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Which subject should I start first in UPSC?

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IAS exam is considered the mother of all competitive examinations. it is a syllabus heavy examination, especially for the Mains exam. Therefore, candidates have to begin preparation for the Mains and Prelims exam altogether. If you start your preparation for the Mains exam after qualifying for the Prelims exam you will just have 4 months to prepare General Studies paper, Essay paper and Optional subject and it is almost impossible. 

One of the most frequently asked questions is which subject should I start first in UPSC. Every year lots of candidates apply for the exam but only a few achieve the goal by following the right preparation strategy.

Therefore, aspirants should start their preparation in June of the previous year if they are going to appear for the Prelims exam the next year. 

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Create a full proof study plan. This is so because the UPSC exam is like a marathon and sticking to the right plan is also very important.

In starting, you can study hard but as soon as time goes away you will lose steam.

So, first of all, make your macro plan first and make your study plan so that you don’t just finish the syllabus but also get time for revision.

Begin your preparation with the General Studies paper for both prelims and the Mains exam.

Divide your studies into various months and list down the subjects which are there for both prelims and Mains. There are 9 subjects in General Studies: History, Geography, Polity, Economics, Environment, Science and Technology, Internal Security, International relation, Ethics. So, make your plan to complete the subjects and also to revise them properly. Make sure you keep the last 2 months only for revision and practice.

Start from July

Start your preparation for the General Studies paper and take up two subjects because reading one subject continuously becomes monotonous. Take up one subject you are completely new to and the second one which you are familiar with. It will help you to make your comfort zone and to step out of your comfort zone too. 

The main motive is to first generate interest and discipline as you will need to study for a long period of time. Understand and revise the concepts properly in the two subjects that you have chosen.

Increase the hours that you study in August and September. Now, finish the tough subject completely and also start the other subject.

Once the two-thirds of the General Studies paper and optional and the complete syllabus for prelims are done, you should focus on the Prelims only. Revise the General Studies notes. You should revise the entire syllabus at least three times.

It is the right time to solve as many question papers as possible for both the General Studies paper and CSAT. If you don’t solve at least 100 practice papers then there is a minimum chance of passing.

It is suggested to all aspirants don’t ignore CSAT as it can backfire in the exam.

After Prelims exam

Focus on completing the syllabus for Ethics, Integrity, aptitude and optional papers syllabus that are left after the prelims exam. Study at least a minimum of 10 hours because you will have to run at full speed now. You just have three months before the Mains. Try to complete the whole syllabus in the first month itself and now the complete focus should be on revision. Some important topics like earthquakes, Tsunami, environmental pollution, functional classification of towns, Panchayati Raj etc are very important so keep notes handy on these topics.

Write as many answers as possible in these three months. Many candidates miss out on answer writing practice at this time but you should pay attention to answer writing practice for both General Studies papers and Optional as well.

Learn a large amount of information in a structured manner to perform well in the interview session.

Gradually, improve your skills in writing answers, writing essays, solving MCQs, and presenting answers in General Studies and Optional papers.

Moreover, you should also improve abilities such as enduring long processes without exhausting yourself, maintaining discipline and working hard under pressure. 

Stick to your study plan and develop the ability of self-control and speak about any issue with precision. 

Don’t become scared, aggressive, frustrated or angry but you should be able to control your emotions as equanimity is a quality that you should possess.

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