UPSC Prelims 2021 Timetable and Study Material for 5 Months Preparation

UPSC IAS Prelims 2021: Last 5 Months Preparation Strategy to Qualify Exam. UPSC: If you have just begun your UPSC Prelims preparation, check this article to strategize a constructive study plan to prepare for the exam effectively in last 5 months.

UPSC: UPSC Civil Services Prelims exam 2021 is due on June 27. With only 150 days remaining to prepare for the UPSC IAS Prelims exam 2021, many aspirants must be in their final stage of preparation while many new aspirants might be struggling with the right strategy to prepare for the exams. This article is guided for these later aspirants. The new UPSC aspirants or the old ones who have just begun to prepare again can read the article to articulate the right strategy and find useful reference resources to commence the preparation.

Research before Preparation

It is evident that the thought of becoming an IAS officer brings a rush to begin preparing for the exam instantaneously. However, this hurry can prove to be the biggest mistake one can commit during the preparation. UPSC Prelims exam is a dynamic competitive exam and requires patience, consistency, and hard work throughout the year. Hence, it becomes important that before beginning to prepare for the exam, aspirants are well-versed with the exam pattern, syllabus, resources, and study material.

Devote a day for basic research: With less time available at hand, aspirants should not spend more than a day to prepare for the exam. It is necessary that you utilize this day to research the syllabus, exam pattern, watch toppers’ videos to understand the process.

Decide Your Optional Subject: Another important aspect to consider while researching is to decide an optional subject you would take up for the Mains exams. UPSC will release the application form for UPSC CSE 2021 exams in February 2021 and candidates need to mark their optional choice in the application form. It is essential that aspirants decide their optional subjects well in advance to avoid the last-minute pressure and ending up choosing the wrong optional.

Also Read: How to Choose the Right Optional Subject for Mains

Zero Down Study Resources: After researching and analyzing all the pros and cons it is essential that you narrow down your study list. With five months at hand, it is not possible to study everything suggested by experts and toppers. To help you we have mentioned a list of books and resources which you can study for preparation in the article ahead.

Clear UPSC IAS Prelims 2021 through 10000 MCQs

Most Important UPSC IAS topics for UPSC Exam 2021

Subject-wise Study Material for Complete Preparation

Create a Comfortable Study Environment: Another important step is to create a peaceful and comfortable study environment. Aspirants should ensure that their study room or study area should be away from the hustle-bustle of the house. UPSC exam preparation needs extended study hours and immense concentration. Hence, your study space should be a comfortable spot equipped with all the required study material.

Download Previous Years’ Question Papers with Solution and Other Books

Preparation for UPSC Prelims GS Paper

Once you are thorough with all the research work, the next step is to plan your study schedule for the next 5 months. With only 150 days available aspirants need to do a selective study to qualify the exam. Below we have provided a list of resources that should be followed for each subject:

➨ Current Affairs: There is no decided pattern for GS prelims and in any year the ratio of questions from each section may vary. That is why aspirants should prepare the current affairs for the last 18-24 months.

References for Current Affairs-

Newspaper – The Hindu/ Indian Express

Do not devote more than thirty minutes to newspaper reading. Concentrate more on the editorial, national and international news sections)

Yojana Magazine

Current Affairs Year Book 2021

Strategy for Current Affairs-

Prepare current affairs of the last 18-20 months.

International Relations, Science and Technology, Defence are some of the key areas to concentrate

Editorial section is important for Polity and Essay papers in Mains exams.


History of India covers ancient, medieval, and modern history as well as the  Indian National Movement. The syllabus is vast however if studied well can help you solve 5-7 questions in the Prelims exams.

References for History-

Class 6-12th NCERT books for History

Spectrum – A brief history of Modern India

Bipin Chandra’s Struggle for Independence

➨ Geography

 UPSC includes Indian and World Geography. Maps are an important part of the geography syllabus and every year 1-2 map based questions are asked in the Prelims exam every year.

References for Geography

Class 6-10 NCERTs – World Geography topics

Class 11, 12 NCERT

Oxford Atlas

G.C. Leong – Physical Geography

Also Check: How to Study Indian and World Geography Through Maps?

➨ Indian Polity

There is only one book which is time and again suggested by all experts and aspirants. Indian Polity by Laxmikant should be read thoroughly. It may not be possible to cover the entire book before prelims hence, aspirants should read all the important articles thoroughly.

NCERT Class 6-12th Polity/Politics/Political Books PDF Download in English and Hindi Medium

Also Check:  7 Effective Steps to Read Laxmikanth Quickly for Indian Polity

➨ Economics

Economics includes topics from the economy, social development – poverty, inclusive growth, social sector initiatives, etc.

References for Economics

Class 11 and 12 NCERT

Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh (reference only for important topics)

The Indian Economy by Sanjiv Verma (for basics)

Economy Survey Summary

➨ Environment

Environment and Ecology include topics related to biodiversity, climate change, etc. All the topics in news related to the environment should be carefully studied.

References for Environment

Class 12 Biology (Only environment topics)

Shankar IAS notes

Also Check:  How to Revise Environment & Ecology Syllabus Before Exam?

➨ General Science

Most of the questions from General science are related to current events, However, some basic concepts should not be ignored.

References for General Science

Class 6-10 NCERTs

Science Reporter Magazine

UPSC Prelims 2021 Timetable for 5 Months Preparation

Devote 4 months for Static GS syllabus: The first four months before the exam should be dedicated to the static syllabus. Read all the references thoroughly. Create a daily, weekly and monthly study plan to cover the given references in the next four months as per your time slots.

Prepare Your Optional Simultaneously: It is important that you are preparing your optional subject well in advance. Devote an hour every day to study your optional subject.

Revision and Practice: The last one month should be entirely dedicated to revision. Practice as many mock tests as possible and revise your core concepts and prepared notes.

Day-Wise Preparation Slots
SubjectDays for Preparation (approx.)
Science & Technology15
Total150 days

Apart from the given study plan, aspirants can also previous years’ papers to test their preparation level. Five months is a concise time to prepare for an exam this diverse, hence aspirants should refrain from notes making at this stage and focus particularly on studying and completing the syllabus before the exam.

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