IASbaba’s Gyan: 3 Days Before the D-Day (Prelims Exam)

  • IASbaba
  • August 19, 2015
  • 193
Motivational Articles
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

This article is in response to many posts and mails we got requesting for a strategy to tackle the prelims exam.

In less than 3 days you will be facing the first big hurdle towards your goal. We were in dilemma whether to use the word “big hurdle”. The fact the we all hype it up and make IAS something which it is not, makes a simple straightforward exam complicated adding unnecessary fear and complication. But finally choose to use the word for many of us would have toiled months and years sacrificing our youth, career and personal relationships. In this article we will give you two solutions – one the attitude you should carry going into exam and two the strategy to be followed on the exam day

First and foremost deconstruct in your mind all bollywood /kollywood /sandalwood/ tollywood image that one would have built about IAS. We are saying this because this anticipation is wrong. To look at like I will gain everything in life only if I clear this exam or equally I will lose everything in life is a fundamental flaw. People who get into service with such attitude will suffer the harsh realities in service and will be left with disillusionment.

There are many IAS officers who are doing wonderful. Many of them are suffering to an extent that they are questioning why did they ever join IAS?

There was a son of IAS officer of A P cadre. This officer was the prime force behind the PDS system as we know today. Honest and Genuine to the core, his only wish was that his son to carry on to serve the society like he had done.

But unfortunately (or fortunately) his son could not even clear the prelims – 3 times.

Saddened he left for USA to pursue his MS and later MBA.

And today he is the CEO of Microsoft .The man who redefined the brand of Indian managers in the west.

So the point is – Your destiny, God willing is tied to IAS. Otherwise you might have a greater destiny than that. Its your karma and we or any coaching institutes, your friends or family, UPSC or even IAS is no one to define it. Not even can become Satya Nadella true. But there can and is a beautiful life outside. Take our words. At this stage you will be too myopic to see the same.

Take this attitude to the exam..

We want you people to feel bigger and better than the exam. The moment you do this, you will be able to separate rationality from emotions and give your best shot.

Remember your health, your mental peace, and your relationships with family and friends are the most important things. Rest all- money, power, influence, beauty and others in due course of time you will realise are all trivial.

Now that we have set your strategic attitude let’s get to you to do the following:

Day- 1: 21st August

If you are very confident and scored very well in mocks/test series, don’t stop on the momentum you have built. Try to redo all the important questions which you had mentally marked over the last one year.

If you are on the borderline (neither too comfortable nor averse – let say luck would decide that extra 5-15% ) then we suggest that you build the confidence .Solve easy to medium level questions. Analyse what is that you are missing – that 10% extra – are you attempting too much? Or not taking enough risks in certain questions?

If you have not prepared well and only decided to write this exam to get a feel for what is like. Then go ahead but then also be clear on what to expect.

Set your biological clock to that of the exam timings.

You might be creative best at 2-4 at night but what is the use if your efficiency is 10% lower in daytime and because of this you missed out.

One practical way of doing it is: take half a valium at 7 pm today (half means half only of 5 mg – and no more).You will feel drowsy at around 10-11pm. Sleep and wake up at 6-7 in the morning.

You will feel compelled to sleep in the afternoon. Avoid it any cost .Otherwise this would backfire.

Day 2:  22nd August

The power of positivity is perhaps the greatest gift one can possess.

Avoid mixing with people who are jealous of you or your abilities.

There will be people who will come and ask you “Dude do you know answer to this? “ And if your answer to that is no, they will end up saying you can’t solve this then how the hell can you crack prelims.

Well, we expect you guys having followed us to have the attitude to tell him “F*** off dude” 🙂

No one is a superman; no one needs to be a superman for this exam.

In that anxiety don’t go behind evangelists also. Remember its your anxiety that these coaching classes/mentors exploit to build a pseudo-following.

It’s finally – You that is going to help yourself.

But then be with people who fill the positivity in you. Be with positive people who cherish, nurture and celebrate you. Be with friends who can say “Yes we can do it”. Be part of that team.

Avoid too much caffeine or any other stimulants

It would be a good idea to visit the place of exam the day before. You will get an idea of the time required so that you can plan the travel for tomorrow. Book a taxi, well in advance. Plan to arrive at the exam centre early.

Be with a person who is not related to exam. In that way you can be normal. Many times discussions over small trivial issues on the day of exam can mar the whole experience

D – Day (23rd August, 2015)

You have programmed yourself with the attitude we want you to.

Now there are 2 tactics here to be followed based on one’s belief and unique characteristics. We would advise that since you know what works or doesn’t .You make the choice.


