Toppers Talk: Secrets to Ace the UPSC Exam

Written By
Insight IAS, Delhi
Written By
Insight IAS, Delhi

Toppers Talk Secrets to Ace the UPSC Exam

Welcome to our latest blog post on 'Toppers Talk: Secrets to Ace the UPSC Exam'. If you are someone who dreams of serving the nation, then you are probably no stranger to the rigorous and highly competitive UPSC exam. This examination, often considered the holy grail of all civil service exams, has become an epitome of determination, persistence, and hard work. But what separates the toppers from the rest of the aspirants? What are the secrets they hold within their journey to success? Today, we will unravel the hidden gems that have propelled previous UPSC toppers to achieve their dreams and secure top ranks. Whether you are an aspiring civil servant or simply curious to know what it takes to conquer this mountainous task, join us in discovering the tried and tested strategies that will bring you one step closer to acing the UPSC exam.

The examination is conducted in three stages - prelims, mains, and interview - and requires extensive preparation. While cracking the UPSC examination can be a daunting task, with proper preparation and guidance, it is achievable. In this blog, we will look at the success stories and tips from UPSC toppers, providing comprehensive guidance for UPSC preparation.

What is UPSC?

The UPSC is India's eminent recruitment agency that conducts the toughest yet the most prestigious examination in India, the Civil Services Examination (CSE). UPSC is responsible for recruiting officers to various Government services such as the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS), Indian Forest Service (IFS), and many others.

Overview of UPSC Examination

The UPSC examination is conducted in three stages: Preliminary, Main, and the Interview. The preliminary exam consists of two objective-type papers of 200 marks each. The candidates who qualify for the prelims examination are eligible for the mains examination, which comprises nine subjective-type papers. The interview stage requires candidates to appear before the UPSC panel to test their personality and communication skills.

UPSC Exam Pattern

The UPSC examination pattern is as follows:

  • Stage 1: Preliminary Examination
    • General Studies Paper I: Objective Type (200 Marks)
    • General Studies Paper II: Aptitude Test (200 Marks)
  • Stage 2: Mains Examination
    • Paper A: Indian Language (300 Marks)
    • Paper B: English Language (300 Marks)
    • Paper I: Essay (250 Marks)
    • Paper II: General Studies I (250 Marks)
    • Paper III: General Studies II (250 Marks)
    • Paper IV: General Studies III (250 Marks)
    • Paper V: General Studies IV (250 Marks)
    • Paper VI: Optional Subject - Paper 1 (250 Marks)
    • Paper VII: Optional Subject - Paper 2 (250 Marks)
  • Stage 3: Interview
    • Personality Test (275 Marks)

UPSC Preparation Strategy

The first step in preparing for the UPSC examination is to analyze the syllabus and create a study plan accordingly. It is crucial to understand the weightage of each paper and topic to determine the amount of time and effort needed to be dedicated to it.

Planning for Preparation

Planning is an integral part of preparation. It is essential to create a study schedule that allows enough time for each subject, including revision and practice tests. Consistency is key when preparing for the UPSC examination, and a well-planned schedule can help aspirants stay on track.

Study Materials and Resources

Good study materials and resources are crucial in preparing for the UPSC examination. Candidates should refer to standard books and material, newspapers, previous year papers, and online resources to enhance their knowledge and understanding of the subject.

"Success in the UPSC exam is not just about hard work, it's about smart work too. Learn the secrets to ace the exam and achieve your dreams!"

General Tips from Toppers

It is natural to make mistakes when preparing for the UPSC exam, but it is essential to learn from them and avoid repeating them. Some common mistakes that aspirants should avoid include insufficient revision, neglecting current affairs, lack of confidence, and poor time management.

Time Management Tips

Time management is crucial in the UPSC examination. Candidates should learn to prioritize topics based on their importance and allocate sufficient time for each. Regular revision and practice tests can help aspirants manage their time effectively during the examination.

