10 Days to Prelims – 10 Things to Keep in Mind

By | May 25, 2018

Ten days before the Prelims is usually the time when your mind is rather restless and clouded in self-doubt. Even though you must have prepared thoroughly for the exam, covering all the sources, Some of you are worried that you haven’t yet finished a particular topic, some others are stressed whether they will make the final cut for Mains. Remember that it’s okay to be a little nervous at this point and that it happens to everyone. I was no different, too.

From my experience, I have distilled a few suggestions to help you perform well in the exam.

  1. In these final days, if you start reading entirely new material which you haven’t read before, you’ll only stress yourself out. Just refer to whatever you had already read. Revision is the absolute key. How effectively you perform in the actual exam depends on the quality of revision you do in these 10 days.
  2. Stay calm. While revising, do not get bogged down in one subject. Your target should be to revise all the topics methodically before the final day.
  3. Questions are going to be balanced and will be asked from across the syllabus. So if you are poor in one topic, that’s alright. You can offset it through performing well in your stronger areas. For example, if you are worried about Indian Art and Culture, do not freak out. You might lose out on some questions, but you will still have many others to solve.
  4. Just the day before the exam, ensure that you get 7-8 hours of quality sleep. A good night’s rest will rejuvenate your senses and ensures that your brain is alert and memory is on point.
  5. Many aspirants (especially engineering grads) tend to be careless about CSAT Paper 2. I’ve seen people who solve only 60 questions and think that’s enough to qualify them. Some are even more impulsive—  they leave the hall 30 minutes before time. Don’t be that reckless brat. Your qualification for Mains will be based on your marks, not your audacity. Remember that just because the paper is qualifying, UPSC is not going to hand it you on a platter. This is why they have been constantly pushing up the difficulty level over the past few years. So solve CSAT with all the seriousness and intensity of Paper-1.
  6. While solving the paper, in the first iteration, go through all 100 questions sequentially and do three things: mark those answers you are confident about, round those questions that you are unsure or vaguely aware of (for guesswork later), and cross those questions which you have absolutely no idea about. In the second iteration, you come back again and try to answer those questions you are vaguely aware of through educated guesswork or elimination method.
  7. Don’t get mired in one question and waste your time. If you are unable to recall, make a side mark on the question paper and move on. Once you come back after solving remaining questions, chances are you’ll recollect.
  8. If we assume a moderately difficult paper, then you will confidently know answers to around 50-60 questions. But you must aim to attempt around 85-90 questions. That’s why educated guesswork is necessary and important.
  9. As you enter the exam hall, it doesn’t matter what books you may have read, or how many times you may have revised. What matters are those 100 questions. Put your emotions aside and solve those 100 questions with a laser like focus. Erase your fears, doubts and insecurities and stay positive and confident.
  10. Always believe and keep telling yourself that you have worked hard and prepared well so far and that you’ll do well. On the final day, summon your best self and you will absolutely ace the test.

PS: Check out my articleS on GS Mains Preparation

41 thoughts on “10 Days to Prelims – 10 Things to Keep in Mind

  1. parika chauhan

    Outstanding way to remove all the fears and doubts about oneself.. I am preparing for 2019 upsc and simultaneously for Judiciary also.. As I have appeared in many exams and are preparing for others… I’ll keep your this advice in my mind.. 😊
    and last but not the least..I’ll would like to say that you have so much positivity in you that who so ever will read your blog or meet you in person will never doubt about oneself.. Thank you once again for taking out your precious time for people like us who are struggling hard to achieve their aim😇 Wish you more success in your life 🙂

      1. Ashwini Patil

        Thank you so much sir..I was just finding the midnight solution by browsing some internet pages..and found this one …can’t say how glad it made me..tysm Sir..keep doing the good work!! I am a government PSU employee already and I have difficulty in studying while working..so thanks a lot for giving that inspiration! 🙂

  2. Aparna Ajith

    Great,Sir.The suggestion you have distilled out of your experience will instill confidence and self reliance in the examinees for sure.Ace the test by giving someone’s best -anxieties can definitely be drifted by resolving the apprehensions (of a reckless brat in particular😛)answered in your rejuvenated thoughts.Humbled by your worldly wisdom,Sir.Good Day.

  3. pramasrima t

    Champ💓you are really great 😎even in your busy schedule you think about how to help others😎you are such a lovely personality💙

  4. pramasrima t

    Sir plzz check your message box in all your accounts plzz

  5. bharathi b

    Thank you for being so generous with your time to guide us. It has helped me from overcoming my nervous breakdown. Sir keep this good work going. Your words will help us ace this prelim. Once again thank you.

