Most of the candidates have already written wonderful answers on this topic. But they mostly focussed on books, syllabus, etc. here are some of the learnings from my experience:
1. Take a chance/intelligent guess: you can mug up all the books and magazines available in the market but still fall short of clearing this exam. reason? playing too safe! In most of the papers, I am not absolutely sure about more than 40 questions. you have to make intelligent guesses in another 30–40 questions to cross the qualifying marks. But this skill will not develop in a day. practice, practice, practice.
2. Attempting questions from strong topics first: the first 30 min of the exam is most important according to me. it can make or break your confidence. getting most questions right here will boost your confidence while attempting the rest of the paper. the polity was my strongest point (PSIR optional)- so I selectively found all polity questions and attempted them first.
3. Strong foundation of standard books: you can never rely on current affairs due to its unpredictability. which leaves you with around 70–75 questions. you can’t miss any questions from standard books (Laxmikant, spectrum, atlas, Nitin Singhania, etc ) since your competitors will attempt those. instead of running behind current affairs too much, focus on standard books.
4. Learning attitude: read a lot. google search about anything you find new while reading newspapers. connecting the dots. observing the trends while reading graphs, charts in newspapers, economic surveys, etc.
5. Experimentation: if this is your first attempt, then keep experimenting with the order of solving questions, find the optimum no. of questions at which you are getting your maxima for e.g for me it was attempting 85 questions at least.
6. Positive attitude: don’t get disheartened if you are getting low marks in test series or if you find new/unknown questions in the actual exam. have confidence in yourself. during my preparation last year I never crossed 70–75 marks in more than 50 tests I gave but crossed 100 marks in the actual exam.
7. Don’t leave any topic: many people do “cost-benefit analysis” and leave some topics like ancient & medieval history, art, and culture, etc. don’t make that mistake. the only trend in prelims is: “there is no trend”. the weightage of any of these topics can jump dramatically at any time. and if you have left them to chance, then you are doomed.
Source :- Quora.com