How to Prepare for UPSC Mains 2022 (Civil Services Examination)? 

How to Prepare for UPSC Mains 2022 (Civil Services Examination)

The second stage of the UPSC Civil Services Examination, i.e Mains, will be conducted from 16th September 2022. Approximately, 3 months are left for the UPSC Mains 2022 exam and it’s time to make a strategic study plan to ace the exam. 

Unlike Prelims, UPSC Mains is a written examination that consists of 9 descriptive papers conducted over 5 days. Aspirants have to write answers to various questions within a specific word limit. 

This article will help you understand the UPSC Mains exam pattern, its syllabus, and key strategies you must implement to crack the upcoming UPSC Mains 2022 exam. 

Let’s start with the UPSC Mains exam pattern.

UPSC Mains 2022 Pattern

PaperSubjectDurationTotal Marks
Paper ACompulsory Indian Language3 Hours300 (Qualifying)
Paper BEnglish3 Hours300 (Qualifying)
Paper IEssay3 Hours250
Paper IIGeneral Studies I – Indian Heritage & Culture, History & Geography of the World & Society 3 Hours250
Paper IIIGeneral Studies II – Governance, Constitution, Welfare Initiatives, Social Justice & International Relations 3 Hours250
Paper IVGeneral Studies III – Technology, Economic Development, Agriculture, Biodiversity, Security & Disaster Management3 Hours250
Paper VGeneral Studies IV – Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude3 Hours250
Paper VIOptional Subject – Paper I3 Hours250
Paper VIIOptional Subject – Paper II 3 Hours250

Just like it is with UPSC Prelims, it is crucial that you familiarise yourself with the exam pattern of the Mains exam as well. This will help you plan your own strategy and divide your time between different subjects.

Also read: Common mistakes to avoid in UPSC preparation

Now let us move on to some preparation tips on how to prepare for the Mains exam.

6 Pro tips to prepare for UPSC Mains 2022

#1 Tip – Consistency is the key to your success

At the outset, you are expected to understand the UPSC Mains syllabus and exam pattern inside out and most importantly, be consistent in your preparation. 

This means you need to schedule all days, weeks, and months with properly set targets and seek to complete those set targets without fail.

Make sure you devote your 100% during your study hours. It is not the number of hours your study but the quality of study time you achieve during those hours that will help you clear UPSC Mains 2022.  

Enhance your UPSC knowledge base with our Daily Current Affairs video wherein we discuss important topics from the UPSC CSE point of view:

#2 Tip – Be Careful While Choosing Your Optional Subject

Your choice of UPSC optional can either make you or break you. 

In the CSE Mains exam, two papers out of the nine papers are UPSC Optional subjects, Optional Subject Paper 1 and Optional Subject Paper 2. Both papers carry 250 marks each. 

You can choose an optional subject that is unrelated to your academic background but the deciding factors should be your level of interest and your degree of comfort in the subject.  

Once you have made your choice, there is no going back. Make sure you master your optional subject with dedication and determination. 

If you are still doubtful about choosing your Optional subject read How to Choose the Right Optional Subject for UPSC Mains

#3 Be equally focussed on the Compulsory subjects

As a candidate, you need to remember that all papers are equally important. Do not make the mistake of spending too much time choosing your optional subject. 

The compulsory papers comprise English, Indian Language, and Essay Writing and you need to be proficient in all three to cross the Mains round and get to the interview. 

Each and every mark counts in this state and you will need your undivided attention. You should also be fluent or at least well-versed in an Indian language of your choice. 

#4 Tip  Practice your Answer Writing consistently

Since the Mains exam is descriptive in nature, it becomes extremely crucial that you give time to answer writing during your UPSC Mains preparation. 

The Essay Paper in the UPSC Mains exam paper consists of two sections, A and B of 125 marks each and each section has four topics in it. 

To impress the examiner you need to write short, concise, and impactful answers and capable of summarizing well. 

To achieve this you need to dedicate an hour or two to answer writing every day. The best way to prepare is to try to summarize everything in your own words.

Our detailed article on How to Write Good Quality Answers for UPSC Mains will help you master the Answer writing skills for the UPSC Mains 2022 exam. 

#5 Regularly update yourself on Current Affairs

Cracking the Mains exam is no easy feat and it requires a multidimensional approach. 

Your knowledge of current affairs needs to be strong and updated with all important events of national and international importance. 

Current affairs help you develop knowledge about the various societal issues along economic, political, cultural, or social lines. It also helps you develop strong analytical and logical thinking abilities. 

Read more: How to Prepare for Current Affairs in UPSC

#6 Last, but definitely not the least, regular Mock Tests. 

At any point in your UPSC preparation, Mock Test will help you to understand exactly where you stand with regard to your preparation. 

They are a valuable tool to help you understand what is missing in your preparation and where exactly you need to improve. 

Mock tests are an opportunity to understand how the answer-writing process works, the demand of the questions asked in the UPSC Mains Exam and how to answer them to score the highest marks possible.

When you regularly attempt mock tests they will help you make your UPSC Mains 2022 preparation more effective, help you manage time, and boost your confidence.

So there you have it. These are a few of the time-tested tips you need to follow to ace your UPSC mains exam 2022. 

There are just three months left for the Mains Exam 2022 and the need of the hour is to optimize your preparation strategy for maximum results. This means using only those resources which offer the highest value. 

If you are looking for well-researched study material for your UPSC Mains 2022 exam, then PrepLadder is the right choice for you. 

Everything you need to crack UPSC CSE, you will find in the UPSC Dream Pack. It includes concise, effective, and well-planned video lectures by the Dream Team comprising India’s top UPSC faculties, NCERT Summary,  high-yield QBank, highly competitive PrepTests based on the latest exam pattern, and PYQs in the form of tests, and much more. 

Download the PrepLadder App now and get any time anywhere access to the best quality study content for your UPSC CSE preparation. 

All the best for your upcoming UPSC Mains 2022 exam.  


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Arindam Goswami

Arindam is a Content Writer who covers the UPSC category at PrepLadder. He. He aims to help aspirants crack exams and realize their dreams through his work.