IAS Prelims Test Series: Online vs Offline

Practice determines success in any competitive exam. Civil services examination is not an exception. In fact, it is an important facet in the exam preparation. Practice through IAS prelims test series are thus the gateway to success.

IAS Prelims Mock test Series play a crucial role at the preliminary stage of CSE. We have already seen how tough the CSE prelims 2019 was. Those who had ample amounts of practice before the exam are in a comfortable position in clearing the exam.

Though one can argue that not all questions of prelims 2019 are available in the mock tests. But, you have to remember, mock tests nevertheless allows you to strategies, check your timing, work upon weak areas and know the unknown.

But which mode of mock test is better for your cause. Is it Online or Offline? Let us see.

Online Mode

Ever since the advent of the internet, many things have changed. It enabled people to do certain things from the comfort of their homes. Same is the case with IAS Prelims Test Series.

The Internet has enabled people to take practice tests from their homes. The only thing one requires is a working computer with an internet connection. Better still, the spread of smartphones has made taking mock tests just a swipe away.

All these technological advancements have made life easier for an IAS aspirant. But, are they really helpful in cracking the actual exam?

There are certain advantages and disadvantages to online mode. For some aspirants this mode is suitable and for others, they might feel discomfort. Thus, knowing about this mode in advance will help you save time and energy.

IAS Prelims Test Series


Convenience – Unplanned work of immediate nature often creates scheduling problem. If the choice of scheduling the test is in your hands then it is easy to reschedule and take the test at a convenient time. Online mode allows for such convenience. Many service providers enable the aspirant to take the test on any day and on any time once the test is live.

Comfort – with the online mode you can take the test at your home or at any other location where you are comfortable. This way you can relax and take the practice test without any pressure.

Power of Analytics – This is the fun part of online tests. They provide a whole array of analytics on your test performance. You will get a rank for your performance, time taken to complete the test, time spent on each question, number of correct and incorrect ones, questions that are left unanswered, overall score, topper’s score, and much more that enables you to assess your performance and correct your mistakes.

Review and Retake – Online mode enables you to review the test and retake it as many times as the service provider allows. You can also review the test even after a long gap and study the explanations whenever you like. This also helps you during the revision phase.

Cost-Effective – If you are looking to save some bucks by reducing your preparation costs, then the online mode is the right choice. This mode is cheaper as there is no need for a venue to hold the exam and no printing and logistic costs are involved.


Distractive – As with any digital device, taking a test in front of a screen is distractive. Also, with the internet at your disposal, many aspirants check on the internet for answers. This does more harm than good for your success in the actual exam.

Far From Reality – Online mode does not create the real feel of the exam which is in offline mode. This might become a disadvantage during the exam.

Online mode is specifically suitable for those who are preparing for CSE while working and aspirants who are far away from a coaching institute.

Offline Mode

Offline mode, in essence, is taking the exam at a venue on a specified time and on a specified day. The look and feel of the test paper are similar to what UPSC provides. The pressure that this mode generates will be similar to what you feel at the actual exam.

This mode enables you to strategize and prepare thoroughly for the actual exam. You can plan your time management, answering technique and prepare for many other subtle things that might happen during the exam day.

Distractions are limited in this mode. The sight of other aspirants taking the exam generates an intense focus and a competitive spirit within you.

Things like time spent for commuting to the venue, less convenient seating and setting, pressure due to competition, non-availability of analytics etc makes this mode less favourable among some aspirants.

Which One Is Better?

UPSC CSE is not an online exam. Though there might be many benefits with the online mode, taking mock tests in offline mode is the right choice. It is close to the actual exam and regular practice in this mode will make the aspirant less fearful of the exam and ample scope to strategize and plan for the exam.

If you find more reasons on why one should prefer offline mode, please share your reasons below.

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