(Getting Started) GS Mains Exam Strategy By Navneet Mann AIR-33

(Getting Started) GS Mains Exam Strategy By Navneet Mann AIR-33

From the beautiful town of Amritsar, Navneet has secured an all India rank of 33 in her UPSC CSE 2019 attempt. She currently lives in Delhi and is looking forward to joining the services. She is a computer science engineer from Indira Gandhi Delhi Technical University. She started her preparation back in college and in her first attempt in 2018 and secured an all India rank of 501. She is currently continuing her Defense Accounts Service training.

Navneet Mann, AIR-33, UPSC CSE 2019


Navneet stresses that for upsc mains, the objective should not be multiple sources but multiple revisions. In mains, the idea is to write 2 to 3 pages of good content for each question. Thus, revision is key. For subjects like Security, Governance, Society, Navneet suggests using the UPSC syllabus to look up topics for these subjects which are there in mains but not in prelims. She also suggests keeping sources for subjects such as History, Art and Culture, etc. very limited because the cost-benefit is very low. 

For more current subjects such as Disaster Management, keeping current affairs updated is important. Use keywords from the syllabus and make your notes. Do not forget to treat IAS toppers’ answers as a source for your answer writing. 


Do not leave it for the last minute. Start reading topics from the syllabus from day one. Write answers and try to use multiple facets for each answer. Navneet used the Ethic in Governance from the 2nd ARC report, as well as NITI Aayog’s Best Practices of States.

Answer Writing

Answer Writing Tips

Navneet suggests you start writing a few answers before Prelims itself. Get comfortable in writing and structuring your answers. Once you are secure in your prelims attempt and are completely involved in mains preparation, start writing answers in a time-tested environment.

Navneet had introductions designed to impart statistical or factual introductions. She believed that the best practice is to start with a definition. Next, in the body, depending on the question wrote different aspects of the topic in question. In conclusion, Navneet believes in summarizing the answer. She used a lot of Sustainable Development goals as quotes go finish off her answers.

Test Series

Navneet took 2 test series for her mains preparation – one from Vision IAS and Forum IAS. She also took GS Score’s Essay tests. Writing tests are as important as learning for mains. Writing 20 questions over 2 hours for 7 papers takes a lot of strength and tests give you the required practice for it. Tests also allow you to think and analyze, recall information from multiple sources under pressure. Thus, test series are key to giving your best in the exam.

UPSC Note making

Do not miss making notes for mains. 7 exams are conducted in a week and you cannot revise even one fraction of the syllabus at the last moment if you have not made notes. Make notes crisp and short. Revision is crucial. Notes ensure you can revise the whole syllabus at least once.

Notemaking Tips

Message to Aspirants

Navneet is a believer in the 5P philosophy for UPSC CSE –

  • Patience 
  • Performance
  • Practice
  • Pressure
  • Perfection

As long as you can handle all of them, you will find your name on the final list one day.



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