies-I
      o General Studies-II
      o General Studies-III
      o General Studies-IV
      o Optional Paper I and Paper II

    6. Eligibility Criteria - Important for UPSC preparation
      o Educational Qualification
      o Age Limit
    7. Cut-Off Marks
    8. Strategy - UPSC preparation
      o For Prelims
      o For Mains
    9. UPSC preparation for school students
    10. Booklist for UPSC preparation
      o Prelims
      o Mains

About UPSC?

Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) is the central recruitment body for the vacancies in the All India Services like IAS/IPS/IFS etc and Group A and B of Central Services. UPSC releases notification and invites applications to this examination every year for recruitment into various posts in departments/ministries. So, eligible candidates can apply for this examination online. You can prepare for the UPSC exam either through offline or UPSC online coaching classes. With the help of the best guidance, students have to make sure that they will devote 100% to preparing for the UPSC exam. With a customized strategy and daily study table, school students will be able to cover more than 99% of the syllabus even before they will be ready to sit for their first attempt.

Understanding the UPSC exam:

The UPSC exam tests students' ability to understand the subjects from an all-round view. As school students, you have to realize that the basics of this exam are what you study in school. So the most important thing for you to do is read your school level books with so much clarity that you do not find difficulty in reading advanced books later. A strong foundation of school level books like NCERTs will give an added advantage while preparing for UPSC.

The three stages of UPSC exam:

As school students, you must have come across multiple unit tests, half-yearly exams, and then final exams. Similar is the process of the UPSC exam. The exam is conducted in three phases - The Prelims, Mains, and the Interview. These levels test your analytical ability, awareness, problem-solving ability, and much more. Let us dig deeper!


This is the first stage of the UPSC exam. The Prelims exam consists of 2 papers - General Studies I and General Studies II (CSAT). The first paper is based on a general understanding of various subjects and current affairs. The second paper is based on problem-solving and analytical abilities. The duration of the exam is 2 hours and each of the papers is 200 marks each. The two papers have negative marking for every wrong answer. 1/3rd of the marks allotted to the question will be deducted for every wrong answer.

Paper Type Duration Total questions Marks
General Studies - I Objective 2 hours 100 2*100 = 200
General Studies - II(CSAT) Objective 2 hours 80 2.5*80 = 200

NOTE: The marks of paper I is counted for merit i.e. to check your eligibility for the Mains exam. On the other hands, paper II is qualifying in nature only which means these marks will not be counted for merit. you have to score atleast 33% to clear paper II.


The Mains exam is the second stage of the UPSC exam. This is a subjective type of paper and you must understand that this paper has a completely different approach than the Prelims paper. It covers almost all the subjects that have been covered in the Prelims and even more. So students! It is very important that you understand the Mains exam pattern to be able to realize the extent and scope of this paper.

The Mains exam has a total of 9 papers -

  1. Paper A and Paper B are qualifying in nature.
  2. Paper I to Paper V are based on various subjects
  3. Paper VI and VII are Optional subject papers (You have to choose any one of the 26 optional subjects provided by the UPSC. Also, there are 23 literature subjects that you can choose from which come under the domain of Literature).

Let us understand the pattern better with the help of a table :

Paper Subject Nature Duration Marks
Paper A One of the Indian languages Qualifying 3 hours 300
Paper B English Qualifying 3 hours 300
Paper I Essay Counted for merit 3 hours 250
Paper II General Studies - I Counted for merit 3 hours 250
Paper III General Studies - II Counted for merit 3 hours 250
Paper IV General Studies - III Counted for merit 3 hours 250
Paper V General Studies - IV Counted for merit 3 hours 250
Paper VI Optional Paper I Counted for merit 3 hours 250
Paper VII Optional Paper II Counted for merit 3 hours 250

The Interview:-

The Interview is of 275 marks. This is the final stage of the UPSC exam. You do not need to score any minimum marks to qualify this stage but always aim to score high as it will affect your score and thus your ranking. UPSC experts expect that you will have sound knowledge about current issues, presence of mind, and the honesty to say that you do not know the answer to a specific question during the interview.

Role of UPSC coaching for school students

Coaching plays an important role in the preparation for Civil Service Exams. Furthermore, coaching acts as a catalyst in the preparation process and increases the chances of success. In addition to increasing chances, coaching can reduce the workload of the candidate by guiding the student to study what is exactly needed. Coaching also provides an overview of the examination pattern and changing dynamics of the exam. However, it is to be noted that UPSC coaching is not a guarantee of your success. It will provide an environment for overall development which is essential for success in any exam.

