Unable to clear the UPSC prelims in his first attempt in 2018, Bihar’s Shubham Kumar changed his preparation strategy in his next two attempts in the following years.

As a result, he secured AIR 1 in the UPSC CSE 2020. He shares the strategy that worked for him.

Pay close attention to the static portion of the syllabus: He says, “The static part of the syllabus forms the core of the prelims. A minimum of 55-60 questions comes from the static portion."

“One must cover the syllabus with the basic textbooks (NCERTs) or any other source. Ideally, aspirants should not have more than one source for a particular topic,” he adds.

Current affairs preparation: Shubham used PT 365 along with Google and online sources while preparing. For those preparing from a monthly magazine, there is no need to go to PT 365, he advises.

Embrace mock tests: Shubham recommends attempting a minimum of 40 mock tests before appearing for the prelims.

“It will help increase the aspirant’s efficiency in attempting the exam. These mock tests have the potential to raise your overall score by at least 20 marks,” he adds.

Make time for revision: An aspirant must ensure they have adequate time for at least three revisions before the paper.

“The last revision should happen four days before the exam date. One should allocate at least 20 days for the second revision and one month for the first revision,” he adds.

Choose your optional paper wisely: “While attempting the optional paper, aspirants must draw on everything they have learnt thus far,” says Shubham.

“Linking the topic and creating a larger picture will help one score better. Working on making your answers unique will result in a better overall score,” he advises.