Get the blessing of the elder’s one at home. Remember whether God is there or not it is debatable. But it is the blessings of parents which provide you that positive energy for they are the only two people who would want you to be successful at any cost of their own.

Comfortable clothes – cotton for the heat. Simple T – shirt, pants or equivalent.

We understand that looking nicely matters a lot to few people. But then don’t spoil someone else‘s exam (purely for humour- you can judge as however you feel :))

Don’t forget to take a Black ball pen to the examination hall.


Do all the above but also some people feel that they need 30 minutes in exam to warm up. This warm up can happen before the exam.

Keep ready a simple paper on GS and CSAT. Going before the exam solve a few which you have already solved. Get the positive feeling. Sanath Jayasauraiya used to hammer few cricket balls moments before coming on to the pitch to hammer the real bowlers.

Now 5 minutes before think about all the beautiful moments in life and be happy about yourself.

Paper arrives:

Note: You have to qualify the exam and nothing to take on attitude or ego for not being able to solve as many questions as your close friends would have solved. People will say, hey! I attempted more than 80 questions, the paper was so easy, why the hell you did only 50!!

Game on

Round 1: Go through the paper quickly in 5 minutes .Like don’t read all the questions especially the first one.

Most people if they don’t answer the first 5 questions, they will feel so de-motivated that they will start doubting on things even which they know.

The purpose of the above exercise is to see some familiar words. You will realise that you will be straight-away knowing few questions. This will do a good lot to your confidence.

Round 2: Answer ONLY those which you are 100% confident. There will be 25-30 questions.

Mark them directly on the answer sheet. Don’t waste time marking on your sheet and then transferring them.

Round 3: You are left with 90 minutes and around 70 questions. Take 50 minutes for this round

Go one by one for these questions. What is your feeling of risk perception for each question?

Mark 30-40 if the paper is easy

Other-wise mark 20-30 in this round.

There will be questions where your actual intelligence/smartness will come into play. Intelligent Guess/Process of Elimination/Contradicting options etc.

SO, How to go about it?

Suppose there is a question regarding some kind of Electronic Wastes. AND you have the following options in the question

  1. XYZ
  2. ABC
  3. PQR
  4. Uranium

And you have to choose from the following options for the answer

  1. 1 and 4
  2. 2, 3 and 4
  3. 1, 3 and 4
  4. 1, 2 and 3

Since Uranium is a Radioactive element and hence least used in e-tech due to health concern. So, it can’t be Uranium, all the options except 4 can’t be right. Hence, 4 is the answer.

Round 4: You are left with 30-40 questions and 40 minutes

There will be 10-15, which one can answer. Don’t spend time on them. Realise which they are and leave them. Target the remaining 20-25 in 30 min

Try to get a hit ratio of greater than 50% in these.

Round 5: Left with 10 minutes. Revise and recheck. Risk taking based on your feel on paper.

Note: Do not re-read the left out ones and become greedy in the hope to score more. Be careful while you re-read, it’s a double edged sword.

Based on your preparation level, you can perceive about the toughness of the Paper in between. Act smartly and don’t try to stretch your limit in anticipation. This may backfire. Taking risk is wise but when it is just to silent your huge expectation, its foolishness. One single wrong marking will throw you out of the final list.

AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, don’t fret over a question too much. If you don’t know, don’t take it to your heart. You’ve to pass Prelims, not top. MARKS WON’T COUNT, if you are able to even just clear the Prelims. Last Year’s Topper Ira Singhal scored 206 (The cut-off for GM was 205)  So, just chill 🙂


It has been just a couple of months since we started and we have reached 9,60,000 views till now. We at IASbaba are overwhelmed by your support, words of encouragement.

We feel blessed that almighty has given us a golden opportunity to touch so many lives positively.

Imagine all the good karma we are cherishing on.

At the end of the day, if we have helped you answer even one question extra or if we have contributed in any way to make your preparation better then we feel our life’s are worth it.

However this is just the beginning. Watch out for things coming in future.

If you have enjoyed the time with us till now, you will enjoy thrice the same with all our up-coming new initiatives.

Thanks for making you and IASBABA a big success. MAINS journey will be more exciting than this.

And finally as Jack ma, founder of Alibaba built the most successful enabler for MSME in china on the philosophy:

“Today might be harsh, tomorrow harsher, but day after tomorrow is beautiful”

Go there and celebrate yourself!


For a dedicated peer group, Motivation & Quick updates, Join our official telegram channel – https://t.me/IASbabaOfficialAccount

Search now.....