UPSC Prelims 2024 HIGH PRIORITY Topics

Each year, some core themes gets repeated in UPSC Prelims. This post shares an Google sheet to help you keep track of them.

The google sheet is available for access at the bottom of this post.

The prelims preparation phase is the most stressful parts of most aspirants' UPSC journey. This is true regardless of skill or knowledge level of the exam.

Where Prelims is concerned, past UPSC rankers are as afraid as beginners who are just getting into UPSC prep because UPSC Prelims brings with it the highest level of uncertainty of all the 3 stages of this CSE.

The three stages in numbers.

UPSC Prelims - 10 lakh fill the form for UPSC CSE.

UPSC Mains - 12000 qualify to write mains.

UPSC Personality Test - 2500 candidates are called to Dholpur House.

And with the recent changes in the format of the exam, that uncertainty has gone through the roof. Which brings us to the point of today's discussion: focusing our effort. Because while hard work is important, it's not a sufficient condition to succeed in this exam. You must also work in the right direction.

How do you do that, you ask?

Prioritising Effort for UPSC Prelims

In order to focus on the MOST important things, we need to be able to think clearly about WHAT is important.

To do that, we'll apply a mental model called the Pareto Principle (aka the 80-20 rule) to understand how to make your UPSC Prelims preparation more focused and less stressful.

The Pareto Principle

80% of your results come from 20% of your effort.

The big question then becomes, what are these areas of 20% effort?

This is where the the HIGH PRIORITY topics or themes in each subject come in handy.

Application 1

The primary application of the Pareto principle can be done to prioritise between subjects. You can divide the list of subjects for GS 1 paper in UPSC Prelims in two parts. The core subjects and the supplementary subjects.

Core Subjects (20% effort, 80% result)
Polity, economy, environment, geography (mapping), science & tech.

Supplementary Subjects (80% effort, 20% result)
Ancient history, medieval history, modern history, art & culture, current affairs.

Now this doesn't mean that you should skip the supplementary subjects. NOT AT ALL. It means you should focus your effort on completing the core subjects first. It means that you shouldn't be concerned about not having done art & culture when polity is pending.

Core subjects first, then the rest.

Application 2

Now that we have categorised polity as a core subject, we still need to apply the Pareto principle again because polity is a vast subject.

When we do that on the basis of PYQs, we come to the realisation that some parts of polity are more important than others. In the image below you will see that there are repeated questions from specific areas of polity.

Themes in Indian Polity - total questions from 2011-22, and questions asked in 2023.

Just like in application 1, this does not mean that you don't study anything else within polity. It means that you don't worry about the constitutional and non-constitutional bodies till you've done FRs and DPSPs.

That's all we wanted to share today.

You can access the list of high priority topics for each subject in the google sheet below.

You can download either the PDF or the Google sheet version of the plan below.

To access the 100 days plan, you will need to sign in.

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