How To Prepare UPSC Civil Services Mains Paper - 2

Strategy For General Study Paper - 2

UPSC Mains GS (General Studies) Paper 2 is included in the nine papers of the second stage of IAS exam. This exam is conducted over five days. The first two papers in the IAS exam are of qualifying nature- English and compulsory Indian language. Aspirants will have to secure a minimum 25 percent marks in these papers.

These topics are covered up in the Mains General Studies paper 2

1- Polity

2- Constitution

3- Governance

4- International relations

5- Social justice

There are very few questions which are asked directly in this paper. Make your thinking approach more critical.


These are some important sources which will help you to prepare for UPSC mains General Studies 2

1- polity- Class 11 NCERT( Indian Constitution at Work), Youth Destination Notes,

2- Social Justice- ‘The Hindu’ newspaper,Yojna, Kurukshetra and Youth Destination Notes

3- Governance-  read some important articles from the newspaper daily like Economic Survey, ARC reports, Press Information Bureau(PIB), articles of ‘The Hindu’, planning, Youth Destination Notes, kurukshetra, Yojna

4- International relations- The Hindu, Indian Express, Rajya sabha TV, Youth Destination Notes


Concentrate on GS Paper 2 Syllabus wich are given below-


Governance – transparency, Accountability E-Governance applications,Government policies and interventions, Governance.


Polity – provisions, Amendments in Indian constitution, Constitutional and non-constitutional bodies, Indian constitution


International Relations – Regional and global groupings, Bilateral Groupings, Agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests


Current affairs based questions are asked frequently. You can check ARC reports, Daily News Analysis, Gist of Yojana and PIB.


UPSC  GS 2 Syllabus – A detailed study is needed of the GS 2 syllabus.


Indian Constitution – Separation of Powers between various organs of the government, Comparison of India’s constitutional scheme with other countries, Dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions, Devolution of powers and finances up to local government level, Issues and challenges related to the Federal Structure, Challenges in the devolution of power, salient features, Amendments, Basic structure, Significant provisions , Evolution of the Constitution, Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the states, Historical underpinnings of the Constitution.


Governance – Powers functions and responsibilities of various constitutional bodies, Appointment to various constitutional posts, Statutory, regulatory and various quasi judicial bodies, issues arising out of design and implementation of Government intervention, Government policies and interventions for the development of various sectors, The role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors charities, institutional and other stakeholders, Development processes and the development of industry, Role of Civil Services in a Democracy, Important aspects of Governance, transparency and accountability, E-Governance( modelism applications, successes, citizens charters, limitations and potential, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures


Governance & polity – Conduct of Business, Structure, Functioning, Powers & Privileges, Executive Judiciary( Structure, functioning, Organization Ministries and departments of the Government), Issues arising out of Powers & Privileges of Legislative bodies, Formal & Informal Associations and their role in the polity, Salient features of the People’s Representation Act, Pressure Groups


Social Justice – The performance of Welfare Schemes, Issues related to the development and management of the social sector services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources, Welfare schemes for Vulnerable sections of the populations by centre and states, Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of vulnerable sections of the population , issues related to poverty and hunger.


International Relations – Bilateral regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/ or affecting India’s Interest, India and its neighbourhood, Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Relations between India and neighbouring countries, Important International institutions, agencies and fora( Structure, mandate), Indian Diaspora.

In GS paper 2 your subjects are overlapped. Keep it in mind while preparing. Make notes of current affairs of GS 2 UPSC. clearly understand the constitution and the structure of the Government. You can follow the strategies of the Civil service Toppers to crack this exam.


Some important topics that are must to read while going through the GS syllabus(paper-2)

WHO, Government Schemes, UN, 42nd Amendment Act 1972, Comptroller & Auditor General of India (CAG), Governments schemes, NCSC, Speaker, NCST, Governor, President, Prime Minister, Rajya Sabha, Chief Minister, Preamble, Lok Sabha, Constitution of India, Important Amendments in the Indian Constitution


Preparation strategy for IAS exam-

Preliminary Examination includes General Studies and Aptitude test.

The papers of Mains Examination are:

– Paper-A ( One of the 22 Indian Languages)

– Paper-B (English)


Both of these are qualifying

 Papers for Merit list-

1- Paper -I(Essay)

2-Paper-II(GS-I)

3- Paper-III (GS_II)

4- Paper-IV( GS-III)

5- Paper-V( GS-IV)

6- Paper-VI( Optional Paper-1)

7- Paper-VI( Optional PaperII)


An Interview or personality test also held on.

1- General Studies paper II is a subjective paper of 250 marks and considered for merit list. The performance in this paper will affect your final rank. Study the GS2 syllabus deeply.

2- Some useful tips and tricks- read the NCERTs books and introduce yourself to the terminologies of the subject. Solving previous year Questions & mock tests will help you in a great way.

3- General Studies paper II is very dynamic and interesting in nature. Don’t spend a lot of time on static aspects and it will prove a big mistake. Clear your basics first and after this connect them with the current topic of specific subjects. This will help you in answering the questions. Since 2013 the pattern of the UPSC exam has been changed. Direct static questions are not asked now. If you see the previous year papers you will find that the questions are dynamic. So you need a basic understanding of the subject and if you are well prepared and expert in contemporary developments related to that issue, you can write your answer in a more easy way.

4- Annalyse the syllabus first. This is the most important thing. Look at the previous year question papers so that you can understand the topics and syllabus in a deep way. Read the newspaper daily. Interconnect some current issues to your syllabus.

Read the foundational books for GS Prelims in  starting. After completing them prepare from these GS Notes:

Youth Destination Notes….

1- You should have enough content to write on the topic given in the syllabus.

2- Understand the depth of the question through previous year papers.

3- Relate current affairs to all subjects specially for General Studies Paper 2

4- Give appropriate time to the revision. It is necessary to memorize things.

5- Apart from reading and revision practice also is a key of success.

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