As school students, you will naturally be confused regarding the nature of the exam as well as the approach towards the UPSC exam. UPSC coaching for school students will help students start with the preparation on the right foot.

Why school students should join Chahal Academy for UPSC?

Chahal Academy is a one-stop solution to all your queries in the field of Civil services. Along with a quality faculty team, we also ensure that high-quality study material is provided and students do not have to hustle for collecting the same. Candidates can rely on Chahal Academy for their UPSC exam preparation as this academy provides facilities for the overall development of candidates through a learning environment.


Chahal Academy also provides a Specialized and Best UPSC Online Course which includes –

  • 400+ hours of UPSC Complete Foundation Course lecture series. This course includes detailed Topic-wise Coverage of the UPSC Syllabus. This course is taught by the most reliable, and senior faculty and subject matter experts supported by a dynamic and up-to-date content team. You also get personal attention from the mentors in case of difficulty.
  • We have designed our 3 years foundation course and lifetime foundation courses, especially for school students.
  • 24 x 7 availability of best quality UPSC video lectures- watch from the comfort of any of your devices. It includes specialized & Digitized Classes focused on building concept-based teaching to strengthen the base of Students. Technological support and Feedback are provided by Subject Matter Experts.
  • You can choose to learn according to your time and place.
  • This course is available at the Super Affordable fee structure.
  • Regular tests are conducted to improve accuracy and time management.
  • Complete study material is available in soft copy which covers static as well as updated daily & monthly Current Affairs.

The importance of an online course for school students is that you will be able to attend these classes at any time without any pressure. It is understood that you will be occupied with classwork, tests, extracurricular activities, etc. But, it doesn't mean that you cannot start your UPSC preparation. Also, you do not have to start with heavy and vigorous preparation. Chahal Academy will consider all your activities and studies and incorporate the coaching time table accordingly so you can have a systematic growth at school as well as at coaching.

Syllabus for the UPSC exam

As school students, you must always begin by understanding the syllabus before you think of starting your UPSC preparation. You might get advised by many people on how to start with UPSC while you are still at school. But, the only and sure-shot way is to start with the syllabus. Following it, you will never go wrong! Let us look into what UPSC has in store for the students for the Prelims paper -


General Studies Paper I

  • Current events of national and international importance.
  • History of India and Indian National Movement.
  • Indian and World Geography-Physical, Social, Economic Geography of India and the World.
  • Indian Polity and Governance-Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc.
  • Economic and Social Development-Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector Initiatives, etc.
  • General issues on Environmental ecology, Bio-diversity, and Climate Change - that do not require subject specialization. General Science.

General Studies Paper II

  • Comprehension;
  • Interpersonal skills including communication skills;
  • Logical reasoning and analytical ability;
  • Decision making and problem solving;
  • General mental ability;
  • Basic numeracy (numbers and their relations, orders of magnitude, etc.) (Class X level), Data interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency etc. — Class X level);

Students must appear in both the Papers of Civil Services (Prelim) Examination for evaluation. Therefore a candidate will be disqualified in case he/she does not appear in both the papers of the Prelims exam.

Book your Free Class

Book your Free Class



Indian Language Paper

  • Comprehension of given passages.
  • Précis Writing.
  • Usage and Vocabulary.
  • Short Essays.
  • Translation from English to the Indian Language and vice-versa.

  • Comprehension of given passages.
  • Précis Writing.
  • Usage and Vocabulary.
  • Short Essays.

There is no specific syllabus for this paper. You will be asked to write about any trending/relevant topics of importance. You must keep in mind the demand of the question and stick to relevant details of the same. Try to write things in an orderly manner and do not write about facts/data that you are not sure of i.e. only include pointers that you are sure of.

