TNN | Posted on Tuesday, September 20,2022 13:25
With only a few days left for the beginning of
Here are a few things you can do to ace the Mains.
Have a clear view of what you are required to do in the Mains
While you may have already read the UPSC notification you should revisit it again to have a clear view of what is required from you in the Mains. As per the notification, the Main exam intends to ‘assess the overall intellectual traits and depth of understanding of candidates’. It does not intend to test your memory or how much information you have gathered during preparation. This clear view will help you avoid packing the answers with lots of facts, figures and unnecessary details. You should ensure a logical flow in your answers. Every data or fact mentioned must be relevant to the question. In fact excess facts can give a wrong impression.
Elasticity of Essay and Ethics papers is relatively high
There are four General Studies (GS) papers including one essay paper and two optional papers. While GS and essay papers are common for everyone, two optional papers of 250 marks each can make you stand out. Ethics paper is best dealt with in conformity with political correctness as much as possible, but at times you may have to depart from it. Aspirants should try to capitalise on these papers by scoring as high as possible. Social issues are another area of high yield.
More on the essay paper
Essay paper is a score-differentiator comprising 250 marks that accounts for around 14% of the total marks for Mains. However, many aspirants do not work hard enough while preparing for the essay paper. As per the UPSC notification, candidates may be required to write essays on multiple topics.
To write high-scoring essays in
● Before starting an essay, think about the topic for 5-10 minutes and have a rough mental framework of what you will write.
● You may use the last page for putting down points
● Write in an orderly fashion and be concise. Don’t use
● Do not blindly follow any essay template and try to be original in your approach.
● Enrich your essay with relevant examples and views.
Play to your strengths
You should always try to maximise scores by focusing first on what you already know. There might be some questions that you are not confident about. So instead of wasting precious time on them you should first attempt what you can write well. If the time permits you can always come back to attempt the leftover questions.
Work on your handwriting
For high-scoring answers, your handwriting should be neat and legible. While good handwriting may not fetch extra marks, you may lose a few if your answers are not easily readable. You should ensure that your letters are not very small and there is sufficient spacing between words.
The way forward
UPSC Mains is as much a test of in-depth understanding as intellectual traits and hence, your answers should reflect both. You should also be confident about your strengths and preparation. Any kind of nervousness or negativity ahead of the exam can disrupt your positive and resourceful mental state. At the same time, it is also important for you to be in the best of your health. So take enough rest and enter the examination hall with an alert mind.
Remember you cleared prelims and may have written Mains already too. There won’t be any questions that you would not be able to attempt. At best 5% of the questions would be if at all out of your reach.
(The author is founder and director, SRIRAM’s
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