What Should Be the Preparation Strategy for the UPSC Mains Exam? When Should a Candidate Begin Mains Exam Preparation?

UPSC Mains Exam

Many consider the Civil Services Examination conducted by Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) as the toughest and most challenging exam in the country. After clearing the first round of elimination in UPSC Prelims, the real battle begins for the UPSC Mains exam.

UPSC Exam Syllabus is vast and hence, the candidate need to prepare in a very strategic way. Civil Service Examination tests an aspirant’s knowledge, wisdom, and analytical ability. One can crack this step with rock-solid determination and a calculative UPSC Mains strategy.

UPSC Mains exam strategy for beginners

Many first-timers or candidates with no previous experience in Civil Services often fail in the first attempt as they have no clue about the strategy, planning, and resources for the UPSC Mains exam. Therefore, knowing the UPSC Mains Syllabus is important. You must prepare in a very systematic way to crack the exam. Visit BYJU’S Exam Prep to know more about the UPSC exam.

UPSC Mains exam strategy for beginners

Consistency in preparation

  • Early beginners can get the advantage of extra time only if they utilise the time effectively. Hence, one should be serious about the consistency in preparation over a prolonged period of time.
  • Candidates must pre-schedule the entire IAS syllabus of three phases for all days, weeks, and months to achieve targets.

Time allocation

  • Even beginners should begin their UPSC exam preparation by adopting the ‘Mains First’ strategy.
  • After the UPSC Prelims, a candidate hardly gets three to four months of preparation time for the Mains. Hence, it would be advisable to start preparing for the Mains part from the beginning.

Choice of optional subject

  • One of the most crucial steps of the Mains syllabus is choosing the right optional subject. It must be aligned with one’s degree of interest and level of comfort.
  • The decision of picking the optional subject cannot be based on any false speculation of the ‘most scoring option’. Instead, it is the preparation and presentation of writing an answer that guarantees high scores.

Proper study plan

  • A UPSC aspirant should allocate equal time for all subjects and optional papers. Hence, it is important to formulate a study plan that covers all areas of the UPSC syllabus.
  • Students must ensure that they can finish the four General Studies (GS) papers and one optional subject by November-December.

Following daily current affairs

  • The significance of current affairs in UPSC exams is immense. A UPSC Mains candidate must be well-acquainted with all the important national and international events.
  • One should follow the newspapers religiously and consistently and make notes from them.
  • Following newspapers like The Hindu, The Indian Express, and government sources and magazines like PIB, PRS, Yojana, Pratiyogita Darpan, Kurukshetra, etc., is an essential step for the UPSC Mains preparation strategy.

When should a candidate begin preparing for the Mains exam?

The UPSC syllabus of Prelims and Mains is not entirely compartmentalised. In fact, a significant portion of the syllabus is common in both phases. Hence, a candidate must begin the Mains exam preparation right from the beginning. After all, while preparing for the UPSC Mains, a large section of Prelims is already covered.

Read More: How to Get a Good Rank in GATE Exam 2022

After covering the syllabus for GS papers and the optional subject in November-December, one can enter the ‘Prelims-focused’ mode from January-February onwards. In this phase, the UPSC preparation should be based on the golden trinity strategy of ‘revision, consolidation, and assessment’.

Preparation for UPSC Mains after Prelims

  • After Prelims, if a candidate is even partially sure about qualifying for the next level, he or she should start preparing for the Mains.
  • Making a detailed study plan for revising each of the subjects and preparing the ones that have not been started yet should be the first step in this stage.
  • One must schedule an adequate amount of time for each paper within 2-3 months between Prelims and Mains.
  • Keeping at least 2 hours for revision every day and allotting time for writing practice are some necessary steps to be included in the Mains preparation strategy.

If you are a UPSC aspirant and want to prepare your own strategy to crack the exam, you should consider BYJU’S Exam Prep as the right choice for proceeding towards your UPSC Mains exam.

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