how to prepare for upsc mains exam

Today in this article we going to tell you this information in detail – how to prepare for upsc mains exam, when to start preparation for the UPSC Mains, what is the syllabus of the UPSC Mains Exam, UPSC Mains topper strategy, UPSC Mains answer writing strategy, etc. UPSC Mains Exam is in full written format and there is no objective type questions. First, you should keep in mind that the important rule of the UPSC main exam is- all questions are compulsory. That means you have to solve all questions and you can’t skip a single question. Before starting to study for the main exam you should focus on upsc cse syllabus .

So try to write answers to all the questions. If you find the question difficult or if you don’t know, try to analyze the question in your own way and try to find relevant keywords about the questions.In UPSC Mains you should give priority to the quality of the answer rather than the length of the answer. Your answer writing should be of good quality. While writing the answer to each question you should give examples in the every answer. There is no negative marking system in the UPSC mains exam but there is a penalty. Negative Marking System is only in Pre Exam.

UPSC Mains exam mark pattern and UPSC Mains marking system – There are 9 papers in UPSC Mains Exam. Out of nine papers, four papers are of General Studies. So two papers are optional subjects. There are two language papers and one essay paper. UPSC Mains exam is a of total 1750 marks.

upsc mains exam marking system-

1. General studies paper 1- 250 marks

2. General studies paper 2- 250 marks

3. General studies paper 3- 250 marks

4. General studies paper 4- 250 marks

5. Essay paper – 250 marks

6. Optional subject 1- 250 marks

7. optional subject 2- 250 marks

8. Indian language paper -300 (Qualifying paper)

9. English language paper-300 (Qualifying paper)

How to prepare for upsc mains-

  1. Practice answer writing daily – Some students practice answer writing throughout the year while some students start practicing answer writing after clearing the prelims. However, both types of strategies are correct. But practicing answer writing as early as possible is very important. Writing at least three to five questions every day will increase your confidence and improve your writing performance. Daily answer writing can improve your handwriting. Importantly, your answer writing speed increases as you write answers daily.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          In the UPSC mains exam, you get a 3 hour’s duration for a paper and usually 20 questions are asked in it so you have to solve twenty questions in three hours. Some questions are asked for 150 words, some for 250 words, and some for 300 to 400 words. Answer writing practice gives you time to know exactly how many words to answer a question. While preparing for the mains exam first you should write the answer for general study once you get the answer for general study then it helps you to write for an optional subject.

There is a huge difference between the answer writing of General Studies questions and the answer writing of optional subject questions. In a general study paper, you can write a general viewpoint and give some examples whereas for an optional subject, you have to write complex and concept-based answers. General study writing is easy whereas optional subject question writing is very difficult. Because of this, answer writing of optional subjects and answer writing of general study should be done well. Practicing test papers helps you prepare for essay papers in a better way. In the beginning, you should try to write some information about the concepts of the subject you understand and create questions based on that concept and practice writing the answers. Answer writing skill is a manual skill Answer writing can only be improved through practice.

if you have readymade notes then revise those readymade notes frequently if you don’t understand a concept read it again and try to write something about it. Many students join classes for essay practice but there is no need to join a class for essay papers. You just need to read the daily newspaper and if you find any important news in it then you may make notes about it and revise it. Only for optional subject you have to read and revise and most importantly for optional subject you have to write a lot. In the mains exam for each paper you are allotted three hours and you have to solve an average of 20 questions in three hours.

Try to write at least 25 to 30 questions a day from the second day after clearing the prelims. If any student says that it is difficult to write 30 questions every day keep in mind that in actual mains exams, you have to write an average of 60 questions a day. So don’t listen to anyone’s opinion even if you do a simple calculation you will know that in main exam you have to answer 50 to 60 questions every day. So don’t spend time reading new study material instead revise what you have read and practice as much as possible. Practice writing unique question answers and try to write examples in each question. By writing answers every day, your writing speed will increase and you will automatically get information about which question to write first, how many words to write, and how to arrange each question. One thing to keep in mind for the main examination is to read less, revise more, and write more and more.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

2. Study material strategy One thing to keep in mind while preparing for the main exam is that you have to revise only what you have read, no need to read new study material and most importantly, after revising what you have read, you have to write a lot about it. Your book list for the main exam should be very short i.e. you have to read only one book for one subject. When you are choosing an optional subject, choose one that requires very little reading.  Optional subjects like history needs to read a lot of books and the book list for that subject is very long. On the other hand, the book list of Political Science, Public Administration, and Sociology is very short and simple.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The study material that you have been using for current affairs and general study since prelims is the same study material you want to read for mains. If your book list is simple and short, it will give you more time to write answers and revise. Similarly, create a matching booklist and check which books UPSC toppers have read. Every UPSC topper will tell you that the minimum number of books to read for UPSC mains and the maximum revision and writing are required. If you look at the book list of UPSC toppers, they read very few books and practiced the maximum amount of writing for the main exam. Kumar Harsh IAS topper had said that he had read only five books for the main exam and practiced a lot in answer writing for almost all subjects. He suggested that every upsc aspirant start answer writing as early as possible.                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. UPSC Mains optional Subject Strategy- Some of the upsc toppers start preparing for the optional subject even before the prelims while some toppers start studying for the optional subject only after clearing the prelims. Even so, both types of status are correct. If you have chosen a subject that is easy to read and requires fewer books, then you can prepare for the mains optional subjects even after the prelims. The only requirement is to write answers for the optional subject. If you can handle general studies writing well then you can do well in optional subject answer writing. A lot of care should be taken while choosing optional subjects like which subjects you are interested in which you can write and understand relevant information well.

Don’t decide your optional subject by asking others, According to many toppers, the optional subject decides your rank and makes you eligible for an interview. If you are confused about which optional subject to choose, then you should prepare a list – which subject you like, which subject you can give information about, which subject you need to read the fewer books, write all the information on a piece of paper. After analysis then you have to decide the optional subject. If you are still confused about choosing an optional subject, then you should make a list of four to five optional subjects. Read the previous four five-year question papers of that optional subject and practice writing its answers, then you will understand which subject you can choose.                                                                                                                                                                               If the optional subject of your choice is in the UPSC optional subject list but that optional subject requires a lot of time and reading a lot of books, then you should avoid such an optional subject, on the contrary, you should choose an optional subject for which the optional subject requires very few books. 

You should keep in mind that study material for optional subjects should be easily available to you and you will be able to cover the optional syllabus. of that optional subject quickly. While preparing for the optional subject you need to keep in mind that you have to cover the syllabus of the optional subject as early as possible.

Easy optional subjects for UPSC – political science, Sociology, Public Administration, and Geography.

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