In this article, we offer some tips on how you can prepare for UPSC Civil Services Prelims.
Civil Services Exam (CSE), conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), is believed to be the most stringent exam in the country. Every individual who is interested in UPSC Exam knows that the preparation for Civil Services prelims is the most challenging task and requires a lot of dedication, strategies and hard work to stay on track.
When the aspirants feel that it’s time, many enthusiasts ask for any possible strategy on how to prepare for UPSC civil services prelims exam. Cracking the UPSC prelims in two months is very hard and somewhat impossible for average students. However, one can make it if they are ready to make the commitment such as -devoting all the time for the preparations.
Many UPSC candidates might be wondering – whether or not it is possible to crack the UPSC prelims exam. The answer is –YES if one devotes his/her time faithfully. Many talented people have done it before, and you can do it too- You need to follow a well-strategized plan and work hard because nothing is impossible.
1. Know the UPSC Prelims exam pattern
Before all, you must be aware of the UPSC prelims exam pattern. There are three stages for the prelims exam:
- UPSC Prelims
- UPSC Mains
- Personality Test/UPSC Board Interview
You have to crack the prelims exam to appear for the UPSC Mains Exam. The Prelims consists of two papers – GS (which is more commonly known as the CSAT).
There are three types of MCQs in the UPSC Prelims- they are as follows:
- MCQ – single response correct
- MCQ – many responses correct
- MCQ – match the following
Note– Read in details about the UPSC CSE Exam.
2- Know the UPSC Prelims Syllabus
1) UPSC Syllabus for General Studies:
- Current events of national and international importance.
- History of India and Indian National Movement.
- Indian and the World’s Geography – Physical, Social, Economic Geography, etc.
- Indian Polity and Governance
- Economic and Social Development
- General issues on the Environmental Ecology, the Biodiversity and Climate Change
2) UPSC Syllabus for CSAT:
- Interpersonal skills including communication skills;
- Logical reasoning and analytical ability
- Decision-making and problem-solving
- General mental ability
- Basic numeracy & Data Interpretation
Note– For UPSC Prelims GS syllabus, click UPSC CSE syllabus
3- Go through the UPSC CSE Prelim’s previous year question papers
It is essential for one to go through the last year’s UPSC CSE question papers so that even with the time constraint, you will get a fair amount of understanding about the nature of questions asked by the UPSC. Also, USPC CSE doesn’t repeat questions, and this will help you prioritize your studies and to create a study plan accordingly.
Note– Get the previous year’s UPSC CSE question papers here- https://www.upsc.gov.in/examinations/previous-question-papers?field_exam_name_value=&page=4
4- Identify your strengths as per the subjects
Endeavouring the toughest exam in the country is a big deal. It requires the aspirants to understand their strengths and weaknesses to make the most out of these two months and to continue preparing with a positive attitude. Everyone will have a talent, like some can memorize facts in less time, etc.
Some aspirants who prepare for UPSC Civil Services Prelims try to identify their skills with a personal SWOT Analysis. This gives them an in-depth understanding about where they are standing today and the steps they will need to reach towards their target goal.
5- Familiarize yourself with everything about how to prepare for UPSC Civil Services Prelims
Having a strong base with the facts and theoretical concepts alone will not help you when it comes to Civil Services. Candidates have to change their entire approach depending on the situation and question. In order to prepare for UPSC Civil Services Prelims, they should know every aspect of the exam, including the format, nature and syllabus (regarding their desired post).
Due to time constraint, never ignore the basics because it will cost you a lot in the exam- to know the facts in the long term, you need to have a strong understanding of basic concepts. We suggest you familiarize yourself with the Civil Services exam pattern, approach towards CSAT and general awareness questions.
6- Plan and prepare your studies
Once you have decided to prepare for UPSC Civil Services prelims exam in two months, the first thing to do is to organize/plan your studies accordingly. It’s always good to start the preparation with the most comfortable exam or something you are familiar with like- paper-II Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) because you are already familiar with some of the basics. It will hardly take three to four days to cover the theoretical concepts, which will also boost your confidence to start with.
The syllabus for Civil Services is like an ocean, and they’re always a better book or a well-detailed course, and just like that, there is no end to the preparations. Therefore, aspirants should work on perfection rather than merely covering the topics for the sake of preparing them. Give at least three days to each subject in the general awareness paper.
Note- For detailed UPSC Syllabus, click on: UPSC CSE Syllabus
7- Focus extensively on Prelims
We need to understand that clearing the UPSC prelims will not make you a UPSC Officer. You need to prepare for the mains exam, which will be followed by an interview.
Note- Understanding the main examination concepts parallels with the prelims is okay but do not waste so much time at this stage due to the time constraints.
Many aspirants that prepare for UPSC Civil Services Prelims complain that they are not able to answer the questions because of vagueness. We suggest you concentrate only on the preliminary exam.
8- Give Importance to General Studies Paper
You all are aware that the general awareness paper is only considered for shortlisting the aspirants for the next stage of the selection process, i.e., the mains exam.
So the primary focus at the moment should be on general studies only. The CSAT paper is also a qualifying paper and four to five days of preparation is more than enough besides regular practice.
Note- Avoid reading books, as they will take more time- so instead focus on the notes and mock tests. Read more on: UPSC Civil Services General Studies (GS) Exam – Most Recommended Newspapers
9- Development Plan for tackling GS Paper
Aspirants who want to prepare for UPSC Civil Services Prelims are required to start their reading up on the current affairs section. Afterwards, they can focus on history or politics depending upon their interest.
Put geography and economics in the middle of the preparation days because they require a lot of preparation, to begin with. So while practising the CSAT questions, always try to cover all the basic concepts to save time. Always give importance to science and the technology and the events in environmental studies. However, never compromise and take mock tests.
Note- No one method/strategy fits the requirements of all the aspirants; it will vary from depending on one’s strengths and weaknesses. So, take ideas and create your plan as per your needs and as per the subject that requires more of your attention.
Civil Services, conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), is believed to be the most stringent examination in the country. Many UPSC candidates might be wondering – whether or not it is possible to crack the UPSC prelims exam. The answer is –YES if one devotes his/her time faithfully. Many talented people have done it before, and you can do it too. You need to prepare for UPSC Civil Services Prelims by following a well-strategized plan and work hard because nothing is impossible.
Areas covered in this article
- How to prepare for UPSC Civil Services Prelims Exam?
Note- For more updated notification on UPSC 2021, visit- https://www.upsc.gov.in/examinations/Civil%20Services%20%28Preliminary%29%20Examination%2C%202021.