Exam preparation strategies for RBI, Nabard , UPSC, IRDA

UPSCUPSC the most arduous and keenest exam that’s a dream come true for many aspirants. Every year around 5 lakhs individuals apply for UPSC and attend prelims exam, while only around 2000 to 3000 candidates get qualified for mains. UPSC prelims is the 1st phase of the UPSC marathon. Although prelims score is not considered for final rank calculation but prelims is very much important as it’s the chance giver for the mains and interview phase. Only those who clear prelims are eligible for further phases of UPSC exam.

Prelims is mainly aimed at major filtering of the individuals with excellent reasoning and analytics skills. The examination has 2 compulsory papers to be attended. Both the papers are objective type and are available in both Hindi and English language. There are negative markings in the examination, of 1/3rd deduction for each wrongly answered question.

Exam Pattern

Paper 1 Paper 2
Subjects General studies Aptitude skills
Qualifying Is a qualifying paper for mains exam Although it’s a qualifying paper, candidate should score atleast 33% marks. But the marks are not considered in the final rank calculation.
Questions 100 80
Total marks 200 200
Exam duration 2 hours 2 hours

Prelims Exam Syllabus

Paper 1 Paper 2
Current events of national and international importance.

History of India and Indian national movement.

Indian and World Geography that includes Physical, Social, Economic Geography of India and also the world.

Indian Polity and Governance – Constitution, Political system, Panchayat Raj, Public Policy, Rights issues, etc.

Economic and Social development – sustainable development, poverty, inclusion, demographics, social sector initiatives etc.

General issues on environmental ecology, Bio-diversity and Climate change – that do not require subject specialization.

General science

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 etc.) (Class X level), Data Interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency etc. – Class X level).

English Language Comprehension skills (Class X level).

Questions relating to English Language Comprehension skills of Class X level. (will be tested through passages from English language only without providing Hindi translation)

UPSC Prelims Cutoff marks

The cutoff marks are the lowest score that a candidate is allowed to get for qualifying the exam. The cutoff marks are declared by the UPSC based on certain factors like:

  • Total number of vacancies available at that time
  • Total number of candidates appearing for the exam in each phase
  • Difficulty level of the questions in the exam
  • Marking method
  • Trends of cutoff marks of previous years
  • Reservation norms

Marks calculation for UPSC Prelims

Candidates can calculate their score by checking the UPSC Prelims answer key available online.

  • Total marks scored = (total right answers * marks allotted to each question) – (total number of wrong answers * marks deducted for wrong answering)
  • For paper 1, marks scoring = (right answers for 100 questions * 2) – (0.66 for each wrongly answered question)
  • For paper 2, marks scoring = (right answers for 80 questions * 2.5) – (0.85 for each wrongly answered question)
  • Total marks scored = Paper 1 scoring + Paper 2 scoring

UPSC CSE Prelims Preparation Strategy

UPSC Prelims StrategyWith lakhs of candidates appearing for Prelims exam, the competition is very very high when compared to either mains or the final interview. So should be the preparation and levels of effort. The preparation strategy may work for many but before which you should also think of your strengths and weaknesses and make necessary tweaks to this strategy so as to reap great results. Most of the times, it is that prelims is aimed at testing the candidates knowledge base while mains is aimed at testing critical and social skills, it need not be neither will it be the same all the times, so be yourself prepared with any such scenarios.

  • Relate your current affairs preparation to the static topics like geography or history or any others as such; as is seen being implemented in the examination over the past few years.
  • Don’t fall on too many books or any other such resources. Limit yourself and revise multiple times for improved and in-depth knowledge gain. Minimum sources and maximum possible revisions would be helpful eliminating any chaos in the last.
  • Spend as much time as possible not only on taking mock tests but also on analyzing the mock tests.
  • Don’t just rely on too much bookish knowledge or any as such, widen your learning base, join the dots. Move out and visit the knowledge hubs like museums, National Gallery of Modern Art, Humayun Tomb, nearby sanctuaries etc.
  • Coaching is not a mandatory for Prelims, register and go for online tests, analyze each of your performance and improve your mode of preparation if needed.

