Effective Strategy & Planning for IAS-PCS Mains Exam

Effective Strategy & Planning for IAS-PCS Mains Exam
Effective Strategy & Planning for IAS-PCS Mains Exam

     Effective Strategy & Planning for IAS-PCS Mains Exam

Government jobs are regarded as the safest option when it comes to employment security. Every year many candidates sit for the IAS exams, which offers them an opportunity to sit for the most reputed posts among government offices. Moreover, these exams are tagged as the toughest in India as the passing percentage is quite less to get selected for the prestigious posts under civil services.
 The UPSC Exam (IAS) is a three-level exam which consists of prelims, mains and interview/personality test. A good level of preparation is needed in order to clear these exams which are not at all easy.
It is familiar to every IAS aspirant that after prelims there is a time span of only three months or 100+ odd days before the IAS Mains examination. So, it is always sensible for candidates to initiate their preparation for Civil Services Mains Examination as well as for the prelims one year before.
 Here is a suitable idea how candidates can plan their strategy for UPSC Mains Examination in a systematic order to score satisfactory marks for moving ahead. 

General Preparation Plan

Usually, prelims exam is held between June and August, therefore, candidates should prepare in a dedicated manner for both prelims and mains exam till January.
Also, one is advised to focus only on the preparation for prelims from February to May. After giving the prelims, it is recommended to kick start the preparation for Mains Exam with answer writing practice.
 Candidates must understand that, this is a general preparation plan in order to arrange their syllabus and divide time accordingly. Moreover, at the same time candidates must also know that there is no exact study plan and they should build their path through a well-organized schedule.  

Answer Writing Practice

Candidates need to well aware of the fact that, UPSC Mains Exam is of a descriptive type where is necessary to write 150-300 words answer for every other question. Therefore, mains exam demands supreme level of answer writing practice. Some of the methods through which it can be achieved are:
• Giving regular tests along with preparing apt notes
• Mind Maps –this practice helps candidates to connect sub-topics in a topic and recollect points easily.
 The UPSC Syllabus has transformed in the past few years, and the commission has left several uncovered areas from the designated syllabus from which no questions are asked. So, it is recommended for candidates during the preparation of Current Affairs to make notes for every different topic which should be at least 150-300 words. 

Essay Paper 

The Essay Paper from the IAS Mains Exam comprises of two sections: sections A and B. Each of these sections consists of four topics each holding 125 marks. It is also important to note that, one section covers topics based on ‘general quotes’ while the other topics offered in the different section would be primarily ‘administration related’. The candidates need to choose a topic from every section and write about it in 1,000 to 2,000 words within the stated time of three hours. 
Effective tips on Essay Writing:
Select the topic correctly
Analyze the topic for 30 minutes
Do structure your essay
Do not express yourself as provocative
Mention suggestions for reforms


Candidates need not take the Essay paper in a casual way. It is considered as a crucial part in determining the final result as well as ranking for a candidate. This section is basically about understanding and assessing a candidate’s personality through which his/her ideas, views, suggestions, attitude, values, aptitude, communication (written) abilities, coordination and other attributes are easily analyzed. 

Current Affairs

Next focus in on Current Affairs, where most questions asked are covered from current events during the period of June-July-August. The candidates should develop a practice of reading the newspaper during this time since it is regarded as crucial from the Mains exam point of view.
Also, the Current Affairs Questions are usually connected with geography, history and international relations. 


Practice is the key to success, and this fact must be absorbed by every candidate who desires to appear for the IAS Mains exam. You need to revise the prelims syllabus and then sit to start with the Mains syllabus.
Since the UPSC Exam Pattern has changed, every questions in the paper is of 50 words, and if the candidate repeats the question answer then there wouldn’t be sufficient space left to properly complete the answer. Therefore, it is suggested to avoid this practice and pick up important keywords from the question.
Also, make notes on each topic and start with the answer writing practice on various sub-topics and topics offered in the syllabus.
Utilize your time wisely in order to attempt maximum questions. A normal person can pen down 100 words per 5 minutes and it usually takes 2-3 minutes to think and assemble the points on what to write. Be smart and sensible in this process.
Post CSAT, your preparation must continue without any significant break. The following time period of five months will prove more crucial the prior months to the CSAT, so retain the momentum of your preparation at full power. Also, remember that after the main exam, the preparation for the interview should begin. 

Good Coaching Centre

Selection of a coaching centre which offers you good study material, teachers as well as a satisfactory study plan is very important. It is recommended to start your classes for IAS from May itself. 

Good Study Plan

As the exam pattern has already been changed with the official introduction of CSAT, it is advised to complete the entire portions for the Mains (GS plus 2 Optional or at least 1 optional) before the month of January. Prepare a daily routine in which you cover different topics & sub-topics. Sit with your friends who are also preparing for civil services. Sharing of notes is also helpful when you feel stuck at any point in your studies.

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