How to Prepare for General Studies Paper IV for UPSC CSE Mains: Syllabus, Booklist & Strategy

Titled “Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude”, General Studies- 4 consists of several components including Ethics & Human Interface, attitude, aptitude, foundational values of civil services, code of conduct of governance. Through this paper, the commission assesses the candidate’s integrity and problem-solving approach on various issues and conflicts in society. 

In this article, we have discussed the syllabus, preparation strategy, and booklist for General Studies Paper 4 for Civil Services Examination.

GS Paper 4 Syllabus for Civil Services Main Examination

General Studies - IV (Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude)

This paper will include questions to test the candidates’ attitude and approach to issues relating to integrity, probity in public life, and his problem-solving approach to various issues and conflicts faced by him in dealing with society. Questions may utilize the case study approach to determine these aspects. The following broad areas will be covered:

  • Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, Determinants, and Consequences of Ethics in - Human Actions; Dimensions of Ethics; Ethics - in Private and Public Relationships. Human Values - Lessons from the Lives and Teachings of Great Leaders, Reformers, and Administrators; Role of Family Society and Educational Institutions in Inculcating Values.

  • Attitude: Content, Structure, Function; its Influence and Relation with Thought and Behaviour; Moral and Political Attitudes; Social Influence, and Persuasion.

  • Aptitude and Foundational Values for Civil Service, Integrity, Impartiality and Non-partisanship, Objectivity, Dedication to Public Service, Empathy, Tolerance, and Compassion towards the weaker-sections.

  • Emotional Intelligence-Concepts, and their Utilities and Application in Administration and Governance.

  • Contributions of Moral Thinkers and Philosophers from India and the World.

  • Public/Civil Service Values and Ethics in Public Administration: Status and Problems; Ethical Concerns and Dilemmas in Government and Private Institutions; Laws, Rules, Regulations, and Conscience as Sources of Ethical Guidance; Accountability and Ethical Governance; Strengthening of Ethical and Moral Values in Governance; Ethical Issues in International Relations and Funding; Corporate Governance.

  • Probity in Governance: Concept of Public Service; Philosophical Basis of Governance and Probity; Information Sharing and Transparency in Government, Right to Information, Codes of Ethics, Codes of Conduct, Citizen’s Charters, Work Culture, Quality of Service Delivery, Utilization of Public Funds, Challenges of Corruption.

  • Case Studies on the above issues

How to prepare for GS Paper 4: Strategy & Tips

This is one of the most scoring papers in the UPSC CS (Main) examination. To prepare this paper effectively, try to define and write about 100-150 words for each of the micro-topics like integrity, compassion, honesty, probity, etc. This could be used in answer-writing for different topics. Now, let us look at the preparation strategy for each of the broader components of GS Paper 4:

  1. Ethics and Integrity: Make small notes of concepts that are relevant to the topics that are a part of ethics and integrity. Knowledge about the grammar and jargon of ethics and integrity will be helpful while writing the answers for this paper. You can read basic books such as Lexicon for Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude for IAS General Studies Paper IV by Niraj Kumar. 

  2. Governance and Emotional Intelligence: A similar approach should be applied for preparing topics under governance and emotional intelligence. Questions related to how ethics is put into practice by civil servants are asked from this area. Hence, make use of your analytical mind while answering questions from this area. 

  3. Philosophers & Thinkers: Literature and theories corresponding to social thinkers/philosophers and leaders such as Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Kautilya (Chanakya), Ashoka, Rousseau, Gandhi, Sri Aurobindo, Dayanand Saraswati, Martin Luther King, Abraham Lincoln, Rabindranath Tagore, M.N Roy, Ram Manohar Lohiya, Narayan Guru, Deen Dyal Upadhyay, Nelson Mandela, Subhash Chandra Bose, Mother Teresa, Swami Vivekanand, Ambedkar, and Sardar Patel must be read briefly. This will allow you to answer the questions in this paper very effectively.

  4. Case studies on the above-mentioned topics: Try to put yourself in the shoes of an administrator and think about what you’ve done while reading the newspaper reports of the related incidents. This will strengthen your thought process and crisis management to deal with such situations. Newspaper editorials, articles, and interviews of IAS/IPS officers can also be used as a reference point for strengthening this area. 

Booklist for GS Paper 4

  1. Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude – G Subba Rao & P N Roy Chowdhury

  2. Lexicon for Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude for IAS General Studies Paper IV – Niraj Kumar

  3. Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude – Santosh Ajmera & Nanda Kishore Reddy

  4. Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude – M Karthikeyan

  5. Ethics in Governance: Innovations, Issues, and Instrumentalities – Ramesh K Arora

  6. ARC Reports

You can effectively cover the entire syllabus of General Studies paper by enrolling in our comprehensive course for General Studies.

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