UPSC IAS MAINS Psychology Syllabus 2017

UPSC IAS SYLLABUS 2017 FOR PSYCHOLOGY MAINS EXAM. Get CIVIL SERVICES MAINS PSYCHOLOGY EXAM IAS SYLLABUS 2017 details. Get UPSC IAS/Civil Services MAINS Syllabus, Paper structure & Applicable Topics covered in UPSC MAINS PSYCHOLOGY EXAM IAS Syllabus 2017. Earlier we’ve provided UPSC MAINS Exam Pattern & Structure for 2016 & 2017 exams. Also Read UPSC MAINS INDIAN HISTORY Syllabus, UPSC MAINS CHEMISTRY PAPER SYLLABUS & TOPICS , UPSC MAINS COMMERCE SYLLABUS & Topics 2017. UPSC MAINS PSYCHOLOGY EXAM IAS SYLLABUS 2017: There are 2 optional papers in UPSC mains exam. In UPSC mains examination paper 6&7 are optional subject papers. Psychology is one of the popular optional in the UPSC civil services exam. Irrespective of the academic background anyone can attempt for mains Psychology exam. Interest should be the prime criteria for choosing any optional. Each Psychology paper consists of 250 marks. Duration for each Psychology mains paper is 3 hours. Here is a detailed syllabus of UPSC Psychology mains exam.


Mains Psychology syllabus

Also Read:

UPSC Prelims paper 1 General Studies Syllabus & Topics 2017

UPSC Prelims paper 2 Aptitude Syllabus & Topics 2017

UPSC Mains Agriculture Syllabus

UPSC Mains Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science Syllabus & Topics

Civil Services Botany Mains Syllabus & Topics

Civil Services Bodo Mains Syllabus& Topics

UPSC IAS Mains Chemistry Paper Syllabus& Topics

UPSC Mains Civil Engineering Syllabus 2017

UPSC IAS Mains Commerce Syllabus 2017

UPSC Mains Economics Syllabus 2017


Foundations of Psychology

  1. Introduction: Definition of Psychology; Historical antecedents of Psychology and trends in the 21st century; Psychology and scientific methods; Psychology in relation to other social sciences and natural sciences; Application of Psychology to societal problems.
  2. Methods of Psychology: Types of research: Descriptive, evaluative, diagnostic and prognostic; Methods of Research: Survey, observation, case study and experiments; Characteristics of experimental design and non-experimental design, Quasi-experimental designs; Focussed group discussions, brain storming, grounded theory approach.
  3. Research Methods: Major steps in Psychological research (problem statement, hypothesis formulation, research designs, sampling, tools of data collection, analysis and interpretation and report writing) Fundamental versus applied research; Methods of data collection (interview, observation, questionnaire); Research designs (ex-post facto and experimental); Application of statistical technique (t – test, two-way ANOVA correlation, regression and factor analysis); Item response theory.
  4. Development of Human Behaviour: Growth and development; Principles of development, Role of genetic and environmental factors in determining human behaviour; Influence of cultural factors in socialization; Life span development – Characteristics, development tasks, promoting psychological well-being across major stages of the life span.
  5. Sensation, Attention and Perception: Sensation: concepts of threshold, absolute and difference thresholds, signal- detection and vigilance; Factors influencing attention including set and characteristics of stimulus; Definition and concept of perception, biological factors in perception; Perceptual organization-influence of past experiences, perceptual defence-factors influencing space and depth perception, size estimation and perceptual readiness; The plasticity of perception; Extrasensory perception; Culture and perception, Subliminal perception.
  6. Learning: Concept and theories of learning (Behaviourists, Gestaltalist and Information processing models); The Processes of extinction, discrimination and generalization; Programmed learning, probability learning, self-instructional learning, concepts; Types and the schedules of reinforcement, escape, avoidance and punishment, modeling and social learning.
  7. Memory: Encoding and remembering; Short term memory, Long term memory, Sensory memory, Iconic memory, Echoic memory: The Multistore model, levels of processing; Organization and Mnemonic techniques to improve memory; Theories of forgetting: decay, interference and retrieval failure: Metamemory; Amnesia: Anterograde and retrograde.
  8. Thinking and Problem Solving: Piaget’s theory of cognitive development; Concept formation processes; Information processing, Reasoning and problem solving, Facilitating and hindering factors in problem-solving, Methods of problem-solving: Creative thinking and fostering creativity; Factors influencing decision making and judgment; Recent trends.
  9. Motivation and Emotion: Psychological and physiological basis of motivation and emotion; Measurement of motivation and emotion; Effects of motivation and emotion on behaviour; Extrinsic and intrinsic motivation; Factors influencing intrinsic motivation; Emotional competence and the related issues.
  10. Intelligence and Aptitude: Concept of intelligence and aptitude, Nature and theories of intelligence – Spearman, Thurstone, Gullford Vernon, Sternberg and J.P; Das; Emotional Intelligence, Social intelligence, measurement of intelligence and aptitudes, concept of IQ, deviation IQ, constancy of IQ; Measurement of multiple intelligence; Fluid intelligence and crystallized intelligence.
  11. Personality: Definition and concept of personality; Theories of personality (psychoanalytical, socio-cultural, interpersonal, developmental, humanistic, behaviouristic, trait and type approaches); Measurement of personality (projective tests, pencil-paper test); The Indian approach to personality; Training for personality development; Latest approaches like big 5 factor theory; The notion of self in different traditions.
  12. Attitudes, Values and Interests: Definition of attitudes, values and interests; Components of attitudes; Formation and maintenance of attitudes; Measurement of attitudes, values and interests; Theories of attitude change; Strategies for fostering values; Formation of stereotypes and prejudices; Changing others behaviour; Theories of attribution; Recent trends.
  13. Language and Communication: Human language – Properties, structure and linguistic hierarchy, Language acquisition- predisposition, critical period hypothesis; Theories of language development – Skinner and Chomsky; Process and types of communication – effective communication training.
  14. Issues and Perspectives in Modern Contemporary Psychology: Computer application in the psychological laboratory and psychological testing; Artificial intelligence; Psychocybernetics; Study of consciousness-sleep-wake schedules; dreams, stimulus deprivation, meditation, hypnotic/drug induced states; Extrasensory perception; Intersensory perception Simulation studies.


