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UPSC Prelims 2023 Preparation Strategy

Oct 11, 2022

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The secret to cracking the UPSC CSE Prelims exam lies in a few tried and tested, evergreen tips that have helped thousands of aspirants become IAS officers. We have listed the tips and a UPSC Prelims 2023 preparation strategy for you in this blog post. 

According to the timetable released by the UPSC, the Preliminary examination will be conducted on May 28th, 2023. That means you only have around 7 months to prepare. 

In May of next year, you shall compete with lakhs of aspirants to clear the CSE Prelims 2023 exam. If you are a first-time aspirant, you will have many questions about the preparation strategy, the enormous syllabus, or the books you must refer to. 

Only when you find the answers to these questions about the UPSC CSE, you will be able to start your preparation in the right direction.

Navigate further as you will find the UPSC Prelims strategy for 2023, CSAT (Civil Services Aptitude Test) Strategy for UPSC, tips for the Prelims exam, and recommended books for the Prelims 2023 exam preparation. 

Before diving into the strategies and preparation tips for Prelims, you must first understand the Prelims syllabus and the exam pattern. 

First, we shall look at the Prelims syllabus. Let’s start with that. 

UPSC CSE Prelims Syllabus 2023 

The UPSC CSE Prelims is a test to filter qualified candidates for the Mains examination. Only well-prepared and serious aspirants make it to the Mains round of the CSE.  

The Prelims exam has two papers namely General Studies-I and General Studies II or CSAT. The total marks for the Prelims exam are 400. 

UPSC Prelims Syllabus for General Studies - I

  • Current Affairs - Events of national and international importance. 
  • History of India and the Indian National Movement

UPSC Prelims Syllabus for CSAT or General Studies - II

The syllabus for the Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) consists of the following:

  • Comprehension
  • Interpersonal skills including communication skills 
  • Logical reasoning and analytical ability 
  • Decision-making and problem-solving skills
  • General mental ability 
  • Basic numerical ability (numbers and their relations, orders of magnitude, etc.) and Data Interpretation skills (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency, etc.) of 10th standard level. 

That is everything you need to know about the syllabus for UPSC Prelims 2023. Now, let us look at the exam pattern.  

UPSC Prelims 2023 Exam Pattern

Given below is the exam pattern for the UPSC Prelims exam.

PAPERTYPENO OF QUESTIONSMARKSDURATIONNEGATIVE MARKS
General Studies IObjective 1002002 HoursYes
General Studies II (CSAT)Objective802002 HoursYes

Next, we have a few important points to remember about the Prelims exam. 

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UPSC Prelims - Points to remember 

Here are a few important details you must know before you start your preparation for Prelims. This will ensure you are able to plan your studies well.  

  • Only the marks obtained in the General Studies Paper I determine your selection for the UPSC Mains exam
  • The CSAT or General Studies Paper II is only a qualifying paper. This means you will clear this paper by scoring more than or equal to 33% in total.
  • There is negative marketing for incorrect answers. 1/3rd of the marks assigned to every question will be deducted every time you get an answer wrong.
  • The marks obtained in the Prelims exam are only important to get to the next stage, which is the Mains exam. The Prelims marks are not counted in the final order of merit. 

And with that, you have a basic understanding of the Prelims syllabus and the exam pattern. 

Now you are ready to move on to the preparation strategy for CSE Prelims 2023. 

Let’s begin. 

UPSC Prelims Strategy 2023

In the points given below, we shall look at how you can elevate your preparation for the Prelims 2023 exam. In addition, we shall provide a few tips you can use to make sure you give your best performance during the exam. 

1. Get Conceptual Clarity With NCERTs 

NCERTs will always remain the standard and go-to books to build a strong foundation. This is the best way to kickstart your Prelims preparation. NCERTs help you understand concepts in a simple and informative manner that other books won’t allow. 

This is an important point to remember. The UPSC syllabus is vast and without strong fundamental knowledge, you will not advance to the next level in your studies.

And that brings us to the next point! 

2. Read Recommended Books

Just like the UPSC syllabus, the number of books you can read during your preparation can be equally vast, if not endless. This is the reason why it is a good idea to stick to recommended books. 

Once your basic knowledge is clear, you can move ahead in your Prelims preparation with advanced books. Below is a list of books you must read, based on the UPSC exam syllabus. 

  • India’s Struggle for Independence by Bipin Chandra
  • Geography of India by Majid Hussain
  • World Geography by Majid Hussain
  • Oxford Atlas
  • Certificate Physical and Human Geography by Goh Cheng Leong (Only the Second Half of the Book)
  • From Government to Governance by Kuldeep Mathur
  • Environment and Disaster Management by Tata McGraw Hill
  • Ethics in Governance, ARC Report
  • Lexicon by Chronicle Publications
  • The Books on Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude published by Access Publication

Also, this is the perfect time to watch the video given below. Watch as Vivek Singh sir explains how to make the best use of the 5 months before the Prelims 2023 exam. 

