Knowledge vs An Analytical Mind – What Counts More in IAS Exam?

Answer Writing Skills: Knowledge vs An Analytical Mind – what counts more in the IAS exam?

These are your answer writing skills that represent you as a potential administrator to UPSC. Indian Administrative Services are the most coveted out of the various cadres for various reasons.

The competition to join IAS is extremely tough. And it gets tougher as the years roll by. After you clear the qualifying Prelims successfully, UPSC allows you to appear for the Mains exam.

But that is not even half the battle won. You would like to join IAS. And UPSC would make an assessment if you are the potential administrator that UPSC has been looking for.

It cannot be denied that these are the answers that you pen down in the exam that is going to represent you as a potentially efficient administrator or otherwise. That’s where your answer writing skills play an important role.

Answer Writing Skills: Is knowledge everything that UPSC looks for?

Had knowledge been the only criterion that UPSC looks for in the Indian youth to allow them to join IAS, all would have crammed big, bulky books and joined the Indian Administrative Services quite easily. So, it only implies that it is not just the knowledge that is required to enable one to function as an efficient administrator. UPSC looks for quite a few more qualities in the Indian youths before it allows them to join IAS. And the answer writing skills must imbibe all these positive attributes as well.

What else should the Answer Writing Skills Represent, apart from knowledge?

As already stated above, knowledge, though an essentially required quality in all of the Administrators, is far from sufficient to help a candidate administer the nation successfully. A few of these are described below:

A sharply analytical mind: It is a sharp and analytical mind that puts knowledge to good use. Knowledge alone is not going to help a DM decide if a Curfew is required in the specific circumstances at any time. It is just an example. Successful administration would require an IAS office to face varying issues and yet help the government administer the nation successfully. Needless to say, an IAS officer must be able to put his knowledge to good use by using his discretion. And that obviously requires a sharply analytical mind.

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Thus, the answers penned down by an IAS aspirant during the exam should present solutions to the problems discussed in an analytical manner. Whatever the UPSC question asks for must be paid attention to and answered analytically.

It must not be forgotten by any of the IAS aspirants that these are the answers only that are written in the IAS exam, which serve as the only means to UPSC to assess if you have a sharply analytical mind or not. So the answers that you write in the UPSC Mains exam should be written analytically.

Thorough awareness of what goes around: An administrator should be thoroughly aware of the changing circumstances if he is keen to administer well. Whatever solutions are relevant today may not hold any practical validity in the face of the changing circumstances. It obviously requires the IAS officers to be aware of all the changes that the circumstances go through, and act accordingly.

Besides, the IAS officers should also be aware that a practically feasible decision is to be made and implemented at the right time as required by the current circumstances. No efficient administrator would allow the existing conditions to deteriorate and the society to suffer by not taking timely action.

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Thus the answer writing skills must represent that the writer is not only aware of what goes around, but is also capable of getting his decision implemented in a timely manner by means of his administrative skills.

The quality of staying unprejudiced and hence, justifiable to all: No good soul will deny that justice can be imparted only by those who stay unprejudiced. If you feel inclined towards a specific section of society, you cannot stay unprejudiced. In such a case, the decisions taken by you would be far from being fair to all the sections of society.

Needless to say, your answers must represent an unprejudiced mind. Otherwise, UPSC may not deem you fit for being a capable administrator.

What does actually outweigh another: Knowledge or an analytical mind?

The answer writing skills should be developed in a manner that the answers present a balance in between the knowledge as well as an analytically aware and unprejudiced mind. There should be harmony among all these attributes of an administrator. And the personality of a potential administrator should be such that none of these qualities should outweigh another.

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However, the point to be noted is that apart from knowledge, an analytical insight and an unprejudiced approach towards administering the society, there is a lot more that counts as well. And your answer writing skills must imbibe these qualities also. The perspective should be balanced and all the pros and cons should be properly considered before the answer is written.

Besides, though it has been stated that the answers should have a thoroughly unprejudiced mind, one should take a little more care not get carried away by the personal human tendencies for it is the human nature to make personal preferences. It is best to maintain a neutral manner while writing the answers and stay logically justifiable, maintaining the same tempo throughout the answer.  

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