With about 10 days to go for Prelim 2018 , most aspirants especially first timers must be in a strange state of mind. From my experience of last year I can tell first timers would have feeling of anxiety,  nervousness,  doubt if they have studies enough with overwhelming competition. I must assure you that you guys are very well placed as  first attempt gives you advantage of freshness, excitement and no past baggage.

Here are few tips for you:

Often Neglected but Nevertheless Crucial Aspects :-

1. Mock Test: If not done yet , practice at least a few mock tests using OMR sheet and if possible during  the same timings of UPSC preliminary examination, so as to recreate exam situation . Also during actual exam , carefully follow the instructions given by invigilator.

2. Body clock: Try to be at your best during morning hours , especially aspirants who prefer to study during nights. Slowly mould your body clock to match UPSC prelims exam timings.

3. Sleep: I can’t emphasis more on good sleep of 7 hour in last week before the exam. You can’t expect your brain to work with 100% efficiency without enough sleep. I have personally seen many examples where aspirants have screwed up prelims due to lack of sleep! Please don’t repeat their mistakes.

4. Newspapers: You can safely keep aside newspapers for these last few days , although I used to read political news as a stress buster 🙂

 5. Exam formalities: Get your admit card printed, visit the exam centre if possible in advance and make appropriate travel arrangements to reach exam venue well before time. Keep pen, pencil, eraser ready now itself , don’t procrastinate this to last day. Last minute tension due to traffic,  not finding venue could be nerve wrecking and can disturb your calm.

6. Food : If possible stop eating outside. Cheap , unhygienic food may cost you an year! Increase fruits intake , which would keep your mind alert and positive.

I would recommend relying on just fruits even during break between GS and CSAT paper.

7. Stay Positive: Positive and can-do attitude can go long way. As everyone studies same books, material but what matter is your attitude. Believe  in yourself! You can definitely make it. Take breaks and watch comedy videos whenever you feel stressed. Remember everyone is going through the same situation, you just need to stay put and keep going.


1. Revision

Make a 7 day plan to revise whatever you have read during the last 3 months. This would help in consolidating your memory and fine tune the grasp.

Go through core books you have read for prelims.

-Even if time won’t permit detailed reading, just going over pages would improve image memory. If question comes, you could remember the page you read it from.

Revise any notes you have made .

Don’t go for any new material or even discuss about new material with friends. This may cause unnecessary anxiety.

Revise current affairs magazine if following any and look for facts to remember.

2. During exam :

-Confusion may arise while eliminating tricky options, think out of the box and try to get into examiner’s mindset to select correct option. Previous year questions would help to understand UPSC pattern and what examiner wants to judge.

Don’t attempt questions where you can’t eliminate 2 options definitely, don’t be tempted to attempt questions where you have little idea. However you can go with gut feeling if you successfully eliminated 2 options.

Don’t keep any preconceived notion of attempting 80/90 questions, just go with open mind and attempt as per difficulty of questions.

Keep away from any rumours/ speculations regarding pattern of questions. Beleive in your hard work and whatever you have studied so far.

Don’t apply so called ‘ Guess-master tricks’ blindly. Keep your common sense intact and use them only as a last resort.

-Don’t be stressed if you can’t attempt the first few questions, this may happen to any set of paper that some tough questions get clubbed. Remember it is overall marks that matters.

-Sometime it may happen that subject which you consider your strongest may have tougher questions, in such situation don’t get disheartened , keep calm and solve other questions which are easier.

-Remember UPSC will throw a surprise at you, may catch you off-guard but keeping calm and having an alert mind is the key.

3. For CSAT

Don’t take CSAT lightly, it may act as a spoiler even if you crack the GS paper.

Don’t get into unnecessary discussion about GS paper during break between the  two papers, rather prepare mentally for CSAT questions.

-I would recommend solving numerical questions first and then solve comprehension part, especially for engineering and science background students as this would help in crossing the required threshold easily.

Hope above tips help you to convert your hard work in awesome marks and you clear prelim with flying colors.


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