Prelims Strategy - VISION

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Prelims Strategy

Prelims Strategy
Preliminary examination is intended to eliminate non serious candidates and provide an opportunity for the serious students to compete in the main examinations. Most of the aspirants think that preliminary examination is a tough nut to crack and they feel that it is the GS paper which makes their attempts miserable. It is a wrong perception. The truth is that GS is easy to score when it is prepared smartly.

UPSC wants candidates laden with facts regarding current and past events related to India and the world. It is amply evident from the past ten years question papers. Questions regarding history, polity, geography are no more important from the viewpoint of their historical perspective but with the present.
The number of questions asked from different sections varies each time and there is no fixed rule for this. The nature of questions asked are generally on basic principles, their application, factual information and current affairs. Some questions are based on applied aspects of principles and factual information. It has been found that many of the questions overlap with more than one section of the syllabus.
The answer to the question require analytical bend of mind. So mere reading NCERT high school texts books is now insufficient for the preparation of the prelim examination and in depth reading is required to handle such questions. The best way should be to adopt an integrated approach for preparation combining it with Mains, and one should make efforts to understand the principles and then strive to find their applications in daily life.
Considering the nature of the examination the tactics must be to focus on greater rather than intensive coverage. One is expected to know everything at the same time. However, only basics of each of the discipline are needed, so one master as many basic facts as possible, avoiding the element of over-kill in the preparations at Prelims stage.
Just remember these few things for efficient and effective studies:
  • Don’t read a book from Cover to Cover.
  • Don’t make notes in the first reading itself.
  • Keep your booklist short and simple. Better to read one book for each topic thoroughly, than flip through multiple sources.
  • Read carefully and between the lines since Prelims questions can be tricky.
  • Preliminary Exam is all about ‘identifying’ the correct answer among the 4 options given. So don’t worry about remembering facts for the exam. It’s all about elimination of the wrong options and identifying the correct answer. Focus should be more on understanding the concepts.
Brief dos and don’ts preparing for prelim examination:
  • Final preparation must start by testing self with the revision-type Model Test Papers.
  • Do not get discouraged by initial low score.
  • Emphasis on your weak-spots
  • Keep testing yourself at a regular interval.
  • Make a mental note of areas you have covered and what remains to be covered.
  • Be analytical in response.
  • Do not overstretch yourself area of coverage-wise.
  • Revise your stuff a number of times.
  • A calm mental state is most important.
  • Since there is negative marking, attempt only the answers which you are sure of.
  • Do not get stuck at any question, move on from question to question and attempt the difficult ones at the end
GS Syllabus is like an Ocean. You may know what books and material to read, but not
  • What exactly to read?
  • What to avoid?
  • Which most relevant themes to pick up from the material?
  • UPSC is well known for surprises. So, you might read everything, yet you will miss exactly what UPSC demands from you. For e.g. finish the whole syllabus of culture, and you may still end up scoring zero in culture in Prelims.
  • The Syllabus has a lot of GREY areas especially in Science & Tech, Environment & Bio-diversity. They have been dealt in detail with examples; pattern of past year UPSC questions; and possible questions have been framed from Current Events.