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How to prepare for UPSC Prelims 2022

  • Categories
    Strategy for UPSC Prelims
  • Published
    21st Jun, 2021

Prelims is the first stage of UPSC IAS Exam. Though this phase is not much tougher the aspirants don’t take this stage seriously and this is the reason that most of the aspirants often fails in this exam owing to their used to and casual approach pertaining to this exam. This stage of examination requires a holistic approach in this competitive era with Information overflow. This preparation requires a clear cut strategy which would help the candidates to cover each and every aspect of the UPSC Syllabus. UPSC is an exam that can be sailed through diligence, dedication and perseverance. While preparing for the exam the following points should be kept in mind :

  • An integrated approach should be adopted for the exam where both prelims and mains exam should be covered simultaneously.
  • A separate study plan for prelims and mains will not suffice and will ultimately lead you to failure.
  • A separate approach can get you selected in prelims exam but you will not succeed in later stages.

To compete any exam it is very important to understand the syllabus and pattern of the exam. Reading UPSC Syllabus thoroughly will not only help you to understand the bits and pieces of exam but will help you to keep yourself focused also. So it is always advised to memorize the IAS syllabus first for this purpose you need to keep a copy of syllabus with you. This UPSC syllabus is like Gita, Quran, and Bible for an aspirant. Each and every word has to be read with utmost care. So Syllabus is the key to start with.

Previous Years Papers

Previous year question papers help you to understand the structure and type of questions of exam. These are the second stepping stone to success. In Any examination, when you know the IAS syllabus already, requires a holistic thought process. This thought process is developed by asking questions. UPSC has eased this by providing the Previous Year Question Papers for the aspirants. Each and every question will provide you with an insight into what and how UPSC gives questions.

Regular Practice of Questions from both known and unknown sources will help you to develop speed to tackle questions and develop an insight to handle such kind of questions. Practice makes a man perfect. Hence to strengthen the preparation for the exam one needs to be well aware of as many questions from different viewpoints.

Further notes making strategy also help you to read and revise multiple times without any hassle. Making smart notes also improves efficiency of revision at the last time of revision. There is a saying that Fear, not that person who practiced 10,000 techniques but fear that person who practiced 1 technique 10,000 times. Refrain yourself from referring too many sources at a time as it will cause a lot of confusion.

Basics should be given utmost priority in any exam and the importance of basics increase manifold in UPSC Exam. To cover the basics NCERT books and other Reference books play a vital role. In UPSC also, each and every word in the IAS syllabus is of utmost importance and one should inculcate a habit of exploring a word or idea from different multiple dimensions.

Booklist for Prelims Exam:


  1. India’s Struggle for Independence – Bipan Chandra
  2. A Brief History of Modern India - Spectrum
  3. Indian Art and Culture by Nitin Singhania
  4. NCERT XI (Ancient & Medieval)
  5. NCERT XII (Modern Indian History)


  1. Geography of india - Majid Husain
  2. Certificate Physical Geography – G C Leong
  3. NCERT VI – X (Old Syllabus)
  4. NCERT XI, XII (New Syllabus)
  5. World Atlas (Orient Black Swan)

Indian Polity

  1. Indian Polity – M Laxmikanth


  1. Indian Economy by Nitin Singhania
  2. Economic Development & Policies in India – Jain & Ohri

International Relations

  1. NCERT XII (Contemporary World Politics)
  2. Current Affairs


  1. Tata McGraw Hill CSAT Manual
  2. Verbal & Non-Verbal Reasoning – R S Aggarwal


For current affairs it is quite important to keep a tab on daily events and issues. There are multiple resources for preparing the current affairs. Daily news papers like The Hindu or The Indian Express and magazines such as Yojana and Kurukshetra could be helpful in this regard. The online websites such as GS Score could provide you a weekly, monthly and annual compilation of current affairs that will lessen your burden of collecting resources and making bulky notes.

The following points must be noted for further preparation of PRELIMS EXAM:

  1. UPSC Prelims is more to check breadth of knowledge an aspirant has. Having said that there are two portions static and dynamic.
  2. The static portion requires the fundamentals which are mentioned in the UPSC syllabus. To cover this you have to study the NCERT Books. Class 9th to 12thNcerts would suffice. Now pick some GS Score notes on the prelims. The various aspects are covered and notes link the knowledge from NCERTS. The notes would be comprehensive and would cover all the basics of static part.
  3. Dynamic Part: It requires the material which includes mainly current affairs and the linkage between the static part and the dynamic part. GS Score Current Affairs material is a stress reducer in this aspect. The Current Affairs Section is of great importance and covers all current aspects and is updated keeping in view the requirements of the aspirants preparing for the exam.
  4. Preparation of Plan: A weekly plan can be made to complete the various aspects of the syllabus. But the plan should be followed rigorously and diligently. GS Score also provides you a plan weekly and monthly which you can follow up. This will keep you in touch with the important topics from static as well as dynamic portions.
  5. Prelims is an objective paper having negative marking. Hence it requires an aspirant to select one option out of 4 options. Now GS Score test series is a preparation booster. It covers questions from many dimensions in breadth. It is prepared keeping in view multiple factual dimensions which UPSC can ask in the exam.
  6. Practice of Questions: Within a timeframe is necessary. 100 questions are to be completed in 2 hours. So try to cover an entire practice paper in 1 and a half hours. This would optimize your preparation. Practice reducing incorrect answers as there is negative marking in UPSC Prelims. Either, the candidates attempt very few questions as they are afraid of negative marking or they carelessly attempt questions without knowing the answers. Give Prelims Test series or join coaching if you feel you need it. The basic idea is to revise, make mistakes, revise better and finally make fewer mistakes in the actual Prelims exam.
  7. Try to have 3 readings of the question paper. For the first reading, you should do all those questions which you are 100% sure. For the second reading try those which you can struck off 2 options and can apply some logic linking the question with the answers. For the third reading, if you are still not confident of the questions you have done that they would lead you to minimum cutoff, then apply various strategies like elimination, focusing on the language of the paper and so on.
  8. Making Soft Copy Notes: It will be great for the aspirants as you have the flexibility to read those anywhere anytime. However hard-copy notes would also be fine. But make sure to cover all aspects. In this segment GS Score notes would reduce your fear to a large extent. As the notes compiled are from various sources like NCERTs, PIB, newspapers, etc.
  9. Spending more time analyzing the mock tests than the actual time spent on taking tests. In this you should focus on analyzing the tests you have given earlier. Hence revision of tests is also necessary for a sound preparation.
  10. Critical thinking and ‘joining the dots’: Try to enjoy the learning process. In this case, try to observe things in a sound manner like their historical, political, economic, social aspects, etc.

The Prelims preparation could be started off before 3 months of the UPSC Prelims examination. Try to focus solely on the current and static. GS Score magazine provides you with all aspects of the UPSC syllabus. Hence with above approach modified with your own strengths and weaknesses would help you to ace the exam.


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