How to Prepare for IAS Preliminary Exam ?

About Preliminary Exam preparation,
- one paper is optional i.e. your choice
- One paper is compulsory i.e. General Studies.

- Now i will tell you how to prepare for General Studies(GS) paper.
- if one wants to have command over GS, then he has to prepare 8 major area i.e.
Mental Abiltiy
Current Affairs
General Knowledge.

- For all the above topics, best way to start is from Basics i.e. NCERT Books of Class 6th to Class 12th.
- For History - NCERT + Spectrums Modern India
- Geography - NCERT + GoCheng leong + a good atlas like orient longman/oxford.
- Polity - NCERT + any good guide book like laxmikanth's indian polity/ Jojo mathews's Indian constitution and polity.
- Science - i think Ncert class 6th to class 12th is more than enough.
- Economy - NCERT class 11th and 12th + pratiyogita darpan's special issue on indian economy + Read and make notes of newspaper about current economy.
- Mental Ability - R.s.Agarwal.
- Current Affairs - one has to be thorough with newspaper readings of atleast one year back from the date of exam.
- General Knowledge - India year book + Manorama year book or Chronicle year book.

- if one is thorough with the above topics from the above materials, then he/she will definitely crack this exam easily.


Author: Chandan12 Nov 2008 Member Level: Bronze   Points : 1

I am a Computer Engineer and I am willing to appear for IAS exam.. The information given by you about the books is quite useful for starting the preparation. Thanks.

Author: Jithendra Kothari 12 Nov 2008 Member Level: Gold   Points : 1

Hello Chandan...

Thank you for your response...
If you have any doubt regarding the preparation, feel free to message me...

Wish you all the best..

thank you

Author: Chandan13 Nov 2008 Member Level: Bronze   Points : 1

Hi there,
Can u pls guide how to start the preparation and which subject to choose for the exam.

Author: Jithendra Kothari 13 Nov 2008 Member Level: Gold   Points : 2

Subjects for Preliminary Examination:
paper I - The General Studies paper is compulsory.

Subjects for Paper II (one subject to be selected) -

2.Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science,
5.Civil Engineering,
8.Electrical Engineering,
11.Indian History,
14.Mechanical Engineering,
15.Medical Science,
18.Political Science,
20.Public Administration,

You have to choose any one subject from the above list. You can opt to any subject, it entirely depends on your interest and some little knowledge about any subject.

Its not necessary that you should take only technical subjects, here you can opt to arts/humanities subject or medical science or Science/technical subjects. But ultimately it depends on your interest.

Author: Jithendra Kothari 13 Nov 2008 Member Level: Gold   Points : 2

Exam details ;
-The Exam is notified in the month of november/december and last date for submission of form will be in the month of january.

-The prelims exam will be conducted in the month of may.
-The results for the prelims exam will be out in the month of August/september.

-Next Mains Exam will be held in the month of october/November.
-Results of Mains Exam will be out in the month of feb/march.

-Finally Interview will be held in the month of April.
-Final result will be out in the month of may/june.

This will give you an idea about the exam shedule..

Author: Jithendra Kothari 13 Nov 2008 Member Level: Gold   Points : 2

Hello chandan,

You can post your questions at my ISC Community site, which will help others also...
Civil Services Exam(IAS/IFS/IPS) Helpline

and also you can join me at,
Civil Services Mentor

Thank you...

Author: Jithendra Kothari 13 Nov 2008 Member Level: Gold   Points : 2

Hello chandan,

You can post your questions at my ISC Community site, which will help others also...

and also you can join me at,

Thank you...

Author: Chandan13 Nov 2008 Member Level: Bronze   Points : 1

Isn't there any computer science subject that we can opt for ? Secondly, is there any particular book which consists of all topics for the preparation of General Studies paper.

Author: Chandan13 Nov 2008 Member Level: Bronze   Points : 1

Isn't there any computer science subject that we can opt for ? Secondly, is there any particular book which consists of all topics for the preparation of General Studies paper.

Author: Jithendra Kothari 13 Nov 2008 Member Level: Gold   Points : 2

Hello Chandan...

No, computer science is not their, you have to chose one among the 23 subjects.

There are many guide books available in the market for General Studies. But according to me, instead of going to guides books, one should start with a foundation i.e. basics. I recommend you to start your preparation through NCERT Books, which already i have mentioned above in the previous post.

If you are very curious about guide books, then you can go for General Studies Manual by Tata Mcgrahill Publications.

Another way is, get notes of Vajiram institute, Delhi for General Studies.

Author: P.K.Arunkumar13 Nov 2008 Member Level: Gold   Points : 1

Hell Mr.Jithendra!!!

This is very useful Message. Are you Preparing for IAS Preliminary Exam?

