How to Optimize Your Score in the GS Papers, Mains, CSE?


Here’s what GS Papers for Mains aim at

  1. Crystal, clear concepts
  2. Lucid, clear and precise expression
  3. Systematically organized ideas

The GS Papers, Mains, CSE carry 250 marks each. Thus if an IAS aspirant does not prepare for them thoroughly, his score is definitely going to suffer a great deal when UPSC declares the results for the Civil Services Exam. Besides, the GS Papers include a wide range of the subjects ranging from History of India & World, Society & Culture, Social Justice & IR, Disaster Management to what not!

No wonder, the GS Papers are feared by the majority of the IAS aspirants. They have to study a lot. And all the Papers in total carry 1000 marks and that does make a lot of difference to the final score and hence a candidate’s rank when the CSE result is declared.

Why do the IAS aspirants actually dread the GS Papers?

The majority of the IAS aspirants stand in awe of the GS Papers, dreading them and getting stressed to no end. And the major reasons for the same are as specified below:

1.There are no less than 1000 marks at stake:

Apart from the fact that the students are required to prepare for a wide range of subjects, there are a total of 1000 marks that would be at stake if the candidates fail to prepare well for all the four GS Papers (GS I –IV), Mains. And that’s reason enough to get an IAS aspirant unnerved.

2. A balanced perspective needs to be observed:

Besides, the preparation for the GS papers needs to be balanced with the same for the Optional Subject Papers and the Essay Paper.

3. And that’s not all:

And needless to say, Mains comprises two more papers apart from what has been mentioned here, viz., English and Language of Choice.

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The Considerations to be Made to Optimize Your Score in the GS I-IV

Making a few considerations as specified below would help maximize your score in the GS Papers:

  1. Depth of understanding: The UPSC notification itself states that it is the depth of the understanding that holds the paramount importance rather than mere knowledge.However, the notification insists that answering the questions would requirea specialized study. Thus, your answers in all the GS Papers should reflect all these attributes.
  2. Crystal Clear Concepts: UPSC aims at the critical insight an IAS aspirant must have concerning various topics, subjects and the Papers. Apart from that, it’s a critically analytical bent of the mind that makes a good administrator. Thus, you should have an absolutely clear understanding of whatever you answer in the GS Papers. A mere cramming of the knowledge is far from sufficient to convince UPSC that you can be a good administrator.
  3. Lucid, crisp and precise expression: UPSC is not going to check your linguistic skills in the GS Papers. Thus, there is no room for any jargon. Your answers must make use of the expressions that are thoroughly lucid, crisp, and precise.
  4. Systematically organized ideas: An analytical mind should think in a logical manner. Thus, all your answers in the GS Mains should present your ideas in a systematically organized manner.
  5. Read NCERT Books: The more you read the NCERT books, the greater will be the clarity that you will gain of various concepts. And it obviously would be reflected in the answers that you write.
  6. Practice Answer Writing Skills: It’s good to solve the test series repeatedly to gain and develop the answer writing skills. It will help you score better in the GS Papers.
  7. Make Notes: There are various types of subjects including both static as well as dynamic that need to be prepared for in order to score well in the GS Papers. For example, the study of the Current Affairs belongs to a highly dynamic domain. Thus, you not only need to prepare the notes, but also update them as and when required. However, the updating might not be so frequently required in case of the static subjects e.g., Art and Culture, History, Geography etc.


Finally, it’s your clarity of the expression and your in-depth understanding of the subjects that counts most. If you want to maximize your score in the GS I-IV Papers, it’s best to gain the crystal clarity of all that you study and present your understanding of the subject with a lucid clear expression. Thus, do not ignore your answer writing skills at any cost.

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