General Studies-I
Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society

General Studies-II
Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations

General Studies-III
Technology, Economic Development, Biodiversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management

General Studies-IV
Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude

Optional Paper I and Paper II
Candidate may choose any optional subject from amongst the List of Optional Subjects:
  1. Psychology
  2. Public Administration
  3. Sociology
  4. Statistics
  5. Zoology
  6. Management
  7. Mathematics
  8. Medical Science
  9. Philosophy
  10. Physics
  11. Geology
  12. History
  13. Law
  14. Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science
  15. Mechanical Engineering
  16. Political Science and International relations
  17. Anthropology
  18. Civil Engineering
  19. Chemistry
  20. Botany
  21. Commerce & Accountancy
  22. Electrical Engineering
  23. Geography
  24. Agriculture
  25. Economics

Literature of any one of the following:
Telugu, Urdu, English, Gujarati, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Odia, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, and Konkani.



  • The interview is of 275 marks. It is a viva type Q & A type series where questions pertaining to current affairs and educational background are being asked from candidates.
  • The Viva-voce tests the personality of the candidates. You will be asked about general events in and around the world. The interview panel tests your presence of mind and alertness. You do not have to be very intelligent or very smart. You must have an idea of your surrounding and a sensible approach to it. You can choose to either speak in English or Hindi.

Eligibility Criteria – Important for UPSC preparation

You have to fulfill certain criteria to be able to sit in the UPSC examination. I have mentioned down important criteria required for appearing in the UPSC exam.

Educational Qualification

  • Candidates must have a Batchelor degree or equivalent to it from any recognized Central/State?private university
  • Candidates in the last year of graduation can also sit in the exam.

Age Limit

  • The candidate should be at least 21 years and not more than 32 years of age to be able to sit for the UPSC exam. However, there are other relaxations for different categories like SC/ST/PWD/OBC, etc.

Cut-Off Marks

Results of Prelims Examination of 2020 of Civil Services exam were announced in which:

  • For the General category, the cutoff for prelims was: 92.51 marks.(98.00 in 2019)
  • For the EWS category, the cutoff for prelims was: 77.55 marks.(90.00 in 2019)
  • For the OBC category, the cutoff for prelims was: 89.12 marks.(95.34 in 2019 )
  • For the SC category, the cutoff for prelims was: 74.84 marks.(82.00 in 2019)
  • For the ST category, the cutoff for prelims was:68.71 marks(77.34 in 2019)

Strategy - UPSC preparation

For Prelims:-

  • You have to focus on the basics for the UPSC Prelims. So, read the syllabus thoroughly. Then, go through the Previous Year Question papers and understand what the exam demands. The syllabus and Questions papers will help you to decide what to study and what to omit.
  • Newspaper - Given the time devoted to school, reading the newspaper daily might be a hectic task for school students g but you can follow at least one or two editorials daily during your school time. You can follow Chahal academy's daily newspaper analysis to have a grip on current developments.
  • For that, you can follow the given link- Daily Current Affairs

  • NCERTs - These are government authorized books and form the basis of your exam preparation. You have to read these books properly to understand advanced level books. If you have read these books before, a speed reading will also do. Do not skip these under any circumstances.
  • Read fewer books - Prepare a proper booklist for your preparation. Do not read every book that is available for a particular subject. Pick the best ones and revise those books again and again. Although you can supplement those readings. Follow the principle of Reading minimum and Revise Maximum!
  • Notes - Don't make a note in your first reading because, during that, you will feel that every topic is important and might result in making bulky notes. Keep your notes very short and precise. As you finish one chapter or topic, prepare notes. It will take you a long way till the final day of your exams.
  • Revision is the key - The inevitable step is revision. Revise as much as you can. And practice answer writing from the first day itself. You will be way ahead in the competition.
  • Mock tests - Appear for multiple mock tests to polish your knowledge. Regular mock tests will train your brain to get prepared for the final day. The Prelims stage is the first most important stage because it will help you move into the Mains stage. So, keep practicing by appearing for mock tests. Further, mock tests will train your brain to acquire the technique of answering by elimination method as well.

For Mains:-
  • Newspaper -Again, it is advised that you can follow Chahal academy's daily newspaper analysis to have a grip on current developments from the mains' point of view.
  • NCERTs - Read these books to form a strong background of the subjects.
  • Government Websites - Supplement your studies with material from government websites like Policy Research Studies, Yojana, UPSC , etc. The material on these websites is 100% correct.
  • Keep a precise booklist - Prepare a proper booklist for your preparation. Do not read every book that is available for a particular subject. Pick the best ones and revise those books again and again. Although you can supplement those reading. Follow the principle of Reading minimum and Revise Maximum!
  • Notes - Prepare comprehensive notes. It means that you must prepare Prelims and Mains notes together. This will help you to prepare for both the stages from an early stage.
  • Mock tests - Practice lots of answer writing. You will be able to develop speed and answer writing skills.
  • Revision is the key - The inevitable step is revision. Revise as much as you can. You will be way ahead in the competition.

