How to Score Above 120 in UPSC Prelims

UPSC Prelims

Scoring above 120 in the UPSC Prelims exam is a great achievement, putting you well on your way to the Civil Services. This short guide will equip you with strategies to not only gain strong subject knowledge but also develop smart answering techniques. By following these tips and practicing with mock tests, you’ll be well-positioned to cross that 120-mark threshold.

Understand the Exam Pattern:

To excel in the UPSC Preliminary Examination, it’s imperative to grasp the intricacies of its exam pattern. This you can do via self-study or by joining UPSC classes in Delhi or online platform. This entails acquainting oneself with the two papers that constitute the examination: General Studies Paper-I and General Studies Paper-II, commonly known as CSAT. General Studies Paper-I evaluates candidates’ comprehension across various subjects such as History, Geography, Polity, Economy, Science and Technology, Environment, and Current Affairs.

On the other hand, General Studies Paper-II (CSAT) focuses on assessing candidates’ aptitude in areas like comprehension, interpersonal skills, logical reasoning, analytical ability, decision-making, problem-solving, basic numeracy, and English language comprehension.

Understanding the structure of both papers, including the number and types of questions, as well as the marking scheme, is pivotal. This comprehension not only facilitates efficient planning of preparation but also enables candidates to strategize their approach towards the examination, optimizing their chances of success.

Therefore, a thorough understanding of the UPSC Prelims exam pattern is fundamental for aspirants aiming to navigate the examination with confidence and proficiency.

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Comprehensive Coverage of Syllabus:

Achieving success in the UPSC examination demands a meticulous and comprehensive approach towards covering the vast syllabus. It is imperative for aspirants to undertake a thorough examination of the UPSC syllabus, ensuring no topic is overlooked.

Special emphasis should be placed on key subjects such as History, Geography, Polity, Economy, Environment, Science & Technology, and Current Affairs. These subjects constitute the backbone of the examination and play a crucial role in determining one’s performance.

By delving deeply into each topic, aspirants can gain a nuanced understanding, which is essential for answering both the objective and subjective components of the examination. Moreover, staying updated with current affairs is indispensable as it not only enhances one’s knowledge but also aids in formulating well-informed opinions and analysis.

Therefore, a holistic approach towards covering the UPSC syllabus, coupled with dedicated focus on these critical subjects, is fundamental for aspirants aiming to excel in the examination.

Quality Study Material:

Quality study material forms the cornerstone of effective learning, facilitating a robust understanding of subjects. It is imperative to consult standard textbooks, such as those prescribed by educational boards like NCERT, as well as other recommended study resources. These materials offer comprehensive coverage of topics, aiding in the establishment of a solid foundation in each subject.

Utilizing authentic and reliable sources ensures accuracy and credibility in the information assimilated during the study process. By adhering to these guidelines, students can enhance their comprehension and retention levels, thereby maximizing the efficacy of their preparation efforts.

Current Affairs:

Staying abreast of current affairs is paramount for any aspirant preparing for the UPSC examination. A comprehensive understanding of both national and international events is crucial as it forms the bedrock of many questions across various sections of the examination.

To ensure thorough preparation, it is essential to engage with a diverse range of sources such as newspapers, magazines, and online platforms consistently. Many UPSC online coaching provide it free or with nominal charges. By doing so, aspirants can gain multifaceted insights into prevailing issues, governmental policies, and global dynamics.

Moreover, maintaining concise notes of significant occurrences facilitates effective revision and aids in retaining crucial information. These notes serve as a valuable resource during the revision process, allowing aspirants to reinforce their understanding and bolster their command over current affairs, thereby enhancing their chances of success in the UPSC examination.

Practice Mock Tests:

Engaging in consistent practice through mock tests is indispensable for aspirants gearing up for the UPSC examination. By meticulously solving previous years’ question papers and undertaking mock tests on a regular basis, candidates can gain invaluable insights into the intricacies of the exam pattern. Through this process, they not only familiarize themselves with the types of questions typically posed but also refine their time management skills, a critical aspect given the stringent time constraints of the examination.

Furthermore, best test series for UPSC serve as an effective tool for self-assessment, enabling candidates to discern their areas of proficiency and areas that necessitate further improvement. By identifying their strengths and weaknesses, aspirants can tailor their preparation strategies accordingly, dedicating more time and effort to areas that require enhancement.

Thus, consistent practice through mock tests is instrumental in honing one’s aptitude, bolstering confidence, and maximizing performance potential in the UPSC examination.


