Roadmap & Strategy For General Studies UPSC Mains

Roadmap & Strategy For General Studies UPSC Mains

Dear Students,

The objective of the Civil Services (Main) Examination is for the selection of candidates for the various services and posts.

To achieve this U.P.S.C. has mentioned that the main examination is intended to assess the overall intellectual traits and depth of understanding of candidates rather than merely the range of their information and memory.

So, to evaluate candidate’s this treat, the main examination will consist of a written examination. And the written examination will consist of 9 papers, which carries total 2000 marks. In this General Studies papers carries 300 marks each, Paper IV and Paper V total 600 marks.

For the General Studies Papers, U.P.S.C. has clearly mention it’s level and range, It stated that the nature and standard of questions in the General Studies papers will be such that a well educated person will be able to answer them without any specialized study.

The questions will be such as to test a candidate’s general awareness of a variety of subjects, which will have relevance for a career in Civil Services.
The question are likely to test the candidates basic understanding of all relevant issues and ability to analyze and take a view of conflicting Socio-economic goals, objectives and demands.

Therefore the candidate must give relevant, meaningful and succinct answers.

After understanding the overall aspects of General Studies Paper, now you may ask why candidates score very low in this section? And what should be its solution?
Basically there are two reasons for this:-

Ist reason is, not completing all questions in the actual examination. There may be various reason for this but the most important one is, not having enough information, or knowledge about the question.

IInd reason is that, If you have the knowledge, then you are lacking the approach. That you may have faulty approach or wrong approach.

So, to overcome from the first problem, candidate must widen their knowledge base, you should be aware of right sources of study materials. Since there are diverse topics which you have to prepare. You should have crystal clear conception about the issues or topic which you read. In this context analytical grasp of topic is must.

Here one must also give more emphasise to these following topics:-

  1. Indian Constitution
  2. Current Affairs
  3. Science & Technology Specially Environment & Ecology
  4. Economy

Ist Problem: Regarding awareness of study materials for G.S. :

Now let me discuss about the sources or references from where you can cover your General Studies (Main) paper. For this you must through with the Syllabus as mentioned by U.P.S.C. and their references which you can refer are as follows:-

1. History of Modern India and Indian Culture: The History of Modern India will cover history of the Country from about the middle of nineteenth century and would also include questions on important personalities who shaped the freedom movement and social reforms. The part relating to Indian culture will cover all aspects of Indian culture from the ancient to modern times as well as principal features of literature, arts and architecture.


  1. Modern Indian History by Spectrum
  2. Indian Culture by Spectrum or Wizard
  3. Indian Culture Chapter of Indian Year Book

2. Geography of India: In this part, questions will be on the physical, economic and social geography of India.


  1. Class XI & XII Books of N.C.E.R.T. or Wizard.
  2. For Economic and Social Geography of India. Selected chapter from Indian Year Book & Economic Survey. They are:
  • Land and the People
  • Energy
  • Industry
  • Transport
  • Water Resource

Economic Survey

  • Industry

  • Energy Infrastructure and Communications

3. Constitution of India and Indian Polity: This part will include questions on the Constitution of India as well as all constitutional, legal, administrative and other issues emerging from the politico-administrative system prevalent in the country.


  1. For Constitutional Part – M. Laxmikant
  2. Class XI & XII N.C.E.R.T. Books
  3. Editorial and Important articles of The Hindu, articles of Yojana. Important articles of Press Information Bureau

4. Current National Issues and Topics of Social Relevance : This part is intended to test the candidate’s awareness of current national issues and topics of social relevance in present-day India, such as the following:

  1. The Indian economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
  2. Issues arising from the social and economic exclusion of large sections from the benefits of development.
  3. Other issues relating to the development and management of human resource.
  4. Health issues including the management of Public Health, Health education and ethical concerns regarding health-care, medical research and pharmaceuticals.
  5. Law enforcement, internal security and related issues such as the preservation of communal harmony.
  6. Issues relating to good governance and accountability to the citizens including the maintenance of human rights, and of probity in public life.
  7. Environmental issues, ecological preservation, conservation of natural resources and national heritage.


