Know what to do after clearing upsc prelims by Toppers
Did you clear UPSC IAS Prelims exam?
What next?
In this post we will discuss the strategy of Upsc IAS topper Shreyans Kumat--- after prelims strategy (Rank 4, CSE 2018).
All of you tried to give your best in Prelims. That itself is commendable. Kudos to you.

After giving their best, many are expecting marks well above expected cutoff while many feel that they would need another year for the preparation. There are many who are not sure because the expected cutoff itself is uncertain. For all, it is time to look back at the effort of last one year and reflect.

In any case, the next steps I would have followed was to prepare for Mains especially Ethics and Optional. Mains carries the most weightage in this examination. Be it Mains 2019 or 2020, preparing for Optional and Ethics till the results of Prelims will help in the broader preparation plan. This will help utilize the next one and half month of uncertainty in a fruitful manner.

But first, one should take a break of 3 to 5 days. Get recharged in own unique way so that you can commence again with full force.

Also, I recently came across this wonderful motivational poem.
“Don’t Quit by John Greenleaf Whittier”

My best wishes to all of you. Keep going strong.


It is time to chart out a plan till the mains; covering all aspects of the exam. For your reference, I am putting up my plan below.

For syllabus:
1. Completion of Optional + GS4 + GS1 by July 20-25
2. Completion of GS2 and GS3 along with Mains 365 + Things left in optional by August 30- Sep 5

For Answer Writing:
1. Started with 15 day Phase 1 of TLP for practice within June
2. Once TLP phase 2 starts, 5 GS questions + 3 Optional questions practice everyday in a time bound manner
3. Vajiram Test Series - one each of GS1 to GS4 (will be sharing answer copies soon)
4. Essay practice once in two weeks
5. Optional - L2A Test Series - could attempt only 3 tests (difficult to have both optional and GS test series, need to have a balance)
6. ForumIAS Simulator Test just before Mains.


Answer writing practice is as important as completion of syllabus, rather more. Request you to write as much as possible in a time bound manner to analyse and improve everyday. We have to work in a way that we are maximizing our scores in each and every paper. For that, answer writing is the key.

Please avoid wasteful debates about cutoff and try to channelise as much time as possible in Mains preparation. (For those skeptical about Prelims - if not this attempt, preparation for Mains will bear fruit in the next. Rather than speculation, preparation will help in the longer run)

It time to make a plan for yourself having elements of syllabus coverage as well as answer writing for the next 3-4 months. Give your best. Make everyday count.

My best wishes.

GS1: World History
1. Low output to effort ratio in this subject but in a competitive exam one has to be ready with basics

2. Sources: Ojha Sir Notes (Vajiram), Vision World History Module

3. Approach: Getting an idea about the timeline in each topic and its impact on the World scenario at that time.

4. Answer Writing: In general, for any answer,
- causes/reason,
- happenings and
- consequences
of a particular event are crucial. That will makeup most of your answer as well as the notes you prepare. Mapwork can also be easily Incorporated in the answers. I have shared All of my final World History notes above for your reference.

GS4: Ethics
1. Quite important paper and a different approach required as compared to other General Studies papers

2. Sources I had used: Vajiram Class Notes, Vajiram Yellow Book and Internet surfing for significant portion of content.

3. Approach: Tried to stick to the syllabus.
- Picked out ~60 words out of syllabus and made excel containing description, examples and quotes (as shown in sample notes)
- Created one page document on every topic of syllabus to be ready with content for any kind of question

4. Answer Writing: Quite different from Other GS papers. Tried to answer in points wherever possible. Use of examples is really important. After explanation of the keywords and important ideas, use of examples to substantiate.

GS1: Post Independence History
1. Very few questions have been asked in the last years

2. Sources I had used:
- Politics in India Since Independence NCERT
- Vision Module for PI History
- Had seen TV Series Pradhanmantri in leisure time

GS1: Modern History
1.Analyzing previous year questions reveals that question on Prominent Personalities (their ideas, contributions, etc.) and different sub-movements within Indian National Movement are frequently asked.

2. Prepared a specific note on such personalities and different strands within the national movement

3. Source: Prelims Sources + Internet