UPSC IAS Mains 2020: Strategy to Prepare GS Paper III (Economics, Environment & Technology)

UPSC: IAS aspirants appearing for the UPSC IAS Mains 2020 can check here the tips and strategies to prepare all sections of GS Paper III effectively.  

Created On: Nov 5, 2020 11:45 IST
UPSC IAS Mains 2020: Strategy to Prepare GS Paper III (Economics, Environment & Technology)
UPSC IAS Mains 2020: Strategy to Prepare GS Paper III (Economics, Environment & Technology)

UPSC: UPSC IAS Mains GS Paper III broadly includes Economics, Environment, Science & Technology, and Internal Security. The syllabus of GS Paper III significantly overlaps with the topics covered in General Studies I and General Studies II. As you can see, the paper covers various sections and each section is equally important. There’s no single book or resource to help one navigate this paper. Hence, we have provided a specific strategy for each section.

UPSC IAS Mains 2020: Previous Years Question Papers (GS Paper III) 2019 to 2008

UPSC IAS General Studies Paper II: Section-Wise  Strategy

It is to be noted that GS-3 questions revolve around current affairs. So, for each topic mentioned in the syllabus, make concise notes. Restrict yourself to only a few best current affairs resources as in the end you have to write a 250-word answer for all the topics. 

Economy and Infrastructure

The topic has several sub-topics like planning, growth, employment, development and mobilization. Though the topics covered in this section are static in nature, the questions are tricky and dynamic. The key is to use a single reference book for in-depth studies after you have gone through the relevant NCERT chapters.

  • Stay updated about the economic situation of the country as well as the world. 
  • While appearing in mock tests, understand the basis of the questions asked from this section.
  • As much of the syllabus overlaps with GS Paper II, candidates need to look at the questions from the dual perspective- first from the perspective of polity and next from the economic views. However, the question in GS Paper III should be answered from the economics point of view. 
  • Have an objective type approach to these topics by learning the important terms and acts thoroughly. Exclusively focus on agriculture and geographical topics and the effects of the economy on these aspects which is a common type of question in this paper.

Science & Technology

The questions asked in Science &Technology are mostly from current affairs and you are expected to have a general understanding of the topics.

  •  Note down all the scientific terms or technology that’s frequently talked about in news. 
  •  Learn fundamental terms and technologies used in Space (PSLV, GSLV, Cryo Engine, etc.), Nanotech, Nuclear Research (Fast breeder reactor, Uranium enrichment, Nuclear fission, and fusion, etc.), Defence (Cruise missile, Ballistic missile, Stealth Bomber, etc.), Biotech (Gene editing, Stem Cells, GM food, etc.),
  • Focus on the concept, why is it in news, practical applications, potential threats, benefits far into the future.


  • This particular topic encompasses topics such as biodiversity and climate change, forest and wildlife conservation, river conservation, pollution in cities, waste management, pollution from human activities, marine pollution, etc. 
  • Current affairs on the environment and wildlife are very useful for the preparation of the answers for this section.
  • Keep an eye on the issues of EIA as given in the leading newspapers

Internal Security & Disaster Management

  • Understand the correlation between the different stages and issues of development and how it gets affected by the spread of extremism is the primary concept that should be clear while preparing this topic.
  • Understand the role of neighboring and external countries affecting the security of India and the actions that are taken against them is another important topic.
  • Follow the newspaper on a daily basis and make notes of all the relevant news, you can find numerous case studies and examples to substantiate the answer better.
  • The mandate of the different security agencies of the country should be carefully studied and referred while you are writing the answers.
  • For disaster management, draw diagrams to illustrate concepts like river embankment, land zoning, watershed management, etc.

The syllabus for GS paper III is quite dynamic but the key to successfully complete it is grasping the concepts well. This, in turn, will help you to relate the theories with the current news on relevant topics and you will be able to answer the questions while maintaining a logical flow.

Tips for Writing Better Answers in UPSC IAS Mains 2020

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