(Getting Started) Strategy To Improve UPSC Mains Score by Chirag Jain (AIR-160)

(Getting Started) Strategy To Improve UPSC Mains Score by Chirag Jain (AIR-160)

Chirag Jain is one of the toppers of the prestigious UPSC Civil Services Examination of 2019. He is a  native of Bharatpur, Rajasthan, and a Mechanical Engineer from the National Institute of Technology, Jaipur. 2019 was his 3rd attempt. To date, he has cleared all his upsc prelims attempts, and his mains two out of three times. He has also worked in Tata Motors, Pune before finally achieving his long set dream of becoming a Civil Servant. Currently, he is training as an Indian Police Service officer with the UP cadre.

Strategy For UPSC MAINS GS-I 

  • Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society

GS-I is very academic. Starting with culture, Chirag made study notes from Nitin Singhania. Notes for culture are not just factual like it is for prelims. Notes for Art and Culture in mains need to have examples and detailed stylistic discussions. For History, however, both prelims and mains require a similar level of in-depth note making. Chirag’s optional was Geography, so he didn’t have to study it separately for mains.

Strategy For UPSC MAINS GS-II and GS-III

  • Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations

  • Technology, Economic Development, Bio‐diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management

Unlike the static nature of GS-I, GS-II and GS-III are not only very dynamic but also more vague and vast. So instead of diving in head-on, Chirag made notes as per the topics mentioned in the UPSC syllabus. The major focus was on current affairs as UPSC tends to push recent news items for this part of the syllabus. Other than that, questions are directly asked from topics mentioned in the syllabus. He referred to Vision IAS value-added study material. Mains-365 by Vision IAS helped in internal security and environment aspects.


Chirag suggests going through topper’s answer scripts for Ethics. Pick up examples, diagrams, flowcharts, structure, presentation, etc. from them and use them in your answers. Chirag used the Lexicon to make topic-wise notes for the whole syllabus in just about 50 pages. He highly recommends it.

Ethics Notes Structure

Make an excel sheet. Make columns 

  • – 1st column should have the term, 
  • 2nd column will have the definition, 
  • 3rd column an international example, 
  • 4th column a national example, 
  • 5th column related personality, 
  • 6th and final column a quote.

Answer Writing

Chirag highly recommends joining a test series. The challenge in UPSC mains is completing a well-written paper within 3 hours. For this, you should have the structure and content so well grasped that you need not think about it in the exam hall. Joining a test series allows you to do just that. Revision is another important aspect of ensuring you can recall all relevant points during the exam.

Top Tip : UPSC-PNR

This is Chirag’s most important tip for IAS Aspirants. Start with researching all you can about the exam. Follow it up by going through UPSC Mains previous years’ questions to understand the pattern. Then look at the syllabus and memorize it to the best you can. Go through toppers’ copies to pick up writing tips. Take mock tests religiously. Make short and crisp notes, and finally revise as many times as you can.


Chirag missed out on his first and second attempts largely due to poor scores in the Essay paper. On analyzing, he realized he used to miss out due to a lack of depth and variety of dimensions in his essays. On this attempt he added more arguments and examples, leading to in-depth analysis which pushed his scores higher. Using anecdotes or real-life examples in introductions and conclusions also helps make interesting answers. Ensure your conclusion is optimistic and has a connection to your introduction.

Message To Aspirants

UPSC is unpredictable so it is a matter of patience and hard work. Keep your sources limited, revise as many times as you can, and keep practicing. 

Surely you will make it to the final list. 

Best of luck.

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