Startegy For Prelims

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    Strategy for Prelims
  • Published
    3rd Mar, 2021

UPSC Civil services exam is conducted in three stages.  Prelims is the first stage of the UPSC Civil Services Exam. UPSC PRELIMS though being screening test for the Mains stage of the CIVIL SERVICES EXAM it is not the simplest one. From the last few years the pattern and nature of prelims exam has changed drastically. The dynamic nature of exam demands a well planned strategy to qualify this exam. If we look at the nature of the questions being asked in IAS PRELIMS it is of objective type or multiple choice. There are two papers in Prelims, namely, General Studies 1 and General Studies 2 (CSAT).

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The preparation for General Studies first paper need a holistic approach. The preparation for IAS prelims should be in tandem with IAS MAINS PREPARATION.

 The bottom-to-top approach should be the hallmark of IAS PRELIMS PREPARATION. If we throw a cursory glance on the syllabus of prelims and main exam we see the syllabus of both the exam overlaps. Considering this the prelims exam strategy should be well planned and smartly executed.

 Delving into few topics and a superficial approach for IAS Prelims exam in the time span of 2-3 months will never serve the purpose. Looking at the changing Pattern of questions it is advisable for aspirants to have a command on basics as well as advanced level of knowledge.

To qualify this exam one need to develop a habit of reading between the lines and extracting information understanding nature of question. The practice plays an important role in this regard. NCERT books remain a vital part during preparation of IAS Prelims. Questions asked in IAS prelims exam consist of conventional as well as current and applion based questions.


Conventional Questions are based on static topics like History, Polity, Economy, Geography are fairly straightforward and NCERT book knowledge with a basic conceptual understanding will serve the purpose. For other areas one can follow a good news paper and a current affairs magazine with comprehensive coverage of current events and issues.

A thorough revision and well scribbled notes is mandatory to succeed in IAS prelims exam. It is also instructive to keep in mind the massive competition that you are up against. Every year more than 4 lakh students actually appear in the exam. Many of them prepare as if their life depended on it, many would be veterans taking the exam for the fifth or sixth time. Unless you cover these safe topics well, it would be extremely difficult to have an edge over the lakhs of other applicants.

After covering conventional topics one should venture deep into topics like Science and Tech, Environment, Culture. The questions however asked in these sections are very diverse and unpredictable in nature. This is the reason that this portion of UPSC SYLLABUS  demands a very intensive and in depth approach.  However these areas contain enough potential and can make the difference and outperform others. In the past few years Culture and Environment have become UPSC’s pet topics. It is advisable to delve into  PREVIOUS YEARS’ IAS PRELIMS QUESTION  papers and try to get a sense of the type of questions that are being asked from Environment and Culture

For The second paper of IAS prelims exam one should have basic knowledge of 10th standard basic maths and aptitude. As this paper remains qualifying in nature so one should not bother much about this paper. However this paper shouldn’t be neglected also as one must need to qualify this exam to remain in competition.

The last 30 days should be a time of intensive revision in a planned and organized manner. With so many subjects and topics, the CIVIL SERVICES EXAM SYLLABUS has an extremely low retention span as you juggle between history, culture, environment, polity every day. It means that without last-minute revision, all earlier preparation might not bear fruit as one starts forgetting after a week of lag.

In case you have covered the syllabus once as of now, you should strive for 2 cycles of revision before the exam with special focus on topics you don’t feel comfortable with. In case you have not covered the syllabus once, you should prioritize and study in that order.


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