Seven Tips for UPSC Mains
with English Literature Optional

Some useful guidelines for UPSC mains exam

UPSC aspirants who take English literature as optional subject face several problems, as guidance which they seek for is not easily available. Here, they can find some useful guidelines for UPSC Mains exam with English literature as optional paper.

seven-tips-for-upsc-mains-with-english-literature-optional
  1. Devote time for syllabus coverage:
  2. A graduate with English literature should devote first three months to cover entire UPSC Syllabus of English literature. However, a candidate who is reading this subject first time for UPSC mains, they should devote full six months to go through entire UPSC Syllabus for the purpose.

  3. Books for Novels and Drama:
  4. We categorise Novels and Drama in two categories. English Origin and Indian Origins

    Books for English Origin- Worldview edition/Norton Critical edition

    Books for Indian Origin- Read the text and surf Net

  5. Tips for Poetry:
  6. Start loving poems because your love will help you to learn famous lines of poem. You will need to write these lines in answer elaboration. You can use internet to know more about poem.

  7. Learn Glossary in depth:
  8. Never forget to prepare all literary terms used in English literature. For the purpose you can use “A Glossary of Literary Terms by M.H Abrams”

  9. Prepare Historical Portion:
  10. Once you have prepared all literary work start preparing historic portion. As you have already prepared glossary, it will help in learning historic portion of English literature.

  11. Do practise for Unseen Passages:
  12. In UPSC Mains paper, a portion of unseen passages will be asked. It can be solved easily, if you have practised few. This practise will help you to get clue in exam hall to write correct answer.

  13. Test of Language:
  14. Most important- don’t ever try to show knowledge of English language rather focus on English literature only.It is not necessary to write difficult and decorative words. UPSC mains is evaluating your knowledge of the subject only.


These seven guidelines are very crucial to give a right direction to your IAS preparation. Move from one to seven; one by one and you will feel confident once you reach at the last step.

Source: UPSC 2017 Recruitment

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Sunita Singhal is a personality development trainer cum counsellor with over 15 years of experience. Having worked with several management institutions in past, Sunita now conducting counselling sessions for aspirants of various competitive examinations like UPSC and IBPS etc.

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