Rather than fixing 'X' no of hours, one should focus on completing a set no. of topics. crackias 358 Topics (in total for UPSC) perfectly help doing that.
Limit your sources which cover most of the syllabus & revise as much as possible. crackias limited no. of books are easy to manage & revise repeatedly.
Mantra to clear Prelims - Concept Clarity, Limited Sources, MULTIPLE REVISIONS. crackias only 10-Red Books help in conceptual clarity & revisions.
LIMITED RESOURCES, MULTIPLE REVISIONS - this has become the most critical factor in UPSC. Limited Resources/ small books of crackias are of great help.
Apart from basic books, go through previous year question papers to understand level of UPSC Qs. crackias past 40 yrs Pre Qs (Topicwise) helped understand upsc Qs.
The online mock tests helped me a lot, as they also contained answers. crackias online mock tests provided UPSC level Qs with detailed explanations & reports.
Do not take CSAT lightly! I had solved a lot of questions for CSAT. crackias 5 Books for CSAT are sufficient for concept clarity & practice - for freshers.
The only thing which can guide for the exam pattern is attempting the test series. crackias test series is perfectly based on UPSC pattern with upsc level Qs.
Do not make notes of newspaper articles, rather do analysis of the topics. crackias current affairs with good analysis & coverage are of great help.
Mains is answer writing and answer writing is Mains! crackias Mains answer writing program with detailed evaluation helps understand self-problems in writing.
One should use paragraphs, flowcharts & bullet points as per the demand of the question. crackias answer writing program help in developing these skills.
The paper is lengthy and the syllabus is vast but all you need is commitment and focus.crackias 358 topics strategy help in managing the vast syllabus well.