How to Prepare for GS Mains Paper III (All Topics): Target IAS 2018 and Beyond

By far, in terms of amount of syllabus, this paper is the largest.

It covers Science and Technology, Economy, Ecology and Environment. Each of these need good amount of study.


Study Economy very carefully. Make sure you understand each and every small concept/definition accurately. Give the subject its time, and it does need lot of time, for all of those who are very new to the subject. We are not trying to scare but just trying to bring out the truth. Economics is easy, if the concepts are conceptually clear.

Discuss a lot about the economics terminology and concepts with friends and seniors. NCERT textbooks would give initial inputs for the subject. Most of the books and reference material remains the same as suggested for Prelims. Try to understand all the current affairs and economic decisions and events that are happening around through the subject you understood.




Try to write lots of answers for the questions related to economy; it will improve your thoughts and how to process them in terms of economic angles.


Apart from general economy, many specific topics have been included in the syllabus. It will be nice if one can cover all those topics dedicatedly.

For example, if we take Land Reforms in India, one can cover the topic in a detailed way, may be taking three to four hours and find all the necessary inputs for writing a decent answer about the topic, with the new land bills and the history behind the land reforms and its implementation in the country.


Science and Technology is one of those areas where logic as such does not apply. One has to collect as much information as possible regarding the recent trends and advancements in the field. Keep a watch on all the related sections in The Hindu, Frontline, and Science Journals etc.


In fact, it would be better to take a compiled edition either by any publisher or by any of the institutes. It reduces a lot of time in trying to collect the data. It has been seen that most of the material from the institutes does cover a good deal of Science and Tech topics, both for the prelims and mains.

But, please also make your own collection of information without totally relying on such material.
But again, make a list of all the topics that you can think of under Science and Tech, and cover one by one. Again on similar lines, Internet would be the fastest way to obtain information especially for this subject.

Make sure you follow the Indian science advancements, by CSIR, TIFR, CRL and all those other research and science laboratories. All of these have their websites showcasing their works, so follow the websites to get first-hand information about the updates.


Finally, Ecology and Environment. This is one of the most important subjects for both prelims and mains, no exam will be set without a considerable amount of questions from this area. One has to be really thorough with all the topics under this section to have a good attempt at the paper.

On the other hand, having a good grip on these topics would give a deliberate advantage for one’s fortunes in clearing the exam.



Collect all protocols, agreements and events/summits that relate to environment and ecology. Make note of all the advancements and amendments that come in this area. Try to dig into some background of their origins, their current issues and probable way ahead.



Next are Internal Security aspects, obviously directed towards Terrorism, Communal riots, and Naxalism, Maoists and border militancy. A thorough understanding of all these issues is necessary before going any further. Read extensively on naxalism and communal tensions, their historical origins, why we are unable to resolve the issues, need and effect of new institutional setups for fighting these issues etc.

Follow commentaries and opinions of various eminent persons to understand different perspectives. Read the government’s stand on all these issues, follow their websites, like Ministry of Home Affairs etc. to get hold of any new reports or concepts.


Suggested Reading:

  •   NCERT XII (Political Science, Contemporary World Politics: Security in the contemporary World)
  •   NCERT: Our Environment (VII), Ecology (XII)
  •   NCERT: economy
  •   NCERT Geography
  •   Indian Meteorological Department website and all other geo/earth/environment related websites of the Indian Government (and its various agencies/institutes etc.)
  •   Economic Survey of India, XII FYP, Budget Documents and all other documents by RBI, Economic Advisory Council for PM etc.
  •   Ecology and Environment: PD Sharma
  •   2nd ARC Reports (Public Order, Capacity Building for conflict resolution, Combating Terrorism, Crisis Management, Strengthening Financial Systems Management)
  •   Ministry of Home Affairs Reports (including annual report) (
  •   RBI Website for economy ( )




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