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Should there be a separate strategy for prelims and mains preparation of Civil Services examination?

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    15th Dec, 2021

One of the most frequently asked questions is How to prepare for IAS? UPSC conducts the Civil Services Examination (CSE) to recruit suitable candidates for IAS, IPS, IFS, and other allied services. Lakhs of aspirants every year apply for the exam, yet only a few luck one come out with flying colours. Aspirants find it difficult to analyse the preparation strategy for Civil Services Examination and how they can prepare for different segments of the civil service examination.

One of the common question associated with civil services preparation is, whether students should prepare for prelims and mains separately or they should look to prepare for Civil services examination in integrated manner. Most UPSC aspirants find themselves at sea while preparing a comprehensive UPSC preparation strategy. Hence, to help you out, we have compiled this UPSC Preparation Guide.

Preparation of Prelims and Mains stage of the Examination

  • Aspirants should always remember that there can’t be a separate strategy for prelims and mains preparation. Civil services syllabus is deigned in such a way that aspirants need to have overall perspective on subject matter having different approach module to tackle different segments of examination.

Integrated Preparation of Prelims & Mains:

  • It is true to some extent that prelims and mains requires different approach to cover syllabus of the examination. However, majority of subjects has an overlapping segment in prelims and mains stage of the examination. In Subjects like, Polity, Economy, Geography, Environment and history questions are asked both in prelims and mains, however the approach of solving questions is different as in prelims aspirants should have ability to identify wrong options and thus finding out the right option. On the other hand mains aspect requires aspirants to go for deep analysis to project their opinions in descriptive manner.

Separate Preparation of Prelims and Mains:

  • In few subjects, aspirants have to prepare in different approach. E.g. Subjects like Internal Security, Disaster management, Society, world history and Ethics are asked in mains portion of civil services examination only. Barring, few subjects, both prelims and mains have similar subjects to be covered.
  • Preparation of civil services examination in integrated manner help aspirants in covering entire UPSC syllabus in quite cordial and lucid manner.

How to Cover Prelims and Mains Syllabus

Understand Syllabus:

  • Aspirants need to understand the syllabus of the Civil services examination as their first and foremost priorities. Understanding the syllabus helps aspirants in identifying the areas from which UPSC will asked questions.
  • Syllabus is also the guiding tool for aspirants to work upon i.e. what all aspirants need to study and what all they need to left or avoid. Once you’re through that, pick up the previous year papers and skim through them to get an understanding of what is actually asked in the exam. 

Work on Basic Foundation:

  • Aspirants should work on basic foundation of the Civil Services Examination. I.e. reading NCERT books as first priorities. NCERT helps aspirants in getting the basic information related to subject matter. NCERT helps in grasping the topic information related to civil services syllabus.
  • While reading NCERT books, aspirants should not look to divide the preparation module in terms of Prelims and Mains preparation strategy. Aspirants should keep their approach very simple that; how they are going to cover the NECRT books and how they can extract the information.

Answer Writing + Revision

  • Aspirants need to practice answer writing on daily basis and should look to avoid having the perception that, if they are writing answers then they are solely doing it for mains preparation. Even if any aspirants are writing answers then they can learn from it as revision module.
  • Another important thing that aspirants need to keep in mind is the frequent revision and updating their notes from time to time. Revision should be emphasized by the aspirants.

To conclude, GS SCORE would suggest that you follow the above points to get success in your UPSC Civil Services Exam. Study hard, give it your best shot, and don’t lose hope. It doesn’t depend on your luck. It solely depends on your hard work. Believe me. And when you give your 100%, luck is always there by your side. So keep all the points in mind, practice regularly, and prepare yourself smartly.


Verifying, please be patient.

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