Civil Services

Everything you need to know about UPSC CSE 2022

Preparing for UPSC exams can be a cumbersome and complicated process. Here’s the blog to help you out for Everything you need to know about UPSC CSE 2022.

January 12, 2022

By Tanu Kapoor

Career Expert & Blogger


Preparing for UPSC exams can be a cumbersome and complicated process. Owing to its vast syllabus and different sections on which it assesses the students, it has made its place amongst the toughest exams in India. Conducted for various public administration posts in the Indian government, these government exams aim to evaluate a student’s knowledge of diverse disciplines from Geography and General Awareness to Indian Polity and history. If you are aiming to appear for these competitive exams, here is an exclusive blog on how to prepare for UPSC, from curating the right preparation strategies to gathering the best study materials.

How to Prepare for UPSC?

The Union Public Service Commission is a prime recruiting body that holds the responsibility of conducting recruitment examinations for All India services and group A & group B of Central services. They shortlist the best candidates for the posts under Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS), Indian Police Service (IPS) etc. UPSC exams are conducted in three main successive stages, i.e. Preliminary, Mains as well as Interview.

“Whether you think you can or you can’t, you are right” - Henry Ford. The first and foremost success mantra you need to keep in mind for UPSC exams is to have persistence and perseverance. The below sections elaborate on the best strategies as well as useful resources you must have while exploring the best answer on how to prepare for UPSC.

Meticulous Research

Certainly, gearing up for one of the trickiest competitive exams is a daunting task. To begin on imparting the mantra on how to prepare for UPSC, the most important tip is that you must carry out extensive research on its pattern, syllabus as well as preparation guides. Further, check out the insights from UPSC toppers which will assist you in finding the right track for your preparation. Once you have done your research, the next step is to create a study plan and timeline and making sure to adhere to it throughout your preparatory phase.

Choose Optional Subjects Wisely

Another prominent tips recommended by many IAS toppers on how to prepare for UPSC is the careful selection of optional subjects. There are scores of optional subjects available for these exams which candidates can choose as per their area of interest. While opting for these subjects, make sure that you are familiarised with the discipline you are selecting. Generally, it is advised to select those subjects in which you have done the graduation or have expertise in.

Read a Newspaper Everyday

Staying updated with the current affairs is also a key preparation tip you must have come across. If you are exploring the best preparation strategies on how to prepare for UPSC, reading one newspaper daily is a common one you will find. The most popular one for government exams is the Hindu newspaper which is renowned for its commendable language and writing style as well as analytical editorials. You can also subscribe to its digital edition if you are unable to buy its hardcopy. Some of the other newspapers are Indian Express (Explains series online), Navbharat Times, Dainik Bhaskar, amongst others. Not only will these assist you in comprehending the major current events but will also improve your writing style and vocabulary. The major competitive exam magazines you can subscribe include, India Yearbook, Yojna, Kurukshetra, Civil Service Times etc.

Familiarise Yourself With the Basics of History, Political Science & Geography

NCERT books for UPSC are amongst the recommended study materials for these competitive exams. Make sure to go through the NCERT history books of 11th and 12th to familiarise yourself with the conceptual basics as these are the best exam guides on how to prepare for UPSC. Moreover, you can choose from various books to learn the basics of different disciplines covered in class 6th to 12th and Tamil Nadu Board books, because of their simplicity in language and structure. Since, Political Science, Geography and History form an important aspect of the UPSC syllabus, there are many other preparation guides you can opt for. Check out spectrum books, Bipin Chandra’s India’s struggle for Independence, GC Leong’s Physical Geography, Majid Hussain’s Geography books, Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh and Laxmikanth’s analytical works on Indian Polity.

Practice Mock Test Series

You can find a plethora of previous year question papers and mock test series online curated especially for government exam aspirants. These mock test series will help you understand how self-assessment is an essential aspect you need to inculcate in your study routine to effectively prepare for UPSC. Practice mock tests will assist you in identifying your strengths and weaknesses and comprehending which topics you are good at and the ones you need to work on.

Timely Revision

Until the final exam day, you need to follow a persistent approach towards incorporating timely revision of your notes. Make sure to go through all the important topics and books while preparing for UPSC and don’t forget to take efficient breaks on a timely basis to let your mind retain all you have learned.

UPSC 2022 Mains

The official examination calendar released by the UPSC has notified the date of UPSC 2022 Mains. The CSE Mains is scheduled from 16th September 2022 onwards.

