What are the Subjects in UPSC Exam? How to Study for IAS Mains?

How to Study for IAS Mains?

Clearing the UPSC exam can be a massive achievement in someone’s life.You can then get to start life as an IAS officer. A UPSC rank officer gets to work at the topmost positions in Indian bureaucracy. You are at a decision-making post in the organization in which you work.

Hence, this gives you a lot of autonomy. There is also a lot of job stability, unlike private companies. So, clearing the UPSC exam is the perfect landmark goal for anyone who wants to serve the society. They can set up an example for the community by taking exemplary decisions. Your confidence after joining a UPSC rank job is unparalleled.

You have a good social status, and everyone around you, be it your peers or relatives give you respect.

In recent years, owing to the prestigious positions offered by this exam, there has been a lot of competition. Hence, it’s tough to get a good rank based on merit.

The syllabus is vast for this exam, due to which candidates are often confused about what is the best preparation route for UPSC. It’s due to that reason; many aspirants are not able to clear this exam. But they can clear it, once they decide to come up with a timetable for studying the huge syllabus for this exam.

Subjects in IAS/UPSC Mains

There are many common subjects between the papers of IAS Prelims and Mains. The subjects included in General Studies-1 (GS-1) exam are Indian Culture, Modern Indian history, History of the World, Indian Society, and World’s Physical geography. So, History and Geography are the common subjects between Prelims and Mains.

However, joining a UPSC coaching centre has its share of benefits where you are guided entirely about how to study. They even summarize the information in new forms such as videos. The various subjects in General Studies-part 2 (GS-2) exam are Foreign Relations and International Affairs.

The subjects in the General Studies-part 3 (GS-3) exam are Internal Security and Disaster Management. Ethics is the topic of General Studies-part 4 (GS-4). It’s essential that while preparing the topics for GS-2 and GS-3, you prepare thoroughly in terms of related current affairs. This way, you can write answers citing current affairs also.

  • Study UPSC previous year paper – When you have studied such question papers you know what must be the depth you have on certain topics. You get to know the format and the composition of the questions. This is where a UPSC coaching centre helps you in understanding the questions by giving you more questions to practice.

On average, you are given seven questions per week. You have to study the question papers for at least five years.

You can practice the prelims mock exams to know where you stand. It’s also essential to revise whether you appear for a mock exam or a real test. It helps you to know what is still remembered by you.

  • Strike a balance between subjects – Make sure that you don’t devote your undivided attention to one subject while ignoring others. Try to have a balance between studying different subjects. Your mentor can guide you about this.

Optional Subjects in UPSC

  • Draw the map to depict something in India – In GS exams; whenever you want to illustrate something, you should be able to draw the map of India. You have to practice it a lot many times so that you can draw it in sixty seconds. It is the best way to show any problem plaguing any part of India.

You must try to read the report of a committee online as it is time-saving. You can bold or mark the important part and next time read those sections.

Also Read : Interview with Sizal Agarwal: UPSC Preparation Journey of the 112th All India Rank Holder

What are the Optional Subjects in UPSC?

There are also two optional exams in UPSC Mains. Their subjects are almost similar to UPSC Prelims. Now, there are many subjects out of which you can choose a particular subject for Optionals. These subjects are Economics, History, Geography, Sociology, Public Administration, Psychology, Political Science, Philosophy, Agriculture, Anthropology, Botany, Chemistry, Civil Engineering, commerce, Animal Husbandry, and Veterinary Science.

For the UPSC optional exam, you can choose one language. Many languages are applicable for this exam such as Oriya, Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Konkani, Malayalam, Marathi, Sanskrit, Manipuri, Bodo, Nepali, Punjabi, Tamil, Urdu, Santhali, Kashmiri, Maithili, etc. You have to attempt questions based on the literature of any one of these languages.

Guidance for Writing Answers

The main advantage behind joining a coaching center is that they provide you with an integrated approach to clearing the exam. They give you complete practice on answer writing. You are also able to get feedback on the answers written by you. Writing clear answers is the main part of the UPSC mains exam. These answers are of 10-15 marks each.

