Disclaimer: Despite my best efforts and the perception that I performed quite well in this paper, I was able to score only 95 out of 250 in this paper. So please read the following article with your own discretion. Unlike what most people think, Ethics is actually a very narrow area. Compared to the other GS papers, the syllabus is extremely small. This is one paper which is less about studying but more about thinking and writing. I started my preparation for this paper after the prelims results came and thus I spent not more than 2 months on this paper. Sources:
- Lexicon for Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude – Chronicle (an excellent book)
- Case studies from various sources, especially from test series
- Sri Chaitanya Narayana
One must practice this paper by writing as many exams as possible. It helped me in streamlining my thoughts, come up with more real life examples and also taught me how to manage time in the exam. Time is a big factor in this paper and you’ll not have much time to think if you want to attempt the whole paper (which you must, in my opinion). Also I did not study many theories, but focused more on strengthening my reasoning to be ethical. I believe UPSC doesn’t appreciate you saying that one should be ethical because Gandhi or some philosophical theory said so. I think UPSC appreciates you realising that being ethical is not just in the best interests of the society, but also in your own interest driven by logical and coherent arguments. And like Rachit Raj (scored highest marks in Ethics in CSE 2013) had mentioned in one of his video blogs, one must try to project that being ethical at individual level would lead to larger national interest and prosperity. And for case studies I think one must adopt a “bring it on” kind of an approach and try to give possible courses of action thinking from every possible way. Remember that it takes multiple courses of action to solve a real life problem. So I think the key is to be able to think from multiple points of view.
While interacting with some of my friends who scored high marks in Ethics, they said that they’ve mentioned the thinkers and their quotations in the Case studies. This was done by at least 2 of my friends who scored more than 100.