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The Ultimate Checklist for UPSC Prelims

upsc prelims checklist-


In 2019, I remember going to the exam hall for CSE Prelims and witnessing an interesting incident. A student had not brought his original ID card with him, but only photocopies. When the examiner asked for the original, he said he wasn’t aware of it. Things went little further, the examiner called someone else, probably exam-centre coordinator, there was some discussion with the student, and eventually they asked the student to give an undertaking about his ID card, in writing.

The whole episode took about 15 minutes. While we had already started with our papers, the ‘student’ was busy with this whole thing.

I wish none of this happens with any of you. So, while you’ve already spent last 4-5 months, exclusively studying for this exam, please take out just 5 minutes to go through the below checklist for UPSC prelims, and maybe 15-20 more minutes to ensure that you’ve everything ready. 

Checklist for UPSC Prelims

1. E-Admit Card for Prelims

Make sure you’ve at least 2 copies of admit card

2. Original Photo ID Card

It is mandatory to carry the original photo ID card whose details are mentioned on your admit card. Additionally, you may carry 2 photocopies of the ID card. 

3. Black Ball Point Pen

Yes, it’s mandatory by UPSC to use black ball point pen while filling the OMR sheet. ‘Answers other than those marked by black ball point pen will not be evaluated’. 

4. Wrist Watch 

Carry a simple wrist watch, not a smart watch. The examination halls are typically schools or college classrooms, some may have wall clocks, some may not. 

5. Water Bottle

It’s good to sip water during exam, to keep your mind fresh. This really helps. But don’t drink too much water just before or during the exam (otherwise you’ll have to visit the washroom during the exam). Also, be careful with water around the OMR sheet. 

6. Lunch Box

You get 3 hours between GS and CSAT paper. You’ll need to eat something. You may carry a lunch box or make sure you eat something healthy before the next paper. 

7. Mask (not compulsory)

Masks are not compulsory this year. But you’ve cough or cold, carry it at least. 

8. Plan your travel

See your location beforehand. See how much it will take, consider some buffer time. Consider what will be your alternative if your bike gets punctured or something. Leave for exam centre accordingly, in advance. 

9. Mobile phone (not inside exam hall)

You can carry a mobile phone to the exam centre, obviously not inside the exam hall. Do remember to remove it and keep it in your bag before entering the exam hall. If it’s found on you during exam, it could be a big trouble for you. 

10. Memorise your roll no. 

Just in case. 

11. Writing Pad

The bench may not be good sometimes. There are examples where OMR sheet got torn because the bench had some hole and student happened to darken the circle exactly at the same place. 

12. Have some cash with you

Yes UPI works, and works everywhere. But believe me, I used to work in the IT dept. of a bank, and so many things go wrong. Have some reasonable cash with you.

13. Take some light food today

Don’t eat anything spicy, oily, too hot or too cold. Don’t eat food that will cause acidity, bloating etc. You know your body well. If you’re confused regarding what to eat, just have some dal-khichadi. After exam, you can eat whatever you like. 

Exam Time

Paper 1 (GS) 9:30 – 11:30

Paper 2 (CSAT) 02:30 – 4:30

You should be present in the exam hall at least 10 minutes before the scheduled commencement time. 

upsc prelims exam time


Thank you for reading the whole article. Now, spend 15-20 more minutes ensuring that you’ve prepared for everything mentioned above. 

Best wishes for tomorrow’s exam. Remember, luck favours the brave. See you for Mains preparation 🤞

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