Author: Jithendra Kothari 13 Nov 2008 Member Level: Gold   Points : 1

Hello Arun..

yes, I am preparing for the exam...
if you have any doubts, you can post here or you can join me at my community site,

thank you

Author: Chandan21 Nov 2008 Member Level: Bronze   Points : 1

Hi there Mr. Jithendra,
How r u ? hope u r working quite hard with the IAS preparation. I want to ask that are there any helpful tips in order to clear/pass the IAS exam ?

Author: Jithendra Kothari 21 Nov 2008 Member Level: Gold   Points : 2

Hello Chandan,

IAS exam needs Sincere and hardwork from the individual.
Without Pain no Gain, so just follow the tips given in this resource sincerely and You will definitely qualify this exam.....
I am trying my best to help and guide individuals for the IAS exam, so for that i have created a community website, where one can find previous years question papers and some notes/materials and can discuss their problems or doubts regarding the exam,
so if you are interested, then you can join my community site by visiting this link CivilServicesHelpline

thank you

Author: Bindu13 Dec 2008 Member Level: Bronze   Points : 2

Hello Mr.Jithendra,
I am very happy to see your responses to others in the preparation of IAS. I am pursuing my 3rd yr yr graduation and i would like to prepare for IAS exams but i am it confused about what to do and what to start with and how to choose optional subjects?
How to get study materials? and many more,so please help me regarding this.

Author: Lakshmanan.T.R13 Dec 2008 Member Level: Silver   Points : 1

Hi Mr. Jitendra
Im doing my final year electrical engineerin I want to appear for the Upsc prelims so i need your valuable suggestion regarding to select my optional subject.
With Regards

Author: Jithendra Kothari 13 Dec 2008 Member Level: Gold   Points : 2

Hello Bindu and Lakshmanan

As both of you are in the final year of your graduation, You are eligible for the 2009 IAS Exam..

Confusion is quite common with the freshers in any field.. So don't worry i will help you in clearing your confusion/doubts..

How to chose Optional subject ?

First you understand the examination pattern.. Click here IAS Exam Pattern

After understanding the pattern, you look for the optional subjects of your choice among the 23 optionals(given above in this post)..

If you are confused to chose the optionals, then follow these tips in chosing the best optional for you,

- Interest in any subject plays a very important role.

- You can opt for any one of your graduation subjects(If you have an interest on that subject/ having good command over that subject).

- Otherwise Chose among the popular(Most of the Candidates appear in this exam with this Subjects) subjects like History, Geography, Public Administration, Sociology, psychology, political Science... Popular doesn't mean easy, it means.. You can avail good number of materials and guidance easily on this subjects...

- If you are still confused in chosing the best optional for you among the above choices... Then go through the syllabus of all the above subjects and also go through the previous years question papers of the above subjects... This will give you a good idea about the subject...

What to do ? what to start ?

After deciding the optionals, Just start your preparation for the exam.... I have already posted in this resource about the General Studies preparation part..

Regarding Optional Preparation... let me know your optionals....

If you need any help or have any doubt/query, feel free to post them in the Forum category of the community site..Click here Civil Services Exam Helpline

If you want me as your personal guide..Click here and Choose me as your Mentor for Civil Services Exam

Wish you all the best and Good Luck..

Thank you....

Author: Bindu14 Dec 2008 Member Level: Bronze   Points : 2

Hello Mr.Jithendra,
I have seen your response and i am happy about your concern to others.I am in pre-final yr of my graduation and i am interested in sociology as my optional but i didnt study that subject befor just i am interested in Indian society.

Is this ok? or i should have studied this before in my graduation? I am confused abt it,and i have seen list of books on Sociology posted by you.May i know whether these books are available online? or I have to get it from somewhere.

so please let me know.waiting for your help..Thank u.

Author: kalyan14 Dec 2008 Member Level: Silver   Points : 0

thanks for sending useful information

Author: Jithendra Kothari 15 Dec 2008 Member Level: Gold   Points : 2

Hello Bindu..

Regarding Sociology as your optional...
Yes you can keep it as your optional even if you don't have any background on that subject..But you should have a real interest on the subject..
You can avail good no. of materials on this subject from the market..
Regarding books.... yes books are available in the prominent book stores and are not available online...

You can get the coaching materials from Delhi...

Regarding Coaching Classes for Sociology - Upendra's Institute in Delhi is best..
For GS Coaching - Vajiram and Ravi is the best or Career Point or Interactions....all in Delhi..

if you need any guidance regarding this let me know......

thank you...

Author: Chandan26 Dec 2008 Member Level: Bronze   Points : 1

Hello Jithendra... Please guide me something about the subject Public Administration.

Author: Jithendra Kothari 26 Dec 2008 Member Level: Gold   Points : 1

Hello Chandan...

I have recently updated Info. on Public Administration...
Just click on this link Optional Public Administration and have a look....

If you need any assistance....let me know...

Author: Abhinav Tyagi05 Jan 2009 Member Level: Bronze   Points : 1

May you please tell me the cut-offs of General Studies and Maths
in preliminary exams of last 3-4 years.

