India’s top UPSC Mentor, Neeharika Reddy’s tips on how to prepare for UPSC CSE

Neeharika Reddy mam, renowned UPSC mentor and Founder of Neeharika Reddy IAS academy, has recently addressed a gathering at IIT Hyderabad. Many UPSC aspirants have asked her for tips to prepare for UPSC CSE. She said, “UPSC CSE is not a type of exam where one can crack the exam with just following some expert tips. Each aspirant of the Civil services exam will have their own strategy for preparation. Consistently following that strategy without getting dejected is what is important for any aspirant.”


When aspirants asked for important things that we shouldn’t ignore in making a strategy, she has elaborately given following tips:


The IAS exam is highly competitive and has a vast syllabus. Questions are highly unpredictable. Given these difficulties one should have the right strategy to succeed in this exam. That ‘right strategy’ differs student to student. If a student is from an Engineering background, he may have to spend more time in understanding Polity, International Relations etc., if a student is from Law background, he may have to spend more time on science and tech, CSAT etc. 


Understanding the level, background and stream of education of each student is different so strategy also should be different for each individual. But some basic things that any aspirant should remember is maintaining consistency throughout preparation, choosing the right optional, having a good mentor, reading newspapers every single day and not reading too many reference books.


Consistency: Consistency is the most important quality that a lot of aspirants lack. Successful candidates are aspirants who were consistent throughout their preparation. Some aspirants fear lack of time, some aspirants get dejected after the first attempt, some aspirants get disappointed after looking at the depth of the subject, some aspirants get diverted easily. So, due to a lot of reasons aspirants fail to show consistency during preparation. This consistency is what reflects in the final exam. Even in Neeharika Reddy IAS Academy ( ) we always motivate students to maintain this consistency throughout their preparation.


Right optional: Optional paper can make or break your chances of qualifying in UPSC CSE. No one can get a rank in UPSC just by scoring high in General Studies paper. In fact, no one can score high percentage marks in General studies. Optional paper marks determine your rank in the Civil services exam. Therefore, choosing the right optional is very important for the Civil services exam. Remember, choose an optional which can bring you a great score. Lot of aspirants choose optional just because they are interested in the subject or it overlaps with General studies. It’s a very bad strategy. For example, Geography optional syllabus overlaps with General studies syllabus but optional paper has much more syllabus than General studies which is tough and very vast. Students waste their time studying such optionals. Sociology, for example, is a very easy option. Syllabus is less and highly scoring optional. 


Mentorship: Nowadays lot of students are wasting time following youtube videos for structuring preparation. Watching too many videos will just confuse you, it will never give you clarity. Have a mentor who can structure your preparation, help in answer writing, and tell what to read and what not to read. This is exactly why we started Neeharika Reddy IAS Academy has started Personal mentorship program. We were the first institute to introduce such programme for UPSC aspirants. It helped many rankers and every month at least 20 students enrol for this programme at Neeharika Reddy IAS Academy. You can visit for more details on Mentorship programme.


Reading Newspaper: Reading newspaper is not a tip; in fact it is vital part of UPSC preparation. Without Newspapers there is no meaning for UPSC preparation. 

As most of the students were from Hyderabad, she suggested them to visit Neeharika Reddy IAS Academy, which is located at RTC x Roads, for free counselling sessions on UPSC preparation or visit


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