How to score 150+ marks in UPSC CSE Prelims

UPSC Civil Services Prelims exam is the first stage to become IAS. Every year the competition level is increasing with the increase in the number of candidates appearing for the prelims exam. Correspondingly, there is an increase in cutoff marks, typically in the range of (50 to 60) %. The success ratio in the prelims is as low as 3:100 (i.e. out of 100 students appearing for prelims only 3 are selected).

The success ratio demonstrates that you cannot take the prelims stage lightly and has to give a focused approach to clear the stage.

Here in this article, we provide some essential tips and techniques to score good marks in UPSC Prelims examination.

Strategy to score 150 plus marks in UPSC CSE Prelims 2019

Candidates Preparing for UPSC Civil services should prepare Prelims and Mains stage comprehensively. The ideal time to start UPSC preparation is a year before the Prelims exam. However, the last three to four months should be wholly dedicated to the prelims exam.

UPSC Prelims Strategy

  • Prelims preparation should begin with NCERT textbooks, Try to cover all basic NCERT books for all subjects listed in the UPSC syllabus.
  • Read from standard textbooks and try to avoid reading the same topics from multiple resources.
  • Follow Hindu/Indian Express (or any standard national news daily) regularly. Say for Prelims exam, follow one-year news updates, i.e. for June 2019 Prelims; candidates need to follow current affairs analysis from June 2018 to June 2019.

Tips and Techniques to score high marks in UPSC Prelims Exam

1. Previous years question paper analysis

Analysing previous years question of UPSC CSE prelims helps you understand the trend and demand of exam. It will help you realise which topics you should focus (High return on investment), e.g. Modern India, Physical Geography, Environment, Economics, Polity, Current affairs etc. and on what topics you can give less focus (low return on investment), e.g. Art and Culture, Science and tech etc.

However, this segregation of topics should be done only if you have a time constraint as what surprise UPSC will throw next year cannot be comprehended.

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2. Connect the dots

how to score 150 plus marks in prelims

Candidates preparing for UPSC exam should be smarter. Civil services preparation is not only about reading books, magazines and newspaper but also about interlinking and comprehensive understanding of the subjects.

Say, for example, NCERT textbooks provide the basic definition of the repo, reverse repo, CRR, SLR etc. Similarly, standard books give some insights on how it will affect the Indian economy. But the preparation doesn't end there. You need to be updated with the recent developments happening in the Indian economy.

Once you understand this reading flow, then you can prepare well and also you can score good marks in the UPSC prelims exam.

3. Revision is the key

The notes of static portion have already been prepared, you have also started to connect the dots and now this is April, You have to begin your revision full throttle, Segregate your time between Revision, Mock test, and newspaper reading. Revise and re-revise multiple times.

Revision is the key; you have to retain knowledge with clarity to choose the correct answer; any doubt will more likely result in negative marking or un-attempt question.

4. Analyse the mock test

How to score 150 plus in upsc prelims

The importance of mock test need not be iterated, but what is important to know about the mock test is how to use it to the best possible advantage.

Most aspirants join two or three mock test series thinking the more question they attempt, the more it will be useful, but this is a wrong strategy.

What is needed is to join one mock test series and give sufficient time to analyse each of your tests. Find out your mistakes, your week zone, write it down in a separate notebook and try to clarify these mistakes and weakness before the exam.

Learn from your past mistakes and remember that you shouldn't repeat the same mistake. This approach will undoubtedly improve your prelims result.

Strategy for Last week before the Prelims exam

Do not write any mock test now. The time should only be used for reading purpose, revise your notes, fact sheets you have made, focus on your doubtful areas and take a sound sleep.

Harmonise your study timing with the exam timing and do not take stress about topics you may have missed. Avoid reading any new topics in this period.

You should focus only on revision in this time period.

What should be done on the day before Exam

Ideally, you should not read anything the day before the exam. Do things that make you happy. The logic is that if you encounter anything that you are doubtful about or have missed in the course of preparation, it creates all sorts of negative chain reaction and hurt your confidence.

What should be done on the D-Day

  • Reach the exam hall well before time
  • Give a quick reading to the question paper before attempting the questions.
  • In the first run attempt only those questions in which you are 100% confident.
  • Do attempt questions where you can eliminate two options. You have to take a calculated risk.
  • Avoid blind guessing for any question.

Getting high marks in prelims is not only about your knowledge, but a lot of factors comes into play the important ones being your presence of mind, ability to handle stress, self-belief and clarity of thought. But all these desired qualities develop in the course of preparation and so with the right strategy, you can develop these qualities and get through will flying marks.

Best of luck!!

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