How to plan strategies for the UPSC Prelims 2020

The UPSC Civil Service Exam is one of the toughest and most prestigious exams in India.

Every year lakhs of applicant prepare for this exam to accomplish their dream of becoming an IAS officer. 


The exam is not only challenging because of its length of the syllabus, but it is also daunting for its whimsical nature. You don’t need to be a bibliophile to crack UPSC exam, but it requires an all-round development as an intellectual aspirant.

Your focus should not merely be limited to the books and just finishing the syllabus but instead, you should be more pertinent at acquiring information and insight into the current affairs within the country and beyond. Mostly it depends on how do you take advantage of your time and start preparing it from today.

This article will help you to start your preparation for UPSC Prelims 2020. Here are some excellent tips that can help you prepare for the IAS exam and successfully clear it.

  • Prepare Yourself

Firstly, you need to be mentally and physically prepared for the examination. Set your ambition and devote your time productively. Before you start the preparation for UPSC at home, strengthen yourself for this challenging journey. Figure out the UPSC exam pattern comprehensively and pace your IAS exam preparation according to your schedule.

  • Proper Time table

Make a proper time table so that you can manage to complete syllabus promptly. Creating a time table will ease your preparation and your progress to be more streamlined. With deadlines and subject target you would work better and complete your syllabus faster. When you aspire to become an IAS officer it is necessary to think and work like an officer with a well-organized daily routine.

  • Study the UPSC syllabus and pattern

The UPSC has provided a detailed syllabus for Civil Services Preliminary and Main examination. Takedown the curriculum from the internet and analyze them thoroughly.


The syllabus is the spirit of an exam so before you go through the books make sure you know the exam pattern in an elaborate manner. Every aspirant should understand and follow the syllabus and pattern for UPSC Civil Services examination which will help to choose the relevant study materials and prioritize the subjects.

  • Knowing Current Affairs for IAS

If you have opted to clear UPSC prelims, then you need to read the newspaper daily and follow it for the exam. The questions are directly or indirectly related to current affairs. Hence it is essential to follow the news bulletin in daily newspapers. Start reading ‘The Hindu’ newspaper and relevant magazines like Yojana, Kurukshetra, Economic and Political Weekly etc. Also, you can make short notes from newspapers.

  • Choosing Optional Subjects

As per the latest exam pattern, the number of optional subjects to be selected is being reduced to one, but candidates are still confused if they are making the right choice or not. Yet the weightage of the optional paper is only 500 marks, and it is still a deciding factor in the rank due to uncertainty associated with General Studies papers and Final Interview. Before choosing an optional subject, think about the pros and cons of the topics you have in mind.

Some of the points to keep in mind are –

  • Your interest in the subject
  • Academic background
  • Availability of study materials and coaching


  • NCERT books

The best way to study NCERT books is by assuming yourself as a school student. Most of the aspirants take it on the ego that being a graduate why should they read this 6th class NCERT books? But let me tell you this is an appalling mistake most of the aspirant commit. These books will fundamentally clear your concept and provide information coherently. In the previous year, UPSC has asked direct questions from NCERT. So, NCERT’s are the best books and the backbone of your preparation.

  • Practice answer writing

The exam is mainly about testing your interpretive, critical and communicative abilities. It demands you to think with theoretical clarity and organize your views, recognition and thoughts flawlessly. The time and space restraint in the answer booklet should be kept in mind. Therefore students have to answer the questions very quickly and effectively in minimum words.

  • Solve Previous year question papers

Take out the previous year question papers and analyse them carefully. Figure out what is the nature of the exam, what kind of questions come and level of toughness. By this, you will get a clear picture, which will help you in the long run. This analysis will guide you in developing your nature to read books from the exam point of view.

  • Mock test series

Self-determination is an integral part of an IAS exam preparation. With the help of the internet, you can conduct a mock test of your own. This will help you to realize your mistake, shaping the approach you need to follow in the preparation, and analysing your strength and weakness.

  • Revision

Revision is the key to success when you are facing an exam as tough as UPSC. Since the syllabus is vast and diverse, cover miscellaneous subjects, it is quite natural to forget things you studied before. That is why timely revision is a must.

  • Stay Confident

The most crucial aspect of the entire UPSC journey is to stay positive. There are times where it can get quite astounding and you will feel that you are being pessimistic but do not give up at that time instead, remove negative thoughts from your mind, believe in yourself, put more efforts than before and work harder.

I hope this article will help you to take the right steps towards UPSC prelims 2020 preparation. You need focus, dedication and proper guidance to achieve your dream of becoming an IAS officer. With online resources and proper strategies, one can easily start preparing and clear the exam.