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How to prepare for UPSC Preliminary Examination 2023 ?

Civil Services Notification 2023

  1. Date of notification of Civil Service (Prelims) - 1st February 2023
  2. Last date to apply for Civil Service (Prelims) - 21st February 2023
  3. Date of Preliminary Exam - 28th May 2023

UPSC Syllabus 2023 [Download] Apply now

Every candidate who starts to prepare for UPSC exam must be aware of important details like syllabus, eligibility. Once they have good knowledge of the basics of the UPSC exams, they will realise that preparation requires a unified approach to Prelims and Mains exams. Only the preparation method varies. For prelims you will need to cover vast amount of information but need less to go much depth. We are providing some tips that may help the candidate to focus on the Prelims exams.

Prelims syllabus covers almost, aspirants should have good strategy to manage the exam. You should not panic after seeing the Prelim syllabus which is undefined. It may look much easier for you when you glance at the question' paper and relate them with the syllabus.

Students must concentrate on the question patterns being asked after the changes made in the Prelims exam with General Studies as its main focus.

Prelims 2023 preparation strategy

  • Source books wisely
  • Stay updated with current affairs
  • Set goals & make sure to complete
  • Review daily & weekly
  • Mock tests
Choose the right books Follow current affairs
Review goals + reverse Give mock tests

How General Studies (GS) paper is categorized?

Broadly the General Studies paper is classified under the following sub topics:

History: A huge stress is given to modern history and freedom movement. Also emphasis is given to Ancient India. A cursory glance over the medieval history is also necessary.

Geography: A huge stress is given to physical geography and maps related questions. So get yourself well-acquainted with maps with the help of a good Atlas.

General Science: It covers a major chunk of this paper and a standard guidebook can make you well-versed on the topics of general science.

Current affairs: Going through a standard newspaper daily can keep you updated on the current affairs topics. General knowledge and awareness: Any good guide book or year book will help you cover this segment.

Familiarity with other areas: Get yourself well acquainted with the other areas of the syllabi and cover those topics as well. A thorough familiarity with those topics and working on them with the work sheet will help you prepare those areas well. Here we are providing some links that may help you how to prepare for Prelims exam.

Handling the CSAT Paper

The Prelim Paper 2 is now only of qualifying in nature. You are required to score just 66 marks out of 200 to qualify this paper. Even if you score higher marks it won't be counted. If you can prepare just four topics well you can very well obtain 66 marks. These are; a) Comprehension, b) Decision Making c) Data Interpretation, d) Interpersonal Skills. For more details visit: How to prepare for CSAT?

  1. Preliminary Examination
  2. Prelims Syllabus
  3. Analysis of Prelim Questions Pattern
  4. Cut off Marks for Prelims
  5. How To Prepare For Prelims Exam
  6. Strategy for General Studies
  7. Books For IAS Prelims

How to Prepare for General Studies

  Tips for Memory Retention          

Prelims Exam 2018 General Studies Question Paper Analysis

An analysis of the 2018 general studies question paper 1 of the prelim exam throws some new insights

Indian Polity and current affairs 18: There were around 18 questions which can be marked as Indian Polity questions, but some of the questions were from child labour, government schemes and fundamental rights, Parliament, President, Loksabha, food safety etc.

Indian Economy 13: There were 13 questions related to Indian Economy topics. 4 questions were from the Indian Banking System.

History 17 : History of India and Indian National Movement were given priority, since around 17 questions were directly asked from the topic.

Geography and Environment 14: The dominance of the environment based questions was more as around 14 environment based questions. It included topics like Tribal rights, diseases, national green tribunal, pollution control board.

Science and Technology 7: There were from the topics like GM crops, nuclear power, satellites, Aadhaar and Current affairs: There were two questions from Aadhaar and around 28 questions from Current affairs.

GS Paper-II : There was big surprise for aspirants as there were no Verbal Logic questions and only 26 Reading Comprehension based questions were asked. Data interpretation and Analytical Reasoning had 11 questions each.

