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How do I answer questions asked in the UPSC Mains?

The Mains exam, which is conducted over five days and has a total of 27 writing hours
(language papers included), is more like a test match than the prelims exam, which can be completed in just 2+2 (GS + CSAT) hours. You must be emotionally and physically competent enough to appear for Mains. In comparison, the Prelims exam is over in a matter of hours, and regardless of your marks, once you reach the cut-off in the GS/CSAT paper, you will automatically clear the Prelims. But for the Mains exam, you should not only get the minimum score for each paper but also make sure that you outperform others in the competition. I will go into detail on how to prepare for each of these papers, and for further doubt clarifications, I request you to contact the Officers’ IAS Academy or visit our Chennai/Bangalore branch.



Many of the topics covered here are static subjects, such as geography, history, and art & culture. Therefore, it takes several iterations to fully grasp the fundamental concept. Instead of reading various books, make numerous revisions of the basic text. To understand the type of questions and prepare appropriately, confer with the questions from the previous years. Indian society is a dynamic topic here, for which you need to put additional effort. You must thus thoroughly understand Indian society, including its values, problems, vulnerable groups, etc. In this area, while you are supposed to be sympathetic, try to add evidence, reports, and recommendations to make the answer seem more convincing and considerate. At the same time, it shouldn’t appear artificial.


GS2- Paper-III

The majority of the GS2 topics would be covered in your prelims preparation alone, therefore further sessions are not required. The only thing you need to keep in mind is that, while answering questions, attempt to write like a Polity student by emphasizing the constitutional viewpoint, government initiatives, and their repercussions, and placing an economic perspective in the background. Use statistics and charts to help you explain the solutions while using keywords like major constitutional articles and committee recommendations in your answer.

When studying international relations, it’s important to consider how certain events influence India, why they happened, and what actions India may take.


GS3- Paper-IV

Try to approach this from an economic viewpoint as it mostly consists of Economics and related topics. Keep this your first level of thought, and combine it with government schemes, facts, and solutions, properly format your response to communicate your ideas.
You must understand the underlying problem for the other topics, such as science and technology, security, disaster management, etc. before you can write about it in the test. To begin developing material, go to the questions from the previous years and gain an understanding of their nature.


GS4- Paper-V

The Ethics paper (GS4) would be the simplest of all the GS papers. Please refrain from copying anything verbatim from the textbooks, into your answer sheets. Because you are expected to express what you feel, the words and ideas you use must come from you. The theory section and the case studies section each make up the GS4 paper. Give several examples and quotations to support your assertion, and tie it to a theory where necessary. All of them must come after you’ve told the examiner what’s on your mind. The UPSC is more interested in knowing your position than the thinkers. All of you can see the video of the class taken by Mr.Sivanandham AIR –  87 & Dr.Madhan AIR – 195 who were students of Officers IAS Academy and cleared this exam in 2022


Essay- Paper-I

Please keep in mind that you are writing an essay, not a GS answer. You are not required to illustrate answers with bullet points. Well-crafted thinking that is beautifully crafted with words is a good essay. The perfect essay should be well-written and have sufficient substance that one may employ to make an elegant yet simple point. After reading the essay, the topic should be so straightforward that even the average person can grasp it. To receive the best marks, your essay must have adequate paragraph unity, coherence, cohesion, and structure. All of you can see the video of Mr. Rangarajan ( Former IAS ) Faculty at Officers IAS Academy and also attend a live session of a “SPECIALIST” whose video will not be shared.


Optional Paper

Only the universal aspects of optional preparation may be discussed because every Optional is unique. First, review the papers from prior years and adjust your preparation. Try to respond to the question’s demand that aligns with your Optional, rather than a GS-style approach. Link subjects from Paper 1 to Paper 2 and vice versa wherever you can. To make the content richer, use illustrations and examples.


Understanding the main curriculum is more important than simply preparing for all of these GS topics. Since a detailed curriculum has been provided by the UPSC, I kindly ask that you go through the whole Mains test syllabus to become familiar with it. To view the entire Mains test syllabus, click here. Combine this with your analysis of the exam, to comprehend how questions are posed. More importantly, join the best IAS academy for practicing mock UPSC-level questions to make your IAS dreams come true. Click here to join Officers IAS Academy’s Mains test series program as we offer the best IAS coaching experience. Before I conclude, remember; that Mains is a test match; gain momentum gradually and steadily. I welcome you all into our Mains program and wish you the very best for your Mains exam.



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Officers IAS Academy – Best IAS Academy in Chennai.

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