Friday, June 23, 2017

My UPSC Mains Marks - 904

So, as you see I didn’t get much marks in Interview. Even in my previous attempt too I didn’t do good in interview (CSE-2015 à 138 marks).

So coming to the had been clear that I couldn't remain dependent on interview, so I decided to work on my MAINS and get an EDGE in mains itself and make the interview IRRELEVANT.

In CSE 2015 , I had got 700 marks in Mains and in interview 138 which took me to 838 and I was not recommended it was clear that I have to make some 100 marks more in Mains which will take me atleast into the list with a OK rank !


So what things I changed in my answer writing ?

One THING was clear, I had KNOWLEDGE ..I had CONTENT .. somewhere I may have been lacking . To be honest I didn’t take much efforts for this close friends would tell  much better of how was my APPROACH and ATTITUDE !

But, the thing I worked on was on PRESENTATION ...where I think I scored more than REST !

1.The START - this is the most essential part ...different toppers have different strategies strategy was to start the answer with a FACT.

  • So suppose there is a question on WOMEN safety ! ... I would have started with a NCRB data which would state that in 1 hr. in India there are 'x' no. of murders , 'y' no. of rapes and 'z' no. of sexual assaults. .... So basically I was supporting my point with some data.

  • Similarly if there would be a question on INNOVATION in India, I would start with like India ranks 60 in the world according to Global Innovation index. (showing the sorry state at which we are in terms of innovation)

In some cases I would quote may be something from DownToEarth if related to environment, or The Lancet , or IDSA or anything relevant to the question..

Like, take for example there is an article in DowntoEarth by Sunita Narain on pollution

So it would be like , " Sunita Narain in article in DownToEarth has raised concern over the air pollution in India ...stating that in 'x' years ...India would suffer 'y' "  and hence you show your concern related to that question 

or IMF chief Christine Lagarde on her visit to India said that  "India's national income would increase by 27 per cent if the participation of women in the workforce matches the level of men " 

So you will have to create a separate DIARY for this ...exclusively for starting answer which would contain such enriching stuff !


2. Now the Main Body Part 

Here I would suggest writing answers in points ! ...but, in UPSC we find there are sub-questions, so here while dealing with each sub-question can go like write 2 lines related to it in para form and then start with your points ...repeat this thing for next sub-question.

Ideas are very important when we write answers ...when the entire crowd reads THE HINDU ...everyone has only one view point....we need to be different from the very next guy writing paper… I suggest reading atleast editorials and explained page of INDIAN EXPRESS .

Infact our approach need not be like 2 hrs dedicated to newspaper or something which is time-bound...rather importance lies in covering TOPICS, having diversity of opinions on a particular topic!  When we are dealing with a particular topic there are THREE viewpoints on it 

Take for example, the issue of SIMULTANEOUS Elections,

  • ·       there will be a person who will write in SUPPORT of it ....
  • ·       there will be some person who will write AGAINST it ....
  • ·  but there will be some EXPERT or BUREAUCRAT or former Bureaucrat like in this case former CEC SY QURESHI who will give you ideas ,reforms, recommendations ,way forward for TACKLING this issue SY QURESHI in this case was of the view that we can atleast reduce the number phases by increasing the strength of CRPF battalion and hence reduce TIME invested in elections and many other suggestions likewise ...

The point I want to underline here is that all this THREE point of views must come and be reflected in your answers ! 

May be you don't take it on yourself ,,if some point we feel is not that relevant or logical ....we can just quote like 'xyz' person in an article in Indian Express was of the view that '.............'

and for getting all this stuff ,,,,you won’t get it in one newspaper the approach may b TOPICWISE where you DIG on Internet to get this viewpoints .....

how to find it ? 

just put the stuff you want to search on GOOGLE NEWS ...not GOOGLE ....on GOOGLE NEWS section will land to that article with ease !


How to do value addition to answers ?

1. Follow some good people who are experts in their field and their articles surface in some newspaper whichever might it be like Brahma Chellany who is strategic thinker …. like Ashok Gulati who writes on Agriculture Bibek Debroy , Arvind Panagariya ..the NITI Aayog people who also write articles with great ideas C RajaMohun, Suhasini Haidar who write on International relations ...etc etc etc .... quote them in your answers and their IDEAS...which is where you will get EDGE from others 

Do not follow people who write with some AGENDA ...I need not quote will be clever enough to identify them !

