Is Online Coaching Enough For UPSC Mains

UPSC Civil Services Mains Examination is often considered the most important part in the entire scheme of exam. It holds the maximum weightage in the overall exam selection. Hence, you should be able to put your best foot forward while preparing for the UPSC Mains exam.

Ideally, the preparation for the Mains round is done along with the Prelims. The UPSC Mains Syllabus largely covers the syllabus for Prelims too. In the gap between the Prelims and Mains round, one can only effectively revise. Hence your UPSC Mains preparation should be planned extremely well. Is online coaching enough for that level of preparation? Well, yes, provided you leverage all the benefits of online coaching.

In this article, we will discuss how to prepare for UPSC Mains effectively. Further, we will also discuss how to leverage online coaching for UPSC to enhance your Mains preparation. Let’s get started.

Is Online Coaching Enough For UPSC Mains


UPSC Mains is the second round in the three-stage UPSC Civil Services Examination, and the most important one. The score of the Prelims is not considered for the final merit. Hence, whatever effort you’ve put in for qualifying Prelims would only effectively help you in getting shortlisted for the Mains round. However, it is your performance in the Mains and Interview rounds that will bring you closer to selection.

Hence, it is imperative that you have a robust study plan for UPSC Mains to ensure you get a good rank and the post of your choice in the final selection. UPSC Mains is a descriptive round comprising 7 papers including one essay Paper, two papers for optional subjects and four papers for the Mains round.

Since it’s a descriptive paper and involves answer-writing, you need to have mentors who can evaluate your answers and provide you enough guidance on how to improve your answer-writing abilities for the final exam. Let’s start with understanding how to prepare for UPSC Mains.

How to prepare for UPSC Mains with online coaching?

As emphasized above, UPSC Mains is the make-or-break round in the entire schema of UPSC exam. You need to have a thorough understanding of the UPSC Mains syllabus all the papers to write effective answers. Below is the step-by-step plan on how you should approach UPSC Mains:

  1. Start Early & Be Consistent

If you’re really targeting selection in UPSC Civil Services Exam, don’t wait for the Prelims to get over to start with the Mains preparation! You will have to start your UPSC Mains preparation well in advance. Hence, start early, and once you are thorough with about 60% of the syllabus, start answer-writing practice.

Most aspirants wait for the entire syllabus to get completed, to start the answer-writing practice. However, it only delays and adds to procrastination. Plan to begin with answer-writing practice as you’ll need more time to improve and structure your answers well.

  1. Choose Optional Subject Wisely

One of the often ignored but most important parts of UPSC Mains is the optional selection. If you’re not sure of which options you should choose, don’t be in a hurry. Start with the GS subjects, see which subject interests you the most and then pick the one you like the most.

Next, you can also go through the syllabus for each subject along with the previous year's papers to understand what kind of questions are asked. Make a wise decision while choosing the optional subject as it has maximum weightage in the UPSC Mains exam.

  1. Practice Answer Writing

Answer-writing takes up at least 50% of the UPSC Preparation for the simple reason that, no matter how much you’ve read, it is only what you finally write that will make a difference in the final score. Hence, practice as much answer-writing as you can and get it evaluated by your mentors and peers who can give you tips on how to improve and structure your answers to maximize your score.

  1. Time Management

Time management while answer-writing is extremely important for UPSC Mains. You should be able to effectively manage time as there are 20 questions that need to be answered in 3 hours. Hence, your writing speed needs to be at par with the requirement.

This can only happen if you’ve practised writing consistently for 3 hours. The simplest way to do it is to enrol in a test series and write mock tests. This will simulate the experience of UPSC Mains thereby prepping you better for the actual exam.

  1. Prepare Notes

Prepare handwritten notes for all the papers and refer to them while practising answer writing. It will help in retaining the information effectively. You should also make notes from newspapers and other supplements that may enhance the quality of your answers. However, make sure to revisit your notes copy time to time to retain all the information.

Benefits of Online Coaching for UPSC Mains Preparation

Now let’s look at the benefits of the best online coaching for UPSC preparation like PW offers.

  1. Quick revision of key concepts

The recorded lectures will allow you to revisit the key concepts that you may have forgotten or those that are not a part of the UPSC Prelims exam. You can check them out at frequent intervals to enhance the retention of these concepts.

  1. One-to-one mentorship for answer-writing

Most online coaching for UPSC including PW offer one-to-one mentoring sessions for answer-writing. It will help you in preparing for the UPSC exam better. Additionally, you will be able to analyse your answers with the help of the inputs of the key mentors and improve the quality of the answers.

  1. Answer-writing evaluation from different mentors

Since your answer copies will be evaluated by different mentors, you will also get exposed to different viewpoints that will make your answer-writing more impactful and efficient.

  1. Effective peer learning opportunities

Further, a large pool of UPSC aspirants from across India will allow you to get effective peer learning opportunities in terms of discussions.


Whether you go to online coaching or offline coaching, it is important to strategise well and plan effectively to ensure a good score in the final exam. While online coaching will allow you to revisit the key concepts, again and again, offline coaching will simulate the offline experience of test-taking which is often missing in the online setup. To overcome that, you can enrol in physical test-series program along with online UPSC preparation.

If you need expert assistance for UPSC Mains preparation, you can also check PW’s courses curated by UPSC experts having years of experience in training and mentoring UPSC aspirants. These courses cover the entire UPSC Mains syllabus in detail and will surely help you crack the exam.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. How much time is required for UPSC Mains preparation?

Ans. UPSC Mains preparation is done alongside the preparation for Prelims. Hence, in its entirety, it takes about 10-12 months to completely cover the UPSC syllabus for both prelims and Mains round.

Q2. Is NCERT enough for UPSC Mains exam?

Ans. No, while NCERTs give a basic understanding of the UPSC syllabus, you would need extra supplements to cover the UPSC mains syllabus comprehensively.

Q3. Can UPSC Mains be prepared in 3 months?

Ans. No, you can only revise and practice answer-writing in the gap between Prelims and Mains which is even lesser than 3 months. Hence, it is advised that you prepare for UPSC Mains along with Prelims.

Q4. Is 8-hour a day enough for UPSC Mains preparation?

Ans. It is not so much about the number of hours you put into preparation but more about how effective your preparation schedule is. In order to prepare for UPSC Mains really well, it is important that you practice answer-writing effectively.

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