Psychology: Issues and Applications

  1. Psychological Measurement of Individual Differences: The nature of individual differences; Characteristics and construction of standardized psychological tests; Types of psychological tests; Use, misuse and limitation of psychological tests; hical issues in the use of psychological tests.
  2. Psychological well being and Mental Disorders: Concept of health-ill health; Positive health, well-being; Causal factors in mental disorders (Anxiety disorders, mood disorders, schizophrenia and delusional disorders; personality disorders, substance abuse disorders); Factors influencing positive health, well being, life style and quality of life; Happiness disposition.
  3. Therapeutic Approaches: Psychodynamic therapies; Behaviour therapies; Client-centered therapy; Cognitive therapies; Indigenous therapies (Yoga, Meditation); Bio-feedback therapy; Prevention and rehabilitation of the mentally ill; Fostering mental health.
  4. Work Psychology and Organisational Behaviour: Personnel selection and training; Use of psychological tests in the industry; Training and human resource development; Theories of work motivation – Herzberg, Maslow, Adam Equity theory, Porter and Lawler, Vroom; Leadership and participatory management; Advertising and marketing; Stress and its management; Ergonomics; consumer psychology; Managerial effectiveness; Transformational leadership; Sensitivity training; Power and politics in organizations.
  5. Application of Psychology to Educational Field: Psychological principles underlying effective teaching-learning process; Learning styles; Gifted, retarded, learning disabled and their training; Training for improving memory and better academic achievement; Personality development and value education, Educational, vocational guidance and career counseling; Use of psychological tests in educational institutions; Effective strategies in guidance programmes.
  6. Community Psychology: Definition and concept of community psychology; Use of small groups in social action; Arousing community consciousness and action for handling social problems; Group decision making and leadership for social change; Effective strategies for social change.
  7. Rehabilitation Psychology: Primary, secondary and tertiary prevention programmes-role of psychologists; Organising of services for rehabilitation of physically, mentally and socially chal- 46 Employment News 31 May – 6 June 2014 lenged persons including old persons, Rehabilitation of persons suffering from substance abuse, juvenile delinquency, criminal behaviour; Rehabilitation of victims of violence, Rehabilitation of HIV/AIDS victims, the role of social agencies.
  8. Application of Psychology to disadvantaged groups: The concepts of disadvantaged, deprivation; Social, physical, cultural and economic consequences of disadvantaged and deprived groups; Educating and motivating the disadvantaged towards development; Relative and prolonged deprivation.
  9. Psychological problems of social integration: The concept of social integration; The problem of caste, class, religion and language conflicts and prejudice; Nature and manifestation of prejudice between the in-group and out-group; Causal factors of social conflicts and prejudices; Psychological strategies for handling the conflicts and prejudices; Measures to achieve social integration.
  10. Application of Psychology in Information Technology and Mass Media: The present scenario of information technology and the mass media boom and the role of psychologists; Selection and training of psychology professionals to work in the field of IT and mass media; Distance learning through IT and mass media; Entrepreneurship through e-commerce; Multilevel marketing; Impact of TV and fostering value through IT and mass media; Psychological consequences of recent developments in Information Technology.
  11. Psychology and Economic development: Achievement motivation and economic development; Characteristics of entrepreneurial behaviour; Motivating and training people for entrepreneurship and economic development; Consumer rights and consumer awareness, Government policies for the promotion of entrepreneurship among youth including women entrepreneurs.
  12. Application of psychology to an environment and related fields: Environmental psychology-effects of noise, pollution and crowding; Population psychology: psychological consequences of population explosion and high population density; Motivating for small family norm; Impact of rapid scientific and technological growth on the degradation of the environment.
  13. Application of psychology in other fields:
    (a) Military Psychology Devising psychological tests for defence personnel for use in selection, Training, counseling; training psychologists to work with defence personnel in promoting positive health; Human engineering in defence.
    (b) Sports Psychology Psychological interventions in improving the performance of athletes and sports. Persons participating in Individual and Team Games.
    (c) Media influences on pro and antisocial behaviour.
    (d) Psychology of terrorism.
  14. Psychology of Gender: Issues of discrimination, Management of diversity; Glass ceiling effect, Self fulfilling prophesy, Women and Indian society