2. There are various COMMITTEES , REPORTS, ARC reports (selective reading) setup by Government which have very good ideas and recommendations now you can read selectively the THREE Year Action Agenda and 15 year Vision document of NITI AAYOG .......

3. The Economic Survey has very good points, just when the survey comes those days post the survey there are articles in newspaper by the authors of Survey and the CEA on topics in survey instead of reading the entire survey ...even if we follow these we will get a summary of those topics.

Plus atleast make it a point to read the START and END of the chapters in Economic Survey which has many facts, ideas , and sentences which could be effectively used in your answers !

In your ANSWERS, mention it like 2nd ARC says that, or SHEKATKAR committee was of the view that …...,, or the ECONOMIC SURVEY 2016-17 states that ........

(this way it shows ,,that you have pretty good reading…..but the examiner things ‘ bande ne survey/report padha hai pura’)

4. DIAGRAMS , FLOWCHARTS are also essential ,,,where you can score more ...infact in diagrams/flowcharts who can say many things in less space ...( as there is limited space) and it also looks different from others . Like the following, 

Related image

5. Underlining is also important..whichever point you feel will impress the evaluator ...just underline it .


The Conclusion /END of answer !

Things need to end on a HAPPY note in LIFE ...similar thing must follow in answers.

Like you must always have a WAY FORWARD for the answer where you give SOLUTIONS.....( even if not asked in 2 lines ) ....since  it reflects that you will be a BUREAUCRAT with solutions and that is APPRECIATED  ( not one who is always criticizing or supporting some aspect as we see in some articles  )

Prepare some case studies like ......

  • ·  Suppose it is relating to waste management , we can quote the SEECHEWAL Model or OKHLA model for waste - to - energy project or may be somewhere some innovative initiative like in PIMPRI CHINCHWAD a Whatsapp group was created to post images of anyone littering and hence was fined.

  • ·For women safety there is HIMMAT app created in Delhi or SHE group idea of IPS Mahesh Bhagwat Sir has been successful !

  •  So, like wise for various areas there are various initiatives taken by our civil servants , NGOs, civil society will have to keep a track of those ..create a diary exclusively for that ...!

sources like , Bureaucracy Today , Governance Now and newspaper can be handy ! to get the above stuff 

WHY all this ?

Just to get that ONE mark extraaa in each question from the other guy who is writing the same content what you are !

Likewise if you get even if u get ONE mark extra ...this amounts to say about 80 marks in GS papers ...and that makes a HUGE DIFFERENCE !

Another thing, reading the Question , Thinking about it , drawing Diagram , underlining , giving a good start , giving a good way forward to be done in 9 MINUTES ! ( Sachin Tendulkar or Virat Kohli or P.T. Usha were not what they were in one DAY ,...that required lot of practice ...exercise ...) that needs to be DONE from now onwards ..... WRITING WRITING and WRITING is the only MANTRAA !

Making diaries ...finding out facts ...finding out success models might appear to be a mammoth task ....but if we carefully see the syllabus and UPSC papers ...questions revolve around selected topics only....only the context might WOMEN , CASTE , DISASTER MANAGEMENT , FOOD PROCESSING , LAND REFORMS , CAG , PRESIDENT RULE , GOVERNOR , GEOSTRATEGIC interests etc. etc. etc. 


Different toppers have different strategies.....we must not FOLLOW someone (I didn’t follow anyone ) rather bring in your own by getting ideas from various strategies. There is no one STRATEGY which will get you a RANK…..and that is the BEAUTY of UPSC will have to create your OWN ROAD ,,,may be toppers will show you the PATH ...try to bring in INNOVATIONS in your work ...!

Apart from this ‘Spirituality’ along with Yoga ,Meditation, Pranayam are also some components which helped me in the preparation…because this exam requires Patience , Consistency and Stability of mind and this things played an important… doing the right things at the right time (coupled with hard work and smart work)....and getting the right ideas at that instance of 3 hours of exam and writing them down and those things being appreciated by the examiner …I personally feel requires blessing from the Almighty which I think I had ! (some might differ with me on this but it’s cool !)

Best of Luck and hope to see you come out with flying colors .I will try writing some more articles whenever time permits!

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