UPSC Mains Preparation Strategy That Will Surely Boost Your Score

  1. Prelims Exam is First Round of Elimination of CSE.
  2. Since UPSC CSE Prelims is qualifying in nature, your score in that round will not determine your final selection
  3. Mains Score will be extremely crucial in determine your selection as well as rank.
  4. Experienced will have a better idea but new comers don’t have any idea regarding mains
  5. So here we prepared a common strategy which suits all tailor made cut requirements

Let’s get started:

No point in Taking about Experienced – MAINS STRATEGY FOR BEGINNERS

Step 1: Be Consistent With Your Preparation

Step 2: Sufficient Time Allocation

Step 3: Choose Your Optional Subject Wisely

Step 4: Make Proper Study Plan

Step 5: Follow Daily Current Affairs to Keep You Updated

Step – 1 ;  Be Consistent with your Preparation

è Being a First Comer, the Advantage is Extra time for Preparation for Mains.


è So, Have HARD COPY of Syllabus should be in front of You every time

è Need to have Complete Understanding of the Syllabus

è This small but significant work would go a long way in keeping your preparation focused and relevant

Step -2 ; Sufficient Time Allocation

è Sufficient time is around 3 to 4 Months after Prelims Exam

è Require More Presence of Answer Writing and Essay writing Practice

è The best Move to Prepare is Mains Part First

è Need to Focus on Language Papers also like English and Mother Tongue

è If these Papers are corrected, only then, it turns Correct the Mains Paper.

Step -3 ; Choose Your Optional Subject Wisely

è Mains Syllabus is Optional Subject.

è own level of comfort with any degree of interest in the subject

è Suggestion by US: – Take an Optional Wisely which Overlap the GS papers. SO that, if you Prepare GS and then half of the optional would be over or Vice Versa.

Step -4 ; Make Proper Study Plan

è Allocate the Months and Schedule your days and weeks well in advance, ensuring that by Sep and Oct.

è You finish the syllabus for the four General Study’s papers and Optional subject. It is possible to do so smoothly if you plan your time with perfection

è Hourly and Weekly Timetable

Step -5 ; Follow Daily Current Affairs and be updated always

è Part of the preparation is to religiously and consistently

è Follow The HINDU News Paper and, Yojana, Kurukshetra, PIB, PRS

è Follow the current Affairs of UCIAS website

è 21 Questions Directly from our Current Affairs in UPSC prelims 2019.

è You can start with your initial answer writing practice after you are done with the mains syllabus once. Try to get it evaluated by some senior or teacher

è While preparing for mains, a significant portion of Prelims also gets covered. For the remaining portion, one can get into ‘prelims-focused’ mode from January or February onwards

è The golden trinity of ‘revision, consolidation and assessment’, must become part of the preparation.


 Strategy for Final Revision

Step 1: Give Yourself a Break after Prelims

  • Give yourself a break after prelims.
  • So it’s important to take some time off of your studies.
  • Take rest both physically and mentally for at least 10 days.
  • Read newspapers or take a small vacation
  • Contemplate about how your exam was, there might be three cases,

You are 100% sure you will qualify the prelims. Devise a suitable UPSC Mains Preparation strategy to ensure your success in Mains as well.

  • You are 100% sure that you would not qualify the Prelims. Don’t get discouraged. Reflect on your mistakes, try to learn from them and devise a year-long strategy to follow for next year.

During this time, also read a lot about preparation strategies that can help you plan the best one for yourself. Take inspiration from your seniors or peers, toppers or mentors who can guide you best in the most crucial phase of your UPSC mains preparation.

Step 2: Make a Detailed Study Plan for IAS Mains Preparation Strategy

  • Once you’ve relaxed completely, come out of that zone, and
  • Devise a detailed study plan for your mains preparation.
  • UPSC Mains consist of 9 theory papers of which 2 are language papers that are qualifying, 2 are your optional subject papers, 1 is essay paper and the other four are general studies paper.
  • So, you should have a clear cut strategy on how to go about revising each of the subjects and preparing the ones you’ve not even started hitherto.

Step 3: Schedule the Time

Now, most fresh aspirants get confused about how to revise everything in 2-3 months that they get between Prelims and Mains. Here’s what you can do:

  1. Have a monthly goal, weekly goal, and a daily goal. Stick to that and ensure that you complete each goal. Make small targets so that they seem achievable.
  2. Even if your preparation get’s disturbed for 1-2 days, don’t wreck the whole plan, rather, divide the portions you have missed across the week.
  3. Always keep 2 hours for revising what you’ve read daily. Also, keep the weekends free for answer writing practice revising what you’ve learned in the week.

Scheduling the Time Accordingly

Paper Name Stipulated Time (Recommended by Experts)
Optional Subject 30-40 Days
Essay Paper Prepare 4-5 topics each week
General Studies Paper 1 10-15 days
General Studies Paper 2 10-15 days
General Studies Paper 3 15-20 days
General Studies Paper 4 15-20 days


Step 4: More Answer Writing Practice will Increase your Selection

  • Mains paper is descriptive in nature – have more answer writing in your UPSC Mains Preparation strategy.
  • Try to summaries of whatever you’re read and prepare notes always in that.
  • Dedicate 2 hour each day to practice answer writing.
  • Get your answers evaluated by your mentors or seniors to get a fair bit of idea where you stand.
  • Make Mistake so that you can learn always news things
  • Don’t fret about writing bad answers in the beginning.
  • Practice does make one perfect, hence practice answer writing as much as you can.

Step 5: Give Regular Mock Tests.

  • Mock tests are important because it gives you an exam-feel; it prepares you to write your best answers in a stressful-exam situation.
  • Hence, never take mocks for granted. Think of it as an opportunity to understand the answer-writing process, to write brief succinct answers considering the demand of the questions.

So, these are the 5-step UPSC Mains Preparation strategy that we recommend. Take inspiration to prepare your own strategy to crack the exam. You can rely on our courses and study material for your preparation. Get in touch with our course counselors to get more information about our courses.