Clearing UPSC Civil Services Exam is the dream of millions. Some candidates achieve success in this exam with relative ease while many others toil day and night wondering how to tackle this exam.
Of course, there are many roads to clear IAS. Certain roads are long and risky while certain roads are short and smooth.
Our approach is ‘Prelims cum Mains Integrated Approach To Clear IAS’ – which is fast and easy. We don’t overburden our students. We make learning a pleasant experience.
How should you start IAS preparation?
First of all, you should decide how will you learn for UPSC CSE – whether it will be entirely by self-study, or by taking proper training, or a combination of both.
ClearIAS is a reputed online learning platform trusted by toppers since 2012. You can read testimonials of ClearIAS online students who emerged as UPSC toppers here.
In our experience, we have seen a combination of self-study by aspirants along with the smart-study training of ClearIAS produce great results. This is because proper guidance and the right practice are crucial for success in every field.
Please find the 7-steps we recommend for aspirants to succeed in the UPSC Services Examination. Once you join ClearIAS Online Classroom Program (ClearIAS Classes) you will get detailed guidance and personal mentorship regarding all stages of UPSC preparation.
- Step 1: Join ClearIAS Online Classroom Program (ClearIAS Classes)
- Step 2: Prepare Notes based on ClearIAS Classes
- Step 3: Self-Study (Learn ClearIAS Notes, NCERT Textbooks and Standard Textbooks)
- Step 4: Take ClearIAS Prelims Online Mock Exams
- Step 5: Take ClearIAS Mains Mock Exams. Polish your answer writing skills
- Step 6: Learn Optional Subject
- Step 7: Participate in ClearIAS Interview Program
Prelims cum Mains Integrated Approach To Clear IAS
1st Step (When You Start Preparation – Until Prelims)
Do the right things first, not last!
If you have decided that smart-study and online preparation is your choice for UPSC Civil Service Exam – then the first step you should make is to join ClearIAS Online Classroom Program.
If you selected a plan without Prelims Test Series, join ClearIAS Prelims Online Mock Test Series separately. If you joined the Ultimate Plan of PCM, Test Series is included in it.
As a beginner who does not know what to study and how to study – ClearIAS Timetable can be the best pathfinder.
Also, install ClearIAS Learning App, ClearIAS Test-Prep App, and ClearIAS Classes App. You will get a lot of free study materials and guidance articles from all these apps which will make your preparation quite easy and focused.
We recommend taking ClearIAS Mock Exams right from the beginning. Ideally, you should study what we mention in the timetable for a week, and then take a mock exam on weekends. By adopting this approach, you will never go deviated and will get a quick idea of the UPSC Civil Services Exam requirements.
2nd Step (Until Prelims)
Along with ClearIAS Prelims Test Series, devote at least 2 hours daily for topics that are not covered in the Prelims syllabus but are part of the Mains syllabus. This is because you may not get enough time between Prelims and Mains to cover these.
The below topics should be covered in the below order of priority:
- Optional Subject (There is no optional subject in Prelims!)
- Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude (Entire GS Paper 4)
- Essay Paper (There is no essay in Prelims!)
- International Relations (GS Paper 2)
- Internal Security (GS Paper 3)
- Indian Society (GS Paper 1)
- Disaster Management (GS Paper 3)
- World History (GS Paper 1)
- India Since Independence (GS Paper 1)
Also, make sure you read NCERT Textbooks and Standard Reference books (Eg: Laxmikanth) for the topics mentioned in the Prelims during the period. Last but not least, attempt UPSC Prelims Re-Take exams in a timed environment, to understand the real nature of UPSC questions.
3rd Step (Between Prelims and Mains)
As you have already covered Your Optional Subject, Ethics paper, Essay Paper and many GS Topics by this time – what would be left behind will only be Current Affairs.
Keep revising what you have studied already – GS and Optional Subject. Don’t worry! You are well on track!
Take ClearIAS Mains Mock Exams to polish your answer writing. Yes, that’s enough!
4th Step (Between Prelims and Mains)
Enrol in ClearIAS Interview Program. Get your DAF analysed by ClearIAS Team for individual feedback and probable questions. Take ClearIAS UPSC Mock Interviews.
Yes, that’s the fastest (and shortest) roadmap. All the best!
ClearIAS Resources You Should NOT Miss!
- Beginner’s Guide to Success – A must download ebook (PDF) which would clearly give you a roadmap to crack UPSC Civil Services Exam. It’s FREE to download!
- Free Study Materials: We provide free notes on every subject mentioned in the latest UPSC syllabus. Aspirants are free to share or print ClearIAS study materials for self-use.