Effective revision is the cornerstone of success in the UPSC examination journey, ensuring that candidates retain the vast array of information they have accumulated through diligent study efforts. Establishing a structured routine that prioritizes regular revision is essential for reinforcing crucial concepts, formulas, and current affairs insights.

By allocating dedicated time specifically for revision, aspirants can systematically review key topics, thereby solidifying their understanding and enhancing long-term retention. This deliberate approach not only aids in consolidating knowledge but also serves to identify any gaps in comprehension, allowing candidates to address areas of weakness proactively.

Moreover, consistent revision fosters confidence and familiarity with the material, empowering candidates to navigate the examination confidently. As such, incorporating regular revision sessions into one’s study regimen is imperative for optimizing performance and realizing success in the UPSC examination.

Focus on Conceptual Understanding:

In the pursuit of success in the UPSC examination, aspiring candidates must prioritize conceptual understanding over rote memorization. Unlike assessments that primarily assess factual recall, the UPSC questions are crafted to evaluate candidates’ analytical prowess and depth of conceptual clarity.

Therefore, instead of relying solely on memorization, aspirants should strive to grasp the underlying principles and intricacies of the subjects they are studying. By delving deep into the conceptual framework, candidates can develop a robust foundation of understanding that transcends mere surface-level knowledge. This approach not only equips them to tackle a diverse array of questions with confidence but also fosters critical thinking skills essential for addressing complex problems and scenarios.

Furthermore, focusing on conceptual understanding enables candidates to discern patterns, draw connections between different topics, and extrapolate knowledge to novel contexts—skills that are invaluable not only for the examination but also for their roles as future administrators.

Thus, by emphasizing conceptual comprehension in their preparation strategy, aspirants can cultivate a holistic understanding of the subjects and enhance their readiness to excel in the UPSC examination and beyond.

Time Management:

Effective time management is indispensable for success in the UPSC prelims examination. One crucial aspect of this is developing a meticulously crafted study schedule. This schedule should be tailored to allocate ample time to each subject or topic, considering its significance and weightage in the exam.

By prioritizing accordingly, candidates can ensure comprehensive coverage of the syllabus without neglecting any crucial areas. Additionally, practicing time management during the exam itself is equally vital. With the stringent time constraints of the UPSC prelims, candidates must adeptly manage their time to complete both papers within the allocated duration. This involves strategic planning, swift decision-making, and maintaining a steady pace throughout the examination.

Ultimately, mastering time management techniques both in preparation and execution is key to maximizing performance and achieving success in the UPSC prelims.

CSAT Preparation:

While preparing for the UPSC examination, candidates must not overlook the importance of the CSAT paper, General Studies Paper-II. Despite its qualifying nature, securing a decent score in CSAT is crucial for clearing the prelims stage. Neglecting this paper can potentially jeopardize one’s chances of advancing to the mains.

To excel in CSAT, regular practice is indispensable. Candidates should focus on honing their skills in various areas such as comprehension passages, quantitative aptitude, logical reasoning, and analytical questions.

Regular practice not only helps in familiarizing oneself with the types of questions but also aids in improving speed and accuracy. By dedicating consistent effort to CSAT preparation, candidates can build confidence and proficiency in tackling the challenges posed by this paper.

Ultimately, a well-rounded preparation strategy that includes thorough practice of CSAT components is essential for achieving success in the UPSC examination.

Stay Calm and Confident:

Maintaining a positive attitude is paramount throughout the entire journey of UPSC exam preparation. It is essential to cultivate a mindset of resilience and confidence, particularly during the high-pressure environment of the exam itself. Regardless of the challenges encountered, staying calm and composed is key to optimal performance. When faced with difficult questions during the exam, it’s imperative not to succumb to panic. Instead, approach them with a clear and focused mind.

Managing time effectively is crucial in navigating through the exam. Prioritize the questions you are confident about and attempt them first, allocating time strategically to maximize your overall score. By staying calm, maintaining confidence, and managing time wisely, candidates can tackle even the most challenging aspects of the UPSC exam with poise and determination, ultimately enhancing their chances of success.

However, scoring above 120 marks in the UPSC Prelims necessitates consistent effort, unwavering dedication, and strategic preparation. Consistency ensures a steady progression in understanding key concepts, while dedication demands focused study and sacrifice of leisure time. Smart preparation involves understanding the exam pattern, prioritizing topics effectively, and utilizing mock tests for practice. Candidates should utilize reliable study materials and seek guidance when necessary. Success in the UPSC Prelims depends not only on knowledge but also on efficient application within the exam’s constraints. Therefore, aspirants are advised to approach their preparation with diligence and strategic insight. Best of luck to all aspirants!

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