Time Is Gold: Efficient Time Management for UPSC CSE Mains Preparation

mains preparation upsc

Time Is Gold: Efficient Time Management for UPSC CSE Mains Preparation


A famous quote by Charles Darwin on the importance of time goes like,” A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life ”. This is an important quote to remember especially on the season of exam. In this blog, we are going to talk about the most honoured exam in India. Yes, we are talking about the UPSC – Union Public Service Commission, CSE – Civil Service Exam. In less than a month you will be sitting for one of the toughest exams in India, the Mains UPSC CSE exam. With the tension and the stakes high, it is important to manage your time efficiently in order to ace this exam. It is really important to have strong time management skills for Mains preparation for UPSC not just while preparing for the exam but also during the exam. 

Let us discuss what you need to do now when the exam is at the door and what should be the strategy for mains preparation for UPSC. Plutus IAS is here to discuss with you the last-minute tricks that will help you in your mains preparation for UPSC.

Things To Remember While For Mains UPSC Preparation 

As we all know how tough the UPSC CSE exam is, there are a few points to remember now that there is less than one month left for the exam. With rigorous preparation as a given, you must also keep the following things in mind. Let’s dive in: 


Maintain A Time Schedule


Time allotment is important. You must follow a fixed time schedule for your study, sleep, and recess time. Even when you are sitting to prepare for the exam, you must maintain a subject timetable. It is vital that you allot time to subjects according to your needs, subjects that need more revision and grooming should be of top priority. Maintain a 6:4 rule, meaning, 60% of the time should be devoted to writing practice whereas 40% of the time to revising your own notes

Plutus IAS takes pride in its excellent faculty members. Vikas Gupta, a two-time UPSC interview-appeared and top subject expert teacher of Polity, Current Affairs and PSIR at Plutus IAS shares his knowledge with the UPSC aspirants. He says, ” One can master anything if he/she knows how to utilize time. Reading and learning from books that are of little relevance to UPSC is nothing but wasting time.” He suggests the study materials that are provided by the Plutus IAS as the best resource of knowledge for cracking the exam.

Also read: Common mistakes aspirants make in UPSC CSE preparation



Prioritization Done Right


It is highly crucial that you divide your precious time care prudently. Studying one subject just because it is of interest to you, will not be helpful to you at all. Diving subjects in three categories:

  • Needs a lot of improvement
  • Needs constant revising
  • Well prepared, can do with less revision

This way, you will not end up using most of the time on a subject that is already well done and ignore the one which needs more attention.

Now that we know Essay is the first exam you will be sitting for, make sure you focus on practicing for Essay writing. Read as much as you can, Examiners love throwing curveballs by giving topics that are philosophical quotes/snippets. You can strengthen your vocabulary and the art of critical thinking by reading editorials. Read Read Read. 

Also read: How to read a newspaper for UPSC mains preparation


Practice From Test Series


If you are wondering if you are well prepared for the UPSC without having solved any test series then you are wrong. Test Series is like a reality check. It will help you highlight the areas that need more improvement. Only by solving test series will you know the strengths and weaknesses you possess. 

Plutus IAS provides the best test series for UPSC. The best part? You get mentorship from top faculty members! You can act on their expert guidance and the results for yourself. It’s a total game-changer!

Break Free For A While


Have you heard of the proverb, “ All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, All play and no work makes Jack a mere toy ”? Well, this means that it is as important to give yourself a break as it is to work hard. Students tend not to give themselves time to break the monotony of studying and end up burning out. 

You can go out for a change of air or exercise for a while to keep yourself mentally and physically fit. To break free from the tediousness, you can also do yoga, this will help you clear your mind and bring peace. 

Study Your Hand Written Notes


Now that there is little to the UPSC Mains exam, you must focus on studying your own handwritten notes. Notes are an important asset in the exam as you have curated those notes from the best sources like UPSC pdf notes, Plutus IAS study materials, books, magazines, etc. Though you can also study from the study materials but the notes you make are in the format of the UPSC exam rules. Meaning, the notes which you make are your ready-made answers for your UPSC mains exam. 

Shalini Singh, a renowned UPSC mentor and a faculty member of one of the top IAS coaching institutes in India –  Yojna IAS stressed the importance of making self-made notes for the UPSC Mains paper in an exclusive interview. She has sat for the UPSC mains exam twice and is currently teaching Sociology and Current Affairs at Yojna IAS. She says,  “There is nothing more important than making your own topic notes” she said. “The better notes you make, the more marks you will get.” She also emphasized the importance of following a clear format when making notes, such as the introduction, body, and conclusion. She also advised students to include current affairs data and organizational body reports in their notes, as this would help their answers to stand out.

Singh’s advice is valuable for any student who is preparing for the UPSC Mains paper. By making self-made notes, students can give themselves a significant advantage in the competition.

For mains preparation UPSC, it is the notes that separate you from other candidates in the exam. The better notes you make, the more you score.  


Steer Clear From Adding New Information


I know there is always this doubt about whether you are not missing out on any vital information when making notes but to be honest, there is no end to knowledge. For example, the topic “Globalization“. It is a huge topic. You can make notes on this related to subjects like economics, politics, culture, and more. But the trick is not to include information where it is not asked. On adding more information last minute, there is a higher chance that you might add information to your note which not as relevant.

This is a thump rule in the mains preparation strategy – Make notes while you study a topic and then stick to those notes




Now that we have come to the end of the blog, I hope this was a helpful read. UPSC CSE exam is more about how well you can manage time efficiently. If you are able to use your time to your benefit, there is no way you will fail. But it is here that most people stumble upon. They get more engrossed in daydreams of the future IAS career that awaits, but that future is built upon the foundations you lay today.

This above-mentioned point is the mains preparation UPSC 101 rule. It is also an axiom that most UPSC CSE toppers follow as their mains preparation strategy. Plutus IAS is the best IAS coaching in Delhi and has helped many aspirants become India’s top officers. We do not just provide coaching but a full mentorship program. What are you waiting for? Come, enroll yourself in the top UPSC coaching, and make your dream a reality. 

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