UPSC Prelims Strategy 2016 for Preliminary Examinations

UPSC Prelims Strategy 2016 – 2017

UPSC Prelims Strategy 2016 for Preliminary Examinations. A detailed UPSC Prelims Strategy for every UPSC Preliminary Examinations & Basic Gyaan in details.

UPSC Prelims 2015Solution


                                                            40 Plus Questions in UPSC Prelims from IASbaba

Before you go through the detailed strategy of each section (click above), go through the basic gyaan (scroll down – relevant for both the beginners and veterans).


The Examination shall comprise of two Papers of 200 marks each

  • General Studies – Paper I
  • CSAT – Paper II


1.      General Studies (Paper I) 100 200
2.      CSAT (Paper II) 80 200
  • Both the question papers will be of the objective type (Multiple Choice Questions).


  • The question papers will be set both in Hindi and English.


  1. In the First paperGeneral Studies, questions will be asked from Current Affairs, Geography, Polity, History, Economy, Science & Technology, and Environment/Ecology.
  2. In the Second PaperCSAT, questions will be asked from Aptitude, Reasoning, Comprehension, Decision-Making (Qualifying with 33% marks)


Note: A detailed strategy for both the papers (Paper I and II) has been provided



We believe in the mantra:

‘Every individual is unique, Every individual is talented, and Every individual has immense potential’

A lot of us put hard work, but not SMART work. And then due to the scarcity of resources (to go for coaching, quality material etc.) and lack of direction (multiple book lists, tons of materials etc), many aspirants fail to realize their dreams.

We aspire to bridge this gap for willing and capable individuals. And, this is where a right mentor comes into play.

Clearing UPSC exam is not rocket-science. You can find a lot of gyaan online and offline on what to read, but not how to read. !!


So, some Basic Gyaan before you go through the strategy:

UPSC requires a generalist for serving the highest echelons of administration in India. A generalist is someone who knows something about everything, but not everything about something (called scientists or researchers).

Your approach while reading should be somewhat like a generalist, i.e. jack of all trades master of none.

For example, if you are reading about floods, you should focus on understanding their causes; implications (+ve and –ve) – impact on human property and life ; their mitigation and management. You need not read scientific literature about floods, river flows, meandering etc. At most, read what they are and how are they related to an earthquake.

You can clear the Civil services Prelims in one shot. You don’t even need to know everything under the sky. You should read with the approach of a generalist. Understanding concepts should be the first priority because mugging up will neither help you in Prelims nor Mains.


So focus on basic understanding; and wider coverage rather than detailed studies and intensive coverage.


Just remember these few things for efficient and effective studies:

  • Don’t read a book from Cover to Cover.
  • Don’t make notes in the first reading itself.
  • Keep your booklist short and simple. Better to read one book for each topic thoroughly, than flip through multiple sources.
  • Read carefully and between the lines since Prelims questions can be tricky.
  • Preliminary Exam is all about ‘identifying’ the correct answer among the 4 options given. So don’t worry about remembering facts for the exam. It’s all about elimination of the wrong options and identifying the correct answer. Focus should be more on understanding the concepts.


Now, in the Prelims strategy for each domain, you will find pages and pages long strategy given by us.


Why do you need such long detailed strategy?

  • GS Syllabus is like an Ocean. You may know what books and material to read, but not,
    • What exactly to read?
    • What to avoid?
    • Which most relevant themes to pick up from the material?
  • UPSC is well known for surprises. So, you might read everything, yet you will miss exactly what UPSC demands from you. For e.g. finish the whole syllabus of culture, and you may still end up scoring zero in culture in Prelims.
  • The Syllabus has a lot of GREY areas especially in Science & Tech, Environment & Biodiversity. They have been dealt in detail with examples; the pattern of past year UPSC questions; and possible questions have been framed from Current Events.
  • Moreover, we have given

o  Analysis of Prelims question papers trends & themes from 2011-2014 to inform aspirants with the latest thinking of UPSC. For e.g. 2014 paper pattern was a radical shift from 2013, 2012 and 2011.

o  A general idea about the subject both @ macro and micro level of weightage given to each Subject (since 2011)

o   A Basic guide/framework for each Subject, Topics, and Sub-topics

o   What to ‘focus on’ from Prelims perspective with examples

o   Important aspects of each Subject, topics, and sub-topics  

o We have given different strategy for every domain say Polity, Economy, Geography, History, Environment, Science and Technology and Current Events


  • Finally, at the end of the discussion of each subject a link is provided where you can access all the previous year UPSC prelims questions related to a particular subject segregated topic wise.