These questions are analytical, implying that they want to test your opinion on judgment on a topic. When you get the feedback from your mentor, you know where your answer is insufficient. You can get in touch with your mentor to get his crucial feedback about your answers. 

Subjects in IAS

What are the Subjects in IAS?

In the Essay exam, you have to compose one essay. An essay carries 200 marks. The word length of an essay must be from 2000 words. The time limit before you write this essay is 3 hours.

  • Aim to score more than 100 marks: So, you have to be well prepared to write an essay in this much time duration. There should be a strategy followed for writing a good essay. You aim to get more than 100 marks in a 200 marks essay. So, you have to fill at least 10 sheets with 200 words in writing the essay.
  • Devote time to thinking: First, you should devote as much as 30-45 minutes to think about the essay. Then, you should start writing the essay. In case you don’t think about the outline of the essay for 30-45 minutes, you can forget some important points while writing the essay. However, when you think, the flow of the essay is the same as the outline you have thought about, and nothing is likely to be missed. 
  • Outline: You can also jot down the outline points at the back of the answer sheet. Once you have jotted down all the points, the next step is to decide the order of the points. The order of the points must be, Introduction, Background, main concept, current scenario talking about that topic, pros, cons, reforms advised by you and finally a conclusion.

There are also certain tips which have to be followed in the essay, such as:

  • Never criticize democracy because our country is based on this form of constitution.
  • Don’t criticize the government too much because you are going to become a government officer.
  • Don’t get carried in a provocative essay: Some essays force the writer to take a contrary stand. But he then needs to think judiciously and then write the essay. For example, one of the essay topics can be, “Poor people are their own enemies”. You have to show the examiner how poor people try their level best to uplift their situation.
  • Do not cite the examples of films as solutions to problems in the real world. For example, Slumdog Millionaire can’t be cited as an example to eradicate poverty.
  • Do not try to grab the attention of the examiner by citing politicians and their achievements. Except when the essay is to be written on the foreign affairs policies, you can take up foreign affairs policies from Nehru to Modi.
  • Be balanced in your answers: Make sure that you don’t criticize a certain party because it’s not your favorite. Every political party in India has its pros and cons. A layman criticizes a party without complete knowledge. A would-be government officer does not do that.
  • Don’t criticize a certain religion: You can have a point of view but a would-be officer of the government has to be impassionate about things.

It’s important because you might not know the religious or political inclination of the examiner, and having too narrow views can lower your chances of getting selected.

  • Don’t change the language of the quotes: If you can’t write the quote as it was initially said, there is no point in writing it all. You will make a mockery of yourself in the eyes of the examiner if you change the language of the quote.
  • Don’t try to include garbage in the essay: It’s not right to repeat a point again and again in the essay. Also, you can’t write anything on your own without confirming it. Don’t write case studies created by you in the essay. This leaves a negative impact on the examiner.
  • Choose a subject cautiously while writing the essay: Some students choose the wrong subject of the essay. After writing some words on it, they realize they can’t complete 2000 words on it. They not only waste their time but to complete the essay, write useless points in it.

So, this is how you attempt the IAS Mains part.In totality, there are 9 papers in IAS Mains. There are one Essay,  two Optional papers and four General Studies papers.  These exams carry 250 marks each. Apart from them, there is one paper for the English language(Paper A) and another on Modern Indian Language(Paper B). Both these exams are qualifying exams which implies the students’ merit won’t be counted based on these exams. However, he has to score 25% marks (out of 300) in each of these exams.

Work hard for this exam and become an important civil servant for India. Best of luck!

Also Read : UPSC Preparation Tips for Better Answer Writing in The Exam: Guide to Great Score

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What are the Subjects in UPSC Exam? How to Study for IAS Mains?
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What are the Subjects in UPSC Exam? How to Study for IAS Mains?
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There are many subjects in the UPSC exam. Read this content to find out how a student can get his best in this exam, including the Mains portion.
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UPSC Pathshala
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