Correct Approach for UPSC Civil Services Exam Preparation

Correct Approach for UPSC Civil Services Exam Preparation

UPSC Civil Services Examination is famed as an extremely competitive recruitment paper by every aspirant. It is a unique recruitment examination aimed at testing an aspirant on wide number of parameters like Presence of Mind, Thoughtfulness, Awareness, Common Sense and Intelligence. Since it is an Examination, a correct approach and the right tools to proceed will come in handy towards UPSC Civil Services Exam Preparation.

The objective of this article is to identify the correct approach which an IAS aspirant must apply for UPSC Civil Services Exam Preparation – Whether to Prepare for IAS Prelims first and then start thinking about IAS Mains or prepare side by side?  

Correct Approach for UPSC Civil Services Exam Preparation

There are 3 levels or stages in UPSC Civil Services Examination for the recruitment of Grade ‘A’ Officers to the Indian Administrative Service. The candidates who have submitted their IAS Application Forms will appear for IAS Prelims First.

Only the ones who are able to crack the Preliminary Examination will be called for Mains Examination for UPSC Civil Services. The Final Round will be Interview of shortlisted candidates after which the Final Merit List will be prepared.   

Level 1: IAS Prelims

  • General Studies
  • CSAT

Level 2: IAS Mains



  • Paper A
  • Paper B
  • Essay  
  • GS I
  • GS II
  • GS III
  • GS IV
  • Optional – I
  • Optional- II      


Level 3: Interview

After IAS Prelims & Mains, the candidates face the Interview Round. Questions asked in IAS Interview are quite unique and the process in itself is considered quite as a ‘challenge’.


UPSC Dilemma: Prepare for Prelims First or Both Prelims & Mains Together?

Seeing the complexity of UPSC Selection Procedure, you need to develop a personalised exam strategy with the correct approach. Formulating a progressive exam strategy which works best for you begins by closely looking at the IAS Exam Syllabus for each level. On in-depth analysis; you are likely to figure out that Main Exams is like an enlarged picture of the Prelims.

While at the Preliminary Stage, the level of questions will be more objective to assess a candidate’s conceptual knowledge in basic subjects like History, Geography, Polity, Economy etc, the scenario changes with Mains Examination. For IAS Mains, the nature of questions becomes analytical and involve a lot of critical thinking as well as brainstorming.  

However, the fact remains that without clear fundamentals or basic knowledge you can’t answer any question correctly; whether objective or analytical. Hence, let us conclude that everything begins with a systematic approach toward preparing for IAS Prelims first. So, try to put in your best foot forward for Preliminary Examination and then advance later to Mains Level. 

If you limit your IAS Exam Preparation only for Prelims Paper at the initial level, the result for that examination can be optimal and might even help you qualify it. At the same time, you need to run the idea at the back of your head that once IAS Prelims are over, you will not have enough time to prepare for IAS Mains after that which will might be in trouble.

On the contrary, studying for mains first and losing focus on prelims will drive you into dangerous waters where you might not ace your Prelims.  

Hence, starting with IAS Prelims but aiming for IAS Mains is the best way to ensure success in UPSC Civil Services Examination. This wholesome approach to studies will save you from rote learning and benefit you in the long term. This is definitely a correct approach towards UPSC Civil Services Exam Preparation. 

Stay connected for more information regarding UPSC Civil Services Exam Recruitment 2016. To excel in Civil Services Examination, download the Best IAS Exam Preparation App for free.

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