How to Clear Civil Services/IAS Prelims Exam?

How to clear Civil Services IAS Prelims Exam

How to Clear Civil Services Prelims Exam?

Civil Services Preliminary Exam –  the first step to become an IAS Officer/Civil Servant – unarguably the most difficult stage to clear in the whole examination process. About 9 lakhs candidates apply for this prestigious exam in India and only about 12000-13000 candidates will successfully go through this stage i.e., only 2% success rate.

Candidate must ensure a score of 130+ out of 200 in order to ensure his/her success at preliminary exam. This score would put the candidate in a safe zone.

The success in preliminary exam is just 5-steps away. If any candidate follow these 5-steps sincerely, he/she can ensure his success at the exam.

Step: 1 Know the Pattern






There are two papers in the exam.

Paper -1 is known as General Studies and Paper -2 is known as CSAT.

In Paper -1, there will be 100 questions, each carrying 2 marks. Thus it has 200 marks. There is a penalty of o.5 marks for each wrong answer.

In Paper-2, there will be 80 questions, each carrying 2.5 marks. There is a penalty of 0.63 marks for each wrong answer. This paper is only of qualifying nature. A candidate must secure a minimum 67 marks in this paper to qualify.

Step: 2 Know the Syllabus

Without knowing and understanding the syllabus, it is not possible to clear the exam.


The detailed syllabus for the Preliminary Exams for Paper-I:

  • Current events of national and international importance.
  • History of India and Indian National Movement.
  • Indian and World Geography – Physical, Social, Economic Geography of India and the World.
  • Indian Polity and Governance – Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc.
  • Economic and Social Development – Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector initiatives, etc.
  • General issues on Environmental Ecology, Bio-diversity and Climate Change
  • General Science

The syllabus for the Paper-II:

  • Comprehension
  • Interpersonal skills including communication skills;
  • Logical reasoning and analytical ability
  • Decision-making and problem solving
  • General mental ability
  • Basic numeracy (numbers and their relations, orders of magnitude, etc.) (Class X level), Data interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency etc. – Class X level)

Step 3: Reading Essential NCERT Books

About 25-30 questions in the Paper-1 may come from NCERT books. Moreover, reading them would give a broad understanding of the core subjects of the paper.

All the essential NCERT books can be downloaded from this link:

Step 4: Reading other essential subject books

Essential book list for preliminary exam is:

  1. Indian Polity by Laxmi Kanth: Download Laxmikanth Indian Polity
  2. Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh and Mrunal PPTs (Can be found at
  3. Environment Material of Shankar IAS Institute:
  4. Physical and Human Geography by G C Leong (Download here: Download G C Leong Geography PDF)
  5. Current Affairs by Vision IAS Institute
  6. India Year Book 2017: Download India Year Book 2017

Step 5: Practice, Practice, Practice!!!

Without practicing questions, one cannot ensure his/her success in the exam. Candidates must rigorously practice previous years question papers and other practice question banks.

Practice questions on Indian Economy: Download 1500+ Indian Economy Practice Questions

Practice questions on Indian Polity: Download 1700+ Indian Polity Practice Questions

Practice questions on Indian History: Download 1500+ Indian History Practice Questions

Practice questions on Indian Geography: Download 1200+ Indian Geography Practice Questions

Practice questions on World Geography: Download 1500+ World Geography Practice Questions

Practice questions on General Science: Download 500 General Science Practice Questions

Practice questions on Art & Culture: Download Indian Art & Culture Practice Questions


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