Prelims Strategy

Boost Your Marks in the UPSC Civil Services Preliminary Exam!

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The preliminary examination is the first stage of the Civil Service Examination. Only if you clear this exam you will be able to write the mains examination.

The preliminary examination comprises of two exams that are:

  1. General Studies Paper I
  2. General Studies Paper-II (CSAT)

General Studies Paper-II is just a qualifying exam that means you have to secure only 33% marks in this paper, whereas in General Studies Paper I cut off is declared by UPSC. You have to secure marks above then that to clear the Prelim exam.

Other important points are:

  • Paper I comprises 100 questions. Each right question rewards you with two marks.
  • Paper-II have 80 questions. Here also each question carries two marks.
  • There exist negative marking.
  • The duration for each of the examination is 2 hours.

Strategy for Prelims

Every year 5 – 8 lakh students appear for the Prelims examination, and only approximately 15000 candidates are selected for mains.

This itself shows how important it is to strategies your prelims preparation

1. Memorise the syllabus

The first key to this examination is the syllabus. You have to sort of memories the syllabus.

The IAS examination is the examination where the sky is the limit for the preparation.

So you need to memorise the syllabus in the wake of differentiating the content, i.e. in the syllabus that is not in the syllabus.

2. CSAT examination

As already stated CSAT examination is just qualifying. Thus all you have to do is secure marks above the minimum threshold, i.e. 33% in this examination.

As the marks are not getting added up while declaring cut-off, Thus does not come under a good strategy to give more time in preparing CSAT paper.

You have to be prepared to secure above 33% but do not give too much time to this paper.

Your primary focus should have to be Paper I.

3. General Studies Paper I

This is the paper which will decide whether you are going to write mains or not.

So give adequate time to the preparation of Paper I

Now comes about the strategy that you strategise your study so that it can help you out in the long run.

(i) The first point to remember is that Paper I compromises many topics that are part of the Mains exam.

Thus prepare such topics holistically so that you need not to give extra effort to them again while preparing for the mains examination.

This is stated because, as you might be knowing that you will get less than four months for the mains examination, which are not at all enough if you want to start your main preparation from scratch.

Thus it is always advised to cover as many topics for mains as possible while preparing for prelims.

(ii) Limit the resources to as less as possible.

The key to success in this examination is revision.

Instead of studying four different books, study one book four times.

This will give you more clarity.

The most trusted and recommended resources are NCERTS, along with some standard books. You can check out our article on IAS books to get more clarity on this part.

(iii) Make a daily time table and stick to it.

A disciplined life is what is going to help you in a great way in this examination.

SO make a schedule that should have to be realistic so that you can follow that.

You must have breaks for yourself also. You will often find out us saying enjoy the process and do not take it as a burden.

Only when you enjoy, you will give your 100%. If you take this examination as a burden, you will end up wasting your 20-30% of energy on what will happen in the future, whether you will clear the exam and all.

(iv) Follow important websites like PSR, but do not end up wasting a lot of your time surfing on the internet.

(v) Making reading a newspaper your habit.

The best practice can be to summarise what you had read in the editorial section in 250 words.

By this, you will develop practise of writing answer and side by side your notes will get ready.

So these are the key points that you should have to consider while strategies your Prelims exam.

DO your best and let rest in the hands of God. Hard work always pays you back.

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