The Civil Services Examination (CSE) is the premier competitive examination in India for recruitment to various civil services. Many consider it as the one of the hardest to crack. To succeed in this examination, it require proper planning, systematic preparation and appropriate resource materials. In addition the positive attitude, requisite confidence and determination to succeed would be key to succeed in CSE.

Preliminary Examination

General Studies Paper I                                                                                                                                                                     

The prelims exam is a multiple choice answer examination. The syllabus include Indian polity & governance, History of India– & Indian National movement, Economic & social development, Indian & world geography, Environment and General science. Generally the questions on these subjects asked are of Plus 2 level. In addition to this, questions on Current Affairs– events of national & international importance are also asked in this paper.

Keeping in mind the pattern and level of questions asked, this paper require an appropriate strategy. A thorough knowledge of concepts, current affairs, speed and accuracy coupled with confidence would be key elements to tackle Prelims.

Key Elements of Strategy
* Time management
* Appropriate Topic wise Action / Study Plan

$ Dos & Don’ts

* Adhere to action plan
* Maximize the duration of study earmarked for the day, to the extent possible 
* Try to revise from the short notes, if already prepared
* Focus on quality rather quantity

@ If you have joined coaching, try to realign your action plan with that of coaching schedule

* Facts to be kept in Mind –
> First Goal is to clear Prelims
 > Completion of Syllabus for Prelims in time( both General Studies & General Ability Test Paper)

Suggestive Resource Materials

^ Revise NCERT / ISCE / State Boards Books – relevant chapters.
^ Select the resource material topic wise.


* 11th - 12th Old NCERT; 11th NCERT on Culture & Culture part of Ancient and Medieval India
* Website:
* Freedom Struggle – Bipin Chandra


* NCERTs of both 11th & 12th class
* Certified Physical Geography by G C Leong
* Atlas


* NCERT (11th – 12th )
* Indian Polity / Governance in India – M. LaxmiKanth


* NCERT - 12th class - last four Chapters.

Science & Technology

* New NCERT- 10th and selected chapters from 11th and 12th
* Science Reporter magazine.


* NCERT ( Chapters related to Environment)
* Indian Geography - Khullar
* Environment current affairs.


* NCERT (11th- Indian Economic Development, 12th - Basics of Macro Economics)
* Indian Economy – Sanjeev Verma / Ramesh Singh
* Economic Survey

Current Affairs

* 2-3 Daily Newspapers (including Hindu)
* Online reading of current national / international events
* Any Good comprehensive General Knowledge Book – latest edition.
* Browse current affairs relevant topics / articles on net / good magazines
* Yojana Magazine

* Practice previous year question papers

* Do Mock Quiz Tests

Taking Mock Quiz Tests online would help to test the level of preparation, speed, accuracy and confidence level. It will also enrich / widen knowledge on general studies and current affairs.

IV Procedural Tips

For memory retention and revision time management, the following can be adopted –

^ Prepare short notes while reading

^ make chart and graphs

^ use abbreviations

^ discuss current affairs / topics with friends and others who are appearing for competitive exams.

^ plan the preparation and adhere to it, make provision for weekly / monthly revision

^ Special planning to cover all subjects before the prelims for a period of at least one week.  

How to prepare for Civil Services Examination (Prelims)