Your Go-To Guide on UPSC Mains Course

UPSC is one of the toughest exams in India, however with good preparation and a dedicated mindset, one can crack this exam with flying colors.

So, for a successful future, here’s your guide through which you can know more about the UPSC Mains exam, what preparation to do and how to crack it.

How to prepare for UPSC Mains

Be Consistent With Your Preparation

The most notable advantage that early beginners have, is the advantage of additional time they have on their hands. However, there’s also an issue. When the time is sufficient, it’s not time management, but rather your regular maintenance over this prolonged duration that requires more attention.

Thus, all the days, weeks, and months should be priorly scheduled with respective targets.

First and Foremost, a candidate must engrave the entire syllabus of all three phases of the exam, in his mind.

This small but important work would go a long way in keeping your preparation focused and appropriate.

Sufficient Time Allocation

Given the adequateness of time, it is important to embrace the ‘mains first’ strategy’ which means that you should start your UPSC preparation by concocting the UPSC preparation strategy.

After prelims, a candidate gets barely three to four months for the preparation of mains. The timetable is further tightened by the necessity of answer writing and essay writing practice. Thus, it will be a smart move to prepare for the mains part first.

Make a Proper Study Plan

After wisely choosing the optional subject, the candidate must initiate the preparation right from the beginning.

Allocate the months and plan your days and weeks well in advance, ensuring that by a particular month, you complete the syllabus for the four General Studies papers and Optional subjects. It is indeed feasible to complete the Mains preparation only if you plan your time with perfection.

Follow Daily Current Affairs To Keep Yourself Updated

One crucial, in fact, decisive, part of the preparation is to religiously and invariably follow the newspaper daily. The candidate should always be updated with all the significant national and international events. You can follow one or two magazines or bulletins and government sources like Yojana, Kurukshetra, PIB, PRS, etc. Also, if time allows, you can start with your initial answer writing practice after you are finished with the mains syllabus once. Try to get it assessed by some senior or teacher.

One thing that must be kept in mind, is that the syllabus of mains and prelims is not entirely compartmentalized. There is, in fact, a substantial overlap. Thus, while preparing for UPSC mains, a considerable portion of Prelims also gets covered. For the remaining portion, one can dwell in ‘prelims-focused’ mode. From this point onwards, the golden trinity of ‘revision, consolidation, and assessment’, must become an important component of the preparation.

Tips for cracking UPSC Mains after Prelims

Give Yourself A Break After Prelims

It is very vital to give yourself a break after prelims. You might have been preparing constantly for a year or more, so it’s essential to take some time off from your studies. Take rest both physically and mentally for a minimum of 10 days. Read newspapers or take a small holiday and prepare yourself for another 3-4 months of thoroughgoing and tiresome preparation. Ponder over how your exam was and strategize for the upcoming exam.

Prepare and study your weak points and revise your strong points frequently.

Schedule The Time You Need To Invest In Each Paper 

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

Have a monthly objective, weekly goal, and daily objective. Stick to that and guarantee that you complete each goal. Make small targets so that they seem feasible.

Even if your preparation gets disturbed for 1-2 days, don’t ruin the whole plan, rather, divide the parts you have missed across the week.

Always save 2 hours for revising what you’ve read daily. Also, keep the weekends free for answer writing practice and revising what you’ve memorized in the week.

Make A Detailed Study Plan For UPSC Mains Strategy

Once you’ve relieved tension completely, come out of that zone, and prepare a detailed study plan for your mains preparation. As you might already know that UPSC Mains includes 9 theory papers of which 2 are qualifying language papers, 2 are your optional subject papers, 1 is an essay paper and the other four are general studies papers. So, you should have a clear-cut scheme on how to go about revising each of the subjects and preparing the ones you’ve not even begun hitherto.

Enhance Your Answer Writing Practice

Since the Mains paper is explanatory, you must give due time to answer writing in your UPSC Mains Preparation plan. Whatever you read, try to sum up it in your own words at the end of the day. Commit an hour each day to practice answer writing. Get your answers assessed by your mentors or seniors to get a fair bit of an idea of where you stand. Don’t agonize about writing bad answers in the beginning. Practice does make one perfect, hence exercise answer writing as much as you can.

Give Regular Mock Tests.

Now, mock tests are essential because it gives you an exam feel, and prepares you to write your best answers in stressful exam condition. Hence, don’t take mocks for granted. Think of it as a prospect to understand the answer-writing process, to write brief, on-point, and succinct answers contemplating the demand of the questions.


This is how you can formulate for UPSC considering the above guide for UPSC mains. You can enroll yourself in an institution for UPSC preparation which will provide you with every detail about the UPSC mains course and will prepare you for the same so that you can crack it easily with the help of professional faculty.

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