The sailor is you who is adventurous and risk-taking. We will be the magical compass guiding the sailor to his destination. The journey might not be smooth; there will be ups and downs. Don’t take the journey too seriously. Just enjoy the process 🙂 


NOTE:  Click on the tabs for ‘DETAILED STRATEGY’ on every Subject


  • Bilal Ahmad

    IASbaba, I don’t like reading the whole book. But the fear of loosing which maybe important forced me to read the whole book cover by cover. Can you help us by filtering the book and pointing chapters and topics which is relevant from exam point of view. Thanks in advance. 🙂

  • Priya

    How to read the survey sir? Is it important to complete iyb n eco survey!

    • @priya

      Jot down all the important economic terms from the survey and check whether those terms were in news recently? Also give emphasis on why they were in news. Prepare from survey only after your basics are done. India Yea Book is important but do not read it extensively. Selective reading of important chapters will be enough. If you are already prepared current affairs well, it will solve the purpose.

      We will also try to cover IYB and Eco Survey in our Daily Prelims Test. Do follow it regularly 🙂 All the best

  • legaleagle

    Sir, please do cover IYB …its way too factual…how to go about it??

  • legaleagle

    can’t find Csat paper II strategy…plz help

  • gurumohan reddy

    prepare mind maps like dose u prepared for mains…

  • gurumohan reddy

    it wil b soo helpful

  • RJ

    but Baba which books to refer for preparing economics. you told us what to read but not from where to read ? 🙁 Bestow me with your answer and blessings baba.

  • manisha

    Thanks a lot Sir

  • simran rajput

    realyy vry helpful strategy . thankx a lot.. i want to clear ias 2016.. with ur refrence i got lot of courage bcz i am doing study without any coaching centre..

  • Damanpreet Kaur

    hi i am Damanpreet Kaur. But my problem is my garduation is in computers and i am unable to understand that how can i start for preparing for IAS exam

    • manish choudhary

      you can start with NCERTs,& then you can shift on reference books,book list should be short and simpler,be in touch with current affairs… u can do it….. 🙂

  • Manish Choudhary

    baba this year you had daily test series before pre,would you do the same for cse 2016,or it would be only for ILP students…

  • Ajit Kumar

    i have cmplted my gard. in 2013 . now i m think to start prep for civil service exam.. give me some tips and stgry.

    • Lord Tuktuk

      Just explore the site! There’s everything you need!

      • Rahul Sharma

        I’m bit confused that these value notes are sufficient for the exam?…and if not how can I make my own notes using your value notes?

        Let suppose I started with pre-harrapan?
        Please Help me how to make notes


        • Harshul Sharma

          @rahulrolling:disqus see nothing is sufficient for such exams , u need to first start the PREPARATION and for that this site along with current affairs is sufficient for covering up ur GA
          and after that u may get into revisions and mock tests .

          • Rahul Sharma

            Thanks Harshul Sharma…..

      • D. Sharma

        tuktuk is my pet’s name 🙂

        • haha! your pet must be intelligent and awesome i guess! 🙂

          • D. Sharma

            yes 🙂

  • nks01

    baba…for economics we have to learn from mrunal videos?..

  • akash gupta

    dear sir please tell me in IFS main examination the question paper of General study is in Hindi or English

  • DD

    Took me three days to consume what you’ve written. Will have to keep revising the directions till etched in memory. Dhanyavaad 🙂

  • Carbon Dioxide.

