IAS Gyan

Prelims Strategy

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Prelims Strategy

The UPSC IAS Preliminary exam is the first stage of the Civil Services Exam. UPSC Prelims is the screening test for the Mains stage and largely  called the eliminating stage of the Civil Services Exam. Clearing Prelims by good margin avoid your time that is wasted between Prelims Exam and Prelims Result. So , it is important to score approx more than 60% to be on the safer side.

Questions asked in UPSC Prelims are of objective type and consisting of two papers , General studies 1 and general studies 2 (CSAT). CSAT is of qualifying in nature ( You have to score greater than equal to 33% i.e 66 Marks )

Although there is no single strategy to clear UPSC Prelims, these are the key points that have helped an aspirant to clear UPSC Prelims:

  • The analysis of previous year prelims papers of UPSC (including other exams such as CDS, CAPF) has to be done to get an idea about type of questions are asked in UPSC Prelims.
  • Understanding the basic concepts is the first step as it helps in building strong foundation. Here basic NCERT’s are of great help. Watch small videos to clear the concepts especially for science tech.
  • Other than NCERT books, the essential books for Prelims are Indian Polity by Laxmikanth, Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh etc.
  • It is very important to keep your sources limited . Whatever extra reading you do to understand the topic can be noted at one place for easy and fast revision.
  • Current Affairs preparation should be integrated in daily plan
  • Periodic revision is the key for memorization as UPSC Prelims will test your memorization.
  • We would advise you to solve mock test papers. Either join a mock test series or buy them from the market but every fortnight try to pick up one test paper, attempt it and read all the solutions, highlighting the important ones. This will help you in memorizing the content as well as condition you to attempt appropriate number of questions. Further, these tests would also add up as your notes. As prelims is largely an eliminating exam, so practice of making an intelligent guess is of utmost importance. Practice test papers as many as possible to hone this skill. This would give confidence and chance to do as many mistakes in mock tests itself and correct those mistakes well before actual UPSC prelims.
  • Always take a periodic break to refresh yourself.


Best of Luck!