Importance of Mock Tests

Mock tests are a vital part of UPSC preparation. They can help aspirants assess their current level of preparation and identify areas that need improvement. It is essential to attempt as many mock tests as possible and analyze the results to improve performance.

Success Mantras from UPSC Toppers

Positivity is key to success in the UPSC exam. Staying positive and focusing on the end goal can help aspirants stay motivated and overcome challenging situations during the preparation process.

Staying Motivated Throughout the Preparation

UPSC preparation can be a long and gruelling journey, which makes staying motivated crucial. Aspirants should set achievable goals, celebrate small milestones, and focus on the end goal to stay motivated throughout the preparation process.

Inculcating Healthy Habits

UPSC preparation can take a toll on aspirants' mental and physical health. Therefore, it is essential to inculcate healthy habits such as meditation, exercise, and healthy eating to ensure overall well-being and better concentration during preparation.

Toppers Tips for acing the different stages of the UPSC

Acing the UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) exam requires thorough preparation, strategic planning, and dedication. The UPSC exam consists of three stages: Preliminary Examination (Prelims), Main Examination (Mains), and Interview. Here are some tips for each stage:

1. Preliminary Examination (Prelims):

a. Understand the Syllabus: Acquaint yourself with the UPSC syllabus. Focus on topics that are explicitly mentioned and align your preparation accordingly.
b. Reading Material: Read NCERT books for basics and then move on to standard reference books for in-depth knowledge. Read newspapers like The Hindu and magazines like Yojana for current affairs.
c. Practice Mock Tests: Take mock tests regularly to improve your time management skills and identify weak areas. Analyze your mistakes and work on them.
d. Current Affairs: Stay updated with current affairs related to national and international events, politics, economics, etc. Make notes of important events and revise them frequently.
e. Revision: Revision is crucial. Revise your notes and important topics regularly to reinforce your memory.

2. Main Examination (Mains):

a. Answer Writing Practice: Practice answer writing regularly. Work on structuring your answers and presenting your arguments logically. Write answers in a clear, concise, and coherent manner.
b. Optional Subject: Choose your optional subject wisely. It should be a subject you are comfortable with and have a genuine interest in. Master your optional subject through in-depth study.
c. Essay Writing: Practice essay writing on various topics. Work on your writing style, coherence, and presentation. Develop a habit of critically analyzing topics from various angles.
d. Time Management: Manage your time effectively during the exam. Allocate specific time to each question and stick to the schedule.

3. Interview:

a. Diverse Knowledge: Be well-informed about your surroundings, current events, and your hobbies/interests mentioned in your application. Prepare for questions related to your optional subject.
b. Confidence and Clarity: Be confident and maintain composure during the interview. Practice mock interviews to get accustomed to the interview environment.
c. Communication Skills: Work on your communication skills. Practice speaking clearly and coherently. Be polite and respectful while answering the board's questions.
d. Body Language: Pay attention to your body language. Maintain eye contact, sit upright, and be attentive. Practice mock interviews in front of a mirror or with friends to improve your body language.

Facing UPSC Interview

The UPSC interview tests a candidate's personality, communication skills, and knowledge about current affairs. Aspirants should prepare for the interview by staying updated with current affairs, practicing communication skills, and developing a positive attitude.

Common Questions Asked in the UPSC Interview

Some common questions asked in the UPSC interview include personal questions, questions about the candidate's hobbies and interests, current affairs, and socio-economic issues. Aspirants should prepare to answer these questions confidently and clearly.

Experience of UPSC Toppers During Their Interviews

UPSC toppers often share their experiences and insights into the interview process. They stress the importance of being relaxed, confident, and honest in their answers. It is crucial to develop rapport with the interviewer and answer their questions with clarity and conviction.


Cracking the UPSC examination requires dedication, hard work, and guidance. In this blog, we explored the success stories and tips from UPSC toppers, providing comprehensive guidance for UPSC preparation. By following these tips and guidelines, aspirants can crack the UPSC examination and achieve their dream of serving the nation.