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How To Prepare IAS Prelims

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IAS Prelims Exam Format



Total marks


No. of questions

Negative Marking


Required marks to qualify

GS 1


2 hours



Marks counted for ranking

Cut-off prescribed by UPSC

GS 2


2 hours



Qualifying only

33% (66/200)

So, here are two objective types (MCQs) papers in the prelims exam.

   1. General Studies Paper 1 (General Awareness)
    2.General Studies Paper 2 (CSAT)

Paper2 is qualifying in nature and merit is decided by paper1. So lets look in detail of this paper.

Topics For Paper1

  •     Current Affairs
  •     History
  •     Polity and Governance
  •     Economy
  •     Environmental Studies
  •     General Science
  •     Comprehension and Communication Skills
  •     Reasoning and Decision Making
  •     Basic Numeracy and Data Interpretation


To succeed in this IAS / CSE examination, it require prudent planning, organized preparation and appropriate resource materials. Determination to succeed, positive attitude and requisite confidence would be a key in clearing IAS / CSE. Keeping in mind the pattern and level of questions asked in Prelims General studies , this paper require an appropriate strategy. A thorough knowledge of concepts, current affairs, speed and accuracy coupled with confidence would be key elements to tackle Prelims.

It is not an overrated fact that IAS is the nation’s toughest competitive exam and it demands intensive preparation and practice. One should also understand that it is not about quantitative preparation and what required is qualitative. It is about the completion of your short term target.

  • Outline the syllabus and Design your preparation : Heard of the biological process “catabolism” where you break down the original components into their by­products, do the same with your IAS syllabus. Find out about what topic you would have an edge and the topics you would need help in. Do it for all the subjects. You have now marked your territory; the bulk of the syllabus wouldn’t scare you at all. Also, this is an excellent confidence building exercise.
  • Objectifying the syllabus : Most of the IAS aspirants feel that the bulk of IAS syllabus deters them. No doubt, the syllabus is huge, but remind yourself that it is something that you have already studied before. Let’s take a quick look at the definition for ‘Divide and Conquer’. It basically means that you divide the population in this case the subjects into manageable chunks and that makes it impossible for them to come together (dividing them) and fight against the sovereign authority (conquering them).
  • Enjoy your preparation : Undeniably, UPSC preparation is a lengthy process, but you won’t find it easy if you don’t enjoy your preparation. Preparing for UPSC doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice all your hobbies, make sure to keep abreast your hobbies as it will make your preparation more fun. Don’t give up music especially if you are a music lover and there are people who study while listening to music and if you are one among them then definitely you make your learning more interesting and enjoyable. If you are passionate about anything make sure to keep it abreast during your UPSC preparation as this will keep you lively.
  • Give Prelims Mock test series : Since a mock test is a simulated exam environment there you could experiment with yourself by weighing different strategies of approaching and attempting the exam so that you could zero on one single strategy that produces maximum results. So every mock test can be an experiment until you develop your own strategy for the test which ultimately would help in clearing the exam as yours is a tested and certified strategy.






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