Tips to Crack the UPSC Civil Services Main Exam 2018

Civil Services Mains exam is a descriptive type test consisting of 9 paper i.e., 2 papers of qualifying nature of 300 marks each and 7 papers of 250 marks each. It is not a test of knowledge only. It is a test of analytical ability, clarity, understanding of the topics and most importantly time management. Most of the aspirants make the blunder of reading from multiple sources by gathering every other book and material available in the market, which will leave them with no time to practice. Reading must only constitute a chunk of your preparation. Undoubtedly, it enables one to gather facts and knowledge.  But no matter how much one reads, the void still persists. Besides, lack of writing practice will reflect on the mark sheet of the candidate. Gathering quality information, analyzing it and presenting it in a precise manner will fetch more marks than merely quoting facts in the answers. And this will only come from answer writing practice.
Here are a few tips to improve your score in UPSC mains 2018:

1. Start practicing right away

Practice is the only key to write quality answers with all the facts, figures and analysis within the available time frame. Do not wait to finish your Prelims UPSC syllabus before you start practicing answer writing. You don’t have to complete the whole syllabus before you start practicing. Preparation and answer writing practice can go hand in hand. There are various websites that post relevant questions. Start answering them or solve previous year’s IAS question papers.

2. Aim to complete the whole paper

Most of the aspirants spend unnecessary time on a few questions that they know very well and fall short of time to attempt other questions. One must and should aim to complete the whole paper in 3 hours. Do not spend more than 9 minutes on a question. Strictly adhering to the word limit will give you just enough time to attempt all the questions.

3. Stick to the point

It is important for one to understand the question before starting to attempt it. Take a minute to see what the question demands. Also, make sure, you understand and follow the directive of the question.  Irrelevant facts or figures will not fetch you marks. Remember the trick! “Less is more”. Stick to the point and word limit to complete your answer within the given time frame.

4. Avoid using jargons

Don’t have a misconception that jargons will glorify your answers and fetch you more marks. It is important to make your General Studies answers look holistic. Jargons could be used in optional papers as the papers will be corrected by subject specialists and could gain you brownie points while saving some time.

5. Divide your answer into parts

Writing the whole answer in one single paragraph might make it look very monotonous to evaluate. In order for the examiner to notice all the points, make sure to divide your answer into parts. It will make the answer look more organized and holistic. You could elaborate on each dimension such as economic, legal, political, social, administrative etc.

6. Make use of diagrams and flowcharts

Value addition to your answer can be made by using diagrams, flowcharts etc. Quote the context of the question in one or two lines. This creates an impression that you are up to date with current affairs and can connect it to the question asked. Diagrams, maps, and flowcharts will definitely make your answer stand out. Remember, they do not have to be sophisticated.

7. Sign up for test series

Signing up for a good test series will keep your answer writing practice scheduled. Not only will you be aware of UPSC exam pattern and the type of questions that could be asked but also get feedback on your answers, so that you can improve continuously. It will give you ample practice to answer all the questions within the given time frame. There are various civil service forums that offer good quality test series. Choose the best one.

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