How to study like a UPSC Topper

Do you often find yourself stuck with just one book for far too long or taking perhaps 4 hours to finish The Hindu Newspaper? Here are some tips to make your preparation – effective, efficient and as result-focused as a topper’s.

  1. Divide your goal into micro goals

 Even mothers employ this technique in feeding their child a bowl of vegetables, setting a target for every one-fourth portion till the entire bowl is over.

This strategy works so well because when goals are split and made tiny, initial reluctance to take on a big task is drastically reduced. Thereafter, after achieving every small goal, it gives us the satisfaction and mental energy to take on the next challenge.

For example, if you’re too afraid to take a three- hour examination at first. Start with half-hour tests, gain comfort and gradually keep increasing the duration, till 3 hours becomes comfortable.

  1. Just like our body, even our brain needs a work-out

Like how an axe is sharpened before its used to cut a tree, our brain needs to be sharpened for its efficient usage. Stimulate your brain with challenges often. Mock tests are an excellent source of brain work-outs. It works out your recall capacity, your ability to think fast, builds mental endurance to take 3-hour exams and so on.  The more you use your brain, the more your brain becomes usable.

  1. Have multiple shorter learning sessions instead of few long learning sessions

Ever sat with a book, eyes-open but mentally asleep? It’s a sign of inefficiency that you can quickly overcome.

Study for 50 minutes and take a 10-minute break. You can take a small walk, have some tea or even a tiny nap before you start next. But a BIG NO to social media. These 10 minutes can rejuvenate your thinking ability, help you make connections between topics, think more in-depth into what you have learnt and freshen-up your memory to take on more knowledge.

  1. Have a Mentor

Get a pair of eyes to have you on watch, to evaluate your progress and your weakness periodically. Most of the time, we are blind to our own flaws. A mentor can ensure we stay on the path and keep running the UPSC marathon. This is why at Officers IAS Academy, just like in professional sports, we have a mentor for every aspirant to “coach” them into clearing UPSC and achieving their dream.

  1. Identify study techniques that work best for you

 Feynman technique, mnemonics, memory palace, mind-maps in making notes, key-word based learning and many other methods can be very useful in helping anybody study efficiently. Try and implement them in your study plan, if any of them work well for you.

Try and identify what can make the learning process more interesting, effective and less exhausting for you. Don’t blindly follow a particular technique just because some topper recommended it.

  1. Stay clear of distractions, especially from mobile phone use

 Watching unrelated YouTube videos in the middle of RSTV debates, picking-up your phone every-time you are notified of a WhatsApp message in the study hall, un-useful internet browsing. What may seem like a little indulgence of a few minutes can cost you more than a year in preparation and a wasted attempt. These minute by minute distractions are deadlier than anything else in UPSC preparation.

  1. Self-motivation

UPSC is a marathon, not a sprint. Consistency is key. At times of dejection or boredom, think of the larger cause you want to be a part of. Picture yourself sitting on the district collector’s seat, responsible for the welfare of multitudes of people and delivering justice. Preparation is the first step in that long journey.


Best Wishes !

Officers IAS Academy – Best IAS Academy in Chennai.

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