    Thank you

  • Vandana Srivastava

    Baba ji: any offering for CSE 2017 aspirants?

  • Baba Shinde

    Babaji please suggest strategy for CSE 2017 as i am beginner..thinking about optional Geography and guide me for preparation.

  • Irshad Khoja


  • Jyoti Rastogi

    Hello sir how to join your TLP programme for 2017

  • Jasmeet 2017

    baba ji /
    when are you planning to launch CSE & TLP for 2017 ?

  • Janvi

    plss tell what topics to read in Indian polity and which books should we prefer for self preparation

    • Harinder Sidhu

      Go through M.Laxmikant thoroughly.

      • Siddhartha_Bangalore

        Yes it’s d best book

  • ranjani

    Babaji,please tell me when your integrated program for prelims and mains for the year 2017 starts. I would like to enroll in the test series. Please reply Babaji.

  • thoughtprocess

    please post a head on strategy for prelims and mains 2017. out of patience already !

  • Pulkit Sharma

    Dear Sir,
    Please tell me how to star preparation for prelims with main subject is political science.

  • Tanya

    Happy anniversary…
    Congratulations ?

  • Devendra Chaudhary

    Dear baba Ji !
    Happy Anniversary……….

  • manish

    hapy birthday babaji ….

  • parichay sharma

    sir my 10th % was 73% & 12th % was 59% does it matters for UPSC

    • Vikram Sinha

      of course not.

    • Akhil dwivedi

      u need just 33% marks in 10,12, and all clear degree of your graduation with same 33%. upsc ko acadmic se koi lena dena nhi hai…use smart log chaiye….

  • parichay sharma

    am I eligible or not ?

    • Pranai

      You just need to be an graduate above 21 years old to give the exam. Your SSC and HSC marks are not important.

  • Saptarshi Dutta

    congrats on your anniversary, you are showing path to the future civil servants and careerists, great job,keep going……………………..

  • Sayali

    Sir am I eligible for mains if I get my graduation result in last week of December? In my case no.of attempts doesn’t matters because of category so I am appearing for pre .

  • Shrinkhla Prakash

    I want to clear CSE 2017 anyhow… please guide me to join your best resources available

  • Ruhul Amin

    Hi Sir,
    I want join the course… Please let me know whether the weekly and monthly test will be sent to us in pdf format or not???
    How many mock tests will be there during the full course period???
    Please give me response as soon as possible….
    If possible give me an intimation to my contact no- 9091912012 or to my mail id: [email protected]

  • nitin ukey

    how to prepare the preparation for prelimes and mains and on which books i have to focus on



  • praharsha

    I am a beginner
    Can anyone suggest me some good book for CSAT??

  • Shantanu Pawar

    i just felt an adrenaline boost after reading the support strategy.

  • Prashant Kumar

    Simply Superb from Baba. Hats off to your generosity.

  • Ravi

    it is splendid. what a motivation topics. thoroughly immense the relay com inside the soul

  • Daredevil

    Thanks IASBABA

  • Ramesh kumar

    This video is useful for GS paper 2 – India -Israel relations

  • Md akhlak ahmad

    How can improve own marks

  • Vaibhav Nagwanshi

    babaji you recommend not to read book from cover to cover what does it implies for instance how can we go through it without reading it at once generally…

    • It means one should first understand the requirement by going through previous years papers in parallel. So that they do not spend time to finally realize the relevant and irrelevant.

      If one knows the trend and aspects very well, it will save time to skim through the books.

      • Vaibhav Nagwanshi

        thank you….babaji

      • Prince

        the trend thing didn’t go well in this year prelims. Did it? 😛

  • Naveen

    Hello sir my quiery regarding optional 2018 there is a talk baswan report, may be removed please guide me on it , i just had two attempt like age and i wish to join ilp 2018 and also kindly inform how can i use iasbaba app for preparation

  • Surya Pratap

    Sir can we postpone the test dates to whenever we want, and can we take them multiple times?

  • Lubhavni Sharma

    what additional benefit I get if I enroll for ILP?

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