UPSC Mains Strategy To Boost Your Preparation
The UPSC CSE prelims are the first round of the Civil Service Examination. After qualifying, you will prepare your training for the UPSC Main exams. UPSC Prelims are qualifying so you do not have to worry about your score, but the UPSC Mains will determine your rank and selection. It is essential to have a rock-solid strategy to ensure you finish all the exam portions and pass with good grades.
While experienced candidates will have knowledge of how to prepare for the UPSC Mains, beginners will tend to look for articles on how to clear the Papers, this is where this article comes in! Passing the UPSC Main exams is easy once you follow these steps.
Step 1: Know your Syllabus
The Main Exams consists of 9 different papers which means there is a huge syllabus to cover. Make sure you go through all the topics in the syllabus once and look at past questions papers to know which topics are recurring and important. Ideally, you should be completely familiar with the syllabus so that you may adjust your current affairs preparation properly. The majority of the exam questions are taken directly from the syllabus. Making notes on current events that are related to the curriculum is crucial. Go through the UPSC Syllabus online and start prep work as some of the Prelims Syllabus overlaps with the USPC Mains syllabus. Knowing the syllabus is 20% of the work complete already. Keep track of current affairs and pin your syllabus to your wall/desk so you can read it every day.
Step 2: Have a Study Plan
As mentioned, the Syllabus for the UPSC Mains is massive and will take a long time to finish it. There are 2 language papers, 2 optional subject papers, 1 essay paper and 4 other general studies papers. You should have a good strategy to ensure you can study every day and progress with the syllabus. Schedule time for each paper and make sure you leave a few days for revising as well. Ensure you have notes to refer to when you are revising.
Step 3: Know Current Affairs
Even though the UPSC asks questions from the syllabus, a lot of questions have current affairs entangled in them. While the answers to these questions can be dedicated from the syllabus, it is important to use current affairs as examples to respond to them. It is crucial not only in the General Studies Mains Paper but also in Optional Papers. Reading newspapers and watching the news constantly will keep you up to date on current affairs. You can also read/watch the news in the Indian language you are going to write your Language Paper in for preparing yourself on fluency and coherency of the language before the exam.
Step 4: Practice Essay Writing
The Essay Paper consists of two sections with 4 topics in each worth 125 marks. One section usually has topics on General Quotes while the other is Administration related. Applicants must choose a topic from each section and write 1000 to 2000 words in the three hours given to them. A good plan would be to think about the topics for the first 30 minutes, writing down all the pointers you have for each essay at the end of the sheet and making it structured with headings and subheadings before writing.
Step 5: Know your Indian Language
The UPSC Mains have 2 Language Papers; one is English while the other is an Indian Language of your choice on their list of languages you can choose from. Ensure that you know the language you pick very well. Pick something that is your mother tongue or that you have learnt in school. NCERT books till grade 10 will be enough to study for this exam. Ensure you know how proper grammar and how to translate from English to this language and vice versa since those are sections in the exam. Try to practice for the paper by reading and speaking in that language but the language exams are only qualifying in nature, so you only have to ensure you are thorough in the languages.
Step 6: Choose your Optionals Properly
Preparing for optionals is completely different from preparing for your General Studies papers. You have the choice of what to pick from a wide range of subjects as wide reaching as agriculture to law to engineering and even sociology. Pick an optional you know in, as these 2 papers are 500 out of 1750 for all Main papers combined. The optional test your expertise on the subject so ensure you are well read or have experience with it. Before choosing the subject analyze why it would it a desirable choice and why it would not. Do not try to make up your mind midway through preparing for Mains since you will not be allowed to change the optional. Work on past question papers to know what to expect for your optionals.
Step 7: Writing Practice
Since the exams are descriptive and not multiple-choice answers, make sure to hone your writing skills since you only have 3 hours to write the whole paper. It is important that you time each question, or you might not complete the exam. Dedicate an hour every day to practice answer writing and get it evaluated by mentors to understand how to improve. Take notes for topics since it will help you with recalling what to write during the exams.
Step 8: Mock Tests
Mock tests are important since you can simulate an exam environment without the pressure of failing. It teaches you to write answers properly and you can use the solutions to these mock tests to improve. Using previous exam papers can be helpful since you can analyze them to notice patterns in which topics and questions are asked frequently and given more weightage. Use this to hone your recall skills and writing skills before the Big Day.
Step 9: Prioritize the Papers
Since the language papers are only qualifying in nature it can be easy to push it off until the last minute but every mark counts towards the final result and every paper is important. People tend to prioritize the GS papers over the rest, but all must be given equal attention to score well.
Step 10: Do Selective Study and Revise
The Syllabus is overwhelming since it is so massive. Make sure you compartmentalize each topic, and you give importance to topics that are frequent in past exam papers. Make sure you know what to study and what not to study. Make sure you revise constantly so you do not forget what you have learnt. Spend at least 20 days (about 3 weeks) out of the 100 days (about 3 and a half months) to prepare for revising so you can keep track of all that you have studied.
These tips can be the difference between you failing or scoring the highest ranks so make sure you use them while preparing for your UPSC Mains.
For UPSC Prelims Resources, Click here
For Daily Updates and Study Material:
Join our Telegram Channel – Edukemy for IAS
- 1. Learn through Videos – here
- 2. Be Exam Ready by Practicing Daily MCQs – here
- 3. Daily Newsletter – Get all your Current Affairs Covered – here
- 4. Mains Answer Writing Practice – here
Visit our YouTube Channel – here