Learn about some important points about this stage of the UPSC exam, mentioned briefly below:

  1. It is a theory-based paper. Therefore, unlike prelims where a candidate has to select the right answer out of the given options (MCQ); in mains examination, one has to write subjective answers.

  2. There are nine papers, out of which two language papers are of qualifying nature.

  3. A candidate has to secure at least 30 percent in Indian language paper and 25 percent in English Language paper, failing which the remaining papers (GS, Essay & Optional) are not evaluated.

  4. Marks scored in the language papers are not considered in the final evaluation.

  5. The candidate has to select one optional subject from the list of 48 subjects listed by the Commission. There are two optional papers. (Please Note- Two Papers are based on the optional subject selected by the candidate).

  6. While language papers are of 300 marks; the remaining seven papers are of 250 marks each.

  7. Once through the Mains syllabus, aspirants can start off with UPSC Mains Answer Writing. Here, we post questions tailored to suit the exam trend. This practice gets you familiar with your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to penning down what you have learnt so far.

UPSC 2022 Interview

  1. The dates of the UPSC 2022 personality test are not out. Only those candidates who will qualify mains examination would be summoned to take UPSC 2022 interview. Usually, the number of candidates who take the personality test is twice the number of vacancies allotted for that year.

UPSC 2022 Eligibility

The Commission releases eligibility criteria for the recruitment year with its official notification. The eligibility criteria include:

  • Eligibility Criteria for General Category

  • Eligibility Criteria for SC/ST

  • Eligibility Criteria for OBC

  • Eligibility Criteria for PwBD

Candidates can also seek age exemption for the examination given they fulfil the required eligibility criteria.

The basic eligibility criteria for UPSC 2022 considering the general category:

  • Minimum age limit – 21

  • Maximum age limit – 32

  • Number of attempts – 6

  • Minimum Educational Qualification – Graduate Degree/Final Year Student

UPSC 2022 Preparation

Candidates must often hear the word ‘integrated preparation’ whenever it comes to UPSC preparation. It means one must prepare for prelims and mains together. As the sources of preparation don’t differ much for both these stages, candidates should opt for a blended strategy encompassing tips and tricks for each.

First, let us name all the important subjects asked in the UPSC Exam:

  1. History – Ancient, Medieval. Modern Indian, World

  2. Indian Polity – Governance, Constitution

  3. Geography – India, World

  4. Economy – Indian Economy

  5. Environment – Ecology

  6. Art & Culture

  7. Science & Technology

  8. Ethics

Each of these subjects can be studied using some very important books, some referred by even IAS toppers every year. Let us go through the list of some of these below:


NCERT Class 6-12

Tamil Nadu State Board Class 11-12

Indian Polity

NCERT Class 11-12

M.Laxmikanth’s Indian Polity


NCERT Class 6-12

BlackSwan Atlas


NCERT Class 12


NCERT Class 12 Chemistry, Biology [Relevant Chapters]

Art & Culture

NCERT Class 11-12

Science & Technology

Class 6-10


The above-mentioned books can be complemented with the following reference books:

  1. Norman Lowe’s Mastering Modern World History

  2. Rajiv Ahir’s Brief History of Modern India

  3. Subhash Kashyap’s Constitution of India

  4. Ramesh Singh’s Indian Economy

  5. G.C. Leong’s Certification Physical and Human Geography

  6. Majid Hussain’s Environment & Ecology

One very important part of the UPSC Exam is Current Affairs. Though there is no dedicated section for this, questions from various subjects are influenced by the events of national and international importance.

Tips to study for UPSC Exam 2022:

  1. Download the UPSC Syllabus and rote learn it. One should get so comfortable with the syllabus that they know which topic comes under which paper after memorizing it completely.

  2. Start with NCERT Books as they form the base of the candidate in any topic. Further, one can use reference books to fill in the gaps.

  3. From the beginning, choose an optional subject with careful analysis and start preparing it. Get the list of optional subjects from the linked article.

  4. Make notes of only those topics that are harder to understand, and keep revising them often. Learn how to make notes for UPSC in the linked article.

  5. Candidates should opt for periodic revisions of the notes they prepare throughout their UPSC journey. The best revision techniques for UPSC are mentioned in the linked article.

  6. Take one good prelims test series and appear for the mock tests religiously. Using these, learn, unlearn and relearn the important facts.

  7. One can start with UPSC Mains test series when they have covered more than 50 percent of their syllabus of each of the subjects.

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