As you commence preparation, your immediate target is Preliminary Examination; but, at the same time the Civil Services (Main) Examination also comes in focus and you need to be alert about the requirement as well as the way you have to handle it during preparation.
There will be numerous candidates starting afresh and thousands of unsuccessful candidates faced disappointment in previous attempt. In particular, these candidates just look at things that didn’t work in their favour.
As usual, while interacting with some of the candidates – successful as well as those who were not so fortunate this time, I found that despite capability and focus, 4 myths that sometimes hinder the prospects at Main Examination level.
As you are aiming for big success in Civil Services Examination, just keep an eye on these.
With Civil Services (Main) Examination in focus, you are working hard on your preparation.
‘Integrate Approach’ for preparation really delivers and hopefully, right now you would be indulged with Main Examination oriented preparation.
This is the time to keep an eye on the things what works and what not.
As you wish to perform and embrace desired success, be careful about these 4 observations about Main Examination:
It is tough to score in Four Papers of General Studies
It is a mind-set that hinders your chances of high score in General Studies.
As the Main Examination pattern changed in 2013, we saw low scores in General Studies. But, as we observe, each passing year scoring pattern has improved remarkably and from CSE 2016 we saw some 400+ scores in General Studies and subsequent result trend reflect much improved scores and that clearly impact the cut-off.
Srushti Jayant Deshmukh (AIR 5; CSE 2018) scored 470 Marks in General Studies, the highest marks this year. The impact of high marks clearly reflect in her final result.
Look at the scores of Ravi Anand (AIR 79; CSE 2017) who scored 504 marks out of 1000 in General Studies. His General Studies mark were instrumental in his top-rank success as in Interview he managed to get only 124 marks.
UPSC has clear intentions that are spelt out in notification itself that they are looking for ‘Generalists’ not ‘specialists’.
Being well read and awareness about surroundings and contemporary development makes you perform well in Main Examination.
It is not at all difficult to manage it as you have enough time to fine tune your preparation-plan to meet out the emerging requirements.
Preparing General Studies is important; Optional Subject is not that significant
Agreed, General Studies has the maximum weightage; but, ignoring Optional Subject can be unsafe.
You have to plan you endeavour and accordingly showing complacency towards any question paper can be dangerous.
Precarious set up of General Studies papers leaves most of the candidates in a range as your strengths and weaknesses works in favour or against most of the candidates and only a very few are able to score very high marks in General Studies.
Whereas, a little more predictable Optional Subject offers you opportunity to score and as has been observed, scores of Optional Subject play a vital role in final success and even in getting higher ranks.
In present set-up, it is significant to have reasonably good performance with optional subject that liven up your endeavour.
A glance at optional subject like Mathematics gives a view that candidates score high marks. Kanishak Kataria (AIR 1; CSE 2018) scored 361 marks that helped high grab topmost rank. Likewise, scores of Abhinav Singh (AIR 8; CSE 2017) – 375 out of 500 reveals the impact of high marks in getting his single-digit rank.
With such a vast coverage of General Studies syllabus, there is no need to split time specifically for Essay preparation
Gaurav Kumar (AIR 34; CSE 2017) scored 166 marks in Essay Paper that helped his secure high rank despite average show in his optional subject.
Truly, Essay has become a game-changer in present set-up and there are evidences where Essay marks have played a vital role in selection and even in getting top ranks.
Expecting 145 odd out of 250 is possible in Essay whereas reaching that level in any paper of General Studies or for that matter Optional Subject is not at all easy.
When you are aiming for Main Examination, Essay can give you the opening that adds confidence and can help in gaining an edge over others.
At Main Examination level, it is your presentation style that matters the most
I think this is the biggest myth that has made candidates face the butchery stance of UPSC examiners.
The examiner is out there to assess your intellect, knowledge, awareness and familiarity with the topic and how well you understand the question and looks for a crisp answer.
If you don’t have understanding of the topic how can you present it effectively?
Your presentation style matters only when you have a little information and acquaintance with the topic.
In such scenario, your writing skills and wisdom come in to play when you answer with your own perspective.
Your aim at Mains is not just crack it but, to score as high as you can that ensures definitive success.
All you need is to identify you strength and weaknesses and based on that, a well-laid out strategy in place.
So, be proactive and work out a specific plan for Main Examination in the beginning itself, follow it by maintaining consistency in preparation and with a bit of luck, it will work in your favour.Last Update Tuesday 31st March 2020