mains Strategy

General Studies paper covers a vast array of subjects. This you would realise during the preparation for prelims. To describe the syllabus in a more dramatic way, it is said that the syllabus of the General Studies includes

Many candidates think that preparing for General Studies is different for prelims and mains, which is a wrong notion. The preparation should be done keeping both these stages in mind. The topics and sources for studying is the same for both the papers. Only the approach towards the exam changes slightly, i.e., in prelims there will be MCQs and in mains there are subjective (essay type) questions.

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In Prelims, as there are MCQs, by looking at the options you can recall the topic you have read earlier. If you are careful enough you might as well eliminate the wrong options. This will take you closer to the correct answer.

This is not the case with mains. In mains you have to recall the relevant points and write according to the demands of the questions. There should be a fine amalgamation of data and analysis.

Studens are not able to wholly engage themselves in these uninterrupted preparation.

The IAS exam or the Civil service exams are one of the toughest exams conducted by the UPSC in the country. It needs utmost dedication, clarity and commitment towards this prestigious exam.


Candidates may be required to write essays on multiple topics. They will be expected to keep closely to the subject of the essay to arrange their ideas in orderly fashion, and to write concisely. Credit will be given to effective and exact expression

* In mains examination, there are a total of 7 papers each having 250 marks. Out of the 7 papers, in 4 papers you can really make a difference and go ahead in the race. The 4 papers where you can really have an edge and score more than others is Essay, GS4 (ethics), Optional paper1 and 2. In other papers all serious candidates will score more or less the same marks.

* In Essay one can score 135+ and go up to 150 if s/he is careful enough. This will easily give a lead of 10 to 15 marks compared to other candidates. But how do we achieve this?

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After reading all those NCERTs, Bipin Chandras, Spectrums, Rajiv Sikhris, etc. it boils down to answer writing. In fact without this one cannot imagine becoming an officer. There will always be those gifted ones who crack the mains exam without any writing practise. We cannot consider those exceptional cases to be the norm. Hence in this article we try and highlight the importance and challenges one faces in answer writing.