How You Can Clear Civil Services Prelims in 6 Months | UPSC CSE Prelims Preparation Strategy

How much time is sufficient for Civil Services Prelims preparation” is among the most frequently asked questions. Undoubtedly, the answer is subjective. After all, there are aspirants who have qualified the Prelims after just 3–4 months of preparation; and there are others, who have not been able to qualify even after studying for more than double that time!

Hence, it can be inferred that clearing the UPSC CSE Prelims depends more on your strategy, how focused you are, and on your acumen; and less on the time you devote! Having said that, six months of focused preparation, while following a time-tested strategy can surely improve your chances.

Subject-wise weightage of General Studies Paper

Subject Number of Questions
Indian History and Culture 12-15
Geography 12-14
Polity 12-14
Economics 12-15
Environment 18-20
General Science 10-12
Current Affairs 15-17

However, the weightage varies from year to year. Get more information on the detailed preparation strategy for the GS paper here

Six-month Schedule for UPSC Prelims Preparation

The UPSC CSE Prelims is usually conducted towards the end of May, or at the beginning of June. Hence, for a six-month schedule, you will need to kickstart your UPSC Prelims preparation from December. Here is a month-wise preparation schedule (10 hours/day). Apart from the 8-hour schedule mentioned below, spare 2 hours for revision, which is extremely important in the last leg of your UPSC Prelims preparation.

Month Area of Focus (6 hours) Additional 2 Hours Each Day
December NCERTs of History, Polity, Economy, Geography, and Art & Culture Monthly Current Affairs (June-July) + Current Affairs of December
January Basic reference books of History, Polity Monthly Current Affairs (August-September) + Current Affairs of January
February Basic reference books of Economy + Budget + Economic Survey Monthly Current Affairs (October-November) + Current Affairs of February
March Basic reference books of Geography and Art & Culture CSAT Practice + Current Affairs of March
April Previous Years’ Papers + Mock-test-based learning approach CSAT Practice + Current Affairs of April
May Mock-test-based learning approach CSAT mock-test-based approach

Tips for UPSC Prelims Preparation

  • Revise the previous years’ papers: Revising the previous question papers will give you a fair bit of idea about what to expect in the Prelims paper. Irrespective of the fact whether it is your first attempt at CSE or you are a seasoned aspirant, it is imperative that you go through the past 10 years’ papers at least once in the last six months of your preparation.
  • Revise the NCERTs: In UPSC CSE Prelims, questions have been asked directly from the NCERTs. Hence, revising them once in the final six months should be your top priority. However, if there is a time crunch, consider enrolling in our NCERT course to master all the concepts and probable questions.
  • Current Affairs: Around 15-20 questions are asked from current affairs. Hence, you need to prepare the important questions that can be asked from this area. Usually, questions on current affairs deal with the goings-on of the year gone by. So, focus on that duration. You can also join our social media groups to get comprehensive materials on current affairs preparation.
  • Give mock tests regularly: In the final two months, you should base your preparation only on the mock tests. Get yourself enrolled in a reliable test-series, and prepare the questions well. Keep on revising them consistently.
  • Don’t neglect the CSAT paper: Although you just need 33% for CSAT, it is important that you prepare it well. Practise questions on Quant and Reasoning from the previous years’ papers. Do keep in mind that if you don’t qualify CSAT, no matter what your score is in the General Studies paper, you will not be able to clear the Prelims. Hence, don’t neglect the CSAT paper. Practise it thoroughly in the last one month to ensure you qualify with ease!

Be focused on your strategy while preparing for Civil Services Prelims. Although it is qualifying in nature, it is the first and the important step that will lead you to CSE Main.

You can also enroll in our UPSC CSE Prelims preparation courses that are designed specifically for aspirants who want a quick revision of the course. You can also enroll in subject-specific courses that provide focused guidance in a particular subject. Do get in touch with our course counselors to get more information about the course deliverables.

Current Affairs analysis