Author: pushpinder19 Feb 2009 Member Level: Bronze   Points : 1

hello i am pushpinder .sir can u tell me whats the age limit for ias aspirants of general category .As i am 24 complete so i wanted to know how many attempts i have.

Author: Jithendra Kothari 10 Mar 2009 Member Level: Gold   Points : 1

Hello Pushpinder,

Age limit
GM - 4 attempts - 30 years age limit
OBC - 7 attempts -33 years age limit
SC/ST - can attempt till 35 years age i.e. usually 15 attempts.

Author: Kamala Mallick22 May 2009 Member Level: Bronze   Points : 2

I am Kamala.I am persuing now M.COM as well as doing job in Vedanta Aluminium Ltd as an associate Finance in Finance department.But I am seeking for higher studies that means to prepare for IAS.So pls guide me whether I leave the Company for IAS or doing simultaniously with job.I very much interested to do prepare for IAS exam. I learned a lot from this site.But i request personally pls suggest me how to take prepare from now.

Author: sandhiya03 Jun 2009 Member Level: Bronze   Points : 2

Hai I am sandhiya doing final year electronics and communication engg. I am interested to prepare for IAS. Is it the correct time to start my preparation or after finishing my UG. Is it necessary to join a coaching centre now because I have no time now. Please clear my doubts.

Author: Rashmi03 Jul 2009 Member Level: Bronze   Points : 1

Hi, friends, I want to know whether the cutoff mark is same for all the optional subjects or not.please clear this doubt.

Author: Aroma15 Dec 2009 Member Level: Silver   Points : 1


As I experienced that Cool and calm during exam period is very necessary to score good marks in Prelim.

Thank you.


Author: rahul16 Dec 2009 Member Level: Gold   Points : 0

A great advice from all and it will certainly guide me a lot

Author: veena31 Dec 2009 Member Level: Bronze   Points : 2

I am Veena and i am pursuing 1st year Eng now..I have a strong desire to appear for CSE and was in search for proper advices and guidelines. thank u Mr.Jithendra....for ur valuable suggestions. i have a doubt.. Does the optional paper in prelims have anything to do with the main paper??? As you said most people opt for popoular subjects. Will that choice makes thier work more easier for their main?? If i choose zoology will not help me in the main exam also???

Author: Sureshbabu MP05 Jan 2010 Member Level: Bronze   Points : 0

No, Computer Science is not an option for civil service mains.

Author: Vilas06 Jan 2010 Member Level: Gold   Points : 2

Dear Friends,
For preliminary examination History and Geography are top scoring subjects for plain graduate persons. Where the Science related or technical subjects are to easy.

In General Studies they most ask about Current affairs it means we need up to date.

Best of luck for all candidates,

Author: Roopa.V.Raju08 Jan 2010 Member Level: Bronze   Points : 1

wat should science students choose for preliminary exams? which is scoring for us?

as im finishing my graduation this may n hve to start preparing for exams now will it be useful to take first attempt in may....

Author: M V Subbaraju08 Apr 2010 Member Level: Silver   Points : 1

nice information. It would be useful for aspirants of IAS. I have one doubt. I am computer science graduate. which optional i need to choose. I hope it would be easy to learn.

Author: preethi18 Jul 2010 Member Level: Bronze   Points : 2

hi 2 every aspirant of civil services examination. i completed my bachelors in physiotherapy(BPT) and i am an aspirant of civils services examination so please help me in selection of optionals nd availability of there any optional like physiotherapy?or else i should take any other optional?

Author: Anandu S Govind19 Jul 2011 Member Level: Bronze   Points : 1

hello Mr Jithendra
i have finished my 10+2 this year(2011).I am going for engineering now. But i'd like to write IAS exam after getting my graduation.
Would you please help me to start my preparation from this year itself.

Guest Author: Girija patel12 May 2012

helo sir ,
My self Girija patel , presently m a medicos student , m doing BAMS 2nd yr. Im willing to rite d IAS exam sir. For dat knowing kannada language is compulsory ...?? D plz do insist me how to take up my career sir ..

Guest Author: a.raja shekar reddy10 Mar 2014

Hi sir,
Now I am studying Btech 2nd year ECE...i want to start preparation of IAS now-onwards...can u help which books should i read for preparing IAS and tips to study??

Guest Author: vikash kumar13 Apr 2014

Hello sir, I'm 1st year mbbs student. I want to preparation of IAS exam from 1st year. Please advice me to all about for exam.

Guest Author: steve14 Apr 2014

The UPSC pattern changed in 2013 for mains. So I try to answer as many GS questions as possible form many sources. One FB page that I regularly follow is

It keeps updating questions on GS, current affairs and Ethics. Research on the questions is very useful to enhance your knowledge. Do you agree? What is your opinion?

  • Do not include your name, "with regards" etc in the comment. Write detailed comment, relevant to the topic.
  • No HTML formatting and links to other web sites are allowed.
  • This is a strictly moderated site. Absolutely no spam allowed.
  • Name: