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Mains, CSE: Get cracking on It! And Push Your Rank Higher to Join IAS.

Civil Services Exam – A smart IAS aspirant, most of the times, is all set to get cracking on the Mains! It is no secret that the Prelims is the qualifying stage for the Civil Services Exam.  Thus, these are the Papers for the Mains and your performance during the Interview that helps to score well. Your marks for the Mains and the Interview are added together to form your final score.

Consequently, as the Union Public Service Commission declares the result for the Civil Services Exam, you must rank higher than the competition. That is to say, if you are keen upon joining the Indian Administrative Services.

Why are the Papers for Mains so highly important?

Scoring higher than the competition in the Papers for the Mains is more important than you might have thought of when the very idea of joining the IAS might have come across your mind! UPSC allows only the highest of the rank holders to join the Indian Administrative Services.

And if you want to score high, you must score well in the Mains. Your score in the Mains can and does pave the way for you to join the IAS for it helps shoot your rank higher!

And scoring higher than the competition in the Mains would definitely help you enjoy what all IAS offers, as listed below:

1. The power and the prestige:

It is worth noting that the Indian Civil Services bestow tremendous power and prestige on the IAS officers. The IAS officers can be spotted in the higher echelons of the government, apart from various other positions, including the prominent ones in the Public Sector Undertakings.

2. Secure Career:

There is the job security that every individual craves for. Besides, the IAS officers draw handsome salaries, apart from various other benefits provided by the Indian Administrative Services.

3. Tremendous satisfaction:

Also, IAS provides a brilliant opportunity to the officers to serve their nation. Thus, they enjoy a tremendous satisfaction for having contributed to the development and well-being of their nation.

4. An IAS officer is greatly respected by the society:

The IAS officers participate in the making and implementation of various government policies. Therefore, they help alleviate and/or eradicate various problems suffered by the society. As a result, they are looked upon by the Indian society in great awe!

Now, all the reasons specified above would definitely motivate an educated Indian youth to join the Indian Administrative Services. And it is your score in the Papers for the Mains that will pave the way for the same.

Smart Tips to Get Cracking on the Mains!

Needless to say, the competition for the Civil Services Exam requires you to simply get cracking on the Mains! A huge ocean of the examinees applies for the Civil Services Exam every year. And the majority aspires for joining none other than the Indian Administrative Services.

Most of the reasons that make the IAS the most coveted of all the Civil Services have already been specified above. Apart from that, you might be having quite a few of your own. But only a few clear the Exam successfully. And fewer score well and rank high enough to join the IAS.

And that explains why do you need the smartest of the smart tips to get cracking on the Mains?

1. Be consistent, study smart, and persevere:

Well, these are the virtues that pave the way for a candidate towards success even when it is none other than the IAS Exam. IAS is the most sought after of all the UPSC cadres so much so that the Civil Services Exam has popularly come to be known as the IAS Exam.

Thus, if you aim at joining the IAS, you are required to study smart and be consistent all through your efforts. Perseverance pays specifically when it is none other than the Mains for you need more of it to beat the competition!

2. Get familiar with the syllabus:

You must study only what the syllabus prescribes. It is a point to be noted, nay implemented. UPSC prescribes such a huge syllabus for the entire CSE that there is no scope for any kind of diversions.

So, it is advisable to get familiar with the syllabus, first of all. And study accordingly. And as the Mains is the scoring part for the CSE (apart from the Interview, of course), it applies the most to the same.

3. NCERT First!

Any sensible soul on the Earth would agree that the foundation needs to be the strongest if you would like the tallest and the most magnificent of the buildings to appear on it. So, it is best to lay a strong foundation by gaining crystal clear knowledge of the basics.

So, it pays to read the NCERT school books. Once, the fundamentals are crystal clear, you can easily gain further knowledge reading one book after another.But, with a weak base, whatever you read further will not be as fruitful as it ought to have been. As a result, it would affect both your comprehending as well as the retaining powers. 

4. Keep your knowledge of the Current Affairs up to date:

Current Affairs overlap a number of the areas relevant to cracking the Civil Services Exam. An excellent knowledge of the Current Affairs also proves helpful in qualifying the Prelims and scoring well in the Interview, apart from performing in an outstanding manner in the Mains.

Apart from the GS Papers, (and there are four of them in the Mains), you would be pleasantly surprised finding yourself writing logically convincing Essays for the Essay Paper in the Mains.

Thus, the knowledge of the Current affairs does prove to be helpful for sharpening your answer writing skills for the Mains. Moreover, you would be better equipped to answer in a logically convincing manner during the Interview as well.

It would be best to optimize the following resources for gaining the knowledge of Current Affairs:

(i) Newspapers:

Reading The Hindu is advisable. Make it a daily practice. Reading the relevant news and opting for a perspective while doing the same that would be relevant for the Mains is highly recommendable. Also, make it a point to read the Editorials.

But, do not spend the entire morning reading The Hindu. Time is a crucial resource (and it always runs out) specifically when it comes to prepare for the Mains for the syllabus is too vast to be covered within a brief span of time.

(ii) The News:

When it comes to gaining and upgrading the knowledge of the Current Affairs, listening and/or reading the News is simply indispensable. The resources listed below would make considerable contribution to your preparation for the Civil Services Exam:

(a) Lok Sabha TV
(b) Rajya Sabha TV
(c) AIR News
(d) The Indian Express
(e) The Hindu.

It is advisable to read the Editorials, apart from the news relevant for the preparation for the CSE. And as already specified above, the knowledge of Current Affairs does equip you considerably during all the stages of CSE, viz., the Prelims, Mains and the Interview.

(f) Budget
(g) Economic Surveys

The sources listed above would help your competence gain a sharper edge when it comes to the knowledge of the Current Affairs. It is highly essential. Apart from coming cracking down on the Mains, it helps you prepare for a considerable part for the Civil Services Exam.

5. Focus well on each of the subjects for each of the Papers:

It is human psyche that whatever interests us the most consumes the most of our time. It is in your own interest to remember all the time that you are preparing for the Civil Services Exam in order to join the IAS rather than satiating your appetite for interesting reading.

So, it would be better that you focus well on each of the subjects for each of the Paper for an outstanding performance in the Mains. And do not forget that you are to do the same as per the requirements for the syllabus prescribed by the Union Public Service Commission for the Civil Services Exam.

6. Sharpen your answer writing skills:

Ask yourself, “How is UPSC going to decide whether you are a potential administrator or not?” Of course, by what you write in the Mains and how you answer during the Interview. Here, we are talking of the Mains.

Thus, if you sharpen your writing skills, it will help you write well balanced answers. Your answers should reflect

  1. an unprejudiced mind
  2. all the required perspectives that are logically well-balanced
  3. awareness of all the relevant Current Affairs
  4. being alert to what all the question requires. And pay all the required attention to the Directive e.g., Discuss, Analyze, Critically Analyze, Comment, Elaborate etc.

Sharpening the answer writing skills goes a great way when it comes to the Mains. Now just focus on the following:

  1. There are four GS Papers carrying 250 Marks each.
  2. There is an Essay Paper carrying 250 Marks.
  3. There are Two Papers for the Optional Subject carrying 250 Marks each.

All the Papers specified above come to a total of 1750 marks.

The point to be driven back home is that once you sharpen your answer writing skills, you would be able to optimize your scoring potential when it comes to these 1750 marks of the Mains!

No IAS aspirant would like to ignore sharpening his answer writing skills. Rather, it would be the first and foremost priority on his mind to do the same. And the tips given below would help you do so in the smartest of the smart manner:

(a) Practice regularly:

It is advisable to practice answer writing regularly attempting to answer the questions based on what you have been studying the entire day.

(b) Cover all the perspectives:

Whenever you begin to write an answer, take all the perspectives into account. Make sure that apart from presenting all the required perspectives in a logically convincing manner, your answer makes a convincing use of the data, diagrams, quotes etc., as and when required.

(c) Use the same time frame as observed by UPSC:

It is best to practice answer writing in the same time frame and the environment as is observed by UPSC for the Civil Service Exam.  It would enhance your confidence and you would find yourself better equipped to face the Civil Services Exam.

7. Make Brief notes:

Taking down notes always helps. The Papers for the Mains are subjective. The UPSC syllabus is exceptionally huge. No wonder, you would not be able to read the complete bulky books repeatedly before the Exam.

Thus, it is advisable that you take down brief notes while reading various subjects and topics for various papers. It will help you comprehend well, apart from retaining the information thus gained for longer spans of time.

Further, it would be in your own interest to prepare the notes in a manner so that the process of making the revision helps you remind of the entire topic that you had been studying. Thus, it is advisable to highlight all the important points. Moreover, it would be better if you make notes separately for all the subjects and the topics the UPSC syllabus requires you to study. It will help you organize your revision in a more structured manner helping you keep the entire confusion at bay, apart from helping you save your time.

8. Revise regularly:

The sincere IAS aspirants study hard, but those who revise frequently study in the smartest of the smart manner.

Studying well helps of course. But, studying smart helps to crack the CSE. And studying in the smartest manner helps to score high and be among the highest rankers in order to be able to join the Indian Administrative Services.

