IAS Question Bank or IAS Test Series: Which is Better?

IAS aspirants preparing from towns or cities where good test series for prelims is not available prefer to use all-inclusive question banks for testing their preparation. Or it could be that you do not have the time or do not wish to invest in a test series, which is costlier, so just want to purchase a ready book or bank of questions that will help you with your prelims preparation.

In this post we will know about the advantages and disadvantages of each and address the question whether you really need to enroll for a Prelims test series?

How a Question Bank will Help You in Prelims Preparation

A question bank consists of numerous questions on all topics of Paper 1 or Paper 2. For instance, a question bank for Paper 1 can contain about 2000, 3000 or even 5000 questions on all topics like Polity, History, Geography, Economy, Science, Ecology, Current Affairs and General Awareness. They contain the answer sheet and may or may not provide explanation or detailed solution to the questions.

An example of a question bank for Paper is this

Advantages of Question Bank for Prelims:

  • Questions on all topics at one place
  • Many practice questions
  • Very affordable due to very low price

But there are many

Disadvantages of Question Bank for Prelims

  • Quality of questions is usually very poor
  • Questions are out dated and usually do not follow current trend
  • Doubtful answers
  • No analysis of test attempt
  • You do not get comparative picture of your performance vis-a-vis other aspirants
  • One time attempt

If you look at the advantages and disadvantages of question bank, if you’re a serious aspirant, you will in no time realize that investing in question bank for IAS prelims is a waste of time, effort and money. The question bank I have listed here claims to be useful for multiple competitive exams including UPSC, CDS, SSC, NDA, RRB, LIC, GIC and what not. Is this even possible? UPSC is head and shoulders above other entrance exams as far as level of questions is concerned. Also focus of paper in every exam is different. Current affairs and general awareness questions in UPSC Prelims are qualitatively different from other competitive exams.

Besides, the questions in such question banks are quite old and hardly updated. Not to mention that the answers are quite often wrong as well.

That is why investing in a good test series is a must for every IAS aspirant.

Advantages of Test Series for Prelims

  • Topic-wise and full length tests
  • UPSC pattern questions and comparable difficulty level
  • Updated questions with focus on current trends
  • Answers with optional explanation and/or feedback
  • Analysis of test result as well as ranking relative to other test takers
  • Unlimited attempts in case of online test series
  • Exam like environment during test attempt

Disadvantages of Test Series for Prelims

  • Comparatively costlier than a question bank
  • May not contain as many questions as in a question bank

If you compare the two above, you will realize that investing in a good test series is always beneficial than just going through a question bank for IAS prelims. Even though the number of questions may be less but the quality is far better which is what matters. You also get a comparative picture vis-a-vis other aspirants and can also analyse your performance which is not possible in case of a question bank.

If you are staying in a remote area where physical test series centre is not available or do not wish to spend too much for a test series, then you could consider enrolling for an online test series which is comparatively cheaper than an offline test series but is of the same high quality and also provides added advantage of unlimited attempts as in the case of IAS Kracker’s Test Series Course.

I hope this post helped you clear your doubts, if any, on whether to enroll for a test series or just make do with a cheap question bank for Prelims. In case of any doubt or suggestion, leave your feedback in the comments below.

Recommended For You

About the Author: IAS Kracker

IAS Kracker is your friend, mentor and guide to help you crack the IAS exam. We have been guiding hundreds of IAS Aspirants since 2009 to help realize their dream of cracking the IAS exam. Know more about us.


  1. For Prelims, CSAT test series can be joined in any institute like CL, TIME and other and for Mains only one institute test series which is worth joining is VISION IAS.

  2. will i get my rank accordingly if i join ias kracker test series. and what is schedule of test papers, how many test are there , can i attampt any time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *