Ethics for UPSC Mains Exam GS 4 – Preparation/Studies

How to Study Ethics for UPSC Mains Exam GS 4?

Ethics for UPSC Mains Exam GS 4 is included in IAS Mains General Studies (GS Paper 4), from the day it was included candidates appearing for Civil Services find themselves in woods of problems. since ethics is not something taught in four wall classrooms, aspirants find it difficult to predict what type of question would be there for them. But there is no need to get tensed and if sincere handled, this topic can, in fact, turn highest scores.

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Ethics as part of Civil Services GS Mains has wide dimensions. Ethics should better be treated as a subject for IAS Mains from the year 2013. Just like History, Geography or Polity, consider Ethics as a separate subject with more or less a definite syllabus. Ethics as a subject has its approach in Philosophy, Psychology, Sociology and Public Administration too. Seems scary though to analyse!.

To overcome this fear first UPSC’s view should be considered before eyes about the newly introduced ethics paper:

Well, 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.

Basically, it’s all about your virtues and a bit upbringing too. Questions may utilize the case study approach to determine these aspects.
The areas tested in this paper:

  1. Candidates’ attitude and approach.
  2. Field of testing:
    Integrity, Probity in public life and Problem solving approach.
  3. The presence of case studies is more or less certain.

As the paper is of 250 marks, expect theory questions apart from the mentioned case studies.


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Roots to be discussed in Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude Paper of GS Paper 4 Ethics and Human Interface are as follow:

  1. Comment: This is one area where you can expect theory questions covering the basics of ethics, human values and lessons from the life of great leaders.
  2. Attitude: Your attitude in relation with thought and behavior.
  3. Aptitude: Checks whether you have an aptitude for Civil Services.
  4. Emotional Intelligence: A crucial mental quality, don’t confuse with IQ.
  5. The contribution of moral thinkers and philosophers.
  6. Ethics in Public Administration: This is one major area where you can expect a lot of quality questions covering topics like Corporate Governance, Rules, Laws, Conflicts etc.
  7. Probity in Governance: RTI related matters.


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What to Study? What to leave?

It is a basic question while treating Ethics as a separate subject like History or Polity. Going through the UPSC Mains ethics (GS4) previous year question papers, it becomes clear that conventional rote learning will not turn beneficial here. So it’s very clear that a thing one needs is awareness about himself. Good writing skills are mandatory. Assign your time for development of reading and writing skills; that will make you more perfect. Acting towards Ethics paper as a subject to attempted directly at exam hall without preparation will be harmful to you. Though great development in other subjects might not turn necessary for this paper, a casual approach is not advised.

Reference books available in the market related to the ethics topic of UPSC Civil Services GS are given below (Click on Books to Buy):

Ethics helps you in building your fundamentals on ethics and moral philosophies from basic philosophy books. And thus aspirants are advised not to take this subject lightly if your dreams to get the seat.

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  1. Puspanjali Sahoo says:

    I puspanjali sahoo, I want for preparation of IAS. How to prepare this Exam ?

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