Examination centers for UPSC prelims exam

Agartala Agra Ajmer Ahmedabad Thane
Aizwal Aligarh Allahabad Anantpur (AP) Thiruvananthapuram
Aurangabad Bangalore Bareilly Bhopal Tiruchirapalli
Bilaspur Chandigarh Chennai Coimbatore Dehradun
Cuttack Ghaziabad Gorakhpur Gurgaon Delhi
Gwalior Hyderabad Imphal Indore Dharwad
Itanagar Jabalpur Jaipur Jammu Dispur
Jodhpur Jorhat Kochi Kohima Faridabad
Kolkata Kozhikode Gautam Buddh Nagar Panaji Gangtok
Patna Port Blair Puducherry Pune Gaya
Raipur Rajkot Ranchi Sambalpur Lucknow
Shillong Shimla Siligudi Srinagar Ludhiana
Madurai Mumbai Mysore Nagpur Navi Mumbai
Tirupati Udaipur Varanasi Vellore Vijayavada
Vishakhapatnam Warangal

UPSC Prelims Books and Resources

There could be many more books and resources than those listed below.

Paper 1

Current events of national and international importance.

  • The Hindu, Indian Express and any other newspapers as such.
  • Follow top websites that provide best information regarding the current events or either national or international importance.

History of India and Indian national movement.

  • Ancient India – Old 11th NCERT + BBC Documentary on Story of India
  • Medieval India – Old 11th NCERT .
  • Art and Culture – 11th Fine Arts book, Nitin Singhania old notes
  • Indian National Movement – Bipin Chandra’s Struggle for Independence + Spectrum for Revision.

Indian and World Geography that includes Physical, Social, Economic Geography of India and also the world.

  • Class 11th and 12th New NCERTS, GC Leong for Physical Geography

Indian Polity and Governance – Constitution, Political system, Panchayat Raj, Public Policy, Rights issues, etc.

  • Laxmikanth as the primary source
  • DD Basu for some particular topics like local governance, scheduled areas; salient features etc.

Economic and Social development – sustainable development, poverty, inclusion, demographics, social sector initiatives etc.

  • Economic Survey, Budget 2017-18 Summary
  • Class 12th NCERT for Macroeconomics basics
  • Investopedia/Arthpedia for knowledge on any words
  • Yojana

Environmental ecology, Bio-diversity and Climate change

  • Walk through the Wikipedia page of Environmental organizations from A to Z.
  • Get the most amount of information from the Ministry of Environment Website.
  • Shankar IAS Environment

General science

  • NCERT books

Paper 2 – CSAT

  • CSAT Paper – 2 Manual by TMH
  • CSAT-II – Arihant
  • Analytical Reasoning by M. K. Pandey
  • Verbal & Non-Verbal Reasoning by R. S.Aggarwal

UPSC Prelims Preparation Tips and Tricks

  • gate tipsMake sure to atleast revise once or twice before exam.
  • Basics of any subject should be strong.
  • Give time to taking mock tests.
  • Preparing notes will help revising bit easier.
  • Familiarizing with syllabus is the first step in preparing for UPSC Prelims as it directs you in the right way for your preparation.
  • Speed and accuracy are the main differentiating factors that help in completing the syllabus and give more time for revision or will relieve the candidate from pressure.
  • Say no postpone, be wise and positive, stress not and relax.

UPSC Prelims FAQ’s

1. UPSC Prelims FAQsWhat are the various types of services offered?

   Group- A services

  • Indian Administrative Service
  • Indian Foreign Service
  • Indian Police Service
  • Indian P & T Accounts & Finance Service
  • Indian Audit and Accounts Service
  • Indian Revenue Service
  • Indian Defence Accounts Service
  • Indian Revenue Service
  • Indian Ordnance Factories Service
  • Indian Postal Service
  • Indian Civil Accounts Service
  • Indian Railway Traffic Service
  • Indian Railway Accounts Service
  • Indian Railway Personnel Service
  • Indian Railway Protection Force
  • Indian Defence Estates Service
  • Indian Information Service (Junior Grade)
  • Indian Corporate Law Service

    Group – B services

  • Armed Forces Headquarters Civil Service
  • Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Civil Service
  • Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu, and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Police Service
  • Pondicherry Civil Service
  • Pondicherry Police Service
  • Indian Forest Service

2. How to get into civil services of India?

Any individual aiming for UPSC has to qualify and clear 3 phases – Prelims exam, Mains exam and Personal Interview

3. What is the educational qualification needed to be eligible for UPSC?

Candidate should hold a bachelor’s degree from any government approved university or college.

