One of the primary factors that make the Civil Service Exam tough is the exam pattern. It consists of three stages, Prelims, Mains and Interview. Students have to cross each stage to move onto to the next. The level of difficulty increases with each stage. The last stage can also be a tough nut to crack because the UPSC tests not only the aspirant’s knowledge and ability to write, but also their mental strength and ability to deal with situations. It requires a special kind of preparation to overcome the UPSC interview stage. Another important feature that adds ‘toughness’ of the exam is the syllabus, as it covers a diverse range of subjects, unlike many other exams.

UPSC 2022 Prelims – Exam Pattern

UPSC Civil Services Preliminary Exam consists of 2 papers. Both the papers contain objective type questions. Marks obtained in only GS Paper-I are considered for selection in mains examination. Most of your focus should be on preparing for GS Paper-I but at the same time GS Paper-II should not be ignored. Following table shows the pattern of Prelims exam.

Paper NameNo. of QuestionsMaximum marksTimeNegative markingRemarks
GS Paper-I1002002 hours1/3rd
GS Paper-II (CSAT)802002 hours1/3rdQualifying in nature (33 %)

UPSC 2022 Prelims – Exam Syllabus


  • Current events of national and international importance.
  • History of India and Indian National Movement.
  • Indian and World Geography-Physical, Social, Economic Geography of India and the World.
  • Indian Polity and Governance – Constitution, Political System, Panchayati 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.)
  • Data interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency etc.)

Key Focus Areas

The preliminary round for the Civil Services test, which is one of the Union Public Service Commission’s (UPSC) examinations, is ready to begin the year-long selection process. Because the bells for the examination are about to ring, the final week of preparations should be productive.

The UPSC civil services test is considered one of India’s most prominent exams, with lakhs of students preparing for it each year. However, candidates who ace the exam have a conceptual and complete mastery of subjects, as well as a winning approach.

If you want to pass this famous exam but are unsure about the approach or need a jumpstart on your UPSC study, here are a few tactics that can help you pass the UPSC civil services prelims and main exams:

  1. Understand your syllabus: 
  2. For effective preparation, a thorough understanding of the syllabus’s nature, clarity, and scope is required.
  3. It aids in determining what should be read and what should be avoided.
  4. Because the exam questions are always from the syllabus, keeping a constant check on the syllabus is essential.

B.     Selection of the Optional subject

  • An aspirant’s optional subject can make the difference between passing and failing this exam.
  • After a comprehensive analysis, it is critical to select the optional subject.
  • An optional should be chosen based on your area of interest, the length of the optional syllabus, the amount of time you have to prepare, and your academic background.
  • The optional subject’s preparation must be done in conjunction with the General Studies syllabus.
  • Strategy is important: 
  • A sensible approach must be established before you begin your preparation, bearing in mind the nuances of each phase you must complete.
  • A proper strategy is a detailed plan that outlines what you’ll do, how you’ll do it, and what resources you’ll need.
  • Concise study material:
  • Choosing study materials is a difficult undertaking that necessitates expert advice.
  • It’s always a good idea to start your preparation with learning the fundamentals of the subject.
  • The NCERT books are the best source for gaining clarity and a firm grasp on many subjects (from class VI to class XII).
  • Focus on Significant concepts:
  • The key principle of smart study is to read the material that is relevant to the exam.
  • Instead of intense studies, smart studying is the way to proceed.
  • It entails being aware of the exam’s nerves and adjusting accordingly.
  • Duration of UPSC IAS Preparation:
  • Before one can be exam ready for civil services, one should study for at least a year. There are three stages to the exam: preliminary, written (main), and interview.
  • It takes a year to appear for all three levels.
  • As a result, each candidate must devote at least two years of his life to the entire process.
  • When beginning your planning, keep this time element in mind. Students in college, for example, may begin their IAS preparation in their final year of study.

G.    Beginning of the IAS Preparation

·         The most important thing is to comprehend the exam. Research the exam thoroughly and speak with any government officials you know or anyone who are currently preparing for the exam.

·         The exam syllabus, including the sub-topics, should be thoroughly studied.

·         The next stage will be to look at question papers from prior years.

·         You may also firm up your own approach by watching a few prior exam toppers’ strategy films that are available online.

H.    Important books to start UPSC Preparation

·         Begin by completely reading the NCERTs. This will assist you in grasping the fundamentals of each subject.

·         If you want to take coaching, this will also help you understand the subjects better in class. It’s also a good idea to start reading the newspaper every day.

·         The importance of current events in the IAS exam is increasing. This necessitates keeping up with current national and international events.

I.       The necessity of Preparing your own Notes:

·         Making one’s own notes is a crucial habit to establish in preparation for this exam.

·         After the initial reading of General Studies themes, an aspirant should begin taking notes.

·         It is critical to know not just what to study for the IAS exam, but also what not to study. This will allow you to keep your notes brief and relevant to the exam.

·         Your notes’ essential terms should be highlighted. Incorporate as many illustrations and mind maps as possible into your notes.

·         This will make several modifications easier in the future.

  • Current affairs:
  • Keep yourself informed about what’s going on in the globe. In truth, current events and current challenges are the most dynamic regions.
  • Read one national newspaper every day and incorporate current events into all of the topics covered in the syllabus.
  • You’ll also need to read some specialised periodicals, such as World Focus for International Relations, to cover some specific aspects of the syllabus.

3Ps in your preparation

  • Patience, Perseverance, and Practice are the three Ps that embody the essence of what it takes to pass the UPSC test.
  • It will take at least two years, so be patient! Nothing beats consistency, so stay focused on your goal and practise as much as you can to remember what you’ve learned.

UPSC Exam tips to score high marks 

  • GS Paper III is one of the papers in the UPSC Mains Civil Services Examination (CSE) that candidates are constantly wary of.
  • Given the wide range of things that GS III covers, their mistrust is understandable. From economic development to technology to biodiversity to the environment to security to disaster management, each of these topics is its own field.
  • There is no single source that can be accessed for optimal preparation because the themes are mutually exclusive.
  • Furthermore, whereas the sort of questions asked in the preliminary exams is mainly static, those in the main exams are dynamic. As a result, the mains preparation strategy and approach must be radically different from the prelims.

· The UPSC Civil Services Exam is regarded as one of the most difficult in India. It is largely due to its comprehensive curriculum and a limited number of openings.

·   However, with careful planning and a well-thought-out strategy, you can pass this exam in the first attempt!

· Preparing for the UPSC Exam is a difficult endeavour, and many students become disoriented during their preparation.