(Getting Started) UPSC Prelims Strategy by IAS Shrestha Anupam AIR-19

(Getting Started) UPSC Prelims Strategy by IAS Shrestha Anupam AIR-19

Shreshtha Anupam of Bhagalpur, Bihar, ranked 19 in UPSC Civil Services 2019. He is a Chemical Engineer with a B.Tech degree from Delhi University. He had previously attempted the upsc exam as a college student but did not get far. This was his second attempt and he reached the very top.

Bhagalpur's Shrestha Anupam bags AIR 19 in UPSC exam, studied 10-15 hours  daily | Hindustan Times

Shreshtha Anupam, AIR-19, UPSC CSE 2019

6 Pillars Of UPSC Success

According to Shreshtha, there are 6 subjects that are the pillars of success in UPSC prelims. They are –

  1. Modern History
  2. Polity
  3. Economy
  4. Geography
  5. Environment
  6. Current Affairs & NCERT Notes PDF

Conceptual clarity and in-depth knowledge in these subjects will ensure you can answer the prelims questions to the best of your abilities

UPSC Prelims Strategy

Solving Mock Tests

The key to success in prelims is practice. The recent trends in UPSC make it impossible for one to know all answers for sure. In the exam hall, at least 40-60 marks can be acquired by simply eliminating options to reach the correct answer. Solving test papers allow you to have enough practice of eliminating options that you can use in the exam hall. Shreshtha solved at least 50 papers for his prelims attempt.

Graduate Aptitude Psychometric Tests | Types of Testing

OMRs are non-replaceable. Practice helps.

Current Affairs

Reading newspapers is a must according to Shreshtha. Monthly magazines, daily blogs, and YouTube videos help you. However, there is no alternative to the perspective developed by reading newspapers on your own and forming your opinions. It helps you immensely with conceptual clarity which carries you through the prelims, mains, and even the interview stage. 

Static Subjects 

Some key points to note here –

  • Your aim is to score a 100% in Polity and Economy. If you have studied Laxmikanth for polity and Mrunal (online source) for Economics with multiple revisions, this is easily achievable because the questions asked on these subjects in UPSC prelims are conceptual and within the bound of these two sources.
  • Even though UPSC asks some very deep questions in Modern History from time to time, if you have covered your sources well, you should be able to score at least 70-80% on this portion. The more the merrier.
  • For Art and Culture, which is intrinsically tied to Ancient and Medieval History, refer to RS Sharma and Satish Chandra Old NCERTs. For Art and Culture, refer to the Fine Arts NCERT and read selectively from Nitin Singhania. The syllabus is huge for this portion, but the questions asked are few. So, use your better judgment when preparing.
  • For geography, maps are key. For the last 2 months before the prelims, please ensure you dedicate 10-15 minutes to map practice daily. The sources suggested by Shreshtha for this section is the NCERT books of classes 11 and 12.

How to practice maps for UPSC CSE - Quora

Map Practice Is Important

  • For the environment, refer to Shankar IAS. It is enough and supplements it with previous years' questions. Each year, at least 20-22 questions are asked from this section and you can easily answer them with a little effort.

Message To Aspirants

The preliminary exam is a deciding factor. Out of 7/8 lakh aspirants, only 10 thousand get selected. You want to ensure you are on the right side of this 1:10 ratio. Know your accuracy and attempt accordingly. 

Keep working hard; hard-workers never fail in their quests.

All the best!


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