Strategy - UPSC preparation

The above strategy is a basic procedure for UPSC preparation. But for school students, we divide and disperse the same into different components so it can be incorporated along with your school studies. As a school goer and beginner, you may start with the following -

  1. Develop a habit of reading/listening to the news with someone elder who can explain to you what exactly has been said or written. You will notice that with time, you can grasp the news without any help and can finish the news in very little time. Soon, newspapers will become a daily activity of your life and you will even enjoy being updated. The first strategy is to develop a reading habit and nothing beats a fresh morning with the daily newspaper.
  2. As you are already in school, you will be able to grasp the contents of the NCERTs real quick. You must pick out the topics of your school syllabus with the UPSC syllabus and first finish those off. You can finish them at the school's pace. You will not feel the additional pressure of reading anything extra. for the remaining topics, you can cover them during the holidays or after your finals - whichever suits you. Along with NCERTs, go through previou's year question papers so you know what you have to read and what UPSC wants you to read.
  3. Along with studies, make sure you make notes which will help you in revising them for your school as well as the UPSC exam. This is the biggest secret to master the art of utilizing time!
  4. If you feel that you have mastered the above three-pointers, you may proceed with the rest of the strategy like advanced books, mock tests, magazines, government websites, etc. Remember that your academics are important too! So do not over-indulge in the UPSC preparation because you do not want to hamper your academic performance. Since you are still in school, you have a long way to go till you sit for your first attempt! So, focus on gradual progress and you will be able to cover everything multiple times.
  5. Above all, apart from studies, you should also prioritize time for your personal development through extracurricular activities, pursue your hobbies, spend time with your family/friends, etc. Remember! this is your golden time and you have to live every moment of it. UPSC never expects a monk for civil services but a lively sensitive human being to serve the country.

Booklist for UPSC preparation



  • Indian Art & Culture by Nitin Singhania
  • NCERT-An Introduction to Indian Art for Class 11

  • A Brief History of Modern India-Spectrum by Rajiv Ahir
  • NCERT-Our Past - History - Class 6
  • NCERT-Our Past II - History For Class 7
  • NCERT-Our Past III Part I - History For Class 8
  • NCERT-Our Past III Part II - History For Class 8
  • NCERT-Themes in Indian History Part I For Class 12
  • NCERT-Themes in Indian History Part II For Class 12
  • NCERT-Themes in Indian History Part III For Class 12

  • NCERT-The Earth Our Habitat - Geography - Class 6
  • NCERT-Our Environment - Geography For Class 7
  • NCERT-Resource & Development - Geography For Class 8
  • NCERT-Fundamentals of Physical Geography For Class 11
  • NCERT-Fundamentals of Human Geography For Class 12
  • NCERT-India Physical Environment For Class 11
  • NCERT-India People and Economy For Class 12
  • Certificate Physical and Human Geography By Goh Cheng Leong
  • Orient Blackswan School Atlas

  • Current Affairs Sources
  • Class Notes

  • NCERT – Social and Political Life – Class 6
  • NCERT – Social and Political Life II For Class 7
  • NCERT – Social and Political Life For Class 8
  • NCERT – Indian Constitution At Work For Class 11
  • Indian Polity By Laxmikant

  • Chahal Academy Comprehensive Economy Booklet
  • NCERT - Economics For Class 9
  • NCERT - Understanding Economic Development - Economics for Class 10
  • NCERT - Indian Economic Development For Class 11
  • NCERT - Macroeconomics For Class 12

  • Current Affairs Sources


You can read the same books for Prelims and Mains from NCERTs. There are advanced books that you need to study once you finish the NCERTs. At school, it is more than sufficient to finish the NCERTs, develop newspaper reading and sit for mock tests to get an idea of the exam pattern and approach of UPSC.

If you wish to get the full details of other advanced books for Prelims and Mains,visit this page on our official site. At last, you must have faith in yourself and prepare for this battle by working hard and smart by making a good strategy. This examination is not about how hard you have worked, rather it is about how smartly you have worked. We wish you Good luck!! You can visit the official website of UPSC for further details.