Topic wise distribution of questions

S. No. Topics No. Of Questions.





Indian Polity



Indian History, Art, Culture



Indian Economics



Science and Technology



Others (Art, culture, International organisation and current affairs)





Analysis of Prelim Questions Pattern

PRELIMS EXAM 2016 GENERAL STUDIES QUESTION PAPER - A detailed Analysis of the Question Pattern

  • Current Affairs- 33 Questions- Among these; 18 questions were based on international current affairs and 15 were based on national current affairs
  • General Knowledge- 18 Questions - Among these 9 questions were on government schemes, 9 questions were on organisations
  • Economics - 17 Questions
  • Environment- 16 Questions
  • History - 15 Questions
  • Technology- 8 Questions
  • Polity - 7 Questions
  • Geography - 5 Questions
  • General Science- 1 Question

Highlights of the Prelims exam 2016 are as follows;

First, the current affairs were the dominant theme in the Prelims exam 2016. The candidates were required to have excellent knowledge of Current Affairs, with a special focus on the world and their connection with various subjects under general studies. For this the daily reading of 'The Hindu' newspaper could have immensely helped the aspirants.

Secondly, there was huge emphasis on General Knowledge as well. As many as 18 questions were set on GK, out of which 9 were on Organisations alone. These were about national and global organisations. Similarly there were 9 questions on various schemes. The aspirants were required to know them as a matter of routine GK knowledge.

The third focus was on Economics. As many as 17 questions were asked from economy with focus on world economy. Aspirant who read economic pages of the "The Hindu" newspaper daily with emphasis on its economic editorials may have been more comfortable.

The fourth focus was on the Environment with 16 Questions. The pattern suggests the questions on environment continue to be on the rise.

The fifth focus was on History. As many as 15 questions were asked from this subject. Usually from ancient history, and modern Indian history questions are set but this time there was more questions on Indian culture than on the ancient or modern Indian history.

The sixth focus was on technology where 8 questions were asked. The pattern suggests that questions on technology have increased over this year.

The seventh focus was on Polity where 7 Questions were asked. It can be suggested that careful reading of Laxmikanth book on Indian Polity could have been sufficient.

The other reference drawn from the Prelim 2016 is the weightage on General Science and Art & Culture is on the decline.

Prelims Exam 2015 General Studies Question Papper Analysis

An analysis of the 2015 general studies question paper 1 of the prelim exam throws some common pattern that may help in the preparation.

History 12- There were 12 history questions - 3 from freedom movement 3 from ancient India - 4 from modern India - 2 from medieval India.

Political science 10 - In political science there are there are total 10 questions - 8 on Indian constitution, one on pol science one on Indian governance related to revenue.

Geography 16 - There were 16 questions on geography - There are 9 questions on Indian geography, 5 questions on world geography, one question on general geography and one on Indian oceanography.

Environment 11- There were 11 questions on environment. There are 5 questions on Indian environment and 6 questions on general environmental science.

Economy 13: There were 13 questions on economy. There were 7 questions on Indian economy, 2 on Indian industry, 1 on budget 1 on finance commission, and 2 on world economy.

World body 9: There were 9 questions on world body. There were 5 questions on world body, 1 on environmental world body, 1 on Security Council, 1 on WTO, 1 on regional cooperation.

Art and culture 5 - There are 5 questions on art and culture, 2 on Indian arts and culture one on northeast custom, one on Indian language one on Indian awards.

Science and technology 5. There were 5 questions on science and technology, 4 questions on general science and technology and one on ISRO.

Indian Agriculture 5: There are 5 questions on Indian agriculture.

Miscellaneous 9: There are 2 questions on regional cooperation, one on Indian development programmes-one on commission and committee, one on Indian policy, one on government schemes, one on Panchati Raj, one on Indian health -disease , one on world health.

Static and Dynamic Part

If we carefully analysis the general studies question paper 1 for the prelims exam, we can conclude that it has two parts, one the static other dynamic. The static parts deals with questions related to the subjects like History, Indian Polity, Economics, and Geography etc. and their numbers remain almost fixed every year. The questions in the dynamic part include Current Affairs, General Knowledge etc. and their number varies.