Unlike other GS Papers, this paper is wholly constituted of Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude so rather than being divided into different subjects, this is divided into different blocks and topics.

See the break-up of previous years, before moving onto the Strategy section. (The case-study marks are included within the theory topics.)


If you have not gone through the analysis of GS-IV, visit here (LINK)


Booklist/Resources suggested by toppers


  • Decode Ethics by Mudit Jain
  • Ethics By Atul Garg
  • A Complete solution to Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude (LINK)
  • Prahaar (Ethics) (LINK)
  • Internet for searching quotes and examples.
  • Some Current examples from The Hindu or magazines ( A candidate’s own idea works here, but comes with practice if you start)




  • Ethics has only 14 questions, unlike the rest GS ones which have 20 questions, but don’t get misled by the number in Ethics. Even with this number, Ethics still manages to be the lengthiest paper of all.


  • Questions in Section A have many sub-parts that consume a good amount of your limited time.

In Fact if we look upon numbers, we write more words in GS-4 than in other papers. So a strict advice would be to abide by the rule of completing at least 80 marks questions in an hour, if you want to complete your paper in time.

Irrespective of whether you start with Section A or Section B, keep the time constraint and rule in mind.


  • Just before GS-IV, you would have had written three stressful GS Papers that would have already put you under physical and mental strain, but you have to manage it anyhow to be mentally tough during this crucial period. This would require you to push your endurance limits so as to survive another 3 hours of relentless writing and the only key is to keep in mind that it all is in the mind– it can be your biggest enemy or your greatest strength!


  • Coming to the preparation, go through the syllabus and try to define each term in simple, clear words and sentences because a simple question like ‘What is happiness?’ can bogle you how to define when it comes as an answer to be written down in word limit.


  • These definitions can eventually help you out as introductions in your answers. This simple pattern of definitions and real-life examples as illustrations can be the essence of GS-IV


  • You can always draw flowcharts and schematics wherever it feels relevant.


  • You can add Venn diagrams and flowcharts as per the need in theory questions. Eg: A bigger circle showing ethics and smaller concentric circle showing laws. This shows that ethics has wider scope than laws.


  • For topics like Ethics in governance, Promoting E-governance, RTI, Citizen-centric Administration, Personnel Administration, you can refer to the 2nd ARC Report.


  • Read all ARC reports completely and memorize only recommendations to be used in answers.


  • For Moral thinkers, you can google them to read their major contributions and for miscellaneous topics such as corporate governance, refer to some relevant and reliable coaching compilations


  • It is important to understand that each question is an opportunity to display your personal ethics which will be best demonstrated by the actions you did or some other personalized/real-life examples you quote.


  • Use this as a chance to reflect on your childhood, school-life, college time, professional career, etc. Glean examples that are simple, unpretentious and at the same time bring out your ethical values evidently are a key to it.


  • You can also quote historical examples from the lives of great leaders.


  • You can mention Civil Services conduct Rules in case studies or governance questions. Similarly, you can mention important acts like Prevention of Corruption act or POSH Act as per the case study.


  • In case studies, you should always begin by mentioning the current factual situation of the case, if you can. Like if the question is on women safety, then you can mention how many women crimes happen annually. Next, there should be mention of stakeholders.


  • For case studies, it’s suggestive not to aim to write ingenious, extraordinary solutions but remain practical in approach while keeping the solutions realistic as in the sense to be doable for the implementation on ground and try to finish paper no matter what.


  • In Quotations based questions, try to answer with multiple dimensions. Eg: if the quote is based on strong will power, then give examples from history (Bose), sports, Tenzing Norgay, Hitler (in a negative sense), etc.


  • While Giving tests –


  • First focus on building content in ethics answers and then, focus on time limit.
  • Practice PYQs a lot in daily answer writing, that will give you a very good understanding.
  • After completing ethics, try to write full length tests. Initially, it will exceed 3 hours but gradually you will be able to complete it in 3 hours.


  • While attempting the paper, give equal importance to both sections. Some students give 2 hours to case studies and 1 hour to the rest of the paper. Don’t do that. Give 1.5 hours to both sections.

Most toppers preferred to start with the first question and not with case studies because anyway 1 marks of both sections carry equal weightage so equal priority and dedicated time should be given.


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