• jahanpatel

UPSC ~ Cracking The Prelims

UPSC is one of the most coveted and toughest exams to crack in India. The first step to

cracking the exam is to familiarize yourself with the pattern and understanding your strengths

and weaknesses. So here we provide a breakdown of all the necessary information that you will need to do well in these exams

Stages of UPSC exam

Civil Services Exam consists of three steps as followed

  1. Preliminary Test

  2. Main Exam

  3. Personality Test/Interview

Schedule for UPSC Exam

The proper timetable of UPSC Main exam changes consistently and is generally informed by

UPSC on its site www.upsc.gov.in The tentative dates are as follows

  1. Notice and Form filling for Preliminary Test – January

  2. Date of Preliminary Test – second or third week of May

  3. Aftereffect of Preliminary Test – late-July or early August

  4. Primary Examination initiation – October (Time – 21 days)

  5. Statement of Main Examination results – February or March (Next year)

  6. Identity Test or Interview – March and April (Next year)

  7. Statement of Final legitimacy list – Early May (Next year)

Preliminary Test

The prelim exam is a screening exam that does is not included in the final merit. The marks

obtained in the UPSC prelims examination amount to qualification to take the UPSC Main

examination and will not be counted for determining a candidate's final order of merit.

Syllabus of Paper I (200 marks)

Duration: 2 hours

l Current events of national and international importance

l History of India and Indian National Movement

l Indian and World Geography - Physical, Social, Economic Geography of India and the World

l Indian Polity and Governance - Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc.

l Economic and Social Development - Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion,

Demographics, Social Sector initiatives, etc.

l General issues on Environmental Ecology, Bio-diversity and Climate Change - that do not

require subject specialization

l General Science

Syllabus for Paper II-(200 marks)

Duration: 2 hours

l Comprehension Interpersonal skills including communication skills;

l Logical reasoning and analytical ability Decision-making and problem solving

l General mental ability Basic numeracy (numbers and their relations, orders of magnitude, etc.)

(Class X level), Data interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency etc. - Class X level)

DO NOT be daunted by the information before you rather understand your weak points and

work on your strong points. This is the first step to clearing any exams that you take in the


There is no clear-cut strategy that works for everyone when it comes to UPSC. Every student

has to pave their own path towards their set of goals but there are certain habits that you should

hone and cultivate in order to be successful in any future endeavour too.

1. Revise Notes And Important Topics:

Divide and conquer the syllabus. The UPSC syllabus is huge but it is something you have

studied already so rather than getting overwhelmed by the vastness, try making a distinctive

pattern in topics that you know are your strengths and focus on them. Make a sound strategy

that suits your pace and combine it with the CSAT which basically requires your aptitude.

2. Make A Solid Timetable and Follow It Judiciously:

Coming from talking to experts in the field and interviewing past IAS toppers we suggest you

come up with a realistic timetable. You should study for the exam at least 6 hours a day but not more than 10 hours a day because your brain also needs rest and an overload of information will just be deterrent to your overall study. Study in the gaps of an hour with 10-15 minutes break where you can relax, take a brisk walk or clear your head. This helps your brain process the information.

3. Read NEWSPAPER Regularly:

We cannot stress the importance of this much more than this. It might even the most important rule. You have to be frequent in your newspaper reading, subscribing to a daily news update from channels like DailyHunt or TOI would help. Following pages that cover general affairs and update you on current events on social media feeds would help with substantial growth.

TIP- There are pages that turn current events and affairs into memes on social media and

though they do not provide detailed information they stick well into our brains.

4. Ask Yourselves Questions:

Whenever you are reading up on the internet or newspaper frame questions on the event that you are reading about. Try to consciously build a habit of asking questions that can be asked in examinations. We suggest you keep a journal and jot down any such questions that come into your head about the recent developments and interesting information that might be asked.

5. Solve Previous Year’s Papers and Mock Tests:

Understanding the syllabus and practicing onto the syllabus so you can make a time

management strategy for the final exam is of utmost importance. If you work on enough mock tests and exams you will get confident in writing answers and that is 30% of the work finished. There are different sites which provides you with mock tests with smart algorithms that provide you with a virtual environment similar to the exam and give you the analysis and insights. With your result at the mock test, it also provides you with guidance on the exam.

6. Don’t Stress, Sleep Well and Eat Healthily:

Even though the exam should be a priority but don’t tell yourself that this is made or break, the immense pressure doesn’t help and you always have another chance. Give the exam with confidence and do not stress. Do activities that you enjoy, go out, eat healthily and stay fit. This is as much important as studying for the exam as it helps your brain associate happiness with the study rather than stress.


UPSC might be one of the toughest papers to crack but prelims are more of a screening test.

Have confidence in your studies and keep yourself calm under pressure. Study your notes well and revise the syllabus habitually. Do not forget to keep yourself updated on current affairs and recent developments and enjoy yourself even with an insurmountable study behind you. That is the key.

Happy learning!

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