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2 Months Strategy to Clear UPSC Mains Exam

Utkarsh Classes 01-08-2023
2 Months Strategy to Clear UPSC Mains Exam

The UPSC Civil Services Examination is one of the most difficult exams in India. Aspirants must be perseverant, patient, and extremely efficient with their preparation strategy to pass this exam. While the Preliminary Examination 2023 has concluded on 28th May 2023 and results are out which ensures candidates entry to Mains Examination. The UPSC Mains Examination 2023 is likely to be conducted 16 September 2023 onwards.

At this point of time it is critical that aspirants should consistently follow a sound UPSC Mains Strategy that will maximize their score.  While experienced candidates have a good understanding of what to do following Prelims, beginners and fresh aspirants are frequently confused about the strategy to follow for UPSC Mains. In this article, we will discuss in detail about the efficient UPSC Mains Strategy that will undoubtedly assist aspirants to achieve a decent rank in the final list.

Mains Syllabus and Exam Pattern

Candidates who pass the Preliminary Exam 2023 are invited to take the main exam. The UPSC mains examination is divided into two sections: qualifying papers, merit exams and optional paper. 

  • Qualifying Papers: The papers on Indian languages and English (Paper A and Paper B) will be qualifying in nature and of Matriculation or similar standard. Candidates from Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Sikkim will not be required to take Paper A on Indian Language. These papers' grades will not be used to determine ranking. 

  • Merit Exams: Only marks achieved by applicants for Papers I-VII will be counted for merit ranking. The Commission, however, will have the authority to set qualifying marks in any or all of these papers.

  • Optional Paper: Selecting an optional paper is mandatory for candidates taking the UPSC Mains Examination. The optional exam consists of two exams for 250 marks each.

The Mains exam consists of a total of nine papers. Following table gives a list of all the Mains Papers: 

Sr No




Total marks


Paper A

Compulsory Indian language

3 hours



Paper B


3 hours



Paper I


3 hours




General Studies I

3 hours



Paper III

General Studies II

3 hours



Paper IV

General Studies III

3 hours



Paper V

General Studies IV

3 hours



Paper VI

Optional I

3 hours



Paper VII

Optional II

3 hours



Sub Total

Written Test



Syllabus of UPSC Main Examination Papers

The most significant part of UPSC Mains preparation is understanding the syllabus of all the Papers. Following table gives in detail the syllabus for general Studies Papers:

UPSC Mains Syllabus for GS Paper 1

Indian Culture

Salient Aspects of Art Forms, Literature, and Architecture from Ancient to modern times

Modern History Syllabus

Significant personalities, events, and issues from the middle eighteenth century(the 1750s) until the present

Different stages and the important contributions and contributors from various locations of the country in “The Freedom Struggle”

Post-Independence reorganization and consolidation within the country

World History Syllabus

Forms, events, and effects of society since the 18th-century decolonization

World wars, the Industrial Revolution, Colonization, redrawing of national boundaries, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism, etc.

Indian Society

Indian society and diversity- Salient aspects


Social empowerment, regionalism & secularism, communalism

Role of women and women’s organizations, poverty and developmental issues, population and associated issues, urbanization, their problems, and remedies

Effects of Globalization on Indian Society


Important Geophysical phenomena include tsunamis, Volcanic activity, earthquakes, cyclones, etc.


Distribution of key natural resources across the world, including the Indian sub-continent and South Asia: factors responsible for the location of primary, secondary, and tertiary industries in various regions of the world, including India

Salient features of the world’s physical geography

Geographical features and their location, changes in critical geographical features and in flora and fauna, and the bad impact of these changes.

UPSC Mains Syllabus for GS Paper 2


Indian Constitution, Features of Indian Constitution, Amendments in Indian Constitution, Provisions, Constitutional and non-constitutional bodies


Government Schemes, policies, and interventions, Governance, Transparency, Accountability, E-governance applications

Social Justice

Issues relating to the development and management of Social Sector/Services, Issues relating to poverty and hunger

International Relations

Bilateral Groupings, Regional and global groupings, Agreements involving India and affecting India’s interests

UPSC Mains Syllabus for GS Paper 3


Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development, and employment.