Concepts of psychology paper I are foundations of psychology paper II. One should cover every nook and corner of the psychology exam ias syllabus 2017. Prepare a standard format for answering questions involving attitude and behavior change.  It is recommended that while preparing student must keep this UPSC mains psychology syllabus to check the progress.

How to select Optional Subjects in UPSC Mains Exam

Get details on How to select Optional Subjects in UPSC Mains Exam. The decision of selection of the optional paper in IAS exam is an age old dilemma for Civil Services aspirants. As per the latest civils syllabus, the number of optional subjects to be selected is reduced to one, but aspirants are still confused if they make the right choice or not. Though the weightage of the UPSC Mains optional paper is only 500 marks out of 2025 marks as per the latest pattern of UPSC Civil Services Mains exam, it is still a deciding factor in the final ranks due to the unpredictability associated with General Studies Papers (1000 marks  GS + 250 marks essay) and Interview (275 marks). Click here and read about How to prepare personality test for UPSC exam.

Selecting Optional Subjects in UPSC Mains examination

For UPSC mains students have to select one optional subject from 26 subjects provided by UPSC for mains examination .optional subject are not the part of preliminary examination and are only the part of mains per the latest pattern candidate has to select one optional from 26 subject provided by UPSC, irrespective of their graduation or qualification.this mean that doctors or engineers or anyone else can select any one subject from 26 subjects provided,according to their choice or love for subject. It is not mandatory to select their graduation subject for optional

If we analyse the question papers and mark-list of last 5-10 years of UPSC Civil Services Exams, we can collect a lot interesting and valuable data. The UPSC questions have evolved and now the bias is more towards current related aspects of polity, economy, international relations etc than conventional topics. Keeping this in mind we can also select our optional subjects.

If you are so strong in all your GS papers with consistent newspaper reading and note making habits, the decision of IAS Mains optional might  play a big difference in your results.

You need to select an optional subject in which you are comfortable to score high in UPSC mains. The level of comforts depends on many factors like – familiarity of the subject, availability of books and other study materials, availability of faculty, the scope of peer discussion, recent trends of marks, a level of difficulty as per the civils syllabus and previous question papers etc. If the subject you took for graduation is available in the list of subjects given, in most cases the same option will turn out as a comfortable option. All others (who don’t have an option for optional subject:-), look for an optional subject which you can finish in a time bound manner without encroaching the time for GS preparation.

Overlap for the optional subject with General Studies : Is this the right strategy?

Selecting an overlapping optional with General Studies is a good strategy, as the time required to study an optional subject not mentioned as per General Studies civils syllabus can be saved.There are also many who made it to the top with optional subjects like Medical Science or Law. None of these overlaps with GS civils syllabus as subjects like History or Geography do. Never take an optional just for the sole reason of GS overlap. Also never take an optional just based on advice from coaching institute gurus. Trust good mentors, but by this age, you are grown up enough to realise the commercial interests behind promoting each optional subject – be it History, Geography, Sociology, Pub Ad, Psychology or anything like that. Please understand that each and every optional subject is scoring. Due to the scaling effects, some optional might not turn high-scoring in some years, but there is no universal trend or theory. You requirement is to score maximum marks for an optional subject as well as in GS.

Popularity of Optional Subjects in Civil Services Exam

In IAS exam preparation, certain optional subjects are very popular. Though the number of candidates selecting each optional for IAS mains can vary year to year, the below table gives an average estimation for the coming years based on past year trends of optional subjects (As per latest civils syllabus).

Optional subject

Probable no of student selecting optional for Mains


Around 3000


Around 3000

Public administration

Around 3000


Around 3000

Philosophy + Psychology +Political Science + Economics

All other science/art subjects (in total)


All literature subjects (in total)



Around 15000


UPSC Optional

UPSC Optional Subjects

List of the optional subject provided by UPSC.

