How to prepare for Prelims and Mains together?

How to prepare for Prelims and Mains together?

Let's look at the levels of knowledge (Bloom's taxonomy)

Table of contents

Level's of Knowledge

There are 6 levels of knowledge:

  1. Remembering
  2. Understanding
  3. Applying
  4. Analyzing
  5. Evaluating
  6. Creating

For Prelims you need to remember, understand and apply.

For Mains you need to apply, analyse and evaluate.

Level 6 is for Officers of the government of India - not UPSC aspirants.


Let's understand this with the example of inflation.


You should be able to recall basic information about inflation, such as its definition and how it is measured.


You should understand the concept of inflation & be able to explain the causes and effects of inflation, how it is related to GDP and interest rates.


You should be able to predict how an increase in inflation would affect the prices of goods and services & how it would impact different groups in society.


You should be able to analyze the different types of inflation, such as demand-pull and cost-push, and understand how they differ.


You should be able to evaluate the effectiveness of different inflation-fighting policies of the govt.


You should be able to use their knowledge of inflation to create new ideas or design a policy proposal to combat inflation.

UPSC Relevance

For UPSC prelims, you don't need analysis or evaluation. You need to recall concepts and be able to understand their implications and apply them to novel situations. If you can do these 3 things - clearing prelims becomes easier.

For UPSC mains, you need to be able to analyse and evaluate. And not just based on your judgement, but based on data. Your analysis should give you better insight, which you then need to be able to put on paper.

Creating new information during the exam is frowned upon. In prep speak, it's called adding fodder points.🤣

How do you improve?

Ask the relevant questions for each level.

And if you're serious about clearing UPSC CSE, progress upwards, you must.

Prelims 360 Course

In case you are unsure where you stand and want a mentor to guide your UPSC journey, check out the Prelims 360 course.

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