September 27th, 2020       Civil Services Preparation

The much awaited UPSC CSE Prelims 2020 is around the corner. Since the last one and a half year every serious aspirant would have waited for this day. Anxiety level amongst the aspirants will be at peak. This a very natural thing. In these uncertain times, it’s hard to focus on the preparation and keep preparation on track.

A natural human tendency is to spend a lot of time thinking about the past or the future. As the exam approaches aspirants spend much time thinking about what more could have done or repent on the amount of time wasted. And they spend this time left in projecting future and wondering about what may happen.

But remember these are very precious days before the prelims and one should relax and focus on preparation and revision. Always remember every aspirant who has prepared seriously has studied almost identical sources. However, the difference lies in the way one does revision and approaches the exam date.

One should always prepare in such a way that you peak just before the exam and carry the momentum with yourself.

What should be the do’s and don’ts for these last 15 days?


  •  Focus on what you think is your weak area.
  • After giving two-three tests, do one analysis of the paper. Segregate the areas where you score and also highlight your weak areas. Out of the weak areas see what all can be covered and what is difficult to correct. E.g. if you are scoring less in economy and environment, revise them and score can be improved.
  • Be confident that you know and you will remember what you have studied.
  • In exam nobody is absolutely certain and remember everything they have studied, so you will be equally well placed to clear the exam.
  • Students should revise polity history and geography to ensure that static portions are definitely correct to ensure 80-90 marks. In order to check the progress, keep giving test of any of the premier civil services institutes.
  • While revising, one has to keep in mind that students need not read every source exhaustively. Only topics which are underlined or highlighted during first round of reading should be focused on.
  • Guesses which you take during revision test should be taken on a calculated basis. Avoid wild guesses and at the same time have the confidence of taking guesses in questions where you strongly feel is correct.


  • Avoid reading any new source which you have not read at least once already.
  • Don’t try to cover everything and revise everything, instead prioritize.
  • Don’t get worked up and think the time for preparation is gone and this attempt is going to be wasted.
  • Don’t worry about what will happen if you don’t clear the prelims stage.
  • Don’t waste your time in thinking about what to do in next year of preparation.

One day before exam:

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  • Try to relax by meditating and praying.
  • Spend some time with family and friends.
  • Check your centre, admit card, black ball point pen.
  • Take timely dinner and adequate sleep.
  • Don’t sleep during the day as it may create difficulty in the night.
  • Don’t discuss about exam as it will increase anxiety level.

Tips for the exam:

⦁ Educated guessing: There will be questions where the aspirant will feel confused between options and will have difficulty in zeroing in on the right answer. And thus, Guessing becomes very important in this MCQ examination. However, aspirants should never go for wild guessing.
⦁ Pay attention to the keywords: Questions in the prelims are tricky. And thus, reading of the question becomes very important.

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⦁ Relating the information given is important: Sometimes the aspirants feel that they have not read on a particular topic and thus, that question they cannot answer. However, some such questions can be solved easily by relating the information given to your knowledge base. Aspirants should try to solve questions through this thinking in mocks so that by the time of prelims they have mastered on the art of reading between the lines.
⦁ Time management in the exam: To stay ahead of time, aspirants should prepare time targets while attempting mocks.
⦁ Always keep in mind that there is a provision of negative marking in prelims and hence one has to be careful while marking the right answer in the OMR sheet.

Prelims is the first step in a three-stage process and the first application of your year-long preparation. So do not spoil it by undue nervousness. Remaining calm and composed is very important.

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