When you start to prepare for IAS, firstly spend some time observing the successful candidates and analyzing your own strengths and weaknesses like what mistakes do other candidates commit? How do they prepare in their successful attempts?
Once you've made up your mind, prepare the background for the battle first. If you're getting to shift, decide an honest area to measure in. Your place and environment should be conducive to study like arrange the seemingly trivial things that might become a cause of concern like your Meals, Maids, convenience etc. You don't want to waste time in such things when you are neck-deep in the competition.
You should have your Timeline reading. Fix the day you are going to take your First or Next attempt. Calculate the remaining days and plan accordingly.
Always plan from the exam day backwards. Right at the start, you should be aware of what you are supposed to do during the last month, that should guide today's preparation.
Read the syllabus, divide it into subparts. Plan for every subpart-the books, the time you're getting to allot to every subpart.
Previous year question papers, Past 3-year Prelims (Static + CSAT) questions, 3-5 year Mains (GS + Optional). 5-10 year essays. It gives you an idea of the kind of questions you can expect.
Gather all the resources step by step. Offline resources like Standard Books, Class Notes (1-2 books per Subpart of the syllabus) Get the right Booklist and know How to read those books smartly. Use Online resources, proper websites and apps to your Advantage. You need to start preparing for all the 3 stages simultaneously. All the 3 stages have different requirements, understand them.
Politics (Laxmikanth), Economy(IIth and 12th class NCERT) basic books to be read first or you can read only the Class notes given by the teachers of SPM IAS Academy which is probably the best UPSC coaching in Guwahati as it includes all the important topics. Only then-current affairs will start making sense. It also covers a major portion of GS2, GS3. Solve subjectivise MCQs of Politics, Economy. Read optional and current affairs simultaneously.
NCERT books of 11th and 12th class. Class 6-8th Themes of world history and Tamil Nadu board books from 6th to 12 th class, Spectrum - A brief history of modern India and Bipin Chandra’s India Struggle for independence. (Full list of books are mentioned below).
GSI, GS4 & ESSAY are the neglected subjects and the most scoring too. Solve subjectivise MCQs of History, Geography and attempt GS1 Mains questions from previous years. Read optional and current affairs simultaneously. Start Mains Answer writing practice.
For current affairs merely reading ‘The Hindu’ is not enough. You need to have a proper understanding of the topic. You can watch SPM IAS Academy’s Youtube channel for in-depth analysis of all the important topics.
If you are irregular or a working professional then follow SPM IAS Academy’s monthly magazine but whenever possible try to follow SPM IAS Academy’s Youtube Channel for the best analysis. For the interview read Toppers Inetrview on quora.
You'll realize that it helps if you have a hobby. Like start developing a hobby (be it reading/ guitar/ painting anything that helps you relax) and practice it daily for half an hour. Start making notes right from the beginning of your preparation. Anything related to your notes should be compiled in a different folder later or if you are a student of SPM IAS Academy use our notes as it can act as a compilation of every subject.
It is the most crucial step. Decide your optional wisely-the 5 factors that should guide you are scoring in the past 3 years, Your interest, help in other GS papers, Availability of Books or guidance, your graduation or prior knowledge. Wrong optional can cause a lot of problems. Target is to finish 1 good reading of Optional before Prelims.
Start the study of Mains & Prelims simultaneously. The last 2-3 months before Prelims should be stored for devoted Prelims preparation. The time before that ought to be utilised to read Optional, GS4, Essay. GSI.6S2, GS3 along with Current Affairs. Do NOT neglect GS4 and Essays.
Daily time gets divided into 4 parts that will be Optional, GS, current affairs and MCQs or Answer writing practice. Manage your time wisely. Do not divide each day into too many unproductive parts.