How to Prepare for UPSC CSE Prelims 2023

coaching CSE aspirants

UPSC (Union Public Services Commission) is the most powerful recruiting agency for the Government of India for its different services. Every year, it conducts important government recruitment exams such as the CSE (Civil Services Exam).

The CSE is a competitive, nationwide exam in India conducted by the UPSC on an annual basis. It is meant to recruit candidates for various Civil Services of the Indian government, such as the IAS (Indian Administrative Service), the IPS (Indian Police Service), and the IFS (Indian Foreign Service). Besides these three All India Services, the CSE also gleaned candidates for the various Central services.

The CSE comprises three stages: The Prelims, The Mains, and the Interview. The Prelims is the first step to embark on the exam. This objective exam comprises two papers – General Studies (1) and the C-SAT.

The syllabus is vast and extensive, and the exam demands mastery of facts, basic maths, time management, and current affairs. The total marks for both papers of the Prelims are 400. General Studies-1 has a cut-off that determines who will progress to the next stage (Mains), while C-SAT is only a qualifying exam. There is negative marking in the tests, with 1/3rd of marks deducted on every wrong answer.

The Prelims is a test meant to filter candidates to sit for the Mains exam. Only serious and well-prepared aspirants can qualify for the Mains exam. But Prelims marks are not counted for the overall rank of merit of candidates of the CSE.

Aspirants for the Prelim exam of the CSE conducted by UPSC will be gearing up for the exam to be held on May 28, 2023. But it is vital that your efforts are channelized in the right direction. With guidance from UPSC civil services best coaching, one can be successful in cracking this tough nut of an exam.

Following are some hacks for preparing for the UPSC CSE Prelims of 2023:

  1. Make a Plan

It is no easy task to crack CSE Prelims. Because of the high competition, you should adopt the right strategy. One crucial hack is to create a plan for preparation. Such a study plan will help break down the preparation into small, easy goals and provide an overview of what is to be done.

One must create the study plan with care. It would be best to consider how much time you have to prepare, what topics need your extra focus, and how many hours you can devote to daily study. The plan should have short-term goals which will help you stay motivated all through the process. Also, set aside time for relaxing breaks during the period of study to keep the mind focused.

  1. Practice Time Management

The factor of time management is vital for success in CSE Prelims. Creating a plan will reduce stress and keep you organized, especially for revising topics. A strong system of time management permits efficient use of hours at your disposal and ensures that no time is wasted during preparation.

First of all, you must break down the goals of your preparation into manageable chunks. For every day of the week, you should assign specific tasks. This ensures adequate attention to all topics and structuring of the period of revision.

  1. Join a Coaching Centre

There are numerous centres for coaching CSE aspirants. One can do well by joining the best and most feasible one for you after doing thorough research. Coaching can help you focus on important topics and make your exam ready by providing mock tests. You can depend on the right institution for UPSC preparation, whether it offers offline or online coaching.

  1. Focus on NCERT Books

The CSE Prelims is a rigorous exam that requires aspirants to prepare well for a wide variety of subjects in a vast syllabus. So, you must focus on the right resources. Most former toppers of the CSE exam vouch for depending on NCERT books to cover the main topics of the CSE exam.

NCERT books have been prepared to cater to the needs of several competitive exams and offer comprehensive coverage of all topics. Also, they serve as ideal reference guides for further study and help candidates master concepts in several subjects like history and politics.

Know Areas of Weakness

For cracking the CSE Prelims, it is vital to understand your weaknesses and make study plans that will help to overcome these. All candidates must identify weak spots and devise strategies to deal with them. By doing this, you can focus on vital topics and help in ultimate success in the exam.

By evaluating your weaknesses and strengths, you can determine how much time you must spend on each topic. For example, if maths is your weak spot, you can allocate more time to preparing for this subject, and this will pay much in ensuring success in the exam.

Take Mock Tests

The next hack is to practise taking mock tests. Mock tests for the Prelims exam will be provided by most reputed coaching centres based on trends in previous CSE papers and through anticipated questions for the CSE exam, 2023. Practising such tests helps you become familiar with the pattern of the Prelims paper as well as to build up your confidence to tackle the exam.

Mock tests can also help identify weak spots on which you can focus to improve your overall performance. Such tests can also help you hone skills in time management, indicating how much time you should devote to each question based on the level of difficulty. Additionally, you will be exposed to various kinds of questions that can be expected in the actual exam.

Take Breaks and Stay Healthy

Consistent and diligent study is required by all aspirants for the UPSC CSE. But it is also important to take periodic breaks all through your sessions of study. Such breaks help in reducing stress, keep you motivated, and sharpen your mental skills. Also, you must stay healthy enough to take the exam by exercising regularly, eating well, and sleeping adequately without disturbing your circadian cycle.


So, these are the main tips for cracking the CSE Prelims exam to be held in May 2023. Cracking the CSE Prelims is no easy task. Not only is the competition stiff, but the test also demands much hard work and careful preparation. But with appropriate determination and a never-give-up attitude, your chances of achieving good scores can be increased. As the candidate requires all-round knowledge of all subjects, you must have a general grasp of every area.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the UPSC Civil Services Exam (CSE)?

The Civil Services Exam, also known as the UPSC CSE, is a competitive examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) in India. It is conducted to recruit candidates for various administrative positions in the Indian Civil Services, including the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS), and Indian Police Service (IPS), among others.

  1. What is the eligibility criteria for the UPSC CSE?

To be eligible for the UPSC CSE, candidates must be a citizen of India and must have attained the age of 21 years on 1st August of the year in which they are appearing for the exam. The upper age limit for the general category is 32 years, while for the reserved categories, it is relaxed by a few years.

  1. What are the minimum qualifying marks for the UPSC CSE Prelims 2023?

The minimum qualifying marks for the UPSC CSE Prelims 2023 are not officially specified by the UPSC. However, the Commission usually announces the cut-off marks after the declaration of the results.

  1. How do I prepare for the UPSC CSE Prelims 2023?

To prepare for the UPSC CSE Prelims 2023, candidates should clearly understand the syllabus and exam pattern. It is recommended to follow a structured study plan and use reliable study materials such as textbooks, reference books, and online resources.

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