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UPSC civil services prelims exam 2017: Preparation strategy, study plan and books to read

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UPSC will conduct the Civil Services (prelims) about 60 days from now, that is, June 18, 2017. The Civil Services examination is held to select candidates to fill administrative positions in different All-India Services and central civil services. This year, approximately 980 posts will be filled which include 27 vacancies reserved for P.H. Category, that is, 7 vacancies for LDCP, 8 posts for B/LV and 12 vacancies for H.I.

The exam comprises of Paper-I and Paper-II. While Paper-I has 100 questions with a total of 200 marks, in Paper-II, a total of 80 questions will be asked. Negative marks for every question is one-third of the marks assigned to that question. The questions in Paper-I come from seven different test areas like 1) Science and technology, 2) history and culture, 3) geography, 4) Indian Polity, 5) Indian economy, 6) environment and ecology and 7) current events of national and international importance.

I) Books 
NCERT Books (class 8 -12) in each of the areas — history, geography, Indian polity, economy, science and technology will help. Some of the NCERT books have been indicated below.

For History, following are the books related to NCERT.
History NCERT Class 8 – Our Past II and III
History NCERT Class 9 – India and contemporary world — I and II
History NCERT Class 10 – Themes in World History
History NCERT Class 11 and 12 – Themes in Indian History -1, 2, 3.

For Geography, following are the books related to NCERT.

Geography NCERT Class 8 -Resource & Development
Geography NCERT Class 9 – Contemporary India -I & II
Geography NCERT Class 10 – Fundamentals of Physical Geography
Geography NCERT Class 11 – Physical Environment (India)
Geography NCERT Class 12 – Fundamentals of Human Geography
Geoigraphy NCERT Class 12 – People and Economy

Similarly, there are different NCERT books for other areas like Economy, Science and technology, polity etc. Apart from these books, national newspapers, previous years’ question papers, area wise tests andmock tests will be useful in the preparation for the exam.

II) Overall preparation strategy
There is no one single strategy for the preparation. It will vary from candidate to candidate depending on one’s strengths and weaknesses.

Study Plan 1: One line of study plan could be to complete one test area (out of 7) every week. So, with this strategy, one can complete seven different test areas in about seven weeks’ time period. Also, every two-three days, the aspirants should write tests pertaining to topics that has completed from that test area. For e.g, the test area of History can be divided across three parts – Ancient, Medieval and Modern. If one is planning to complete the test area of “History” in the first week, one should spend about 2 days time on Ancient History, 2 days time on Medieval and about 3 days time on Modern. After 2 days of study, one should write the test related to the “Ancient History” and similar strategy will follow for the areas well.

Study Plan 2: Second way to prepare could be something like this. One shoulld try and focus on at least two test areas on a daily basis. On Day -1, One can study History & Polity. On Day-2, one can concentrate on Indian Economy & Geography and so on. The idea is to go through all the test areas every week. With this strategy, one will be in touch with all the areas every week.

Study Plan 3: Third way, one can look at 2 test areas every week. For example, first week, one can focus on History and Polity (say first 3 days -History and then next 4 days -Polity). Second Week, one can focus on other two areas.

So, clearly, there is no one single plan. One should keep reviewing the plan on a weekly basis and keep checking as to what are the aspects which need to be modified.

Time duration
In terms of the time duration to be spent per day, one should give at least 6 hours on a daily basis exclusively for prelims – Paper I. With about 60 days left for the exam, one will have about a cummulative 360 hours for Paper I. Since, there are 7 test areas, a candidate has about 50 hours at disposal for each of the test areas.




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