UPSC Civil Services: Preparation Tips To Ace The Main Examination

After announcing the civil services preliminary results on June 3, the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) is all set to conduct the main civil service exam, which is the second phase of the selection process. Over 3 lakh candidates have appeared for the preliminary examination out of which around 11 thousand aspirants are shortlisted to attempt the main exam.

The main civil services exam consists of 9 papers. The Indian language and English are the two qualifying papers. Only the 4 general studies papers and 2 optional papers besides 1 essay paper are considered for the grand total. As the main civil services exam is going to kick-start during the last week of September, the below preparation tips might assist in acing the exam.

Prep Tips For Main Civil Service Exam


1. Plan Based On The UPSC Exam Date

The main civil service exam will be held between September 28 and October 7. Aspirants who are shortlisted for the main examination should track all the exam dates to avoid ambiguity while preparing. They are suggested to save the dates. Here are the UPSC exam dates (main).

September 28, 2018 - Paper-I (Essay)

September 29, 2018 - Paper-II (General Studies-I) and Paper-III (General Studies-II)

September 30, 2018 - Paper-IV (General Studies-III) & Paper-V (General Studies-IV)

October 06, 2018 - Paper-A (Indian Language) and Paper-B (English)

October 07, 2018 - Paper-VI (Optional Paper-I) & Paper-VII (Optional Paper-II)

The main exam will be conducted during the weekends. After the completion of the general studies and essay paper, aspirants will get a gap of 5 days. During this period, they are suggested to focus more on the optional subject because Indian language and English are only qualifying papers.

2. Practise Writing

The UPSC preliminary exam will be different from the main exam. Unlike the preliminary exam, the main exam is a descriptive type and aspirants have to write at least 150 to 200 words for each question. Hence, one should have good answer-writing skills.

During the last month of preparation, aspirants are advised to improve their answer-writing skills by taking regular mock tests. This activity will also help aspirants link different topics and draft a better answer while handling a tough question.

3. Combine UPSC Prelims With The UPSC Main Syllabus

Many general studies topics in the main examination overlap with the preliminary syllabus. Hence, aspirants are advised to prepare their own strategies accordingly. One can start preparing or focusing more on the topics that are not included in the preliminary exam such as ethics and integrity.

4. Essay Writing

Many successful candidates say that they have done well in the essay paper. The essay paper is one amongst the scoring papers where candidates can aim for the distinction score. Aspirants should prepare a unique strategy that can land them safely. We have prepared a separate article on how to write an effective essay in the UPSC Civil Services Main exam. Click here to explore the article.

5. Capitalise On The Optional Paper

Out of the 9 papers in the main civil services exam, aspirants have an opportunity to choose the optional subject because all other papers are mandatory. Both the papers in the optional subject are scoring ones. There is a 7-day gap for preparing for the optional subject. Hence, candidates should capitalise on it.

How To Choose An Optional Subject In The UPSC Civil Services

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