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Sunday, August 23, 2009

Civil Services Mains 2009 : Few Pointers

First of all I would like to convey my congratulations to all of you who have cleared the first hurdle (prelims).Those who have for some reason or the other faltered in this first stage should not not lose heart and instead analyze what went wrong and start preparations anew for next year's exam. Utilize the time that is available to make your next attempt the best one.
Coming back to those who have cleared this time and gearing up to write mains, with my experience of having written civil services (mains) four times I can say that these next two months are going to be absolutely critical in determining how u fare at the mains stage of this exam.The written exam carries 2000 out of a total of 2300 marks and a superlative performance here can take away much of the ambiguity associated with the interview stage.
The strategy that would pay dividend is one which suits the individual and not a one size fits all. If one feels comfortable with optionals then maybe general studies should be the focus area or vice-versa.One would do well to remember that one needs to prepare three papers (two optionals and general studies)and essay and adequate time should be given to all of them.
For current affairs, keep scanning the newspaper and make own notes for new terms(for eg. Af-Pak Policy)which can be potential 2 markers.Also one should start reading books that are available in the market for 2 markers.Reading few pages of different sections everyday before going to bed would be a good break from monotony of studying and also build your confidence.
Answer writing practice is critical to one's success in this stage and must be done for optional subjects to get an idea of how much time it takes to formulate and write an answer. Also one must practice answering GS previous years question papers to get a hang of whether one would be able to complete the paper in time or not. Do not write anything that is superfluous especially in GS as in doing so you will hardly gain any marks but will end up losing precious time that could have been utilized for answering other questions. Be precise and to the point in answering the questions. Even in optional subjects beating about the bush will pull down your score, so avoid it.
One request to all the readers and well-wishers of this blog : Please go through the archives and the comments section before posing your queries as 9 out of 10 times these are repetitive in nature. Also,note that this blog is a voluntary collaborative effort and unreasonable expectations like personal replies on emails simply cannot be met.For queries regarding selection of optionals, I have written a separate post and for queries on syllabus of optionals or scheme of exam please visit UPSC website (www.upsc.gov.in).Just out of curiosity, if you were a reader of this blog and have cleared prelims,please post your name and optionals in the comments section.All the very best to all of you !!!