25th November, 2021 Mains


Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) has released the exam timetable for the Civil Service mains exam 2021. The mains exam will begin on January 7. Candidates can check the exam schedule below or on the official website of the commission’s website –

 The exams will begin on January 7 and end on January 16. The nine papers will be conducted in morning and afternoon sessions. The morning session will begin at 9 am and conclude at 12 noon while the forenoon session will be conducted from 2 pm to 5 pm.

The commission has also released the detailed application form (DAF) I for the civil service main exam 2021. The provision to change exam centres has also been provided to the candidates. If a candidate wishes to change the mains exam centre they can do so while filling the DAF I. The last date to fill the DAF I is December 1.

 UPSC Mains Exam Time Table – Major Points

  • The mains exam will begin on January 7 and conclude on January 16, 2021.
  • There are a total of nine papers that will be conducted during the examination.
  • Civil services (mains) will have two shifts – morning and afternoon.
  • The morning shift will begin at 9 AM and end at 12 PM.
  • The afternoon shift will start at 2 PM and conclude at 5 PM.

How to Fill UPSC Mains Detailed Application Form I (DAF-I)?

  • Register at UPSC by visiting the official website and clicking on the registration link provided below the “login” button.
  • On the next window, provide your name, roll number, date of birth, and e-mail address.
  • Click ‘submit’ and receive login credentials at your email address.
  • Using these credentials, log in again at (click on the “Login” tab on the top).
  • The detailed application form I (DAF-I) will appear on your screen.
  • Fill up all personal details.
  • The candidate is now greeted with a six modules setup including Personal Information, Educational Information, Parental Information, Employment Information, Upload documents and Final Submission.
  • Submit the form and pay the required examination fee to conclude the process.

Keep this in mind while attempting….

Main Examination is intended to assess the overall intellectual traits and depth of understanding of candidates rather than merely the range of their information and memory. The questions are likely to test the candidate’s basic understanding of all relevant issues, and ability to analyze, and take a view on conflicting socio-economic goals, objectives and demands. ‘Mains’ assesses the quality of thoughts and content of one’s mind. These will enter subconsciously into one’s answer sheets. 

 With around than a month left for the exam, one must be dealing with an unknown unease in their heart and mind alike. The journey of the last one year or so has been very toiling (one extra addition being COVID year). Yet, one thing soothing is that the moment each one of you have waited is almost here.

We have reached the point in the preparation which we call the “last leg.” What matters now is sustaining the hard work. Now is the time when a lot of people feel like giving up. There is a need to set the focus right.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Sustain your effort – one just one more month: Every year, we see how successfully – not the brightest – not the smartest – but the one who is able to continue his struggle for a longer period of time ends up winning the game.
  • Remain focused and maintain a positive attitude while studying.
  • Plan everything- time is money: Make a checklist. Then, stick to your To Do List. Extract accountability from self. Remember if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Proper planning is most important for timely preparation and dealing with the study pressure.
  • Prioritise papers:
  • focus on ethics but because here dividends are always rich.
  • Focus on Agriculture and Security in GS III as it is scoring.
  • IR and Polity in GS II is scoring
  • Geography in GS I is scoring.
  • Follow the 4 step mantra:
  1. Sleep well: 6-8 hours a day.
  2. Start short sessions of meditation and brisk walk in morning.
  3. Eat healthy food such that you do not sleep too much. Avoid junk.
  4. Study for rest of the time.

The truth is, in these last days, the only thing you need to do is – study. How many hours? As many as you can. Divide your time in packets of 3 hours and try to achieve 100% efficiency, less than that won’t work in these 30 days. Remember it is the quality of time spent and not the quantity alone. Hence, take short breaks of 15 minutes after every three hours of serious study. Relax completely when you take a break.

  • Prepare short crisp content on 7-8 essay themes like Health, education, women, democracy, opportunity in crisis, globalisation, Indo-pacific, agriculture, climate change impact on India etc. Create short notes and list all IMPORTANT points (facts, data) to remember. This will help in quick revision before the examination.
  • Optional is king: allot at least 40% time to it.
  • Don’t be Complacent. Don’t jinx your preparation. Stay low key. Don’t think of becoming an IAS. Think of Mains and writing good answers. Then giving a good interview.
  • Revision is hard work and hard work is revision: Battles are won by courage. But competitive exams are cracked by revision. Only revision. And problem solving.
  • Write in exam like conditions at least 4 FULL LENGTH papers before actual mains + you can also write past year papers.
  • Don’t quit near the finish line. Most people do: many are not able to sustain the perseverance, the pressure or the emotional resilience needed to crack this examination.
  • In last two weeks it is only brushing-up through notes & flagged important problems with twist.
  • One must not start any new books at this stage. However, one can still refer to standard books for concept clearing. This stage should be utilized more for revision, practicing, understanding one’s strengths & weaknesses. Aspirants must take up Mock Tests in exam mode to develop ones’ self-confidence & exam temperament. Time Management is crucial.

Last 1 month should generally be utilized to consolidate one’s preparation by focusing on revision at a glance, problem solving and overcoming the weaker areas in preparation.  Please maintain social distancing as corona at this point of time will eat lots of time and efforts. So, stay healthy and fit. Lastly, it is very important to keep the spirit high.


You have everything that one needs to crack this exam. Try completing the papers in exam hall. Rest will follow.