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UPSC IAS Mains 2020: Preparation Strategy for GS IV (Ethics)

Sakshi Saroha

UPSC: The GS Paper IV of the UPSC IAS Mains exam often startle many aspirants, as the syllabus and type of questions asked in this question are very subjective with no single correct answer. The questions can be attempted in numerous ways with each aspirant attempting it with a different viewpoint. Moreover, the syllabus and pattern of GS Paper IV are different from all other papers which require a philosophical yet practical mindset to answer in the exam. So how do you know if your answer will fetch more marks or not? To help you get clarity over this, we have provided broad guiding principles on how to structure your preparation and answer writing for GS Paper IV. 

UPSC IAS Mains 2020: Detailed Syllabus for GS IV (Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude)

Thoroughly Read the Ethics Syllabus 

GS Paper IV Syllabus of Ethics is the most important reference for what to study for an Ethics paper. Learn the syllabus so that you can use the keywords mentioned in the syllabus in your answers.

In the syllabus, UPSC mentions” This paper will include questions to test the candidates’ attitude and approach to issues relating to integrity, probity in public life and his problem-solving approach to various issues and conflicts faced by him in dealing with society. Questions may utilize the case study approach to determine these aspects” 

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It is important for the aspirant to understand the point of view from which the examiner will examine your paper. Read the syllabus to understand the requirement of each section and mark important keywords from each unit.

Focus more on answer writing than reading

Unlike the other three GS Papers, Ethics is the game of answer writing and views presentation. It is important that your answers formulate your balanced viewpoint on various issues rather than academic knowledge.

Discuss Current Issues to Get Various Viewpoints

For Ethics Paper it is advised to read limited books and rather develop personal viewpoints on current issues. One way is to discuss and debate issues on which you are unable to take a stand with your peers. It will help you appreciate opposing or varying viewpoints and come to a more rounded conclusion. In writing your ethics answers, write what you believe in, and would practice as a Civil Servant. If you believe in what you are writing, it will be evident. It also makes it easier to answer ethics questions when you truly believe in something. 

Write your answers as a future bureaucrat

Your solutions to case studies should be something you can actually conduct and enforce as a potential bureaucrat. Their practicality is as important as being ethically correct. Your ideas should be legally right, in addition to being ethically correct. They should be in line with our constitution's ethos.

Prepare Different Answer Structure for Case Studies & General Questions

Case studies sharply bring out our ethical dilemmas and rational thinking rather than the theory section. The aim of case studies is to get you ready for the field experience. You can face circumstances in which conflicting values conflict once you join the civil service.

So, one of the keys tips is to put yourself in an administrator's shoes and consider yourself to be a problem solver. This makes the whole exercise interesting and your responses invariably exemplify enthusiasm and coherent articulation.

Also Read: Tips to Answer Ethics Case Studies (GS Paper IV)

Practice Flow Charts & Diagrams

Illustrating the characteristics by flowcharts and diagrams makes the responses succinct and tidy for certain topics such as Emotional Intelligence, Good Governance, and Civil Service Principles. Prepare these flowcharts and diagrams in advance and integrate them into the mock tests so that in the final test it becomes easier to use them.

Monitor Time Limit While Writing Answers

Among applicants, there is a propensity to devote excessive time to case studies. Mind, however, that they are only worth 120 marks. Regardless of whether you begin with the theory portion or the case studies, spend time on marks proportionate to their weight. But you can spend a maximum of 90 minutes, i.e. 15 minutes per case study, for case studies.

A well attempted Ethics Paper seizes to maximize your overall mains marks and hence your position in the final merit list. Keep practicing your answers and follow the above steps to score well. 

All the best from Jagran Josh Team!

Check: GS IV (Ethics) Book List & Important Resources for Preparation


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