3. Study Newspapers Daily

Reading newspapers daily must become a part of your daily routine. In addition to current affairs, questions asked in CSE often require knowledge of ongoing events in the real world. When you are able to connect what happened in the past with current events, you can identify correct answers more quickly. 

An important distinction to remember here is you need to STUDY the newspaper and not just read it. At the same time, you should make notes of important points to go through later. 

If you want to go into more detail, here is a 2-minute read on How to Read Newspapers for UPSC Civil Services Preparation? 

4. Devote Time For CSAT 

Although the CSAT paper is only qualifying in nature, it should not be neglected in your preparation journey. You will require thorough preparation to clear this paper. 

The syllabus for CSAT is defined unlike the syllabus for GS Paper I. However, despite being a shorter syllabus CSAT still demands a lot of hard work to qualify. 

CSAT scores are not counted in the final merit list but it directly impacts the cut-off for Prelims every year. The cut-offs for Prelims go up or down according to the difficulty level of the CSAT paper in that year. 

You have reached the end of the preparation strategy for the Prelims 2023 exam. The strategies given above are purposefully generic to appeal to aspirants of all levels preparing for CSE next year. 

Next, we have a few tips that you must follow without fail. These tips will help you stay on the right track and ensure you make steady progress every day throughout your preparation journey. 

5 Tips to Ace Prelims 2023 Preparation

Below are 5 tips to help you ace your Prelims 2023 preparation. These are tried and tested evergreen tips to help you deliver high performance in the Prelims exam. 

#Tip 1 Draft a detailed study plan and make sure to follow it. Stick it to the wall in front of your table. 

#Tip 2 Go through Previous Years’ Questions to understand the kind of questions asked in the exam. This will help you to figure out common topics and questions. 

#Tip 3 The best tip to ace Prelims is to practice a lot. In the Prelims exam, you have to solve a lot of questions correctly within a limited time frame. To increase your speed and number of correct answers, you have to attempt a lot of mock tests, solve QBanks, analyze your results, and repeat the process. 

Also Read: How to Effectively Use QBank and Prepare for UPSC Exam

#Tip 4 Revision must be a routine practice. Revise everything you study on a daily basis. This will help you retain information for a longer time. Or if it's convenient, make a weekly revision schedule.  

#Tip 5 Believe in yourself. You will have doubts, you will make mistakes, and you will not remember everything at once. It is fine. Just be consistent and you will always be on the right path. 

Frequently asked Questions about UPSC Prelims Preparation Strategy

How many exams are there in UPSC Prelims?

There are two papers or exams in UPSC CSE Prelims. The first is General Studies paper I and the second is General Studies paper II or CSAT.

What is the syllabus for the UPSC prelims exam?

General Studies Paper I - current events of national/international importance, History of Indian and Indian National Movement, Indian and World, Indian Polity and Governance, Economic and Social Development, General Issues on Environmental Ecology, Biodiversity and Climate Change and General Science. 
General Studies Paper II - Comprehension, Interpersonal Skills including Communication Skills, Logical Reasoning and Analytical Ability, Decision-Making and Problem-Solving, General Mental Ability, Basic Numeracy (Numbers and their relations, orders of magnitude at Class X level) and Data Interpretation (charts, graphs, tables at Class X level).

How many months of current affairs are needed for UPSC 2023?

There is no fixed number of months. You need to be aware of important historical events and up-to-date on the significant current affairs events of the past 1 year at least.

How can I prepare for UPSC Prelims 2023?

The secret to cracking the UPSC CSE Prelims exam lies in a few tried and tested, evergreen tips that have helped thousands of aspirants become IAS officers. We have listed the tips and a UPSC Prelims 2023 preparation strategy for you in this blog post. 1. Get Conceptual Clarity With NCERTs. 2. Read Recommended Books. 3. Study Newspapers Daily. 4. Devote Time For CSAT. 5 Tips to Ace Prelims 2023 Preparation.

Which test series is best for UPSC Prelims 2023?

PrepLadder’s high-yield test series is the best for UPSC Prelims 2023 because it has 60 tests total out of which 30 are for Prelims and 30 for Mains. The UPSC Prelims exam contained many direct repeats from PrepLadder’s content.

And that’s it! That’s everything you require to get started with your Prelims 2023 preparation. 

We understand that UPSC CSE preparation can be overwhelming. The syllabus itself is so vast that tackling it seems like an impossible task. Especially if this is your first attempt. Even if you have attempted UPSC CSE before, you still require a reliable partner to accomplish your study goals. 

Make your UPSC journey easier with the PrepLadder App. We have India’s leading faculty like M.Puri, Vivek Singh, Himanshu Sharma, and Hemant Jha. In addition, our high-quality content and study tools help you take your preparation to the next level. 

The PrepLadder App includes concise, effective, and well-planned video lectures by the Dream Team, high-yield QBank, and PrepTests based on real exam patterns, and Previous Year Questions. 

Everything you need to ace UPSC is available on the PrepLadder App

Keep following our blog for more interesting posts like UPSC Prelims 2023 strategy and our Telegram Channel to keep up with the latest information about the exam. 


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