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How can I know where I stand in my UPSC preparation before attempting the UPSC prelim?

Prelims is the first stage of the civil services exam and as the success rate of clearing this stage is just around 1%, continuous self-evaluation is the key to success. There are a few techniques to help any aspirant realize where they stand in their preparation. Kindly remember that as long as an aspirant is ready to correct themselves and focus on betterment rather than regretting, prelims can be easily cracked. Below given are some of the tips that help your preparation,  before attempting the prelims.


  1. Mock test series- This helps holistically portray your preparation level. They are designed to cover every major subject of the prelims syllabus and improve your knowledge in the process. Right before the prelims, the focus must shift to Full-Length Mock Tests, which are designed on the lines of the actual prelims pattern. Here, the marks that an aspirant gets are a reflection of your UPSC preparation, and appropriate changes must be incorporated as per the results that you get in the test. For example, if you are not getting enough marks in a subject like Polity which has high weightage in the prelims, then allow extra time for that subject in the final days of the preparation. Click here to take our free All India Mock Test to see where you stand in your UPSC preparation.
  2. Previous Year’s Questions- The pattern of any exam is based on the questions that have been asked before. Hence, every aspirant must go through the previous prelims papers and familiarize themselves with the questions asked. Even though UPSC tries to break the norm of predictability of the prelims by putting in surprise elements each year, there are always cues that can be picked up from these questions. While going through, understand the nature of the questions asked and reflect on yourself whether the knowledge that you have acquired is helpful enough in answering them. This is how an aspirant can realize where he/she stands in their preparation. If you are feeling that certain areas have been missed out, then try to answer as many questions as you can from that particular area from mock tests and reference textbooks.
  3. Revision- Kindly remember not to overdo your preparation by referring to multiple textbooks. Stick to a minimum number of reference texts and revise them often. Mark the important areas that can be asked for the prelims and understand the concept behind it, instead of mugging it up. For the prelims exam, instead of referring to new books, revise your original reference textbook and go through the marked areas. If you are not able to recollect these areas, then increase the number of revisions. It is perfectly normal if you forget some of these areas and try to overcome this situation by revising as much as you can. The more you revise a topic and strengthen your basics, the more are the chances of cracking the prelims.


As the uncertainties in the prelims exam loom every year due to its unpredictable nature, a serious aspirant must take it as an opportunity by focusing on the basics and applying the knowledge instead of rote learning. Try to incorporate the Read-Test-Revise- Repeat routine into your preparation strategy to improve your chances of clearing this stage. More than everything, presence of mind is what matters for the prelims exam. Keep in mind that the exam has been designed to test your mental caliber and hence the unpredictability. To conclude, keeping a calm and finesse nature during the exam is the first quality you must possess before attempting it. Once you have control over your mind, then the rest is going to be a comfortable journey. I wish you the very best in the upcoming prelims exam.





Published by
Officers IAS Academy – Best IAS Academy in Chennai.

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