The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) examination takes place in three stages – Prelims, Mains and Interview. UPSC Prelims 2020 was successfully conducted on 11th October while Mains is scheduled from 8th January 2021 onward. The commission has released the examination syllabus along with UPSC notification 2020. It is a comprehensive syllabus and candidates often find it difficult to complete it. Hence, this article will help you with the right booklist, strategies and tips to cover UPSC syllabus with a special focus on civil services (Mains) exam.
A brief overview of the UPSC Civil Services Examination
The examination is an annual event that recruits candidates for Group A and B Services. The prelims is the first stage, while IAS Mains is the second stage of the UPSC Exam. The Personality Test is the last stage of the examination. The marks allotted to each stage along with the exam pattern are mentioned in the table below:
|UPSC Exam Pattern|
|1st Stage – Prelims||
|2nd Stage – Mains||
|3rd Stage – Interview||Personality Test – 275 marks|
Mains subjects of UPSC Mains
As the civil services (Mains) examination 2020 is going to take place from 8th January 2021 onward, it is essential for candidates to know the main books to read to complete the syllabus.
There are four general studies papers in the CSE Mains examination. Each paper has two or more subjects. For example, GS Paper 1 covers subjects like History, Geography and Indian Society. The subjects covered by each general studies paper are given below;
|General Studies Paper 1||
|General Studies Paper 2||
|General Studies Paper 3||
|General Studies Paper 4||
How to complete UPSC Mains Syllabus
The UPSC has given an elaborative syllabus of the mains examination. However, there are many subtopics that come under the main subjects which are not mentioned explicitly and hence it becomes difficult for candidates to read everything. Read below about the right resources to finish up your mains syllabus.
|General Studies Paper 1|
|Indian Heritage and Culture||Class 11 NCERT and Nitin Singhania’s Art and Culture|
|India’s Freedom Struggle and related topics||
Class 12 History NCERT and Rajiv Ahir’s Brief History of Modern India
Also, Bipin Chandra’s India’s Struggle for Independence can be selectively read.
|Post-Independent India||Bipin Chandra’s India after Independence (Selective Read)|
Class 11 and 12 NCERT Geography Books
Majid Hussain’s Geography of India (Selectively)
Follow current affairs w.r.t developments and issues related to Indian society
|General Studies Paper 2|
|Governance||M.Laxmikanth’s Governance in India|
|Constitution and Polity||M. Laxmikanth’s Indian Polity|
|Social Justice||Follow current affairs|
|International Relations||Follow current affairs and read about the background of India’s relationship with other nations that are in the news|
|General Studies Paper 3|
|Economic Development||Class 12 NCERT Macroeconomics for concepts and either Ramesh Singh’s Indian Economy or Nitin Singhania’s Indian Economy for reference|
|Science and Technology||Current Affairs are sufficient|
|Environment and Biodiversity||Class 12 Chemistry or Biology Last four chapters along with conceptual learning of topics seen in the news from internet or any reference book|
|Disaster Management||Read ARC reports on Disaster Management|
|General Studies Paper 4|
|Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude||Cursory read Class 12 Psychology book along with Lexicon’s Ethics Book|
Tips to finish your UPSC Mains syllabus
It is mostly suggested to finish your syllabus of UPSC Mains before prelims exam. However, topics like disaster management, social justice, technology, etc can also be taken up after prelims. A candidate can follow these tips to efficiently cover his/her syllabus:
- Make a timetable and modify it periodically – It is important to make a schedule for the exam before you start your preparation but along the journey, keep modifying your time table.
- Stick to the books you read once – It is easier to get distracted towards the plethora of resources present in the market today but only basic books and revision are going to help. Hence, stick to your booklist.
- Take two subjects together – To avoid boredom and monotony, always switch between subjects while preparing. One can take history and geography together. Similarly, economics and social issues can be taken together.
- Less is more is the key – Even if your syllabus is getting finished with a reading of a few pages a book, you must put an end to it and start revision. The fewer books you read, more time you get for revision and value-addition.
- Time is now to practise answering the questions – Start with previous years’ questions and take questions based on the static portion of the syllabus. Evaluate if you are able to answer the questions. This is how one can analyse the significance of the books you are reading.
- Give mock tests – Along with practising answer-writing yourself, you may opt for CSE Mains mock test series of any reputed institute. This is a good practise to get familiar with the examination set up and writing answers within a set time limit.
UPSC civil services examination is a difficult examination. It is also an exhaustive examination with three stages including IAS Mains which has nine subjective papers. Hence, a properly planned strategy will help aspirants to crack this examination.