10 Tips to Study For IAS Prelims


The UPSC Prelims Examination is the first step in the journey to become a Civil Servant in India. Only if you qualify the Prelims exam will you be allowed by the UPSC to appear in the subsequent rounds in the Civil Services Exam. Every year, about 5-6 lakh candidates appear in the Prelims, however, just about 2.5% or 10 -15 thousand candidates are able to clear and move on to the Mains exam.

Generally Prelims are held in June-August every year. This year, the prelims will be held on 2nd June 2019. We at BYJU’s bring you 10 useful tips to study for the UPSC Prelims Examination efficiently.

  1. Read ‘The Hindu’ newspaper every day. Reading the newspaper and analysing it is one of the most important steps in the IAS preparation process. Among newspapers, ‘The Hindu’ is the most trusted for the IAS exam. You can also watch the daily news analysis videos on our website. You may check out the link at the end of the article for the same.
  2. Make notes of all the important events and news that make headlines. You must watch out for the latest developments that affect our polity, society and life in general. You should also link these developments to the UPSC syllabus. Questions may not be directly asked from the event/news per se. But they can be asked indirectly. For instance, in the face of the recent #MeToo movement taking the country by storm, the UPSC may ask about the legal provisions that are present for women’s protection in the workplace against sexual harassment, and not on the movement itself.
  3. The best basic books that you can read for the UPSC static topics are the NCERT textbooks. They contain the subject matter in simple and clear language. They would help you build a strong foundation for the UPSC exam.
  4. You should not ignore the CSAT paper. Even though it is only a qualifying paper, it should be given adequate attention. You do need to score a minimum of 33% in it. So, practice CSAT questions properly and make sure that you clear it.
  5. In the prelims exams, you need to solve 100 questions in one hour (for GS paper 1) and 80 questions in an hour (for CSAT). There is also negative marking for incorrect answers. So, you must get enough test practice if you are to clear the prelims exam. Enrol for a good IAS prelims test series in order to make sure that all your effort in preparation bears fruit.
  6. Make a weekly time table for you preparation related activities, such as an hour every day for news and its analysis, a few hours of peaceful time for practicing CSAT and GS I questions.
  7. Ramp up your intensity of study a few months before the exam, many knowledgeable aspirants fail by studying too hard too early and burn out by the time the actual Prelims exam rolls around, push yourself, but also give your body and mind adequate rest.
  8. Also, make sure to start early, starting prelims preparation too late is another pitfall to avoid while preparing for prelims. It is easy to procrastinate when you do not have much time and are overwhelmed with the number of subjects to study, but it is the wrong approach. Prelims preparation should be an ongoing process since the previous year and the aim should be to be able to answer at least three to four General Studies papers within the time limit correctly. This will boost your confidence for the actual exam.
  9. Get good quality sleep every day and aim to wake up and go to bed at set times during your day, so that you can maintain the discipline required for study related activities. Work out a regime that suits you and stick to it till the exams are over.
  10. Last but not the least, read a monthly news digest along with the newspaper so that you stay current on your current affairs preparation all year long. Alternatively, you can make start making notes early in your preparation and periodically refer to them when in the final months of preparing for the exam.

Following these tips, working hard and keeping healthy are the key to success.

All The Best!