So, it helps to join the IAS if you study in the smartest manner. And making frequent revisions does help you study in the smartest manner. Revising is highly important for the syllabus is too vast.

You might have been studying at length. But, gaining an in-depth knowledge of the subject (even as per the UPSC syllabus) would be rendered useless if you cannot recall the same during the Exam.

So, revising and revising regularly is mandatory. Doing so would help you recall the entire information with great ease when it comes to facing the Civil Services Exam. Besides, fixing some time in your time table for making the revisions is advisable. It will help you remember that you are not to skip the revisions for you will be following your time table.

9. It helps to solve the past years’ question papers:

It is an exercise that should not be taken lightly by any means. Solving the past years’ question papers would let you gain a knack of the types of the questions that are usually asked in the Mains, CSE. Besides, it will also help you get familiar with the changes, if there have been any, introduced by the Union Public Service Commission in the Exam pattern.

10. Solve the Test Series:

It also helps a great deal. The more you practice solving the Test Series, the greater is the self confidence that you gain. And that would be a great asset to help you face the CSE with ease.

11. Do not leave any of your queries unanswered:

Solving the past years’ question papers and the Test Series is highly essential for it helps you make a self assessment, apart from providing you with a number of other advantages. Besides, some of the questions might even leave you perplexed. And you might be having quite a few of the queries.

Make it a point to get all your queries solved. Unless and until you do so, answering the past years’ papers would not serve any purpose. Neither will attempting the Test Series. And you would be very likely to repeat the same mistakes even while facing the Civil Services Exam.

12. Get yourself enrolled in an IAS coaching institution:

Joining the Best IAS Coaching Institution in Delhi helps considerably to come cracking down on the Mains. You would discover it for yourself that a lot of worries concerning the preparation for the Mains, nay the entire Civil Services Exam would automatically be taken off your mind once you get yourself enrolled at an IAS Coaching Institution in Delhi.

13. Seek Mentorship:

Given the fact that all individuals have a unique personality of their own, it is quite logical that an IAS aspirant too might find it harder to simplify a few complexities of the preparation somewhat more difficult than others.

But apart from seeking guidance from the faculty members to get your queries answered at a coaching institution, it is advisable to make the most of the mentorship for it will definitely help you prepare better for the Mains. Mentorship as provided by most of the competent IAS coaching institutions takes care of the complexities individually faced by the students. No wonder, it helps a great deal to clear the Mains.

14. Just focus:

Do not allow your focus to waver.Prepare for the Mains with a thorough concentration. It is wiser to keep all the disturbances and the negative influences at bay. Just focus on the preparation for the Exam and you would definitely see the results for yourself!

15. Do not neglect your health:

If you are a realistic individual, you would not like to neglect your health. Besides studying for 10-15 hours every day is not practical either. You will feel terribly tired after a few days and would not be able to continue with such a tiring schedule.

So, study well, but spare some time for relaxing as well. It is best to take little breaks for 10 minutes after studying for some time or when you feel the need to rest and relax.

Besides, it is not going to serve any purpose if you neglect your meals or make a drastic reduction in your sleeping hours. If you think that you can do with a 2 or 3 hours sleep only, you are highly mistaken.

Lack of sleep is far from increasing the number of hours that you hope to be getting for study. What all you are likely to get is repeated number of yawns and a thorough lack of concentration and wavering focus while studying.

Thus, it is best that you eat on time and sleep on time. Exercising well will be an added advantage. A good health is bound to help you study well and prepare well for the Mains.

A Word of Caution

A great many of the IAS aspirants do cracking on the Mains opting for the smartest of the smart approaches. They study smart. They prepare smart. And needless to say, their preparation for the Mains does go great guns!

However, they would do well to remember that preparing for the Prelims should not be ignored at any cost. Feeling over confident that you would be able to clear the Prelims easily is a great misconception many of the IAS aspirants suffer from.

Simply studying the statistics for the CSE Prelims would reveal that it’s far from being an easy exercise to clear the qualifying Exam. Now, if you ignore preparing for the Prelims, you might not qualify it. And all your attempts to come cracking on the Mains would come to naught for UPSC does not allow any candidate to proceed with the Mains unless and until he qualifies the Prelims.

More Articles To Read:

How Does A Well Thought Of Head-Start Support Your Preparation For The IAS Exam?
Why Sociology is a Good Optional Subject for Civil Services Exam?
Exam Pattern and the Selection Procedure for UPSC IAS exam
The Easier Way to Prepare for the Current Affairs for the IAS Exam?
Yojana Magazine Free PDF Download
IAS Salary: How much do the Indian Administrative Services pay?

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