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How to Strategically Prepare for the Upcoming UPSC Preliminary Test 2024

Career Higher Education

How to Strategically Prepare for the Upcoming UPSC Preliminary Test 2024


Success in healthy competition lies not in defeating others but in surpassing your own expectations. Give your best, and success will follow.”

–       P.S. Ravindran

With the UPSC Prelims 2024 approaching, aspirants are deep into their preparation journey—reading, note-taking, attending classes, attempting mock tests, and, crucially, psychologically gearing up for the challenge. Drawing upon years of experience, Vajiram & Ravi, a leading UPSC coaching institute since 1976, shares valuable insights to guide aspiring aspirants.

Begin by delving into previous years’ question papers. Understanding the question pattern is essential—comprehending what the UPSC expects and identifying relevant information for the exam. This insight aids effective preparation and alleviates uncertainties regarding potential topics.

Once acquainted with the previous years’ patterns, move on to cover or revise NCERT books. If time is a constraint, solving Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) based on these books and making notes from the solutions can be an efficient alternative.

The daily newspaper is an invaluable resource. Reading the newspaper every day is really important when you’re getting ready for the UPSC exam. It’s not just about staying updated; it helps you know what’s happening around you and understand different topics better. Additionally, incorporate a monthly current affairs magazine that covers contemporary issues from May 2023 to April 2024 atleast. Don’t wait until the last minute to catch up on current affairs because a lot of questions in the UPSC exam come from this part of your preparation. Staying updated with current affairs is crucial, and it’s a good strategy to perform well in the exam.

Follow these four formulas for effective Prelims preparation:

●      Cover a broad range of topics and regularly revise what has been covered.

●      Maintain a balance between memorization and understanding.

●      Prioritize quality of coverage over the quantity of material covered.

●      Do Not refer to multiple sources for information especially during the last three months of your preparation. Read and revise everything that you have learnt till now.

Aspirants often underestimate the importance of preparing for the CSAT exam, dedicating a significant 80% of their study time to General Studies. Realizing later on that qualifying the CSAT Paper is crucial, they regret not giving it sufficient attention initially.

Achieving just 33% of the total marks is enough to qualify the CSAT paper. Therefore, prioritizing the CSAT paper from the start is imperative.Prioritizing General Studies Paper I over CSAT preparation , might result in failure to qualify the CSAT Paper during the Prelims Test. Do not underestimate CSAT. Despite being a qualifying paper, UPSC ensures it is challenging, with recent prelims CSAT papers surprising aspirants. Practice CSAT alongside your main preparation for comprehensive readiness.

Incorporating a Prelims Test Series into your strategy is crucial. Aspirants often feel confident about their knowledge until they face it in the final exam. It’s during the exam that they realize they can’t recall what they’ve learned, which can be disheartening after putting in so much effort. That’s why joining a prelims test series becomes crucial to bridge this gap and ensure that your hard work doesn’t go to waste.This series not only highlights gaps in your preparation but also provides valuable feedback for you to address strengths and weaknesses. It instills discipline, creates a simulated exam environment, and closely aligns with potential Prelims questions, thereby improving the chances of giving correct answers on the actual exam day.

A common question arises about continuing Optional Subject preparation in March. For beginners, focusing on clearing the Prelims should take precedence. If optional subject preparation interferes with Prelims readiness, it is advisable to temporarily suspend it. However, for those who have previously cleared the Prelims and aim to excel in the Mains examination, dedicating 10 to 20 percent of total preparation time to the optional subject is recommended.

In conclusion, Vajiram & Ravi emphasizes three crucial points. Firstly, minimize screen time—restrict the use of phones, TVs, and computers to exam preparation. Secondly, practice unitasking—concentrate fully on one task at a time. Lastly, savor the process of preparing for the UPSC. Enjoyment significantly increases the chances of success, and for aspirants who relish the journey, success becomes highly probable.


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