How To Prepare UPSC Civil Services Mains Paper – V (GS – 4 – Ethics, Aptitude and Integrity)

How to prepare for Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) IAS and Civil Services Mains Exam Paper – V? The exam is commonly called the GS-4 Ethics, Aptitude and Integrity paper.

Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) has produced major revisions to the IAS and Civil Services Mains exam in both the design plus the syllabus. We understand that presently there are 4 General Studies Examination Papers. This is apart from the current one Essay and Optional Exam Papers. Of these, the fresh Exam Paper focused on Ethics, Aptitude along with Integrity has been a problem for many applicants. This is because the reference books are difficult to read. 

The IAS Mains exam tries to examine the academic ability and the knowledge of the applicant to give the answers in a right and logical style. The Test is designed to evaluate the overall mental qualities and knowledge of the candidates. The test is much more than simply to verify their knowledge.

Designing an ideal GS Exam Papers 4 preparation strategy

This report presents the GS Exam Papers 4 preparation strategy for getting the best results inGS-4 Ethics, Aptitude and Integrity paper.

Before you begin studying further, please recognize the major mantra given by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC):

“The problems are expected to examine the applicant’s basic knowledge of each relevant problems. This also checks the ability to examine moreover look at different socio-economic aims, goals, and demands. The applicants must provide appropriate, significant and crisp answers.” 

This order is the guiding star for your GS Exam Papers 4 preparation strategy. You don’t have to learn all the problems; all you require is BASIC Intelligence and the capacity to analyze the problem. Basic knowledge arises from learning and reading. Capability to explain what you have learned.

Best books for GS Exam Papers 4 preparation 

This piece was difficult to write as it’s unique and references for this study were hard to find.

References for this report are assorted. Publications by Oxford University Press, Cambridge Publishers, Springer Publishing Company, Sage, etc. have been covered. Britannica and IGNOU learning supplies were of extensive assistance too.

Several PDF files are difficult. You do not have to understand the whole of the PDF files. Instead, Study the initial few sections to understand the nature of the learning material. Identify the above Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) guidelines for the best results.

Final examination pattern –

The final GS Exam Papers 4 preparation strategy should be highly focused. This is because the exam will have problems with both the theoretical versions and case studies. 

UPSC has given theory-oriented topics plus case studies on ethical beliefs in the Mock test papers. These Mock questions appear to be simple and easy for a serious applicant. Most maximum of the problems and case studies are subjective. This implies that there are no correct solutions in the traditional sense here. Hence, the accuracy of delivering, reflecting and explaining – what is already declared in the name of the Exam paper itself. Therefore, – Ethics, Aptitude, and Integrity will be the determining factors.

The case studies are an augmentation of the decision making and interpersonal questions noticed in Prelims Exam Paper 2. The move by Board to choose applicants who are ethically sound and helpful in decision-making is a praiseworthy step. This is even though the evaluation of the equivalent designed to present and influence the person who judges the response sheet.

We have discussed everything you should read in the corresponding months to assure that your education satisfies the demands of the IAS Civil Services.

The Value of the Sound Strategy!

Applicants often discover Civil Services a tough nut to crack not due to shortage of hard work, yet due to the absence of appropriate strategy.

Strategy for GS Exam Papers 5 preparation

Refer to the following editions for the best GS Exam Papers 4 preparation –

  • BBC Guide to ethics – For very basic introduction and understanding
  • What is Ethics? Book by Cambridge University Press
  • Dimensions of ethics
  • Google books – Value education (Chapter 10 only)
  • Human Values – Refer the IGNOU Study books
  • Ethics in private relationship
  • Ethics in Private and Public Relationships

The last book is easily available as Google Books. You can easily read the same online. Likewise, you can refer to the base Studies given in the book. Moreover, you can opt to download it – if you understand the IT tools

Similar important topics –

For topics about the lessons from the lives of great leaders, reformers and administrative experts, you can read the biographies of such leaders from schoolbooks or websites. 

Moreover, for the right GS Exam Papers 4 preparation, you need to address the role of following Institutions in bringing holistic values. These are – 

  • Family
  • Society
  • Educational Institutes

Attitude – Structure, and Function

  • Structure and Function
  • Complex and specialized
  • Influence and relation to thoughts and behavior patterns
  • Values, attitude and overall behavior
  • Moral and Political values
  • Political attitudes
  • Social influence
  • Persuasion

Recommended books and learning material –

  • Attitude for good Governance
  • Aptitude and foundational values of Civil Services


Integrity and transparency form the core part of GS Exam Papers 4 preparation 

  • Non-partisanship
  • Objectivity
  • Impartiality
  • Dedication to public service
  • Empathy
  • Compassion
  • Development of weaker sections
  • Tolerance

These are important parts of the civil service of India and its core values. These are recommended by the 2nd ARC report (10th report. Read Chapter 16)

Emotional intelligence

  • Basics of emotional intelligence
  • Conceptual clarity
  • Emotional intelligence and bureaucracies
  • Emotional intelligence and public leadership
  • The contribution made by moral thinkers and philosophers of the nation and across the world

The utilities and applications are important. 

