Follow these tricks to crack UPSC Mains Exam without a doubt

Tips that will make your study smart and crack the UPSC Civil Services IAS Mains exam 2020-21 without a doubt.

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) Civil Services Mains Exam 2020 is scheduled for January 2021. And, if candidates who qualify for the mains exam have already formulated a preparation plan and following it then stay relaxed and stick to it while for those who still stumbling and couldn’t come up with a best possible strategy then here’s some tips on which topics to be given importance and topics that have to be avoided in order to bone up preparation and hold off wasting your time and energy on covering needless ones.

Before starting any preparation it’s always advised to aspirants to give importance on what not to do as they similarly give on what to do because once they know what to avoid the remaining task becomes easy. Hence, let’s have a first look at what not to do.

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Things not to do


Don’t waste time on bulky books

If you have already read, then avoid wasting time on reading bulky books like ‘India after Independence’ by Bipan Chandra or ‘India after Gandhi’ by Ram Guha.


Stop by-hearting and refer previous question papers

By-hearting ethics book is wastage of time and it is advised to go through the last three years UPSC Mains Question Papers on ethics as you will come to know that it is all about common sense.


Do not overuse Internets instead Use more common-sense

Avoid browsing the internet for long and one should realise that in the exam all that they need to write are common-sense based answers for 200 words or less in seven minutes. Hence, it is better to bank upon your common sense than muddling your mind with pointless information.


Avoid extensive research

It is important to read bulky books like PIB, India Year Book (for Economy) and ARC for ethics, but in truth, the vastness of syllabus and scarcity of time will not allow you to do extensive research, hence it is suggested to go through the summaries which would be more than enough.


The other grey areas

The other grey areas in the UPSC General Studies Syllabus are science and technology and art culture where too much preparation is not necessary as one cannot anticipate what type of questions can be asked from these topics, hence just have a glance at the basics and move on or it will give you hard time if you go in-depth.


Don’t Aim for High scores rather aim for Cut-off Marks

It is always advised to aim at the UPSC cut off marks instead of thinking to score high which is not wrong or impossible and map out your study plan keeping this in mind and chances are there will score high. Aim at the cut-off score.


Unnecessary thoughts

Avoid unnecessary thoughts like how many qualified for the exam, how you have prepared, how many will clear the exam, and how many books are there on your table etc. As these will not matter in anyways in your preparation!


Think about Return on Investment

Most aspirants either spend too much time or get stuck on General Studies Paper I in UPSC Civil Services Mains Exam preparation. It is unwise to invest too much time on subjects like art and culture, world history and sociology as not more than 30 to 40 marks question are asked in these areas in the entire GS paper I.  So, be wise and apply the return on investment tactic, i.e., invest your time wisely to cover more useful topics.

IAS exam aspirants can get UPSC Mains General Science questions, syllabus, structure and  strategy for exam preparation in the articles given below:

Things to do


UPSC Civil Services Mains Exam structure gives a considerable and significant time to have control over mains exam hence it’s wise to use it effectively for the best as no one knows what’s going to come on their way in the final stage called the Personality Test/interview round (if one qualifies).


Memorise famous quotes

Make a list of famous quotes on a wide range of topics including education, society, culture, science, etc. and memorise it well as this will help you greatly in ethics and essay papers.


Make list of personal examples

In ethics paper, one can score more marks by mentioning personal examples like important lessons, events, and moments of their life, hence it is advised to prepare a list of the same write it down and store it in your memory.


Make a habit of reading newspaper

UPSC demands current affairs knowledge and the important issues happening in India and around the world in a candidate, hence even if you don’t like to read the newspaper it is recommended to make a habit of reading a newspaper as it is the main requisite of the UPSC Exam for both prelims and mains.

Read the newspaper every day not more than an hour and make crisp notes from editorials and see for yourself what wonders it will do in the exam and to your scores. Make note of facts and observation and remember the questions from General Studies Paper II and Paper III are mostly based on current affairs so emphasis accordingly.


“Reading makes a full man, conversation a ready man, and writing an exact man!”

Remember this line of Francis Bacon, and make a practice of answer writing as this will get you windfall profit by making you score high in the Civil Services IAS Mains Examination. Furthermore, answer writing practice on previous year question papers will boost one’s confidence. Initially, candidates may find their answers flawed and gruesome but gradually their writing skills ill hone. It is also suggested to review their answers with fellow aspirants or faculty and get feedback in order to hone their writing skills. Remember, most of the questions in the exam asks for answers in 150-200 words hence advised to write less but sagaciously.


Basic Stats, concepts and ideas

It is advised to refer Economic Survey for General Studies Paper 3 and this will help a candidate to get a fair knowledge about ideas and concepts related to the rate of unemployment, GDP growth rate, and basic stats of agriculture and others. As for including such facts and figures in the answers will considerably and significantly increase your marks in General Studies Paper 3.


These tricks will definitely help candidates to devise a study plan accordingly and though you prepare aiming for those cut-off marks chances are there that you will find your name in the top final rank list.

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