Strategy

UPSC Mains Exam Strategy

The UPSC civil services exam is conducted in three stages – the UPSC prelims, UPSC mains and the UPSC interview or personality test. In the second stage, i.e., the mains stage, the candidate has to take nine descriptive papers. The format for the IAS mains exam is given in the table below.

UPSC Mains Exam Format

Sl. No.

Paper

Name of the Paper

Nature of the Paper

Duration of the Exam

Marks

1

Paper – A

Compulsory Indian Language

QUALIFYING NATURE

3 Hours

300 Marks

2

Paper – B

English

3 Hours

300 Marks

3

Paper – I

ESSAY

MERIT RANKING NATURE

3 Hours

250 Marks

4

Paper – II

GENERAL STUDIES I

3 Hours

250 Marks

5

Paper – III

GENERAL STUDIES II

3 Hours

250 Marks

6

Paper – IV

GENERAL STUDIES III

3 Hours

250 Marks

7

Paper – V

GENERAL STUDIES IV

3 Hours

250 Marks

8

Paper – VI

OPTIONAL PAPER I

3 Hours

250 Marks

9

Paper – VII

OPTIONAL PAPER II

3 Hours

250 Marks

             

As you can see from the above table, the two language papers, English and the Indian language, are only qualifying in nature. The other seven papers count for the ranking. The candidate can choose ONE subject from the following optional subjects for papers VI and VII.

Agriculture

Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science

Anthropology

Zoology

Botany

Chemistry

Civil Engineering

Commerce and Accountancy

Economics

Electrical Engineering

Geography

Geology

History

Law

Management

Mathematics

Mechanical Engineering

Medical Science

Philosophy

Physics

Political Science and International Relations

Psychology

Public Administration

Sociology

Literature of languages

IAS Mains Strategy

The UPSC Mains exam demands a different strategy and approach when compared to the UPSC prelims. The prelims exam is all about knowledge and speed. The candidate has to answer MCQs within the prescribed time and also take care to avoid incurring negative marks. But, the mains exam is a different ball game altogether. Here, it is all about how well the candidate can express his/her thoughts and viewpoints in the best possible manner. Language clarity assumes importance in this phase of the IAS exam.

In order to do well in the mains papers, the candidate must:

  • Understand what is precisely asked in the question
  • Have clarity of thought
  • Be able to put those thoughts into words
  • Have a good vocabulary
  • Be creative and know how to differentiate his/her answers
  • Write concise answers and also learn to illustrate the answers
  • Develop speed in answer-writing

All this is possible only if the candidate study the UPSC mains syllabus thoroughly and also put in hours of answer writing practice. In this section, you will find articles that give you tips and strategy for the IAS mains exclusively.

Also see:

What is the Syllabus of UPSC Mains Exam?
UPSC Mains Syllabus in detail
Top 10 Tips to Clear UPSC Mains Exam

In the history of All India Service examinations such as the IAS, ‘History’ has been one of the most popular of the Optional subjects. The
Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) conducts Civil Services Exam and a candidate who desires to become an Ambassador of India then he/she has
After the sixth pay commission came into effect in 2008, the aggregate of an IPS Officer Salary have become very beneficial. An IPS Officer
As you would know if you are an IAS aspirant, there are two exams in the IAS prelims stage. This article discusses the IAS subjects list for the
Here are some tips and tricks on how to read history for UPSC Civil Services Prelims Exam. The article covers the area to focus in Ancient India,
How to calculate IAS Prelims marks? The UPSC IAS prelims exam is the first stage towards the dream of becoming an IAS officer. The key feature of