- Guidance and Strategies: We regularly write articles to guide aspirants as per the latest requirements of the IAS exam.
- Prelims Mock Exams: Our tests are noted for their quality. ClearIAS prelims mock test platform helps to learn and compete with thousands of aspirants, pan-India and in real-time.
- Mains Mock exams: Learn the art of mains answer writing for FREE!
- Buy UPSC books online: Updated links to buy the recommended IAS books from Amazon or Flipkart at a discounted price.
- IAS Toppers Interview: Straight from the horse’s mouth. Know the strategies of UPSC toppers.
- ClearIAS mobile app: Extend your IAS preparation to tablets and mobiles. You can learn even while you travel.
Prelims cum Mains Study Materials
In this approach, we offer free study materials under two categories.
- Category 1: “Prelims + Mains” – For overlapping topics in Prelims and Mains.
- Category 2: “Mains Only” – For additional topics relevant only for Mains.
UPSC CSE Free Study-Materials – Prelims cum Mains
- Indian History Notes – Prelims+Mains. You may start from History Section Sitemap.
- Geography Notes – Prelims+Mains. You may start from Geography Section Sitemap.
- Economics Notes – Prelims+Mains. You may start from Economics Section Sitemap.
- Indian Polity Notes – Prelims+Mains. You may start from Polity Section Sitemap.
- Environment Notes – Prelims+Mains. You may start from Environment Section Sitemap.
- Science and Tech Notes – Prelims+Mains. You may start from Science and Tech Section Sitemap.
- Current Affairs Notes – Prelims+Mains. You may start from Current Affairs Section Sitemap.
UPSC CSE Free Study-Materials for Mains
- World History Notes – In Mains GS1 Paper
- Indian Society Notes – In Mains GS1 Paper
- Foreign Relations Notes – In Mains GS2 Paper
- International Affairs Notes – In Mains GS2 Paper
- Internal Security Notes – In Mains GS3 Paper
- Disaster Management Notes – In Mains GS3 Paper
- Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude Notes – In Mains GS4 Paper
UPSC Civil Services Mains Exam Paper Wise Notes
Prelims cum Mains Integrated Approach To Clear IAS
Prelims and Mains, though two separate stages of the UPSC Civil Services Exam, are not water-tight compartments.
The Main Exam presents a bigger picture than Prelims as it touches 15+ subjects inside the 4 GS papers – GS1, GS2, GS3 and GS4. It includes many topics prescribed in the Prelims syllabus too.
This raises two questions: Should candidates study mains and prelims separately? Will an approach focused on the Mains stage, automatically let the candidate sail through the Preliminary Stage too?
The answer to these questions lies in understanding the nature of Prelims and Mains questions.
Preliminary stage, since being objective in nature touches the conceptual knowledge on certain traditional subjects like History, Geography, Polity, Economy etc. But mains exam, being a subjective exam, the questions are of analytical nature and often revolve around current issues.
However, without fundamental conceptual knowledge of things around the world, a candidate will not be able to frame a good answer. So building the fundamentals (basics) is the first step in mains too, which very well is in tune with the Prelims requirement.
Building strong fundamentals without putting pressure on aspirants is what ClearIAS.com believes in.
If the fundamentals are strong, students rarely go wrong in Prelims and Mains. We have a unique and simple way of explaining concepts. ClearIAS Team restricts ourselves from creating long posts about each minute topic and keeps exam requirements in focus.
Features of Prelims cum Mains Integrated Approach by ClearIAS.com
- Affordable to all. Many Online Study materials are provided even completely free of charge.
- Focus on fundamental concepts for Prelims and background details of current issues for mains.
- Overlapping areas are coupled together and non-overlapping areas are dealt with separately.
- Guidance for Prelims, Mains and Interview.
- Online Study materials for Prelims, Mains and Interview.
- Mock tests for Prelims and Mains integrate learning with testing.
- Combination of online study materials and offline study materials (UPSC Textbooks and NCERT).
- A detailed list of essential books for each subject as per the latest UPSC syllabus.
- Separate focus on Prelims and Mains during the last 3 months preceding the respective stages.
- Active participation from the student community.
Study materials and guidance provided on this website are in tune with Prelims and Mains Integrated Approach.
We know an approach entirely focused on prelims will not help candidates in the long run. Similarly, an approach concentrated on mains, without building the necessary basics for current affairs related issues of general studies will not help students.
Our approach is developed by incorporating the experience and tips shared by toppers based on their success and mistakes. All the best!