4. How many times a candidate can attempt for UPSC?

For a general category candidate it is 6 times, for OBC its 9 times and for SC/ST category there is no limit on the number of attempts.

5. What is the age limit of candidates for UPSC?

Candidates should fall between 21 to 32 years on the 1st August of the year in which the UPSC is commenced.

6. What is UPSC Preliminary exam structure?

UPSC prelims exam is of 2 papers, both being objective based. Paper1 is of general studies and paper 2 is aimed to test aptitude skills.

UPSC Prelims Sample Questions

Q1. ‘Kalvari’, recently in the news is a __________.UPSC Prelims sample questions

a) Long Range Surface-to-Surface Ballistic Missile

b) Scorpene class submarine

c) Medium range surface-to-air missile

d) A deep-sea port India is developing

Q2. Consider the following statements regarding “Megamaser’s”, which recently appeared in the news:

1. Megamaser’s are cousins of lasers.

2. Lasers are devices used to emit a beam of light by controlling the emission of photons from excited atoms. While ‘masers’, which are a play on the word ‘laser’, do the same in the microwave region.

3. Recently, the Hubble telescope found a ‘Megamaser’ that was around 100 million times brighter than the masers found in galaxies like the Milky Way.

Which of the following statements is/are correct?

a) 1 and 2 Only                    b) 2 and 3 Only

c) All, 1, 2 and 3                   d) 1 and 3 Only

Q3. Consider the following statements:

1. Micro Units Development & Refinance Agency Ltd (MUDRA) has been formed with primary objective of developing the micro enterprise sector in the country by extending various support including financial support in the form of refinance, so as to achieve the goal of “funding the unfunded”.

2. This Agency would be responsible for developing and refinancing all Micro-enterprises sector by supporting the finance Institutions which are in the business of lending to micro / small business entities engaged in manufacturing, trading and service activities.

Which of the following statements is/are incorrect?

a) 1 only                                  b) 2 only

c) Both 1 and 2                       d) Neither 1 nor 2

Q4. ‘Exercise Shakti – 2016’was a joint-military exercise held between which two countries?

a) India- France                              b) India- Germany

c) India- Japan                               d) India- U.S.

Q5. Consider the following statements, regarding developments from the Indian Railways:

1. ‘First Green Train Corridor namely Rameswaram – Manamadurai’ free from human waste discharge was inaugurated.

2. TRI-NETRA – Terrain Imaging for Diesel Drivers- Infrared Enhanced Optical and Radar Assisted (Tri-NETRA) systemtrial was launched.

Which of the following statements is/are correct?

a) 1 only                               b) 2 only

c) Both 1 and 2                    d) Neither 1 nor 2

Q6: ‘Fixed point Business Correspondent’ is associated with

a) Prime Minister Universal Financial Inclusion program

b) Swabhimaan campaign

c) Swavalamban scheme

d) MUDRA yojana

Q7: Which of the following loans is not a part of Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana?

a) Shishu                            b) Bala

c) Tarun                              d) Kishor

Q8: Which of the following statements are correct regarding the ‘National Payments Corporation of India’?

1. It is the umbrella organisation for all retail payment systems in India

2. It is a not-for-profit organisation registered under section 25 of the Companies Act 1956

3. It aims to allow all Indian citizens to have unrestricted access to e-payment services.

a) 1 only                               b) 1 and 2 only

c) 2 and 3 only                     d) All of the above

Q9: ‘Department of Public Investment and Asset Management’ – DIPAM works undue which ministry?

a) Union Ministry of Disinvestment                            b) Union Ministry of Finance

c) Union Ministry of Trade and Commerce                d) PM’s Office

Q10: Which of the following statements are correct regarding the Smart Anti-Airfield Weapon – SAAW?

1. It is capable of engaging ground targets with high precision up to a range of 100 km

2. It is indigenously developed by DRDO

a) 1 only     b) 2 only     c)  Both 1 & 2   d) Neither 1 nor 2

The answers for the above mentioned UPSC Prelims sample questions are

1 – B,  2 – C, 3 – D, 4 – A, 5 – C, 6 – A, 7 – B, 8 – D, 9 –B, 10 – C

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