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Tips to Prepare Ethics Paper for UPSC Mains

Nov 2, 2021

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Importance of Ethics Paper

Syllabus of General Studies Paper IV of UPSC Mains

Effective Tips to Prepare for Ethics Paper

Recommended Books for Ethics Preparation

Tips to Prepare Ethics Paper for UPSC Mains

Importance of Ethics Paper

Since the future IAS officers would be a part of the Indian administration and would be directly involved in the policy formulation and implementation, they need to have strong moral values, especially, Ethics and Integrity.

Moreover, the paper is considered a rank booster. With minimal effort, aspirants can score good marks.

Syllabus of General Studies Paper IV of UPSC Mains

  • Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants, and consequences of Ethics in-human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics – in private and public relationships. Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers, and administrators; the role of family society and educational institutions in inculcating values.
  • Attitude: content, structure, function; its influence and relation with thought and behaviour; moral and political attitudes; social influence and persuasion.
  • Aptitude and foundational values for Civil Service, integrity, impartiality and non-partisanship, objectivity, dedication to public service, empathy, tolerance, and compassion towards the weaker sections.
  • Emotional intelligence-concepts, and their utilities and application in administration and governance.
  • Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and the world.
  • Public/Civil service values and Ethics in Public administration: Status and problems; ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions; laws, rules, regulations, and conscience as sources of ethical guidance; accountability and ethical governance; strengthening of ethical and moral values in governance; ethical issues in international relations and funding; corporate governance.
  • Probity in Governance: Concept of public service; Philosophical basis of governance and probity; Information sharing and transparency in government, Right to Information, Codes of Ethics, Codes of Conduct, Citizen’s Charters, Work culture, Quality of service delivery, Utilization of public funds, challenges of corruption.
  • Case Studies on the above issues.

Also read: How To Stay Motivated Throughout Your UPSC Preparation Journey

Effective Tips to Prepare for Ethics Paper

Here are some practical tips to prepare for the exam and ace it:

Understand the Basic Terms: Aspirants should acquaint themselves with the basic terms such as Attitude, Aptitude, Emotional Intelligence, Integrity, Probity, Transparency, Accountability, etc. Try to use and relate these terms with your personal experiences in the answers.

Use relevant examples: If you don’t have any real-life example or anecdote, use hypothetical situations in your answers with the relevant terms and values to make them more appealing.

Develop the habit of Reading: You can only fetch extra marks if you quote relevant and good examples in your answers. That can only be done if you are a voracious reader. Make it a point to read newspapers daily and excerpts from books related to Statesmen, Corporate Leaders, Administrators, etc.  

To make the answer more appealing, include the examples and theories of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and the world like Gandhiji, Immanuel Kant, Aristotle etc. 

Practice Answer Writing: It is the most crucial component of Ethics preparation. While the answers can be written in both points or paragraphs, depending on the question, the ideal answer should include the following:

  • Introduction
  • Answer Body
  • Moral Theory (If relevant)
  • Examples
  • Diagrams
  • Conclusion

Related article: How to Write Good Quality Answers for UPSC Mains

Focus on Case Studies: Practice case studies as much as you can. As compared to the theory part, case studies bring out the ethical dilemmas and logical reasoning sharply. Learn the format as there is never a set answer for a case study. The format is as listed below:

  • Actors
  • Dilemmas
  • Answer body
  • Keywords
  • Theory
  • Diagrams
  • Conclusion

Refer to Previous Year’s Questions: Past year questions will give you an idea about the type of questions asked in the exam and will assist you in drafting your answers accordingly.

Recommended Books for Ethics Preparation

The below-mentioned books are valuable learning resources for Ethics paper preparation. Refer to these books to get an edge in your preparation:

  • Well-structured Video Lectures and notes by Atul Garg, available on PrepLadder
  • Lexicon for Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude.
  • Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude by G. Subbarao.
  • NCERT Psychology book Class XI & XII: Syllabus-specific chapters

We hope you will now be able to prepare for the Ethics exam effectively after reading this article.

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All the best for your exam. Stay tuned to our Telegram Channel for more updates. 

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Raminder Singh

Raminder is a Content Manager at PrepLadder. He has worked in several aspects of the education industry throughout his career and has assisted numerous candidates in cracking major competitive exams.