GS 4- Ethics Plan and My Notes

Ethics is one such subject where input to output ratio is good. I mean with minimum effort we can have more scoring opportunity. But it is also one such subject where writing a foolproof strategy is very difficult. The marking pattern has also been different like for last 2 years the scoring was high, like it went up to 130+ and this year anything about 100+ is a good score. I present here my understanding of the ethics paper and how I approached the paper.

My sources:

I prepared notes from referring certain materials like (100 pages) 

  1. Vajiram Class Notes ( Mostly Pathak sir’s notes)
  2. GS Score hand written notes (few parts)
  3. Extensive use of internet ( quora etc..)
  4. Previous years papers, test papers available in market.
  5. You tube for thinkers -THE SCHOOL OF LIFE channel
  6. Some gist and videos on certain topics like 2nd ARC etc…

Basic understanding:  I understood ethics paper as one part where the examiner is not checking or do not want to know what is ethics? what is integrity ? or any other definition, but he is checking how ethical you are? what are the instances where you showed this in your life? etc..

So I mainly aimed at presenting the personalized answers for all questions. Like for every question I tried to present a definition in my own words and tried to put one example where I have been ethical from my personal life.

For example:  For Integrity, my definition was simple like – Doing right or being honest even when nobody is watching you. I would present a simple example from my life like- While I was travelling on my bike at 3 am in the morning, I came across a red light. I stopped at the signal when no vehicle was stopping for signal. I was alone waiting at the signal even when the entire road is clear.  This is an example of my integrity. I would present such type of examples in the answer, by which the examiner would feel that the student understood the essence of this paper.

Few key points

  1. Try to prepare a definition for all the topics and words in your own words and simple sentences. Don’t run around heavy definitions from books. They will be bookish.
  2. For every word and topic try to prepare examples. Try to prepare examples from at-least               a) You personal life                    b) Some example from Indian polity or freedom struggle         c) some example from our mythology or history         d) if possible some from the present international affairs.
  3. Some times you may not get example from your life. In such cases use internet sources like quora etc.. where you can find several examples. Otherwise also you can create your own examples
  4. Try to present examples which are simple and realistic. I would suggest prefer examples from your daily life.
  5. For moral thinkers part, I would have basic understanding of their philosophy (School of life videos). The questions would be not what these people have said but how their teachings can be applied in real life. ( you can see my notes here, I didnt write too many things but basic core I have understood)
  6. The other thing which I focused was- when writing answers I used to mention more from Mahabharatha, Ramayana, Thiruvallur, Sri Krishna deva raya etc.. teachings. I did not bring in Socrates, Kant, Bentham, etc.. because I felt I was grown up listening to stories of Mahabharatha etc.. knew Kant and Bentham for only 2-3 years. Writing about western philosophers I thought would not give that personal touch and connect.
  7. I have put this as rule – while attempting questions I would not leave any question with out an example. I would suggest be ready with standard questions and examples so that you can use them freely in the exam.

For Case studies 

  1. This is perhaps the scoring part. There will be around 6-7 case studies carrying 20 marks each. The plan I would say is to attempt them in first 1 hr 30 min, roughly about 15 min for each case.
  2. You can use standard template for answers like
    1. Brief introduction of case- like what are the issues involved in the case, a small 3-4 lines introduction
    2. Then present the stakeholders (I wrote it even if the question does not ask also). I wrote stake holders and their stakes in the situation.
    3. Then ethical dilemmas involved in the case. I used to present at least 3 dilemmas, even they are smaller issues. This would give examiner the feel that you are able to identify smaller issues as well.
    4. Then write the options available to you. I used to present 3 options with 2 options at both extremes and one in middle. For each I wrote their merits and de-merits. Then would conclude by saying middle option is better.
    5. If you have better options like use of technology etc. you should write, it will give good impression

My ethics case study papers – some template:

Case studies

Case studies 2

Other Points

1) Don’t run after the materials and books. No matter how many books you read you will still feel not complete. So keep your notes short and understand the real essence of words.

2) I would say try to prepare more examples and simple examples for most topics and present them in your answers.

3) You can be creative if you try to explain with flow charts, diagrams and other innovative methods. This will give better presentation of answer.

4) All in all I would say personalize the entire paper if you want more marks.

My notes 

New Doc 2018-06-11 (1)

New Doc 2018-06-11

My marks



However, there is no single strategy for scoring in ethics. Hope this might help you .

All the best…


11 thoughts on “GS 4- Ethics Plan and My Notes

  1. Need ur guidance for mains sir!!!!


  2. Sir plz post ur anthropology notes…. Specially paper 2…. Need reference for mains!!


    1. I did already please see the other post


      1. Sir need ur guidance for mains!!!!!


  3. Sir are u going to post rest of ur notes for anthropology???


  4. Thanks sir.. very helpful

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hello sir
    Notes that you uploaded in the blog are not being downloaded


  6. Notes that you uploaded are not being downloaded


    1. please check SIR


  7. Hello Harsha,
    Congratulations for your great success.
    I would like to know small info from you. Your hand writing looks very nice. Could you please let me know which pen you have used?
    I am facing problem with selection.



    1. Focus more on presenting content . And handwriting comes secondly. Try to make sure that ur able to present what u wanted to the examiner….


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