How to prepare for UPSC after MBBS (Doctor to IAS)

Civil service examinations conducted by UPSC are one of the most popular examinations in the world which are conducted in India.

These exams are not just popular but also highly competitive and toughest to crack.

Students from many different streams and professions leave their job in order to prepare and attempt in these exams so that they can become civil servants.

If you are also one among millions of students who are dreaming to become an IAS officer or any Civil Servant and get a government job in the central government but 

At the same time you are also getting your graduation from MBBS or Bcom or any other branch.

You don’t need to worry about it anymore because in this article we will take a look at how you can prepare for UPSC examinations and become a civil servant even if you have an MBBS graduation degree.

So let’s jump right in.

How to prepare for UPSC after mbbs?

1.    Know your eligibility criteria & reservations

Before you do any task first of all you need to understand your eligibility criteria for the examination and the reservations you have as per your caste.

Minimum qualification for UPSC exam: The candidate must hold a degree from Government recognised Universities or possess an equivalent qualification.

Depending upon your caste there is a limit to how many attempts you can try for the examinations and usually the age restriction of UPSC exams is between 21 to 32 years.

Medical students who have passed the final year of MBBS, but are yet to complete their internship also have eligibility for IAS. 

Although, along with the Main Examination application, a certificate of course completion (including internship) from the concerned authority of the University/Institution has to be submitted.

You can check about reservations and eligibility in UPSC here.

2.    Understand the pattern & syllabus

The second important step you need to do is to understand the pattern of the examination.

There are three important stages of this exam.

  • Prelims-this is the first round of the examination which has multi choice questions and it has 2 papers, this is the qualifying paper
  • Mains-this is the second round of the examination which has 9 papers including optional and general studies, in this paper you need to focus on scoring marks 
  • Interview-this is the third round of the examination where interview of you will be taken to examine your skills, character, attitude and thinking,etc

You can learn more about the exam pattern of the UPSC in detail here.

Apart from knowing the exam pattern you also need to focus on what will be the syllabus of the exam.

In general the examinations of civil services, most important subjects will be,

  • History of India and World
  • Geography of India and world 
  • Political science and public administration
  • International relationships and current affairs
  • Economics, Environment, biodiversity and disaster management 
  • Agriculture, science and technology 
  • Aptitude and personality

These are some important subjects which are present in both the papers of prelims and mains which you need to learn at any cost in order to pass the examination and become an IAS officer.

Since you have done MBBS in your graduation it can be quite difficult for you to start preparing for the humanities subjects from scratch because

 you do not have a proper foundation of it after your 10th grade in school and I will let you know what can be the good solution for it in further steps below.

3.    create a time table

The third important step you need to do is to create a time table and schedule and stick to it.

You should create a time table where you can dedicate time for all the subjects of prelims, mains and reading newspapers and

 please stick to it and make it a routine, apart from that you can also create a to-do list and write down important goals, tasks you have to finish every single day in your journal.

You should know for a fact that preparing for UPSC exams is not a short-term game but the long-term one, if you really want to crack UPSC exams and

 become IAS or any civil servant, you should at least dedicate 1 year in preparation and creating a time table and schedule can help you stay disciplined and consistent over a period.

4.    Read newspapers

The fourth important step you need to do is to start the habit of reading newspapers every day.

You should read newspapers because it will keep you updated with all the current affairs that are happening around the world and our nation and 

current affairs play a huge role in UPSC exams especially in the prelims stage which is the first round of the exam.

Current affairs are also important in the interview round of the exam which is the 3rd stage.

Hence you should focus a lot on reading the newspaper every single day for at least one hour and you can decide whether you want to read it early in the morning or late in the evening depending upon your interest and routine.

Even when you know that you should read newspapers, you still might have some doubt that which newspaper is ideal.

Since you are preparing for government exams of civil services, The Hindu and Indian express are considered to be the most popular and reliable newspapers for civil service aspirants.

Along with that you should also consider reading yojana and kurukshetra magazines

For more information, you can read my articles, benefits of reading newspapers and best newspapers you should read for UPSC in detail.

5.    Start with NCERTS

This is another important thing you need to do.

Because you have got your graduation from MBBS and medical subjects and you don’t have any foundation and knowledge regarding humanities but

 the fact is that majority of the subjects in the exams are related to humanities like geography history and economics so

 reading NCERTS text books of all the subjects which are present in UPSC exams from class 6th to 12th can lay a strong foundation so that you can read deeper books on the subject and get high level knowledge in it.

You might get doubts like why only NCERTS books, the reason is, these books have highly reliable & trusted data, they are easy to read and they give good base and foundation for the students to learn the subject further.

As a matter of fact, NCERT are the most popular books for UPSC exams.

You can check all the key NCERT books for UPSC here.

6.    Choose your optional subject

Another most important step you need to do is to select your optional subject right up front.

Since you have got your undergraduation from MBBS and medical subjects, it is highly recommended that you select subject which you have good knowledge in for example,

  • Botany
  • Medical science
  • Zoology and anthropology
  • Psychology
  • Animal husbandry and vet science 

As much as possible you should select your optional from this subject only because 

You have already learnt about these in your undergraduation which gives you a good foundation and it can also save you a lot of time during the preparation so that you can work on other papers like general studies.

But the main disadvantage of using this subject is that these subjects are not connected with other papers in general studies like history and

 geography and if you choose humanities in your optional subject it can also help you get good marks in general studies and prelims exam as well.

If you are confused regarding which optional subject you should choose then here are a few important tips,

  • Choose a subject where you can complete the revision as fast as possible so that you can focus on other subjects revision like general studies and essay paper in the mains exam.
  • choose a subject where you have good knowledge from your under graduation since you have got your degree from MBBS.
  • Choose the subject where you have good knowledge and passion as well.

Selecting the right optional subject in your mains examination can give you a lot of boost in your marks because

 the optional paper are 500 marks and selecting the right subject can help you score more marks and increase the percentage & also balance the marks from other papers like GS.

7.    Work on essay writing

The last step is to focus on is that to start working on essay writing.

As you have graduated from MBBS you might not have written a lot of essays in your undergraduation so you should emphasize on this task.

It is because in the mains exam which is a second stage of the UPSC, all the papers you write are written tests & essay paper.

You can practice the answers of the previous years question papers of the UPSC mains or you can write about editorials and topics that are discussed in newspapers,

 you should practice essay writing every single day for at least 30 minutes and regular practice can make you perfect.

At the same time increase your vocabulary by learning new words through dictionary everyday.

For more information you can click here to learn how you can improve your essay writing skill for UPSC.

Here are few tips for UPSC preparation.

  • Coaching-you should also try to get coaching services for your UPSC preparation offline, or you can try unacademy online courses of UPSC.
  • Mock tests-you should also give mock tests in regular intervals of time from your coaching institute and this will be a test for all of your strengths and weaknesses for exams so that you can work on your weakness and improve them.
  • Limited books-you should also have limited number of books for each subject, having a lot of books can create a lot of confusion and delay your preparation.
  • Keep notes-you should also start creating notes from the day one when you have started preparing for UPSC by reading books, you can create a separate notebook to create all the notes so that you can look after them during the exam time.
  • Watch interviews-another important thing is to look at the interviews of the IAS and UPSC toppers and look for some secret tips and strategies and also take inspiration from their stories during UPSC preparation.

With that said let’s conclude the article.


These are all the tips I have for you regarding how to prepare for UPSC after completing MBBS.

Do let me know your thoughts about UPSC in comments section below.

Share the blog post with your friends who are also interested regarding how they can prepare for UPSC.