  1. Agriculture
  2. Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science
  3. Anthropology
  4. Botany
  5. Chemistry
  6. Civil Engineering
  7. Commerce and Accountancy
  8. Economics
  9. Electrical Engineering
  10. Geography
  11. Geology
  12. History
  13. Law
  14. Management
  15. Mathematics
  16. Mechanical Engineering
  17. Medical Science
  18. Philosophy
  19. Physics
  20. Political Science and International Relations
  21. Psychology
  22. Public Administration
  23. Sociology
  24. Statistics
  25. Zoology
  26. Literature of any one of the following language (Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, and English)


Compiled by: SuperProfs Academics Team

Download UPSC Mains Sociology Question Papers – Optional

Download UPSC IAS Mains Optional Subject Sociology Question Papers 2009 to 2016. Earlier we’ve provided UPSC Mains Sociology Syllabus & Topics for 2017. Get UPSC Civil Services Exam Previous Year Question Papers for UPSC IAS Mains Optional Subject Paper Preparation. Practicing on previous question papers is one of the significant step in civil services exam preparation. Hence SuperProfs has taken this initiative to provide previous years question papers to keep all the IAS aspirants gearing up for civil services exam 2016 updated, as this will give an idea about the IAS Optional Subject Sociology Question Paper pattern. We keep adding the latest UPSC civil service exams question papers as it will serve as sample papers to the IAS aspirants. So, check our website frequently as we will be adding newer question papers so that UPSC aspirants stay updated.

Download UPSC Mains Sociology Question Papers – Optional

Download UPSC IAS Mains Optional Subject Sociology Question Papers from 2009 to 2015

Also visit: 

This page contains links for free download of previous years UPSC Civil Services Mains Optional Subject Sociology Exam Question Papers (IAS/IPS) from 2009 to 2016.

UPSC IAS Mains Optional Subject Sociology Question Papers from 2009 to 2016

2009 Sociology

Question Paper I

Question Paper 2

2010 Sociology

Question Paper I

Question Paper 2

2011 Sociology

Question Paper I

Question Paper 2

2012 Sociology

Question Paper I

Question Paper 2

2013 Sociology

Question Paper I

Question Paper 2

2014 Sociology

Question Paper I

Question Paper 2

Free Download Sociology Question Papers 2015

Question Paper I

Question Paper 2

Free Download Sociology Question Papers 2016

Question Paper I (will update soon)

Question Paper 2(will update soon)

List of Optional Subjects for Civil Services Main Exam

Agriculture Management
Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science Mathematics
Anthropology Mechanical Engineering
Botany Medical Science
Chemistry Philosophy
Civil Engineering Physics
Commerce & Accountancy Political Science & International Relations
Economics Psychology
Electrical Engineering Public Administration
Geography Sociology
Geology Statistics
Indian History Zoology

Following are the List of UPSC MAINS OPTIONAL SUBJECTS with full syllabus which are applicable for UPSC Mains 2017 Exams.

UPSC IAS Mains Optional Subject Public Administration Question Papers

Download UPSC IAS Mains Optional Subject Public Administration Question Papers 2009 to 2016. Earlier we’ve provided UPSC Mains Public Administration Syllabus & Topics for 2017 & 2018. Get UPSC Civil Services Exam Previous Year Question Papers for UPSC IAS Mains Optional Subject Paper Preparation. Practicing on previous question papers is one of the significant step in civil services exam preparation. Hence SuperProfs has taken this initiative to provide previous years question papers to keep all the IAS aspirants gearing up for civil services exam 2016 updated, as this will give an idea about the IAS Optional Subject Public Administration Question Paper pattern. We keep adding the latest UPSC civil service exams question papers as it will serve as sample papers to the IAS aspirants. So, check our website frequently as we will be adding newer question papers so that UPSC aspirants stay updated.

Also visit: 

This page contains links for free download of previous years UPSC Civil Services Mains Optional Subject Public Administration Exam Question Papers (IAS/IPS) from 2009 to 2016.

UPSC IAS Mains Optional Subject Public Administration Question Papers from 2009 to 2016

UPSC IAS Mains Optional Subject Public Administration Question Papers from 2009 to 2015

2009 Public Administration

Question Paper I

Question Paper 2

2010 Public Administration

Question Paper I

Question Paper 2

2011 Public Administration

Question Paper I

Question Paper 2

2012 Public Administration

Question Paper I

Question Paper 2

2013 Public Administration

Question Paper I

Question Paper 2

2014 Public Administration

Question Paper I

Question Paper 2

2015 Public Administration

Question Paper I

Question Paper 2

Download UPSC Mains Optional Subject Public Administration Question papers – 2016

Question Paper I

Question Paper 2

List of Optional Subjects for Civil Services Main Exam

Agriculture Management
Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science Mathematics
Anthropology Mechanical Engineering
Botany Medical Science
Chemistry Philosophy
Civil Engineering Physics
Commerce & Accountancy Political Science & International Relations
Economics Psychology
Electrical Engineering Public Administration
Geography Sociology
Geology Statistics
Indian History Zoology

Following are the List of UPSC MAINS OPTIONAL SUBJECTS with full syllabus which are applicable for UPSC Mains 2016 & 2017 Exams.

