The UPSC prelims exam is the first step on your path to becoming an IAS officer. The competition is fiercest in the first round, as only a small percentage of those who take the prelims will be eligible to take the IAS mains.
The UPSC Civil Services exam comprises of two compulsory Papers: General Studies Paper-I and General Studies Paper-II (Civil Services Aptitude Test). These are conducted in two sessions on the same day via an offline mode (pen and paper).
Aspirants with a well-organized preparation strategy and good time management will undoubtedly have an advantage over others.
On that note, let’s discuss some subject-wise tips and tricks that will guide aspirants’ to strategize their civil services exam preparation.
Everyone should now realise how important current events are in the UPSC Exam and how crucial they are in achieving higher scores.
Approximately half of the questions answered in the UPSC Exam in the last three years have been about current events, which will score you 80-100 points.
Because there is no set syllabus for current events, many applicants believe it is impossible to prepare. Candidates should prepare for this subject on their own because current events is about more than just what happened in the news; it’s also about how to tie the news to the UPSC Syllabus.
Candidates should make it a habit to read the newspaper religiously and take notes from it; it is not incorrect to say that one must summarise the current affairs syllabus on their own. This will help you keep track of important news/events like the appointment/Resignation of Comptroller and Auditor General of India and other news or events of national and international importance.
Art and Culture
This subject has earned its own place in the UPSC Exam throughout time, and it is now crucial for both the prelims and mains exams. Architecture, dance forms, folk cultures, paintings, martial arts, and other areas to focus on would be good places to start.
You should thoroughly go through the Centre for Cultural Resources and Training website and not to forget the current affairs, make a note of the art and culture that were in the news.
Candidates are also encouraged not to spend too much effort on this subject. To obtain a good sense of the questions asked in this subject, candidates could look at past year question papers.
As far as the UPSC exam pattern and syllabus is concerned, history has not witnessed many alterations. You can divide the history syllabus into three parts: Ancient, Medieval and Modern History.
Ancient and Medieval History
In Ancient and Mediaeval History, you should pay more attention to the Indus Valley Civilization, Jainism, Buddhism, Mughals, and southern kingdoms.
While talking about Modern History, Main Congress sessions with the year, president and important resolutions, Significant viceroys and their period with important decisions and The government of India acts 1909, 1919, 1935 and charter acts are very important areas to cover.
In Geography, the most important area to focus on is Indian geography. Furthermore, Map reading is more than enough under the world geography and it is also important in Indian Geography, as at least 1 question is asked in the Geography paper based on the Indian map.
Pay more attention to regions that were in news recently in map reading
For example, Kaveri Dispute. This approach can also be applied during map reading under the world geography.
NCERTs of 8th to 12th standard or books like Certificate Physical and Human Geography by Goh Cheng Leong are enough for geography preparation.
While preparing for polity, special attention should be given to the Constitution. Under the Indian Constitution areas to give importance include Directive Principles on State Policy, Fundamental Duties, Fundamental Rights of Indian Constitution, and other important parts.
President and Parliament are the most important. However, focus also on Issues in news and should relate them to the provisions in the constitution and Government schemes and policies. You refer to comprehensive Indian Polity books like Laxmikant’s Indian Polity