  6. Sita P

    Just one word thanks is not enough for the enromous amount of positivity u r spreading… U r such an awsome.. instead of having a hectic schedule u r emphatizing our situation and trying to help us…. May God bless you with whatever u wish 🙏🙏🙏

  7. signature2426

    Dear sir,
    Again a warm thnxx for ur auspicious guidance for the prelims ……
    Well , the advice of yours will remove all of ours fear in failing in CSE , it is something that directly come from one’s heart to contribute a bit in nation’s development……
    this blog will not help us only in CSE but also it is very motivating for all the xms that we all are going to face …… Thnxx for spreading the positive vibes around us…….. 😃😃😃

  8. Mohit Onkar Singh

    Hi anudeep sir
    I am Mohit from IITbhu, congrats on your success.
    Sir I had been preparing for civils since december 2017 and my polity, govt schemes via pib and economy are well prepared. I could only manage a fast reading of Geography ancient medieval history and art and culture while environment (with ncert 12 biology without shankar ) and modern india(spectrum) is mediocre level.
    Sir even being from backward class I find my chances of selection very low due to involvement in college studies I could only manage 5/6 mock tests of vision with abt 80-85 marks. Sir given my condition I am having 2nd thoughts about whether I should give exam on 3rd or not and should I waste my 1st attempt.
    If I should give any special advise for Me now(apart from ur blog),also will csat be a cakewalk for engineers or any special preparation is needed.
    Awaiting a reply.
    A fan a well-wisher a friend

    1. Anudeep Durishetty

      Hey Mohit, it’s an extremely personal decision whether you should give this attempt. You are the best judge to decide, I can’t suggest anything concrete in this regard.

    2. Mohit Onkar Singh

      Sir Nazis,Soviets and Mohit never retreat,
      Expecting support guidance and well wishes post 3june #theD-day

  9. gigikrislin1998

    You are helping so much….even when you are busy….thank you….you are the best topper.

  10. Himanshu yadav

    Hello sir.sir i want to preparation civil services.but I don’t know how to read.I belong to hindi medium.and now I am 18 year old.so please help me .and without coaching it is possible .I want to clear this exam at home.I want to prove that without coaching it is possible.

  11. Sindhu

    Sir plz share ur strategy reg ANTHROPOLOGY. Book list online resources and some tips

  12. Sai Priya

    Sir would you please post the timetable you followed during your preparation? I just want to have a look at it not to copy.

  13. Kaibalya

    Good evening sir.. Sir I hereby request you to write on revision procedure. Because, as you have already mentioned it to be the most important antecedent of success in every exam. With the growing burden of subjects a candidate goes through over time, it’s reallu difficult to maintain the trade off of time between fresh studies and revision. So sir please put some light on that.. thank you

  14. Rajahanuman

    sir..could you post Upsc prelims and mains syllabus clearly..because the official syllabus is not comprehensive, as my newbie I unable to go into the depth of syllabus ..could you make it simple for us 🙂

  15. Monika rawal

    Sir,please share mains strategy awaiting for the same.

  16. Anonymous

    Hello Sir I want your Help I am prepairing for UPSC prelims 2019, the booklist you shown in your prelims blog is this the same book list applied even in the main examination.

  17. Manisha

    amazing sir ….well Fristly thanks for helping us … I am your biggest fan sir …. I wish God bless you with whatever you want.. . And please visit Jaipur once so that we could meet you… Apparently it is not possible for you to come Jaipur …. But …. Thanks for everything .. Your positivety after so many struggles is enormous and hard to believe that went through all the struggles You are great inspiration for us I wish you severe rajasthan … So many thing I want say but …. Well thanks so much sir.. ..

  18. Pavan Kumar Akkisetty

    1)anna recently i failed in prelims 2018 which is my 1st attempt.. i need to now what you done when you phase the same problem in your 1st attempt failure and what steps do you take to attain success in prelims in next year… .
    2) how you make notes for every prelims subjects which is useful for revision and in which media do you make notes i mean notebook or online word doc.

  19. Anonymous

    Thanks sir for your valuable time to write about prelim exam which is a very helpful .

  20. Anjali

    Thnk you so much sir,, and as a fresh aspirant to choose optional and ace that What should one do if they are new to that subject as being an engineer ,, going for Anthropology…. how shoul one do that???? Plz.

  21. Anonymous

    daily how many hours you spent time for prelims before four months of your prelims exam.


    Dear sir ,
    It really outstanding method for preparing in last 10 days most of time student lose there confidence but you really positively Cover up your strategy also well .
    thank you so much God bless you.


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