Indian Forest Services Mains Zoology Syllabus 2017 – UPSC

Get UPSC Indian Forest Services Mains Zoology Syllabus for 2017 IFS Mains Exam. We have already provided UPSC Civil Services/IFS Mains Exam Pattern & Structure for 2017 exam. There are 2 optional papers in UPSC mains exam. Zoology is an optional subject and each Zoology paper of 250 marks. Anyone who has academic background in Agriculture, Life Sciences, Botany, Biomedical Sciences, Biotechnology, Zoology, Dairy and other related fields. Zoology paper 1 syllabus mainly focus on farm practice and basics of Zoology. Zoology paper 2 syllabus mainly focus on cell biology, genetics, biotechnology. UPSC Syllabus for IFS mains Zoology exam 2017 in detail is given below.

UPSC Indian Forest Services Mains Zoology Syllabus (Optional Paper)

Indian Forest Services Mains Zoology Syllabus 2017

Also Read:


UPSC Indian Forest Services Mains Zoology Paper 1 Syllabus

IFS Zoology Syllabus

Zoology Paper-1

Section A

  1. Non-chordata and chordata:
    1. Classfication and relationship of varous phyla upto sub-classes; Acoelomata and Coelomata; Protostomes and Deuterostomes, Bilateralia and Radiata; Status of Protista, Parazoa, Onychophora and Hemichordata; Symmetry.
    2. Protozoa: Locomotion, nutrition, reproduction; evolution of sex; General features and life history of Paramaecium, Monocystis, Plasmodium, and Leishmania.
    3. Porifera: Skeleton, canal system and reproduction.
    4. Coelenterata: Polymorphism, defensive structures and their mechanism; coral reefs and their formation; metagenesis; general features and life history of Obelia and Aurelia.
    5. Platyhelminthes: Parasitic adaptation; general features and life history of Fasciola and Taenia and their relation to man.
    6. Nemathelminthes: General features, life history and parasitic adaptation of Ascaris; nemathelminths in relation to man.
    7. Annelida: Coelom and metamerism; modes of life in polychaetes; general features and life history of nereis (Neanthes), earthworm (Pheretima) and leach (Hirudinaria).
    8. Arthropoda: Larval forms and parasitism in Crustacea; vision and respiration in arthropods (prawn, cockroach and scorpion); modification of mouth parts in insects (cockroach, mosquito, housefly, honey bee and butterfly); metamorphosis in insects and its hormonal regulation; social organization in insects (termites and honey bees).
    9. Mollusca: Feeding, respiration, locomotion, shell diversiy; general features and life history of Lamellidens, Pila and Sepia, torsion and detorsion in gastropods.
    10. Echinodermata: Feeding, respiration, locomotion larval forms; general features and life history of Asterias.
    11. Protochordata: Origin of chordates; general features and life history of Branchiostoma and Herdamania.
    12. Pisces: Scales, respiration, locomotion, migration.
    13. Amphibia: Origin of tetrapods; parental care, paedomorphosis.
    14. Reptilia: Origin of reptiles; skull types; status of Sphenodon and crocidiles.
    15. Aves: Origin of birds; flight adaptation, migration.
    16. Mammalia: Origin of mammals; denitition; general features of egg-laying mammals, pouched-mammals, aquatic mammals and primates; endocrine glands and other hormone producing structures (pituitary, thyroid, parathyroid, adrenal, pancreas, gonads) and their interrelationships.
    17. Comparative functional anatomy of various systems of vertebrates integument and its derivatives, endoskeleton, locomotory organs, digestive system, respiratory system, circulatory system including heart and aortic arches; urino-genital system, brain and sense organs (eye and ear).

Section B

  1. Ecology:
    1. Biosphere: Biogeochemical cycles, green-houses effect, ozone layer and its impact; ecological succession, biomes and ecotones.
    2. Population, characteristics, population dynamics, population stabilization.
    3. Conservation of natural resources-mineral mining, fisheries, aquaculture; forestry; grassland; wildlife (Project Tiger); susainable production in agriculture-integrated pest management.
    4. Environmental biodegradation; pollution and its impact on biosphere and its prevention.
  2. Ethology:
    1. Behaviour: Sensory filtering, responsiveness, sign stimuli, learning, instinct, habituation, conditioning, imprinting.
    2. Role of hormones in drive; role of pheromones in alarm spreading; crypsis, predator detection, predator tactics, social behaviour in insects and primates; courtship (Drosophila, 3-spine stickleback and birds).
    3. Orientation, navigation, homing; biological rhythms; biological clock, tidal, seasonal and circadian rhythms.
    4. Methods of studying animal behaviour.
  3. Economic Zoology:
    1. Apiculture, sericulture, lac culture, carp culture, pearl culture, prawn culture.
    2. Major infectious and communicable diseases (small pox, plague, malaria, tuberculosis, cholera and AIDS) their vectors, pathogens and prevention.
    3. Cattle and livestock diseases, their pathogens (helminths) and vectors (ticks, mites, Tabanus, Stomoxys)
    4. Pests of sugar cane (Pyrilla perpusiella), oil seed (Achaea janata) and rice (Sitophilus oryzae).
  4. Biostatistics: Designing of experiments; null hypothesis; correlation, regression, distribution and measure of central tendency, chi square, student t-test, F-test (one-way & two-way F-test).
  5. Instrumental methods:
    1. Spectrophotometry, flame photometry, Geiger-Muller counter, scintiliation counting.
    2. Electron microscopy (TEM, SEM).