1. Following chapters of Indian Year Book:

  1. Agriculture
  2. Education
  3. Food and Civil Supplies
  4. Health and Family Welfare
  5. Planning
  6. Rural and Urban Development
  7. Welfare
  8. Youth Affairs and Sports

Economic Survey:

  • Human Development Equity and Environment

2. Editorial and Important articles of The Hindu

3. Important articles of Press Information Bureau

4. Important articles of Yojana

5. Magazine like Civil Service Times or Chronicle

5. India and the World : This part will include questions to test candidate’s awareness of India’s relationship with the world in various spheres such as the following:-

  1. Foreign Affairs with special emphasis on India’s relations with neighboring countries and in the region.
  2. Security and defense related matters.
  3. Nuclear policy, issues, and conflicts.
  4. The Indian Diaspora and its contribution to India and the world.


  1. For Historical background one can refer – V. N. Kanna
  2. For Current Affairs: The Hindu (News, Editorials & Articles)
  3. News from Press Information Bureau
  4. Foreign Ministry website or refer any competition magazine like Chronicle or Civil Service Times.

6. India’s Economic Interaction with the World : In this part, questions will be on economic and trade issues such as foreign trade, foreign investment; economic and diplomacy issues relating to oil, gas and energy flows; the role and functions of I.M.F., World Bank, W.T.O., WIPO etc. which influence India’s economic interaction with other countries and international institutions.


Following chapter of India Year Book & Economic Survey:

  1. Basic Economic data
  2. Commerce
  3. Finance
  4. Corporate Affairs
  5. Industry

Economic Survey:

  1. State of the economy and prospects
  2. Micro-foundations of macroeconomic development
  3. Fiscal Development and Public Finance
  4. Price and monetary Management
  5. Finance Intermediation and Market
  6. Balance of Payment
  7. International Trade
  8. Agriculture and food management
  9. Industry
  10. Service Sector

VI. The Hindu to (News, Editorials & Articles)

VII. Wikipedia to understand Various Economic concepts.

VIII. Chronicle Special Issues

7. Developments in the Field of Science & Technology, IT and space: In this part, questions will test the candidate’s awareness of the developments in the field of science and technology, information technology, space and basic ideas about computers, robotics, nanotechnology, biotechnology and related issues regarding intellectual property rights.


  1. Science & Technology by Wizard
  2. Science reporter

Following chapter of Indian Year Book:

  1. Communication and Information Technology
  2. Defence
  3. Environment
  4. Mass Communication
  5. S&T Development

8. International Affairs and Institutions: This part will include questions on important events in world affairs and on international institutions.


  1. The Hindu (News, Editorial & Articles)
  2. Chronicle or Civil Services Times
  3. International Institution by Pushpesh Pant

9. Statistical analysis, graphs and diagrams: This part will test the candidate’s ability to draw conclusions from information presented in statistical, graphical or diagrammatical form and to interpret them.


(I). Class XI Books of N.C.E.R.T. (II). or Spectrum

So, it is evident from the above fact that, if a candidate read only – The Hindi, Yojana, Science Reporter & Some Important Articles of Press Information Bureau then he will be in a position to answer 60% of the questions in G.S. paper but you must have the conceptual clarity here one can refer Internet. Whatever terms and concepts are in news, you must know about them, because now a days U.P.S.C. is not asking any direct question.

IInd Problem: Regarding Approach:

So, in this way you can solve the first problem now let me discuss about the second problem that is approach. Right approach here means, target the question and give whatever is associated with the question to understand better let me give you an example.

Suppose you are writing regarding the powers of President. Here the right approach should be:

  1. Introduction of President

  2. Executive Power

  3. Legislative Power

  4. Judicial Power

  5. Military Power

  6. Diplomat Power

  7. How Power Exercise

  8. Discretionary Power

  9. Extra Constitutional Power

Now, I hope you have clear idea regarding approach however there are still some points which I want to make you aware, those are:

  1. The statement of your answer should not be general statement, all statements must be fact based and information based.
  2. In G.S. no Introduction, no Conclusion, because it is repetition.
  3. Where ever possible give Flowchart, Diagram, Figure.

By following these above simple techniques you can enhance 30-40 marks in General Studies Paper.

However the most important aspect of all this is, depend on your hard work, your dedication because without that, there is no chance to crack this exam. Just remember one thing what you do now will shape where you go forward from here.

Thank You!


Sir, Many thanks for starting integrated guidance programme. Its a commendable effort and a great intiative especially for students like me who are striving hard for resources and guidance. Previously many queries were juggling through mind for instance how would it b possible for us who cant afford coaching and many constraints were there. But now everything seems to be clarified and possible through ur extendable help.