Indian Budgeting System.

Infrastructure – Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways, etc.

Investment models (PPP, etc.)

Inclusive growth and associated issues/challenges

Effects of liberalization on the economy (post-1991 changes), changes in industrial policy, and their effects on industrial growth.


Major cropping patterns in various parts of the country, different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport, and marketing of Indian agricultural produce and issues and related constraints, e-technology in aid of farmers

Economics of animal rearing.

Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices, Public Distribution System objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping, issues of buffer stocks and food security; Technology missions

Food processing and related industries in India – scope and significance, location, upstream and downstream requirements, supply chain management.

Land reforms in India.

Science and Technology

Indigenization of technology and development of new technology.

Recent developments and their applications and effects in everyday life

Achievements of Indians in science & technology.

General awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, Robotics, Nanotechnology, and biotechnology

Issues relating to intellectual property rights

Internal Security & Disaster Management

Disaster Management (Laws, Acts, etc.)

Challenges to internal security (external state and non-state actors)

Linkages between the development and spread of extremism

Basics of cyber security, money-laundering and its prevention

Challenges to internal security through communication networks, the role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges,

Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism

Various Security forces and agencies and their mandates

UPSC Mains Syllabus for GS Paper 4


Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers, and administrators; the role of family, society, and educational institutions in inculcating values; 

Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and the world, 

Attitude: content, structure, function; its influence and relation with thought and behavior; moral and political attitudes; social influence and persuasion, Ethics, and Human Interface: Essence, determinants, and consequences of Ethics in human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics in private and public relationships, Case Studies on the above issues.


Public/Civil service values and Ethics in Public Administration, Laws, rules, regulations, and conscience as sources of ethical guidance, Status, and problems; ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions, Strengthening of ethical and moral values in governance; accountability and ethical governance, Corporate governance, Ethical issues in international relations and funding


Aptitude and foundational values for Civil Service, integrity, impartiality and non-partisanship, objectivity, dedication to public service, empathy, tolerance, and compassion towards the weaker sections, Emotional intelligence concepts, and their utilities and application in administration and governance.

How to prepare for UPSC Mains 2023 in 2 Months?

Considering the vast UPSC Mains syllabus, aspirants must put in a lot of effort, devotion, and patience and ensure that they follow a comprehensive study plan. In the last two months, selective study is more important than randomly reading all books. 

Aspirants can score high marks in the Mains examination and appear for the Interview stage with the right strategy and preparation. The UPSC Mains examination necessitates aspirants to follow a more defined approach than the Preliminary examination. Aspirants can follow steps mentioned below to enhance the performance in UPSC Mains 2023 examination:

  1. Analyze and Understand the Syllabus

Before you begin studying, aspirants should familiarize himself with the UPSC mains syllabus. They should be aware of the important topics that they must address and have a basic understanding of each of them. Aspirants should familiarize himself with the UPSC Mains Syllabus, which covers important topics like Politics, Science and Technology, and Economics.

  1. Trim your syllabus

The UPSC Mains syllabus is lengthy as aspirants have to cover a variety of subjects in a single paper like History, Geography, Art and culture, Society etc. If aspirants carefully review their syllabus, then they will notice that there are numerous areas that demand less attention like Post-Independence History of India.  Aspirants can revise such topics once and focus on more important topics like Globalization, disaster management etc. This will save their time and allow them to revise vast UPSC Mains syllabus easily.

  1. Make a Proper Schedule

Always avoid making hurried or unrealistic UPSC study plans. Before making a study schedule, consider your existing schedule, whether you are a working professional or a college student studying for the exam. These factors can help you determine how much time you can allocate each day. 