UPSC Indian Forest Services Mains Zoology Paper 2 Syllabus

Section A

  1. Cell Biology:
    1. Structure and function of cell andits organelles (nucleus, plasma membrane, mitochondria, Golgi bodies, endoplasmic reticulum, ribosomes and Iysosomes), cell division (mitosis and meiosis), mitotic spindle and mitotic apparatus, chromosome movement.
    2. Watson-Crick model of DNA, replication of DNA, protein synthesis, transcription and transcription factors.
  2. Genetics
    1. Gene structure and functions; genetic code.
    2. Sex chromosomes and sex determination in Drosophilla, nematodes and man.
    3. Mendel’s laws of inheritance, recombination, linkage, linkage-maps, multiple alleles, cistron concept; genetics of blood groups.
    4. Mutations and mutagenesis: Radiation and chemical.
    5. Cloning technology, plasmids and cosmids as vectors, transgenics, transposons, DNA sequence cloning and whole animal cloning (Principles and methodology).
    6. Regulation and gene expression in pro-and eu-karyotes.
    7. Signal transduction; pedigree-analysis; congenital diseases in man.
    8. Human genome mapping; DNA finger-printing.
  3. Evolution
    1. Origin of life
    2. Natural selection, role of mutation in evolution, mimicry, variation, isolation, speciation.
    3. Fossils and fossilization; evolution of horse, elephant and man.
    4. Hardy-Weinberg Law, causes of change in gene frequency.
    5. Continental drift and distribution of animals.
  4. Systematics: Zoological nomenclature; international code; cladistics.

Section B

  1. Biochemistry
    1. Structure and role of carbohydrates, fats, lipids, proteins, aminoacids, nucleic acids; saturated and unsaturated fattyacids, cholesterol.
    2. Glycolysis and Krebs cycle, oxidation and reduction, oxidative phosphorylation; energy conservation and release, ATP, cyclic AMP-its structure and role.
    3. Hormone classification (steroid and peptide hormones), biosynthesis and function.
    4. Enzymes: Types and mechanisms of action; immunoglobulin and immunity; vitamins and co-enzymes.
    5. Bioenergetics.
  2. Physiology (with special refernece ot mammals)
    1. Composition and constitutents of blood; blood groups and Rh factor in man; coagulation, factors and mechanism of coagulation; acid-base balance, thermo regulation.
    2. Oxygen and carbon dioxide transport; haemoglobin: Constitutents and role in regulation.
    3. Nutritive requirements; role of salivary glands, liver, pancreas and intestinal glands in digestion and absorption.
    4. Excretory products; nephron and regulation of urine formation; osmoregulation.
    5. Types of muscles, mechanism of contraction of skeletal muscles.
    6. Neuron, nerve impulse-its conduction and synaptic transmission; neurotransmitters.
    7. Vision, hearing and olfaction in man.
    8. Mechanism of hormone action.
    9. Physiology of reproduction, role of hormones and phermones.
  3. Developmental Biology
    1. Differentiation from gamete to neurula stage; dedifferentiation; metaplasia, induction, morphogenesis and morphogen; fate maps of gastrulae in frog and chick; organogenesis of eye and heart, placenation in mammals.
    2. Role of cytoplasm in and genetic control of development; cell lineage; causation of metamorphosis in frog and insects; paedogenesia and neoteny; growth, degrowth and cell death; ageing; blastogenesis; regeneration; teratogenesis; neoplasia.
    3. Invasiveness of placenta; in vitro fertilization; embryo transfer, cloning.
    4. Baer’s law; evo-devo concept.

IAS Mains Essay Preparation Tips – UPSC Study Guide

IAS Mains Essay Preparation TipsUPSC Study Guide. Normally we don’t prepare separately for Essay paper. But this 200 marks is very critical because the range of the marks of tined by the students in this paper varies from 30 to 155, which is very vast and can be very critical for anybody. So, therefore preparation for this paper is very essential but it is a very easy process because out of the 5 essays, we have to answer any one of them. Every year if you see the previous years essay papers one essay is from topics like Environment, one related to the Women Issues, One Essay is related to Science and Ethics and also from Economics, Globalisation & Impacts etc.

About IAS Mains Essay Paper

IAS Mains Essay Preparation Tips - UPSC Study Guide

The essay paper having two sections A and B with four topics each (the candidates have to select a topic from each section and write on it for 1,000-2,000 words with a time duration of three hours) for total marks of 250 (125×2) in the civil services main examination is crucial in determining the final outcome, selection and ranking.

It is critical because it is a compulsory paper and its score is incorporated in computing the total. It is decisive because there is no specialisation in an essay and so no aspirant cannot claim expertise, unlike optional subjects.

