How to Prepare for IAS 2017 in 4 months

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UPSC Preliminary exam for 2017 will be held on 18th June 2017 which implies that this year’s Prelims is exactly 4 months away. And you must be neck deep in preparing for IAS exam 2017. The tips on this page will help you channelise your efforts and gain edge in your preparation in the last leg of preparation for this year’s IAS examination. Most importantly you will know what to focus on in 4 months time before the prelims.

First and Foremost Have You Tested Your Preparation till Now?

I know you are busy preparing and working hard to crack the 2017 Prelims bit have you tested your preparation till now to know whether you’re on the right track? I have already mentioned the benefits of testing continuously for the Prelims. In short if you are weak in any of the topics, maybe, mental ability in Paper 2 or Ecology issues in Paper 1 etc you can STILL rectify your deficiency by attempting mock tests. So if you haven’t already started, I strongly suggest you attempt mock tests now.

Focus More on Paper 1 Preparation

I am sure you are well aware of the Prelims pattern in which Paper 1 cut-off is based on merit while Paper-2 is only qualifying in scope and you need just 33% marks or 66 marks out of 200 to clear Paper-2. Also your paper 2 scores don’t determine your chances of clearing the Prelims and writing the Mains. So what this mean? In the simplest terms, it tells us that we need to FOCUS on paper 1 topics to get as many answers correct as possible and secure our place in the 2017 IAS mains exam.

Which Topics to Focus on in Paper 1

Now that we know that we need to focus more on Paper 1 topics in these last 4 months before the Prelims 2017 exam, let’s know which topics in Paper 1 are more relevant as compared to others.

I recommend you focus on these topics more:

  • Environment, Ecology, Climate Change and Global Warming

You can expect anywhere between 6-12 questions on these issues in the Prelims. These are current affairs oriented issues and I would recommend you have a good grasp of the recent current events like the Paris Climate Change pact, India’s climate change mission, new concerns in climate change and global warming etc. to attempt questions from these topics confidently in the Prelims.

  • General Awareness Topics

Admittedly, you cannot master  all issues in general awareness because this topic is like a never ending Ocean. So what you can do is focus on the important issues that you have come across in the past 1 year. Also remember that General Awareness and Current Affairs are interlinked topics and you cannot prepare the two separately.

General awareness topics that you should always cover are:

  • Important awards including Nobel prize, Magasaysay prize, Booker prize, Gandhi peace prize etc.
  • Achievements in the field of Science and Technology like the recent launch of 104 satellites by ISRO, new communication technologies like Quantum communication etc.
  • Individual sporting achievements by Indians in the last 1 year. Cover as many sports as you can and not just cricket.
  • The latest Economic facts and figures like Economic growth, inflation, forex reserves, exports and imports, etc.
  • All the important schemes launched by the Union govt. recently. Go through the salient features of the schemes.
  • Have a good grasp of this year’s Economic Survey.

You can expect 30-35 questions based on General Awareness and Current Affairs in this years Prelims.

  • Practice the Atlas

I’ve always said that Atlas is a very important friend of IAS aspirants since you can expect 4-6 atlas based questions in the Prelims every year. You should develop the habit of going through a good atlas like the Oxford Student Atlas for at least 30 minutes daily. You cannot leave map reading for the end since mind needs to go through the maps repeatedly to memorise the important information in the maps.

Read my guide on how to prepare the Atlas for IAS exam.

Go through the Articles in Polity

You cannot cover the Constitution in its entirety if you’re just starting out. But what you can do with just 4 months remaining is you can go through the articles from a good Constitution book containing just the bare articles. Also don’t forget to read the Schedules in the Constitution. you should at least be aware what each schedule is about. You can expect between 5-12 questions from the Polity topic in 2017 Prelims.

Focus More on Modern History

As I’ve already mentioned in my History preparation guide, you should focus more on Modern Indian history than ancient and medieval history since far more questions are asked from Modern history as compared to ancient and medieval history. Also modern history syllabus is limited as compared to ancient and medieval history.

In modern Indian history, the events from 1857 onward are more important than events that took place in the 18th Century.

How to Cover Paper 2 in 4 Months

As I have mentioned above that you need to get just 66 marks in Paper 2 since it is only qualifying in scope. I have already written a detailed guide on how to prepare Paper 2 topics. I am sure you will find it useful.

Just Revise in the Last 2 Months Before the Prelims

From mid-April, you should only revise what you have already prepared. Don’t attempt to cover new topics now since you will not be able to do justice to these topics and you will not be able to go through what you have already covered.

So go through your micro notes, important notes so you don’t forget the important facts and figures. Also keep attempting mock tests to gain time management skills and confidence before the actual Prelims in June 2017.

I hope you found this short guide on IAS Preparation for Prelims 2017 in 4 months useful. Leave your feedback and queries in the comments below.

Reference Books for IAS

GS Solved Papers
General Studies Manual
Manorama Year Book
Oxford Student Atlas
Science and Technology

Topic-wise Books for IAS

Indian Polity Laxmikanth
Ecology and Environment
India's Struggle for Independence
Brief History of Modern India
Indian Art and Culture
Certificate Course in Geography


I am the content head at IASKracker.com. But, I am foremost your friend, mentor and guide to help you crack the IAS exam. I have cleared the Prelims 4 times in a row and also reached the IAS Interview. I have been guiding hundreds of IAS Aspirants since 2009 to help realize their dream of cracking the IAS exam.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 4 comments
Dhanish - February 19, 2017

Thankyou very much for your short description about IAS preparation. Text more like this to boost up the studies.Once again thankyou very much.

Alkendra - February 21, 2017

Thanks a lot for awaring me at the moments. your description about these topics were really helpful for me.

Namit Sharma - February 28, 2017

Thank you for this tutorial. I am preparing for IAS exam this session.

    Vimlaksh - March 20, 2017

    Glad you found it useful namit


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