With the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) results recently declared, qualified candidates are now neck-deep in preparing for the UPSC mains.
FPJ spoke to a few UPSC aspirants across India to find out what it takes to get the UPS Mains, prep tips, strategies, and resources in place.
"Scoring well does not depend on how much you study but your approach towards the subjects. If there is hard work but a lack of acceptance, you might not score well. While studying theories for hours is helpful, your approach towards what you don't know and how much there is to know; matters. A lot of study material is available online. What is not available is the key to performance. That is something inside you. Only you have the power to express yourself fully within a given amount of time,” says aspirant Priti Kumari, Bihar.
When it comes to strategy and tips, she adds that the best way to prepare is to go 'the wholesome way'.
"I did not wait for the UPSC Prelims to start preparing. I had the vision set ever since prelims itself. I told myself that my prelims were my "Mains" and that is the best thing I can recommend for aspirants to do. One must not prepare in instalments but do it from scratch."
Yash Khade from Delhi, who took his Mains exam in 2020, shares, "What most students do is that they focus only on the theory part of the subjects. You put yourself at risk if you study theories and disregard case studies. It is very important to realize that case studies are a reflection of theories themselves. So don't make the mistake of skipping them. They cover a lot of topics and help to score well. Moreover, the optional test is the most important one. It gives you a higher chance of making it. If nothing works, the optional test will be your saviour."
"The most crucial part of Mains is answer writing; how knowledgeable you are, makes little difference, what matters is are you able to put on paper. There is nothing more or else important. Also, every part of the syllabus needs to be done. But we can strategize the subjects with respect to cost cost-benefits like optional, ethics, essay first then other GS subject's. Lastly, How many hours you study is not what matters, what matters is how effective are those hours. But on an average 10/12 hrs of effective study with proper planning is enough,” said another candidate who got through his prelims Adnan Mohd, from Delhi.
Khusboo Jain from Assam has a different view on timing, routine and current affairs. She said that most people like to wake up early in the morning and start afresh. I am nocturnal. I like to study at night. I think 8-9 hours of study and taking breaks in intervals is a fine study method. It gives you time to soak in subjects. Besides this strategy, I would like to share some resources for current affairs. The other side to UPSC exams is all about current incidents. One has to be aware of everything that is happening and not just the contemporary year but previous years, too. The sources that I recommend are newspapers instead of news channels. Because sometimes television displays the news we don't need whereas newspapers have research-based editorials. Other than print, I watch these youtube channels that help me a lot- Study IQ and Drishti IAS."
UPSC Mains will be conducted from January 7-17, 2022. However, candidates know whether they have a future in UPSC only once they are done and selected for all three - Prelims, Mains, Personality test. For more details, one can check the website- upsc.gov.in.
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