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Precise STRATEGY FOR CSAT-2011 will be updated soon.


  • GS Prelims preparation is not only about how much you study but also about how you study i.e. about the strategy.
  • Even though certain aspects of the strategy differ from one person to another, there are certain very important commonalities in the strategy of various toppers.
  • 4 to 5 hours of regular preparation for 5 months is sufficient for preparing GS Prelims provided.

You know what the trend of the exam is
You read the right material for each topic
You know what areas to emphasis
You have your study material organized in such a form so as to facilitate the revision in the last month before the exam.
One of the major problems encountered by the students is due to the vastness of the terrain of the GS Prelims. It can be resolved by dividing the areas into - Core areas, Important areas and Optional areas.
Current Affairs (including India Year Book), Indian Polity and Modern Indian history must form the foundation of your preparation on which no compromises should be made. Not only the majority of questions in prelims are asked from these areas but they also form significant portion of Mains G.S. Paper-1. The question paper analysis of last 4 years shows that current affairs section is getting more and more important every year. This makes regular reading and compilation of newspapers indispensable .Various competition magazine are not at all sufficient; they can only supplement your daily self-made newspaper notes. While reading newspaper always keep a good Atlas (preferably Orient Longman) with you as more and more questions are getting location oriented e.g. instead of asking the venue of APEC meet they might ask you to locate the place on world map.
After the core areas, next on the list of priority are Indian Economy, Geography and Ancient & Medieval history. In case of Geography, physical geography especially Indian physical geography is very important. Map based questions and questions on locations, lakes, rivers, mountain ranges etc. are being increasingly asked. Map of India (particularly physical) should be properly studied. Same is true about world map albeit with lesser intensity. Economics along with basic concepts, study of Economic Survey and relevant chapters of INDIA Year Book would be helpful.
These are those tricky areas such as Science and Technology, GMA etc. which on ultimate cost-benefit analysis should come later on the list of priorities. Obviously the academic background of the student would play an important role in it.
For students having a non-science background, there is a note of caution. The analysis of previous papers points to the fact that the questions related to these areas are becoming more specialized and less general. Hence it is advisable to do only basic minimum on these areas. Also it should be kept in mind that you would be able to attempt questions successfully only if you had revised these areas thoroughly. For this NCERT unto 10th standard alongwith NBT's HUMAN MACHINE would be suffice.
Same is true for General Mental Ability wherein questions are becoming tougher year after year. Here student should analyze his/her own strengths and weaknesses. For those who are not comfortable with mental ability can put it last on his/her list of priorities.
The whole idea is that the Prelims marks are not added while making the final list of merit. Generally, a student scoring around 80 questions correct in GS is through with it. However, the ever toughening competition makes it mandatory to score 90+ correct questions to be on a safer side. It also offsets the variations in cut-off marks that happen year after year. Furthermore, this kind of score also helps even if you haven't done well in the optional. Our experience says that over the years, General Studies has become the deciding factor as far as Prelims is concerned.
Right Approach along with Right Material & Right kind of Notes holds the key to your success in Prelims.
Apart from focus on specific areas and subjects such as Polity, Constitution, Economy, History, Geography, Science etc., the need is to walk an extra mile to be successful. It is essential to be vigilant and cultivate an attitude of being receptive to the events and changes that are happening around you.

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  1. One should select standard, prescribed books for the preparation.
  2. A detailed study of good textbooks and whole syllabus only give good input and a decent chance to answer maximum questions to score high. It is better to consult various books on different aspects, as it is very rare that one single book covers the entire syllabus in its totality.
  3. After reading/understanding the basic concepts, it is desirable to have sufficient or a good question bank on the subject concerned may assist the students a great deal.
  4. Questions asked in the Preliminary examination for previous 10 years are available in the market. As a first step, one should sort out the questions of the optional, according to the syllabus topics. This will give an insight into the nature of questions, important areas, and twists in the questions etc. Once the basic strategy is formed, it will be easier to study the subjects according to the nature of questions asked in UPSC.
  5. A four-month exclusive preparation for Preliminary examination is a must.
  6. For the optional subject, the whole syllabus should be thoroughly studied and should be revised and mastered. (Remember no topic in optional should be left as optional) :One question carries 2.5 marks.
  7. One should aim at scoring 85-90/120 (optional subject), 75-80/150 (General Studies). (Score varies per subject & per category).
  8. Optional subjects carry more marks (300) as compared to General Studies (150). The area/syllabus of the optional subject is also limited. Though there is a prescribed syllabus, there is no limit. It is vast.
  9. As the question paper is objective in nature, it would not be advisable to confine the studies only to the multiple choice type questions. Practice with question banks.
  10. One should read the entire syllabus by covering every aspect. This provides a candidate with loads of self-confidence and knowledge to answer the questions correctly.
  11. This practice would perfect the art of answering the questions correctly and rapidly. This will also help the candidates to properly understand the questions asked in various forms.
  12. A candidate doing well in the optional paper is expected to fare well in the examination.
  13. Practice of correctly marking the answer sheets by using minimum possible time will go a long way in helping you succeed. It helps to assess one’s progress in that particular subject.
  14. The questions in the Preliminary examination are objective in nature. Therefore, general tendency to do intelligent guesswork when you don’t know the precise answer. However, in this negative mark scenario you should strictly avoid any guesswork.

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