Tips on Preparing UPSC CSE Prelims Exam

The Union public services commission in India conducts the civil services examination. It is a very prestigious exam and also one of the toughest exams in India. Its lengthy pattern, vast syllabus, and cutthroat competition are some of the factors which make it so difficult. The civil services exam selects future bureaucrats, diplomats, and other officials for the central services of India.

The exam has been divided into three stages: Preliminary, Mains, and Interview. You will have to clear each stage to pass the examination. In this article, we will focus on the prelims, as it is one of the most challenging phases in the examination process. It requires a different strategy and approach to crack the prelims.

Table of Content

What Is the UPSC CSE Prelims Exam?

UPSC CSE Exam Date 2023

Tips for Preparation of Prelims

Wrapping Up

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What Is the UPSC CSE Prelims Exam?

The first stage of the UPSC Civil Services exam is the Prelims also called the preliminary exam. You need to pass this examination before moving to the next stages i.e. mains and interview. This preliminary examination contains two papers: General Studies Paper 1 and General studies paper 2.

Both papers are in the format of multiple-choice questions and are conducted on the same day. The first exam is of immense importance because the cutoff is based on paper 1 only and the second paper is qualifying in nature. A minimum of 33% is required to pass paper 2 which is also popularly known as CSAT (Civil Services Aptitude Test).

UPSC CSE Exam Date 2023

The UPSC notifies the date of the prelims every year in February. The application process also started on the 1st of February and the last date for filling out the application form was the 21st of February,2023. UPSC CSE Exam Date has also been announced with some other important dates. Find all of them below:

  • UPSC CSE Exam Notification – February 1, 2023
  • UPSC CSE Application Started – February 1, 2023
  • UPSC CSE Application Closed – February 21, 2023
  • UPSC CSE Prelims Exam – May 28, 2023
  • UPSC CSE Mains Exam – September 15, 2023

Tips for Preparation of Prelims

The first and most challenging portion of the UPSC Exam is the Prelims. Thousands of people attempt the exam each year, but only a small number of them are successful in passing the cut-off.

The appropriate UPSC Preparation approach, organizing your time, determination, and intelligence are all necessary for success on this exam. Due to the fierce competition that applicants must overcome, the preliminary exam requires a distinct approach.

We have listed some of the most important tips for your preparation for UPSC Prelims. You should follow them if you find them suitable for you as every aspirant has their own unique learning capabilities and methods. These are gathered from research from the toppers and several other candidates who have passed the prelims, hence they are reliable and can save you from major preparation mistakes.

  1. Understand the Syllabus Properly

One must carefully read through the complete UPSC Syllabus before beginning his/her preparation. The distinction between the Prelims and Mains Syllabus is very small but must be understood. Almost every aspirant integrates their mains and prelims preparation but it is important to keep in mind that some topics are different and the pattern of prelims exam is also different.

  1. Analyze Previous Year Question Papers

You must have heard about this tip from almost everyone. Well, it is an important one. Analyzing previous year’s question papers gives you a fair idea about the exam pattern and the important portions of the syllabus from which questions come every year. It will help you in deciding how much time and effort you need to put into a specific subject.

  1. Keep the Study Material Limited

The market is flooded with UPSC preparation books. In such a situation when there are hundreds of books to refer for the same subject, it may be very confusing for students to select the right one. You must read NCERTS for the basics and then move to standard UPSC books which have been used by aspirants for several years. Create your own notes and keep them clear and concise. You can also look for online notes which are provided by coaching institutes, some of them are very useful.

  1. Devise a Strategy

Devising a strategy that suits you the best is very important. You need proper time management for covering your whole syllabus and timely revisions. Create your timetable and set targets for the completion of specific sections of the syllabus.

  1. Current Affairs

Current affairs form a crucial part of the prelims exam therefore it is necessary to be aware of all the events going on in and around the country. You should read daily newspapers, weekly or monthly magazines, and government documents like budget reports, economic surveys, etc. It is advisable to make notes of them as they will make your revision much easier.

  1. Revise, Revise, and Revise

The syllabus of UPSC prelims is vast and scattered also. Therefore, a proper revision is a must. You should keep revising what you have studied at regular intervals, say weekly and monthly. At the end of the preparation, you should devote at least a month only for the revision.

  1. CSAT

CSAT or paper 2 of the preliminary examination is qualifying but you must pass this with a minimum of 33% to proceed to the next stages. This is a general aptitude test that can be covered quickly but it requires a lot of practice. So, practice as many questions of comprehension, arithmetic, and logical reasoning.

  1. Mock Tests
    You should give a mock test once you have covered your whole syllabus. They will provide significant insights into your performance, what are your weaknesses, and where you need to improve. They can also reduce your nervousness in the real prelim exams by giving you the experience of an exam-like environment.

Wrapping Up

So, this was all you needed to know about preparing for the UPSC CSE prelims exam. Preparing for the UPSC CSE Prelims exam requires a methodical and structured approach, with a clear understanding of the exam pattern, syllabus, and current affairs. Developing a study plan with ample time for revision and practice is crucial, as is enhancing one’s general knowledge and analytical skills.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. Is it possible to crack UPSC Prelims on the first attempt?

Yes, it is possible to clear the UPSC prelims on your first attempt. Many candidates who appeared for the first time have not only cleared prelims but all the stages of the Civil Services exam.

  1. How much time is adequate for UPSC preparation?

Ideally, one year of sincere preparation can help you in clearing UPSC CSE. But some people take two years of preparation and some are not able to crack it even after preparing for three to four years.

  1. Is there a negative marking in UPSC Prelims?

Yes, every incorrect answer will lead to a deduction of 1/3rd of the total marks of that question.