Civil Services’ examination is for the Indian youth who want to make a career in the most coveted government services. Every year, lakhs of applicants turn up for this examination to fulfil their dream, but only a few succeed. Therefore, many students ask for a 3 months preparation strategy for UPSC prelims.

With less than 3 months in hand for preparation, the student can pass prelims if the approach is appropriately followed.

How to Prepare for UPSC Prelims?

If you are preparing for UPSC or IAS exams, you must implement the right action plan and work hard. You have to be time-efficient as well as punctual in your study. So, here we will share the exact UPSC prelims preparation strategy that you can adopt to clear your prelims with a good percentage.

Understand and Analyse the Trend

As UPSC is one of India’s toughest exams, it becomes essential to analyse the trend first because it will give you a bit of an upper edge. In this examination, a little different approach can change your future. You can predict the pattern of the past exams, make calculated guesses, create a preparation strategy and execute the same.

For instance, you can understand that in the 2020 IAS prelims examination, there were a total of 100 questions, and only 25 questions were from History, 17 questions were from Economy, while 22, 7, 14, 11, and 14 questions were from CA, Science and Technology, Geography, Environment and Ecology, and Polity, respectively. Analysing this will help you understand what you should study.

Also Read: UPSC 2021 Form Date: Everything You Must Know about the Upcoming UPSC Exam 2021

Set a Timetable

Many students may think preparing for the UPSC examination in under 3 months is impossible. But if you do follow an accurate timetable with a rational distribution of time to cover all the topics and subjects, you can tackle every barrier you face.

So how to allocate the number of days, well you can follow the below-mentioned time allocation chart.

90-days Well-balanced Subject Distribution Table 
Subjects Allocation of Days
History (Ancient Indian History) 8-9
Modern History 8-9
Science and Technology 7
Polity and Governance 14-15 (Max 20)
Geography and Environment Science 14-15 (Max 19-20)
Art and Culture 6-7
Economy 15-16 (Up to 20)

Current Affairs*: For current affairs, you need to cover it daily.

Daily Preparation Strategy for UPSC Prelims Until 90 Days

Here we will use one of the UPSC toppers Tina Dabi’s suggested timetable with some modification.

When you wake up, you can start your morning with regular breakfast and then read the newspaper for one hour. You can choose any national newspaper to read daily. After this, take a few minutes of rest and prepare yourself to study one subject for two hours.

When you get done with this, choose another topic that can be your general knowledge preparation for one hour. After this, you can take lunch and rest your body with at least half an hour of bed rest.

Divide and Focus

Now focus on another subject for another two hours and try to gather the information without losing concentration. Spend a few hours on leisure activities to stay positive because personal health is also essential. Don’t forget to give one hour to revision.

Also, try to manage eight to ten hours of learning every day because it is a suitable time that most IAS aspirants study for. During your preparation, you should also stay updated with social media and news channels and get conceptual knowledge. Don’t be a rote learner. At night, you can analyze the progress of the day when you go to sleep.

Read Newspaper

For the IAS exam, if you read the newspaper, it will play a significant role. Even the toppers have done the same. Reading newspapers not only provides more knowledge but also provides a different point of view of experts and publishers.

Many IAS toppers promote newspaper reading habits among the upcoming and existing aspirants for at least one hour. Therefore, you must not ignore this valuable tip.

Revise Current Affairs

You cannot forget to study and revise current affairs because the questions in the exam comprise a significant portion. So, it would be best if you also kept focusing on revising current affairs from time to time. By reading the newspaper, you can cover most of the information and also read magazines and other relevant sources.

Take Mock or Practice Tests

You must attempt some of the quality practice tests to get a gist of how exams are conducted. It can help you better understand your plus and minus points, and you can analyse areas of improvement. When you take the test, avoid taking the help of your notes or books because if you do, you will not be able to develop your strategy.

Aside from this, you can understand your projected marks to work upon, and it will also boost your confidence level. If you want to know how to prepare for IAS prelims, then taking a practice test is the crucial thing for this examination. So, the more exams you will take, the more confidence and your knowledge will boost up.

Focus on Critical Areas of IAS Prelims Exams

The most powerful strategy for this examination is to have conceptual clarity of different subjects and keeping up with current affairs. Here are some fundamental topics that you need to read, revise and understand deeply.

History (Ancient and Modern)

It is better to retain as much knowledge as possible; here are some of the crucial things that you can revise until the last phase. It would be best to read associations, personalities in the freedom movement, Government of India Acts of 1850, 1909, 1919 and 1935. You must read about events after World War II, such as the Cabinet Mission, Cripps Mission, August Offers, and other related topics. In Ancient History, you should take the help of notes that you prepare during your studies. You also need to have a deep understanding of ancient places that are specially mentioned in the union budget. Aside from this, read about Indus Valley, Aryan and Mauryan Civilisation, South Indian history, and the Gupta Empire.

Science and Technology

You can cover this subject with NCERT books by studying in-depth about each topic. Besides this, also keep reading current affairs about technology and other related fields.

Polity and Governance

For polity, never miss NCERT at any cost; revise it multiple times because going for any reference book will take a lot of time, and you have to prepare in a brief period. Therefore, focus on changes in the constitution, fundamental rights, duties, and DPSP. Also, learn about parliament and its proceedings.

Geography and Environment Science

If you want to prepare for geography, it is better to read the NCERT of class 10th and 12th. Keep learning chapter-wise to get clarity in a better way. The prelims have a couple of questions on the atlas. You should also read about the mountain ranges of India and the world, including the Himalayas, Vindhya, North-east mountains, and western ghats.

Apart from this, get an understanding of wildlife sanctuaries, the status of forest and Ramsar sites. Also, try to cover other aspects according to time allocation and the previous year’s question papers.

Art and Culture

In this subject, you can read and revise many Indian Philosophies such as Nyaya, Yoga, Purva Mimamsa, Carvaka, Samkhya, etc. You should also gain information about religious movements like Jainism and Buddhism. Having an understanding of Archeology will also give a bit of an upper edge.


Study ground-level information about unemployment, growth and development, poverty, inflation, and the latest budget with the economic survey report.

Also Read: What should be the Timetable/Strategy to Clear The IAS 2021-22 if I Start Studying Now?


So, these were a few critical things with a comprehensive guide for the 3 months preparation strategy. We hope this gave you an insight on how to develop a UPSC prelims preparation strategy.

Moreover, if you want to keep reading about UPSC IAS preparation-related contents, stay in touch with UPSC Pathshala. We have excellent UPSC preparation resources curated by the best in class experts and mentors. For more tricks and tips, visit the site.

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3 Months Preparation Strategy for UPSC Prelims: Here is How to Crack IAS Prelims 
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3 Months Preparation Strategy for UPSC Prelims: Here is How to Crack IAS Prelims 
How to prepare for UPSC prelims? Here is a complete 3-months preparation strategy for UPSC prelims that will ensure you cover all subjects. Read here to find the daily study plan timetable.
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Shilpa is a professional web content writer and is in deep love with travelling. She completed her mass communication degree and is now dedicatedly playing with words to guide her readers to get the best for themselves. Developing educational content for UPSC, IELTS aspirants from breakthrough research work is her forte. Strongly driven by her zodiac sign Sagittarius, Shilpa loves to live her life on her own notes and completely agrees with the idea of ‘live and let live. Apart from writing and travelling, most of the time she can be seen in the avatar of 'hooman' mom to her pets and street dogs or else you can also catch her wearing the toque blanche and creating magic in the kitchen on weekends.

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