Your aim should be:
1- to maximize the score by focusing on high yield/ key areas,
2- intelligently studying areas like art and culture, science and tech & environment so that not much time is wasted on them and you are also prepared to answer questions from these areas,
3- going beyond just studying the topics to solving tests and OPTIMISING your scores with each test.
Key areas to focus:
2- Modern History
5- Current Affairs
6- Art & Culture/ Science & Tech/ Environment
From the first 5 of these, we expect at least 50 questions every year. The 6th area would ensure further 10-15 questions.
What to do with these?
1- Understand and Revise them intensely
2- Supplement with test series and keep improvising
The only thing you have to do in prelims is solving MCQs. Hence practicing tests is a very important part of preparation. Testing yourself before UPSC tests you.
How to approach a Test Series?
- Study a subject
- Solve a Test
- Understand grey areas (lapses in understanding or memorization) and the mistakes you do (hurriedly reading a question or interpreting it wrong)
- Fill up the grey areas by studying them then and there itself. Don’t keep it pending. You won’t have time later to work upon them. This is the only time you have.
- Also, try to avoid the mistakes by putting conscious efforts in upcoming tests.
Take new and unseen questions from tests as value-addition to your prep and consolidate that info. It widens your scope of preparation.
Recalling what you’ve read is more important than consuming more information. Ultimately, you will regret missing out on questions you could not recall, not the ones you didn’t have any clue about.
Hence, the revision becomes important.