IAS Mains Essay Preparation Tips – Selection of Essay

Selection of essay is most important because once you start with it, you cannot look back or start with a new one. Therefore select an essay in which you know you can write. Now, some people will say that they don’t have the know-how about how to write such a long essay. I will say that it would be better to write good content (above 1500-1700 words will fetch you good marks).

After you select an essay, think it from a wider dimension and don’t confine to a particular sphere. Like in poverty, other than economic dimension, it has political, social, humanistic dimension as well. Further, we suffer from poverty of knowledge (women not demanding their rights in household), poverty of humanity (parents killing their child), poverty of culture, poverty of nationalism(NE exodus, regionalism) and so on.

write as much as you can on the last page of the sheet and then try to streamline them in a fashion that it shows the flow of essay and your thoughts.

Do not write out of context stories which have no relevance. We have seen people writing irrelevant stories in their essay to increase the length. It is better to write to the point and explain in a manner that is not repetitive.

Start essay with a ‘text/ quotation’ that sets the precedent for your first paragraph. If you are not able to remember any saying of a popular personality, better to avoid and start with something that is not abrupt but sets a platform for your topic.

The same flow shall be maintained in the body of the essay. Always try to analyse the point you put forward and never add irrelevant information at any cost. In conclusion, always try to write your opinion (I did, not recommended) and what is your stand on the topic. The conclusion shall not be more than 200 words.

One Golden rule

Only writing constantly on any topic that appear in newspaper, whether for 200 words will help a lot in increasing your essay marks. Always use simple English.

Tip#1: Think for 30-45 minutes

before you start the Essay writing
Take this example.
They asked an essay on Gandhi, I start writing it. I write something like

Gandhi was born in Porbandar &
then He went to England…africa..come back…freedom struggle..Gandhi-Irwin..2nd
round table….partition…etc.

UPSC IAS Mains Essay Preparation Tips -

After 1 hour of writing, I realize that I forgot mention about Champaran’s Indigo Struggle when Gandhi got actively involved in Indian Freedom struggle for the first time! Now I can’t add it. Because there is no space in initial pages. However I can still try to add it in the conclusion like

…in 1947 Gandhi won the fight he started with Champaran…”

But when Examiner doesn’t find the mention of Champaran in the initial pages, then he gets an impression you forgot it = less marks. Hence everything has to be written in its place.

That’s why you must…..

Think for 30-45 minutes before you start the Essay writing


You’ve 3 hours to write the essay. Don’t immediately start

  • 1st try to recall everything that you can remember / want to say about the
  • Take a pencil and write them all (in very brief) on the end of the answer
  • See if there is any chance of adding some diagram or table in it?  
Do you remember any?

  1. any famous quotes?
  2. Current events
  3. People
  4. Historical events
  5. Laws / Administrative polices related to it
*Related to that topic, What are the

  1. Positive
  2. Negative sides
  3. obstacles
  4. Reforms you suggest?

Once you’re done adding everything that you can think about, regarding the essay- then give those topics, order of
The order is very important, just like in wedding
parties you start with Soup…dal-roti and…Ice cream in the end.

UPSC IAS Eassy Writing Tips & Exam Preparation
The order should be

  1. Introduction
  2. Background / History related
  3. Main concept / theory / what the subject is about
  4. Current scenario related to it.
  5. Good sides
  6. Negative sides / obstacles
  7. Suggested reforms
  8. Conclusion

everything has to be written in its place.
Gandhi’s Champaran must come in the beginning not in the end.


Tip#2:What not to write in essay

  1. Autocracy is better than democracy. (know that it’s the democracy that’s allowing you to criticize it) so you should never justify certain solution to India’s problems.
    2. Excessive criticism of Govt. / administration (I mean the frontline and The Hindu’s stand)
    3. Seeing negative sides with out suggesting reforms in

Tip#3: Provocative Essays

Sometimes the essay topics are given in such a way, that you want to agree all the way. E.g.

  1. Panchayati raj is wastage of tax payer’s money. (yes it seems so, just like NREGA but when you’re writing an Essay you need to maintain some balance)
  2. Poor people are their own enemies.

In such cases – just because he gave you statement doesn’t mean you’ve to sing in his tune throughout the paper.DO NOT forget to show the other side of the mirror.
Its Easier to criticize a non working things than to fix it. (Remember this all time during essay.)
Donot give filmy solutions to real life problems. (Munna Bhai MBBS / Slum Dog Millioner.)

Tip#4: Donot get personal

  • Don’t go naming individual politicians – their achievement / scandals (Kalmadi, Raja,Amar Singh etc.)
  • (except in the foreign policy related essay, where you’ve to analyse from entire Nehru’s Panchsheel era to Vajpayee’s Lahore Bus visit and current affairs.) our Foreign policy has changed with every prime minister so their names need to be mentioned.
  • Never write essay talking like “Congress did this and BJP did that.” It’s the trait of a common man, not of a future officer.
  • Give a balanced answer With out getting into hero-worship or mud slinging
  • If criticizing Govenrment in the essay alone was going to make you IAS officer, then every journalist of Aaj Tak would be an IAS officer.
  • An officer’s trait is to remain ‘anonymous’, ‘faceless’ and neutral- meaning your essay should look like it has been written by a graduate.

