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How to prepare for UPSC civil services prelims 2020?

UPSC, the Union Public Service Commission is India’s chief central recruiting agency. The body is responsible for taking examinations for All India Services as well as Group A and Group B Central posts. Besides this, it is also given the responsibility for the appointments for these posts. Among all the examinations conducted by the UPSC, Civil Services Examination is widely popular among the students and considered as a prestigious exam in India.

Now, speaking of the UPSC exam, mainly UPSC Civil Services Examination, an aspirant can be appointed to 24 types of jobs. Among all, Indian Administrative Service, Indian Foreign Service and Indian Police Service – are the main three, for which candidates mainly apply for.


Civil Services Examination is popularly known as IAS Exam, although it has the official name UPSC CSE. The reason behind this is – after cracking the exam, the service a candidate will get if the rank is below 100 is IAS, i.e Indian Administrative Service. In comparison to the other two posts, IPS and IFS, IAS is considered as the most prestigious post in India.

Civil Service Examination: The CSE is conducted in three phases, which are Prelims, Mains and Personal Interview. In the first phase, which is the Civil Services Prelims Exam, there are two papers and the questions are objective in nature. The Civil Services Prelims Exam is considered as only a screening test and marks scored in the exam are only for qualifying for the next round, which is the Mains exam.


The two papers are –

  1. General Studies Paper 1: includes subjects like History, Polity, Economics and more.
  2. Aptitude Paper 2: includes subjects like English Comprehension, Mental Ability etc. This paper is also called CSAT – Civil Services Aptitude Test.


Examination Date:

Generally, the notification of Civil Services Prelims Exam come in the month of February and the Prelims exam takes place after four months of the notification, which is June.


How to prepare for Civil Services Prelims Exam:

To qualify the prelims exam, aspirants have to deal with the subjects like History, Economy, Environmental Studies, and Polity and Governance. Besides these subjects, aspirants also have to make them expert in Current Affairs and General Science. For the CSAT, Comprehension and Communication Skills, Reasoning and Decision Making and Basic Numeracy and Data Interpretation are the important domains that a student needs to go through a planned and guided preparation. However, it is worth to be mentioned that, the marks obtained in GS 2 or CSAT would not be counted for the prelims ranking it is only meant for qualifying the exam.


Four pillars of preparation:

Selection in CSE depends on four pillars – Study Material, Self Preparation, Tips and Strategies and Following the previous toppers.


Study materials for preparation:

  • NCERT Books.
  • Economic Survey of the year.
  • Standard Text Books for History, Geography, Polity and Indian Economy.


Important tips for self-preparation:

To prepare the Civil services prelims exam, students need around one year in hand. For this, it is very important to go with a proper plan. CSAT is basically for checking the aptitude knowledge of the students, and it is said that students with Science and Engineering background can easily crack it. But, the students who find it difficult need to spend a lot of time on the section.

For the current affairs, students need to read the newspaper thoroughly and every day. Every year, a lot of questions come from this section directly and indirectly and to prepare for the indirect questions, the students need to relate the news with the subjects properly.

Another important thing students should keep in mind that the CSE Prelim Exam is all about answering maximum questions in a very short time. For this, the students need to take online tests to check their ability to perform better in the section. The online test will also improve the speed and the students can also check the answer and rectify it.


Tips and Strategies to follow:

  • To crack the Civil services prelims exam, one needs a lot of practice. For this, an online mock test is an important tool in the preparation. Higher the practice, higher the chance of qualifying the exam. So, it is recommended to the students who are preparing for UPSC Civil Services Prelims 2020, start giving online tests as soon as possible.
  • The second tip is for the students in the examination hall. The students should read the question paper carefully and if a question cannot be get clicked for the time, one should move on to the next question.
  • The most important suggestion is, please do not guess an answer, if you do not know the answer, you should move on the next. Since negative marking is there, your score will be deducted for wrong guessing.


Follow the IAS toppers:

Last but not least, students should follow the previous IAS toppers while they are preparing for the exam. For this, you can find a lot of videos and interviews on the internet. These will help you plan out the preparation strategy and help you to find out what to read and what not.



Always remember that Civil services prelims exam is an elimination test. The marks obtained in the exam is not considered for the ranking, but for qualifying for the next round. The dream of becoming an IAS will be finished if a student cannot make through the Prelims. And also remember that CSE is conducted once in a year, so if a student cannot qualify the exam for the year, she/he will have to wait for the next year, which can become impatient in life. So, if you want to crack CSE Prelims 2020, it is suggested not to waste your time from now, it will be better you start preparing for the exam.





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