Tips for First-timers to Prepare for UPSC Mains Exam

The UPSC mains exam is the second hurdle to leap over in the civil services exam process. The mains exams are a world apart from the IAS prelims when it comes to the syllabus, format, subjects as well as the demands on candidates. Candidates need to extrapolate their preparation style to suit the needs of the nine descriptive papers of the mains exam. First-timers can get overwhelmed by the enormity of the task that lies ahead of them. If you are one of them, read on for a few tips on how to prepare for the UPSC mains exam.

Tips to prepare for UPSC mains exam for first-timers

Making a study plan

The first step in any endeavour is to outline a plan. Before you embark on your mains preparation, make a realistic study plan. In this plan, you must include dates for all the GS papers, language papers and the optional subject. You should also incorporate a dedicated time every day for newspaper reading.

Basic book reading

You would already have read many of the basic books before the prelims exam. Even so, you can read basic textbooks of all the subjects that you have to study. Start with subjects that interest you so that you can cover a lot of ground in the initial phase itself. After the basic books are done with, you should move on to detailed books only where it is recommended.

Practicing questions

Simultaneous to your book reading, you should start practicing questions from previous years’ UPSC papers. This will help you analyse your own knowledge and also familiarise you with the type of questions asked. Answer writing is very important in the mains exam and at the end of the day, you will be marked on what you write on paper and not on your knowledge. So, practice answer writing along with your mains preparation. Don’t wait till you finish the full syllabus to start writing practice.

Using the Internet

Technology offers new and exciting ways to learn. The internet is now an integral part of the UPSC exam preparation and it has made life of aspirants easier in more ways than one. You can visit BYJU’S Free IAS Prep website daily and get the latest updates, excellent current affairs material and crisp NCERT notes to augment your preparation. You can also stay ahead of your competition by taking the weekly current affairs quiz. You can also watch BYJU’S learning videos in which our expert faculty give you the best explanations and analyses of events, news and syllabus-related topics in the most lucid and effective manner.

Revision

Revision is a must if you are serious about clearing the IAS mains exam, you should revise periodically and ensure maximum understanding and retention. Revision ensures that you remember whatever you read in the vast UPSC syllabus.

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