  1. Cover Current affairs and Newspaper Analysis

Candidates should read monthly current affairs magazine, Yojana magazine, Kurukshetra magazine, India Year Book, Economic Survey, Government programmes, and current affairs notes. The news should be read and understood every day by relating it to persistent problems because it is presented every day. In order to prepare for the UPSC Mains 2023, you must read the newspaper. Read any decent national newspaper editorial, such as The Hindu or Indian Express.

  1. Solve and Practice Test series

A test series is part of a comprehensive preparation approach for UPSC Main exams. The test series covers important topics from the syllabus which helps you in answer writing practice. Candidates should subscribe to or enroll in test series, and they should attempt to take Mains mock test series on a regular basis. 

  1. Enhance Your Answer Writing Practice

Given the descriptive nature of the Mains paper, it is crucial that your UPSC Mains preparation plan allot enough time for answer writing. Set aside an hour each day to practice answering questions. Get your answers reviewed by your mentors or seniors to get a sense of where you stand. Don't worry about writing imperfect responses at first. Because practice makes perfect, write as many answers as you can.

  1.  Focus on Conceptual Clarity and Contemporary topics

The UPSC mains examination necessitates a solid conceptual basis. You should concentrate on improving your conceptual clarity in all of the subjects for which you need to prepare for the exam. Analyze and comprehend the broad UPSC Contemporary topics, and combine related subjects for effective and timely coverage.

  1.  Evaluate yourself

Try to evaluate your UPSC Mains preparation through Test Series and revision on a regular basis. This will help you determine whether or not you are on the right track. Keep track of your progress at each stage as you begin preparing for the UPSC Mains examination.  

Detailed Timetable to prepare UPSC Mains 2023 in Two Months

To cover and revise the huge UPSC Mains syllabus, it is essential that aspirants have a concrete schedule. Following is the detailed time table which aspirants can follow to cover the vast syllabus of UPSC Mains exam in a time bound manner. This schedule will also help you to give appropriate time for the revision of all topics.


Topics to cover

Daily Answer Writing 

July 1st to July 7

General Studies 1

General Studies 1 

July 8


Essay Writing

July 9 to July 15

General Studies 2

General Studies 2   

July 16


Essay Writing

July 17 to July 23

General Studies 3

General Studies 3 

July 24


Essay Writing

July 25 to July 27  

General Studies 4

General Studies 4 

July 28


Essay Writing

July 29 to July 31

Compulsory languages 

Essay Writing

1 August to 14 August 

Optional Paper 1

Optional Paper 1 

August 15


Essay Writing

16 August to 30 August

Optional Paper 2

Optional Paper 2 

August 31


Essay Writing


Tips For IAS Mains Preparation in 2 Months

Though IAS Mains Preparation in 2 Months may appear to be difficult, it is not. That is something that anyone with decent and exceptional planning can perform. Of course, you must be truthful and committed to reaching your goal. Following are the list of tips that aspirant should follow to Prepare Mains in 2 months:

  1. Develop the mindset that YOU CAN DO IT.

  2. You can also talk to your mentors or view inspiring movies on YouTube.

  3. Make a daily schedule that includes every activity for the whole day. 

  4. Determine which subjects take more time and attention and others can be completed in less time. 

  5. Make a list of everything you need to do and allot suitable time to each task.

  6. Regularly assess yourself to ensure that what you are learning is being retained. Otherwise, you'll have to start from scratch.

  7. Establish a daily or weekly goal for answering questions and stick to it. Make the most of those two months to secure your success.

  8. Group discussion about any issue, rather than merely reading, provides a better choice for remembering things and having better clarity.

  9. You can practice by taking mock examinations and sample papers. UPSC Mains Previous Year question papers can also be quite useful in assessing your abilities.


Complete effort and concentration will enable you to pass the Civil Service exam in two months. Concentrate on your studies and devote more and more time to your preparation. Begin your preparations right away and finish the syllabus. Nothing is impossible, yet thinking you have less time can make you hyper. Examine the previous year's question paper to determine which topics are more significant. Selective and dedicated study will assist you in passing this exam in two months.


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