Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) conducts a Civil service Exam every year to recruit highly enthusiastic candidates to cater to the nation’s top services. There are 24 services under UPSC like Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS), IRS Indian Information Service (IIS), etc. All of these examinations are conducted in three phases during one year. Being the first phase UPSC, We must clear prelims initially to appear in the UPSC Mains examination, followed by a Personality Test. One needs to set some strategy for Prelims and study accordingly with consistency.
Structure of UPSC Preliminary Examination
UPSC Preliminary Exam, being divided into two phases, Paper I (GS) and Paper-II (CSAT), subjects like History of India and Indian National Movement, Indian and World Geography, Indian Polity and Governance, Economic and Social Development, Environmental ecology, Biodiversity, and Climate change, General Science and Current Affairs comes under Paper- I (GS) syllabus. At the same time, Paper-II (CSAT) is aimed to examine some essential traits like Comprehension, Interpersonal skills, including communication skills, Logical reasoning, and analytical ability, Decision making and problem-solving, etc.
Securing the cut-off of Paper-I (GS) and a minimum of 33% in Paper-II (CSAT) is the key to appearing for the UPSC Mains Examination. As UPSC Prelims is an entirely MCQ-based exam, one must thoroughly go through the syllabus and understand each subject under it. Usually, aspirants prepare for a year or more to be confident enough to appear for their maiden attempt. But if one can blend hard work with innovative work and follow a systematic way to cover the whole syllabus, clearing UPSC Prelims will be nothing but a piece of cake and within a minimal time of 6-8 months.
First, you have to be fully aware of the whole syllabus of UPSC Prelims and then set your strategy according to your interest areas. Then you have to fix a time slot during which you’ll be solely dedicated to your study for Prelims. Once you read a chapter of a specific subject, note down all the important topics and make a list to keep revising that every 2-4 weeks. Different issues will demand you to remember other attributes.
In the case of History, your list should contain essential years and names of some wars that are crucial. In the case of geography, you need to keep track of mapping, capital of different countries, etc. While studying the subjects under Paper-I (GS), you have to focus on Paper II (CSAT) simultaneously. Devote some time every day for the same to increase your basic skills. Being consistent with your study and eventually achieving your daily goals will head you towards your success in UPSC Prelims.
Overview of the Syllabus and References
According to the syllabus, 11th and 12th standard NCERTs are pretty enough for some subjects like Geography and Ancient and Medieval History. At the same time, You should study the rest of them from the best and basic books readily available online and offline. Here are some suggestions for reference. For Polity, M Laxmikanth can be a good fit, whereas Ramesh Singh and Spectrum can be good references to Economics and modern history.
Now for Paper-II (CSAT), there are a lot of books available from different publications. Last but not least, reading newspapers such as ‘THE HINDU’ and ‘THE INDIAN EXPRESS’ should be a must to do a task in your daily schedule. Note down all the essential articles, jot down some important points and keep adding more points when you get to know some additional information about the same.
Follow a Study Plan and Study Consistently
Getting proper guidance and studying regularly without wasting time on what and from where you should read will save a lot of time you can devote to revision and be end-to-end prepared for the Preliminary exam. So set milestones, eventually achieve them to know whether you are going in the right direction or not and how much you have progressed, be motivated, and go for it.