UPSC Prelims Preparation – Dos and Don’ts

Here are a few tips offered by Study Campus UPSC institute for the UPSC candidates


Revise, Revise and Revise: No matter what subject and topic you are studying, be sure to revise and don’t forget so you do not make lose marks in those subjects. Without appropriate revision, you will possibly carry more confusion into the examination hall and end up with a higher negative score that will offset all the great work that you have otherwise done.

Make evaluation on Facts Vs Concepts: The UPSC prelims over the last couple of years in main subjects have become very conceptual. So check out the last 4-5 year’s question papers and make an evaluation of the kind of questions that are asked on each topic. For instance, in Polity, you do not require to rote learn names of previous Presidents, Election Commissioners, etc. (Qs used to be asked on them before but not anymore). The Economy paper is now very conceptual and extremely scoring. So focus on understanding the basics. Make an evaluation of all subjects. If your preparation is a mismatch to the examination pattern, then you will only be losing time.

Space out your current affairs preparation: Lots of students make the mistake of grabbing current affairs books in the last couple of weeks hoping to finish. The fact is that it will be an overload of information and your mind may not manage to cope up with the sudden load. So invest a few hours each day from now itself on current affairs and ensure again to revise regularly. Even though you are not able to complete all current affairs, do not worry. Study and revise what you can. The same relates to mapping work – spend a small time slot for it daily and keep revising.

Practice a number of Test papers: Be sure to grab some test series books and try them despite the level of your preparation. This will help you evaluate the level of your preparation, your ability to complete on time, and the type of basic mistakes you commit like incorrect reading of the questions or options, etc.

Make a regimen to be most active during examination hours: During the last weeks prefacing the exam, ensure that you are studying or practicing with extreme focus in the 2 slots of 9 am-12 pm and 2 am-5 pm. Your brain will get adapted to being most active during those hours.

Have a look at the venue before the exam day: You must physically go and check out the exam venue once prior to the exam day, to ensure that there are no surprises that day. You will also know the best mode of transport. Likewise, if you plan on going in a cab, keep in mind that there will be a massive demand for the cabs, therefore, you must keep a buffer of 10-15 minutes.

Reach the location well on time: Ensure that you reach the venue 45 minutes to 1 hour right before the scheduled time. Eleventh-hour rush and anxiety to reach the venue could negatively affect your concentration.



Do not hesitate: The paper is the same for everybody. Rely on your preparation and give your best. Any stress and anxiety before or during the exam will harm your performance. Close your eyes, shut off everything and take deep breathes for a moment to find peace. Even though at first look, the paper looks difficult and you feel you know nothing, do not get terrified. Relax and go through the paper question by question and you will find a substantial number of questions that you can answer.

Do not believe you are unprepared or under-prepared: Your preparation is an objective fact and cannot change on the day of the examination. Once you choose to give the paper, do not let thought and feelings of your preparation enter your mind. Focus only on what you know and make a smart attempt at the paper.

Do not lose momentum going into the examination: You need to be focusing and studying as much time as you can in the days prefacing the examination. The mental state leading up to the examination is very crucial.

Do not leave OMR sheet filling to the end: Students usually ignore the reality that filling the OMR sheet not only takes some time but is the most essential part of the prelims. If you do not really want to go to the OMR sheet after every single question, ensure that you fill it up after every 45-50 minutes at least. This will not only ensure that you do not lose out for not filling the OMR sheet but also assist you plan your paper better towards the end. Likewise, while filling the OMR sheet, ensure that to read out the number of questions in your head; serial filling without checking out question numbers could result in a big tragedy.

Do not make errors in attendance sheet: You will require to fill an attendance sheet during the examination where you also will have to fill out circles. Be very mindful and it only takes 1-2 mins. Even though, the examination centers help you if you make an error, it will not only lose your time but also generate additional anxiety. It is fairly a common scene to see students making errors in exam sheets. So, be very cautious.

Do not leave any question before checking out the options: Be sure to read at least once all questions and options. There will always be 2-3 questions which you can answer just by looking at the questions and options carefully. Even with very little information, you will manage to eliminate 2-3 options.

Do not over-attempt: Do not think you will have to try a fixed number of questions. You will manage to make a mental assessment of how hard the paper is after having tried the paper. If the paper looks very challenging and your preparation has been really good, then trying around 70 questions (in paper-I) well might also be sufficient. So, once again, there is no fixed number but do not feel forced to attempt like 90-100 questions just because some toppers did so.