Education

How is UPSC Prelims Preparation Different from Mains?

The Civil Services Exam conducted by UPSC has three stages – namely Prelims, Mains and Interview. The exam patterns of these three levels are different from each other and require the candidate to adopt different strategies while preparing for them. To consider, the Prelims level of the exam has objective type of questions and just two papers. Whereas, the Mains level of the exam is descriptive in nature which demands a lot of writing during the exam and has nine papers. Not only this, the syllabus also has variations and the candidates have to keep these factors in mind while formulating their strategies for the different levels.

It is popularly believed that a candidate has to prepare for the exam in a holistic manner and should not prepare for different levels separately. But, it doesn’t mean adopting the same strategy for both Prelims and Mains.

The IAS Prelims tests analytical and logical skills along with accurate facts. Therefore, the aspirants have to prepare more accurately for the Prelims exam than comprehensively preparing for a topic. The candidates can check IAS Questions from the linked article and explore answers for questions in different subjects.

Difference between IAS Prelims and Mains Preparation

Prelims is the first level of the UPSC Exam and the candidates who are able to clear the first level are allowed to attempt the second level, i.e., Mains. Even though these two are different levels of the same exam, the preparation process is a bit different from each other. Here are a few differences between the UPSC Prelims and Mains preparation.

  • The aspirant has to remember facts accurately while preparing for the Prelims level, as the exam involves multiple-choice questions; where the options are similar and close to the actual answer. Often, these options are set up to create confusion in the minds of the candidates and test their analytical and interpretative skills. But for the Mains exam, understanding the question and writing the relevant answer is the main objective. Obviously, the candidates make use of the same facts to quote in the Mains exam, but they have the option to quote only the facts that they are very sure of.
  • The aspirants have to solve a lot of mock questions to understand and practise the art of eliminating options. Sometimes, the candidate might not be sure of the answer; in that case, this method will help him/her in increasing the number of questions attempted and answering correctly. Meanwhile, for the Mains Exam, the aspirants have to practise how to complete the paper on time, and also write relevant answers.
  • The Prelims exam is qualifying in nature yet it is the entry ticket to write the Mains exam. However, the marks of the Mains exam are taken into consideration while preparing the final list. Therefore, the candidates have to concentrate on qualifying for the Prelims exam and getting the maximum marks possible in the Mains exam.
  • The syllabus of the Mains exam is vast when compared to the Prelims stage. That’s because the number of papers is high, and also, it includes papers like Indian language, English language, essay paper, optional subjects apart from General Studies paper. However, the Prelims stage has only two papers.
  • Prelims stage has a CSAT paper which tests basic English and grammar skills, numerical ability and logical reasoning. The candidates have to practise more mock papers while preparing for Prelims.
  • The aspirants can note one-liners while preparing for Prelims and use them for revising the concepts, when the exam is around the corner. While preparing for the Mains Exam, the candidates have to develop an opinion about the topic.
  • The preparation for the Prelims stage of the exam doesn’t require in-depth analysis of a topic, rather all the facts regarding the topic have to be researched.
  • In recent times, there is an increasing number of questions from current affairs and the aspirants have to be prepared accordingly. Both the stages give equal importance to current affairs, but while preparing for the Prelims stage, more factual information is to be studied.

Following the right preparation strategy for all the stages of the exam will definitely secure a rank for the candidate. The IAS Full Form is Indian Administrative Service and to know all the details of the IAS Exam, candidates can go through the linked article.

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