Roadmap & Strategy For General
Studies UPSC Mains
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
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:-
- Indian Constitution
- Current Affairs
- Science & Technology Specially Environment & Ecology
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.
- Modern Indian History by Spectrum
- Indian Culture by Spectrum or Wizard
- 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.
- Class XI & XII Books of N.C.E.R.T. or Wizard.
- For Economic and Social Geography of India. Selected chapter from Indian
Year Book & Economic Survey. They are:
- Land and the People
- Water Resource
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
- For Constitutional Part – M. Laxmikant
- Class XI & XII N.C.E.R.T. Books
- 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:
- The Indian economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of
resources, growth, development and employment.
- Issues arising from the social and economic exclusion of large sections from
the benefits of development.
- Other issues relating to the development and management of human resource.
- Health issues including the management of Public Health, Health education
and ethical concerns regarding health-care, medical research and
- Law enforcement, internal security and related issues such as the
preservation of communal harmony.
- Issues relating to good governance and accountability to the citizens
including the maintenance of human rights, and of probity in public life.
- Environmental issues, ecological preservation, conservation of natural
resources and national heritage.
1. Following chapters of Indian Year Book:
- Food and Civil Supplies
- Health and Family Welfare
- Rural and Urban Development
- Youth Affairs and Sports
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
- Foreign Affairs with special emphasis on India’s relations with
countries and in the region.
- Security and defense related matters.
- Nuclear policy, issues, and conflicts.
- The Indian Diaspora and its contribution to India and the world.
- For Historical background one can refer – V. N. Kanna
- For Current Affairs: The Hindu (News, Editorials & Articles)
- News from Press Information Bureau
- 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:
- Basic Economic data
- Corporate Affairs
- State of the economy and prospects
- Micro-foundations of macroeconomic development
- Fiscal Development and Public Finance
- Price and monetary Management
- Finance Intermediation and Market
- Balance of Payment
- International Trade
- Agriculture and food management
- 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:
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.
- Science & Technology by Wizard
- Science reporter
Following chapter of Indian Year Book:
- Communication and Information Technology
- Mass Communication
- S&T Development
8. International Affairs and Institutions: This part will include questions on
important events in world affairs and on international institutions.
- The Hindu (News, Editorial & Articles)
- Chronicle or Civil Services Times
- 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 –
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:
Introduction of President
How Power Exercise
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:
- The statement of your answer should not be general statement, all statements
must be fact based and information based.
- In G.S. no Introduction, no Conclusion, because it is repetition.
- Where ever possible give Flowchart, Diagram, Figure.
By following these above simple techniques you can enhance 30-40 marks in General
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.