Is it Important to Prepare for UPSC Prelims and Mains simultaneously? How?

As a beginner, it is very confusing for one to break down the vast syllabus of UPSC. Often aspirants juggle with prelims and mains preparation. We thought this never ending dilemma needs to be addressed for once and all.

First comes the UPSC prelims!

UPSC Civil services examination are mainly divided into three stages, the prelims, mains and interview test.

Logic says that UPSC prelims is the first examination that any aspirant has to give. Preparation should be of the same.

Even though the exam is subdivided into three stages and different formats. The subjects are kind of overlapping.

Syllabus for UPSC CSE prelims. (Total Marks- 400)

General Studies (Paper -I)

  • History ( Ancient, medieval and Modern History)
  • World and Indian Geography ( covering physical and socio-economic aspects)
  • Indian Polity
  • Economy and Social development
  • General Science ( covering Biology, Physics and Climate change)
  • Current events of National & International importance.

General Studies (Paper- II)

  • Interpersonal Skills and logical reasoning
  • Comprehension
  • Decision Making and analytical skills
  • Basic mathematical problems

Syllabus for UPSC Mains (Total marks- 1750)

Stay connected with fellow students on PaGaLGuY for UPSC CSE Exam 2019

Qualifying papers (Only minimum marks are required)

  • Any Indian Language ( Pick any one from the 22 languages mentioned in the 8th schedule of Indian constitution, Like- Hindi, Odia, and Sanskrit)
  • English Language paper

General Studies                 

Paper I- Essay

Paper II- Indian Heritage, Culture, History, World $ Indian Geography

Paper III-Indian Polity, Governance, Social Justice and International Relations

Paper IV- Ethics

Paper V- Optional Subject I

Paper VI- Optional Subject II

You may have noticed the overlapping of subjects in the syllabus of both the USPSC prelims and mains. However, there are a few topics in the mains syllabus which are not covered by the preliminary exam.

Will 4 months be enough for UPSC mains?

Another important question that might pop-up is the time given for the UPSC mains preparation is usually 3-4months.

The lengthy portion of UPSC mains cannot be covered in just 4 months. As it is a written examination, one has to spend considerable time on it.

Also with the additional optional and essay paper, every candidate has to be handy with writing a paper for long gone hours in a row.

Hence, every aspirant has to prepare for UPSC prelims and mains simultaneously to avoid any glitches in the future.

Tips on How to prepare for UPSC general studies Prelims and Mains both.

  • Basics– Now that we know that a significant amount of both the syllabus of UPSC Prelims and Mains are similar. We can mark down the basics of both and study for those topics accordingly. Along with NCERT books, you also have to complete a few other books of famous authors like Ramesh Singh, LakshmiKanth, etc. These are the suggested books for both mains and prelims.
  • Allocate time– After you are done with the basics, you have to take a step ahead and cover the additional portion of Optional subject. Make a timetable and allocate time for optional subject’s preparation.
  • Mock tests– While you are trying to juggle between UPSC prelims and mains examinations, you can quit on mock tests for mains. For the time being aspirants can only focus on mock tests for UPSC prelims.
  • Current affairs– Every aspirant has to prepare for current affairs of the last 1-1.5years before the examination date. One can make full-fledged notes while they are preparing for UPSC prelims. This will come in handy for UPSC mains. As many questions asked in the GS papers are directly picked from the current affairs itself.

Which books to buy for UPSC Prelims + Mains?

Indian Polity- M. Laxmikanth

Indian art and Culture- Nitin Singhania

Ancient History- R.S. Sharma

Medieval History- Satish Chandra

Geography of India- Majid Hussain

Indian Struggle for Independence- Bipan Chandra, K.N Pinnakar and Mridula Mukherjee

Indian Economy- Ramesh Singh, Also study all the economic survey reports

Environment- D R Khuller and JACS Rao

For UPSC science preparation, one can just learn the basic concepts from the NCERT books and stay upbeat with the latest scientific inventions and current affairs.

Final getaway!

UPSC is well known to set unpredictable examinations, one has to be prepared for facing this uncertainty. You can sail through if you were obedient while preparing for the exam.

If you are a working professional, you can divide your preparation hours and accordingly prepare for prelims and mains both.

As UPSC main’s exam score will be considered while making the final merit list, one definitely needs more than 4 months for its preparation.

As so wisely said- “Never leave till tomorrow which you can do today”- Benjamin Franklin.

Thank you.

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