How to prepare for Prelims?

Of late, many people have been asking me about how to prepare for the Prelims. Before I begin, I would like to share my own personal experience with the Prelims 2014. Coming from an engineering background, I found Paper II to be extremely scoring. I used to solve 1 question paper of Paper II everyday and in total I have solved about 40 of them before the prelims exam. I also tried to cover as many topics as possible in Paper I, given the time constraint of 2-2.5 months, that I had allotted exclusively for prelims preparation. I haven’t covered the Sciences part like Physics, Biology etc. I have enrolled myself for the Career Launcher (CL) test series, in which I used to score moderate marks in Paper I (as Paper I of CL test series used to be extremely difficult – more than the UPSC level) and consistently high marks in Paper II (160-190 out of 200 in the last 3-4 exams). When I solved the CSP 2013 paper II at my home, a few days before the 2014-Prelims exam, my score was 190 and solved the paper nearly 20 minutes before the time. This was a big confidence booster for me. But on the day of the prelims exam, I unfortunately fell sick (could be because of the tension). I did quite well in Paper I but because of a bad headache, my performance in Paper II was a disaster. I had left almost 25-30 questions (including the excluded English comprehension questions). After the exam, I was devastated and was almost certain that I would not clear the prelims. I decided not to check the key as I knew that I would fall in the border range. Nevertheless, I tried to calm myself and began preparing for mains with a heavy heart. The next 2 months was torturous for me, but despite that I kept on studying for mains as I did not want to squander even the slightest chance of clearing the prelims. Thanks to the Lord, I fortunately cleared the prelims and that was such a big relief.

The most important lesson that I learnt from this experience is that never neglect any topic in Paper I. And also, one must prepare so well that he/she should clear the exam not just with the best performance, but even with the worst performance.

Coming to the Prelims-2015, one must cover all the topics exhaustively – including topics like Biology, Physics etc. Environment and Ecology have become extremely important as many questions are being asked from these areas. NCERTs, I think, are indispensable. And for paper II, I’m guessing that it would be a very difficult paper. So, even though it is now a qualifying paper, it will be so designed to eliminate a good number of people there. I strongly recommend the aspirants to focus entirely on prelims (both paper I and paper II) and not to neglect it. After the exam one must be sure that he/she would certainly clear the prelims, so that entire focus can be put on the mains.


16 thoughts on “How to prepare for Prelims?

  1. Hi brother first of all I lik to congrats u….I’m actually from a Kannada medium student I’m presently taking coaching in RC REDDY IAS COACHING CENTER..I need ur guidance regarding books and magazines reference..& improve English vocabulary…if possible the way of preparation….


    • You can find what books to read from various websites like Mrunal and insights. And you need not have a great vocabulary for this exam, if you read newspapers for about 1 year, you’ll automatically pick up. No need to prepare separately for that.


  2. Sir today in Sri Chaitanya ias academy we had the opportunity to hear from you….can u please show us the detailed path to prelims 2016


  3. hello Saikanth,
    i’m aiming for CSE 2016…
    with an idea to consolidate time, i’m trying to start with the subjects that are common in both prelims and mains, instead of preparing separately…
    please help me with your inputs on this approach of mine and also i request you to please list out the common subjects for GS in both prelims and mains…
    thanks in advance 🙂


    • Sure that’s exactly what I did too. Getting the basics right will cover the syllabus for prelims and prepare you for the mains. Mains syllabus is going to be a super set of the prelims. Subjects would include all the GS papers except for ethics. All the best!


  4. Hi sir first I would lk 2 cngrtlat u 4 ur success in UPSE
    nd tq 4 sharing ur strategy nd spending ur valuable time in our SRI CHAITANYA IAS ACADEMY…..!!!!


  5. Hi sir first I’d ik 2 cngrtlat u 4 ur success in UPSE
    nd tq 4 sharing ur strategy nd spending ur valuable time in SRI CHAITANYA IAS ACADEMY…..!!!!!


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