The Preliminary Examination consists of two papers of objective type (multiple choice questions) and carry a maximum of 400 marks.
This examination is meant to serve as a screening test only; the marks obtained in the Preliminary Examination by the candidates who are declared qualified for admission to the Main Examination will not be counted for determining their final order of merit.
The number of candidates that clears prelims exams and qualify for the Main Examination are about twelve to thirteen times the total approximate number of vacancies to be filled in the year through this examination.
Only those candidates who are declared by the commission to have qualified in the Preliminary Examination are eligible for admission in the Main Examination of that year provided they are otherwise eligible for admission, to the Main Examination.

IAS Prelims Preparation
Preliminary examination covers all the subjects one civil servant must be thorough with. A holistic coverage of syllabus with systematic and thoughtful approach is desired. One must put in extra effort with a right strategy in order to clear this stage of the examination.
Remember, a candidate who adopts integrated approach and prepares with Main Examination orientation, always find it relatively easier to perform well in Preliminary Examination.
In the beginning, one must do a swat analysis. Examine your strengths and weaknesses that could impact your performance and prioritize your needs accordingly. Learn and gain more confidence in areas where you need improvement.
Before you move further, have answers to a few questions that may help you in an effective preparation for the coming Preliminary Examination:
  • Are you effectively prepared for the Prelims or not?
  • Is your preparation for Prelims General Studies Paper I is on track?
  • Prelims General Studies Paper II can pose some trouble; is your preparation all-inclusive?
  • Is your preparation thorough or you are just scratching the surface?
  • Are you doing enough practice that will prove to be a catalyst in your preparation?
  • Are you able to understand the questions and its soul?
  • Are you seriously looking at Time Management?
  • Are you aware of some examination techniques that help you perform better?