Other important topics – 

To opt for the GS Exam Papers 5 preparation, refer to the following points –

  • Ethics in the history of Indian philosophy
  • Ethics in contemporary philosophy in India
  • Ethics in the history of Western Philosophy
  • Ethics in medieval western Philosophy
  • Ethics in public administration
  • Public and Civil Services rules and values
  • Ethics in Greek philosophy
  • Professionalism and ethics in public service

Ethical issues and concern in government and private Institutions – 

To opt for the GS Exam Papers 4 preparation, refer to the following points –

  • Ethical issues and related dilemmas
  • Ethical concerns in public administration
  • Ethics in public administration (Highly recommended for further reading)
  • Laws, rules, and regulations
  • Conscience as a relevant source for ethical guidance

Accountability and Ethical Governance

Read on ethical Governance in the twenty-first-century – The GS Exam Papers 4 preparation requires you to understand the importance of ethics in Governance. The same forms the part of a tough book. 

Recommended books and online sources – 

Read on the books on elements of Governance

  • Ethics and Governance. Book by T. N. Chaturvedi (Ex CAG and Governor of Karnataka)
  • Strengthening of ethical and moral values in Governance (PDF file)
  • Ethical issues in international relations and funding. Read this from e-books on the topic
  • Corporate Governance – Read this online for getting new ideas and facts. 
  • Corporate Governance – An ethical perspective – online article having a critical analysis of the issues
  • News reports from The Economic Times
  • PPT presentation available from IIT Bombay resources

Probity in the ethical Governance

The GS Exam Papers 5 preparation is incomplete without the syllabus delivered by the following book. This is written by retired IAS officers from Gujarat. 

Recommended books and online sources – 

All topics of the book are important and covered by the book.

  • Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude for IAS and civil services (Mains) Examination for exam paper – 5
  • Probity in Governance – publication by the Law Ministry of India. (Excellent information and covers a large part of the syllabus)
  • Concept of public service
  • What is probity in Governance -Private context

The best book on the above subject is Probity in Governance – publication by the Law Ministry of India. It clearly defines the important aspects of public service in India 

The philosophical basis of Governance and probity

Focus on information on transparency and information sharing in Governance. Ideally, read the RTI Act 2005. 

Recommended books and online sources – 

Focus on Right to Information Act and related articles on the topic from the following sources – 

  • Economic and Political Weekly
  • The Hindu

Code of ethics and conduct 

The GS Exam Papers 4 preparation should have the following elements and reading material –

  • Codes of Ethics – OECD
  • Codes of Conduct – Google Books
  • Codes of Ethics – World Bank
  • Quality of Service Delivery (online article)
  • Citizen’s Charter (available online)
  • Citizen’s Charter Handbook (available online)
  • Work culture
  • Utilization of public funds – Detailed PDF report by Planning Commission of India (available online)
  • Challenges of corruption

Challenges of Corruption

The GS Exam Papers 4 preparation is incomplete without the syllabus delivered by the following books. Although, it is a general topic, yet it is best covered in the past articles of The Hindu newspaper

Recommended books and online sources –

  • Ethics in Governance. Book by Rakesh K Arora

This book is well written and directed to help the students achieve their dream of being an IAS officer. Hence, the book is a one-shot solution to all your needs for the IAS examination. 

Designing an adequate strategy for the final exam

In the initial stages, an aspirant must have a clear knowledge of the IAS examination and its syllabus. Many aspirants are unable to understand the basic syllabus. Hence, they end up preparing lesser than the required syllabus for the examination. 

Also, a common query at this point is that if coaching is needed or not. Therefore, they often enquire about eligibility, exam dates, pattern, etc. 

Here, the best coaching Institute can help you gain the best results in the examination as per the needs of the UPSC IAS examinations. A poor Institute can bring low-quality outcomes and harm the overall outcomes for the aspirant. 

Preparing for the showdown

The major reason that the IAS examination is considered tough is that it has a huge syllabus. Studying such a vast syllabus can be difficult for the student. An aspirant must face three levels – 

  • Preliminary examination
  • Mains Examination
  • Interview round

With each stage, the level of difficulty increases. Hence, an IAS aspirant needs to check on adequate Strategies to clear the examination. Likewise, good mental and physical health is needed to get the best results in the examination. Moreover, the examination covers a wider scope of awareness of subjects to get the best talent for them.

Time Management Strategy

You need to have a dedicated time management plan. Without this, your results in the examination will suffer. You will have to face various problems. A good time management plan can deliver the best results for your needs. 

Likewise, self-assessment is an essential part of the final Examination preparation process. You need to focus on mock interviews and syllabus plans to get the best results. 

Important Links:

Indian Civil Services: A Perspective
Mains, CSE: Get cracking on It! And Push Your Rank Higher to Join IAS.
How Does A Well Thought Of Head-Start Support Your Preparation For The IAS Exam?
Union Public Service Commission CSE: The Tie Breaking Rule
Civil Services Exam Guidance vs. Studying in Isolation
What Role Does Magazine Reading Play In The CSE Preparation?
How to Understand And Counteract The Stressful Moments Before The Prelims