Clearing the UPSC Civil Services Exam is not easy, given the vast syllabus. As the providers of the best IAS Coaching in Chennai, we’ve devised a simple strategy to crack the syllabus. We advise IAS aspirants to take an integrated approach to Prelims cum Mains preparation.
What is integrated prelims cum mains preparation? It combines the preparation for the Prelims exam and the Mains exam. A student studies for GS Paper I and Mains Paper 1, II, III and IV along with current affairs.
Let’s take a look at why an integrated approach makes sense and how you can do it
Why The Need For Integrated Prelims Cum Mains Preparation?
70% of the Prelims and Mains syllabus overlap, with the latter being more in-depth. That means by preparing for one; you can prepare for the other.
While the topics covered are the same, the way questions are asked are different for each exam. Because the Prelim phase is objective, it focuses on conceptual knowledge. Because the Mains phase is subjective, it focuses on analysis and current affairs.
Here is a snapshot of intersecting syllabi:
|Prelims syllabus||Mains Papers|
|Indian and World Geography||General Study Paper 1|
|History of India and Indian National Movement||General Study Paper 1|
|Indian Polity and Governance – Constitution, Panchayati Raj, Rights Issues, etc.||General Study Paper 2|
|Economic and Social Development – Sustainable Development, Inclusion, Social Sector Initiatives, Etc.||General Study Paper 1, 2 & 3|
|Current Events of National and International Importance||General Study Paper 1, 2 & 3|
|General Issues on Environmental ecology, biodiversity, and climate change||General Study Paper 1 & 3|
|Science & Technology||General Study Paper 3|
Besides an overlap, the subjects are also interlinked. It makes integrated preparation even more necessary. One example is World History that’s directly linked to topics like globalisation and economy. Furthermore, the economy is connected to international relations.
By studying for all the topics in tandem, you’ll have a better understanding and offer a holistic answer to questions. That gives you the key to higher marks!
The last reason for integrated prelims cum mains preparation is the time constraint. The gap between the Prelims and Mains stage is small. You don’t have enough time to study new subjects. All you can do is revise,
An integrated approach ensures that you already have a strong base for all Mains topics. So that after the prelims, you just have to revise the topics and practice as much as possible.
How To Do Integrated Prelims Cum Mains Preparation?
- Break down the syllabus.
The first step to integrated preparation is breaking down the entire syllabus into micro-levels. And then create connections between different topics. This will give you a solid grasp of the complete curriculum.
- Create connections between topics.
If each micro-level is a dot, then the next step is to connect those dots and understand how they are related. This is important because good answers are those that understand how one topic is interlinked with other topics.
To understand how to create connections between subjects, look over previous years’ question papers. Both prelims and mains. To get you started, we’ll link the first two dots. The topic ‘poverty’ in the economy is closely connected to the topic ‘population’ in society.
- Build a strong concept base.
The linchpin around which the CSE rotates is concepts. Once you build a strong conceptual base in each subject, you’ll fly through the exam. When you take an integrated approach, try to dig deep into each topic and understand it from all possible angles.
- Take a practical and analytical approach.
Questions asked in the IAS exam are neither direct from the books nor straightforward because being an IAS officer means analysing situations and finding practical solutions. So, when you are preparing for the prelims cum Mains, look beyond theory.
Understand how that information can be applied practically. When you do that, you’ll be able to answer any question during both Prelims and Mains phase. Basic theoretical knowledge is good, but more than just understanding the “what”, study a topic with “why” and “how” in your mind.
- Work towards a sound perspective.
A sound perspective means that when you look at a piece of information or event, you do so with every factor connected to it. Why? So that you determine the impact of it or the effect.
That’s what every IAS aspirant needs to do. You don’t read the news to collect information. You read it to see what will be the effect of it in the long-term. You read it to see how the scenario will impact the entire nation. In other words, you read the news with a sound perspective – a viewpoint that looks beyond stats and figures.
- Learn to write clear answers.
The last step of the integrate prelims cum mains preparation is to practise writing answers with clarity. Hone your skill to answer in a focused manner. You should be able to answer all sub-questions and provide facts or case studies to support it.
What Topics To Cover For Integrated Prelims Cum Mains Preparation?
After years of experience as the best IAS coaching, we shortlisted the topics you need to study during an integrated approach:
- All NCERT Textbooks and Standard Reference books
- India Since Independence – GS Paper 1
- World History – GS Paper 1
- Indian Society – GS Paper 1
- International Relations – GS Paper 2
- Disaster Management – GS Paper 3
- Internal Security – GS Paper 3
- Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude – Entire GS Paper 4
- Optional Subject
- Essay Paper
The Civil Services Examination is not a sprint. It is a marathon that requires dedication and consistency. A good preparation strategy is critical to achieving the goal. And the prelim-cum-mains based integrated approach by Chinmaya, the best IAS coaching centre in Chennai, is the best route to it!
As long as you follow it, reaching your dream destination will be easier and that much closer. All the best!
Current Affairs Books for UPSC
The book of current affairs plays an important role in the preparation of any competitive exams. The candidates give more importance to the current affair books as they act as a major pillar in the exams, which includes even the UPSC exams. There are many questions which are asked from the affair books and the happenings having the economic, political and country’s social ramifications. In this case, one just cannot compromise on the popular books which help you to get extra knowledge on the general but important information of the country. These books are available easily and can be bought online too. List of most searched books will give a fair idea about the authors and streams in civil service examination.