Same applies for

  1. Religion / culture/ language-literature (in philosophical essays)
    2. States (in polity / federalism / Development)
    I’m not saying you should transform into a sterile person writing the essay with out having any personal view/ opinion or righteous anger but, you mustn’t become too much passionate about certain things.
    I’m saying all this because you can never be sure about what will be the political / ideological / religious / regional alignment of the examiner.
    This suggestion also applies while dealing with Public Administration (optional subject).

Tip#5: Quotes

  1. Don’t make mistakes in writing who said what. E.g. you quote Abraham Lincon’s sentence and write George Washington said it. nothing will make you look more stupid in the eyes of the examiner than that.

2.Quote Exactly as it was said. Mao said “Power flows from the barrel of a gun” so you should not write it as

 “barrel of the gun contains power”
“muzzle of the gun flows the power”

You must quote the quote verbatim. If you’re not sure then don’t quote it.

IAS Mains Essay Preparation Tips

Tip#6: Padding & Deviating from the subject

Even in the worst case, you’re supposed to write 1200-1500 words for a 250 marks essay.
Padding means, you don’t know the exact answer so you just beat around the bushes and write the garbage stuff to fill up the pages, while this tactic does work in the school and college exams but don’t try it in the essay paper.
Don’t write too many proverbs / quotes/ (invented) case studies/examples per page. It makes the examiner think that you’ve no input of your own so you’re just filling up the pages.

Do not pick up the subject where your idea or thought content is very low.

  • Ex. you picked up “Do we need nuclear power” – So you start with how thermal power-stations create pollution, there is huge demand and low supply of electricity, nuke power is cheap, and
    then the dangers such as Japanese Tsunami etc.
  • After 4 pages, your thoughts and ideas are exhausted-you’ve nothing more to say and assuming that you write 100 words per page, you realise that only 400 words won’t get you any marks ! now you can’t scratch those pages and write a new essay on new topic, you’ve wasted enough time on this one.
  • So you decide to continue with this nuke-power essay and start rewriting the same stuff you already stated in different ways and then you’ll deviate from the main topic- like nuke power is unsafe as we saw in Japan
    so we need to switch to renewable energy source like Sun, Wind and Water -> then 4 pages on advantages of renewable energy as if this is an essay on “the benefits of Non-renewable energy” and not on nuke power, you write about the pro-cons of hydro-electricity like dams and displacement of people.
  • Then you realise omg, displacement of people also applies while making nuke-powerplants like in Maharashtra! so you come back to the topic -half page written but still you’ve not filled up enough pages so you start talking about to land-acquisition policy and start writing the pro-cons..another half page on it. Then you think “oh i must talk something about the Indo-US nuke deal” so you go on talking about how we haven’t signed the CTBT and yet N.S.G gave us clearance and China-Pakistan couldn’t stop it so we are a global power now and we deserve a permanent seat in UNSC! This kind of padding goes on until time is up.
  • You’ve messed up the whole thing, you totally deviated from the subject. Your essay doesn’t have any flow of thoughts or proper rhythm. The seasoned examiners immediatly sniff out this padding and they don’t give much marks for it, your expected score for this kind of garbage writing is less than 50/200, means even with decent score in all other papers, your chances of getting interview call is close to zero. You’ve jeopardised your chances
    of selection in IAS, you’ve digged your own grave. That’s why 
  1. take great care in picking up the subject
  2. first 30-40 minutes for thorough thinking.
  3. stick to the subject

Same applies while dealing with the big 60 marker question in GS and optional papers. (not 30 minutes of thinking but atleast 5-7 minutes!)

Suggested Reading – IAS Mains Essay Preparation Tips

Essay is not something that can be learned reading one book or reading for 1 month.
It’s a continuous and long process takes some diverse reading before you’ve enough content to write something decent and something big enough to fill 20 pages to fetch 100+ marks.

  1. Editorials of english newspapers ( but don’t get swayed about by either leftist
    or capitalist stuff preched by both sides)
  2. Magazines like Frontline,
    yojana, Kurukshetra. (it gives you the fodder material: statistical data to quote like how many % illiterate and so on but again don’t use too much statistical data for padding and most importantly don’t ‘invent’ your own case studies and
  3. Watch English news channel – discussions / debates.
  4. See the old question papers and try to make an outline of each and every Essay asked so far.

Reading Books as a Hobby

To increase your idea and ‘fodder-material’ for brain storming, you can read some books outside studies, related to Indian culture, democracy and Development, just for time-pass

And last but not least

Insights is the best website on which you can increase your writing skills. It provides you ample opportunity for willing candidates to achieve the desired goals.

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