Well it is three days past the ‘bloodbath’ and I am sure that after the customary UPSC-bashing and verifying the responses from various sources most of you should be very clear about where you stand.
Many of you might have embraced the “truth” that you are not going to make it and must still be reeling under the cloud of the Pre disaster. For them a simple message is, ‘What if you make it to the next round, by chance, by luck or by fluke, by anything for that matter? In that case will you be able to complete all the 7 papers in one and a half months time (assuming Pre result shall be out by mid-Oct)? If no, start preparing for mains. Right away.’
At this moment even the UPSC does not know the cut-off so don’t be disheartened. And for those who are sure that they will clear Prelims and are still celebrating, the message is, ‘About 100 days, 6 papers (not even counting the Essay). This is the time to pull out all stops. A day wasted by you is like giving a lead of 24 hours to your fellow competitors.
Ok now let’s shift the gear to the central idea of writing this blog. The Mains, the main battle. Clearing Prelims affords you a chance to enter the ring. Mains is where the punches are. Whether you shall make it to the list of finally selected candidates depends largely upon how you defend yourself from these punches.
All of you are well versed with the three pronged strategy of read-revise-write. If you read and don’t revise, you won’t be able to recall. If you read and revise but don’t practice writing, again useless. It is a daunting task to write 8000-10000 words across two papers in a single day if you are not in the habit of writing.
Depend on it, you may know the answers but after initial 7-8 answers the thumb shall start aching and you would only end up littering on the answer sheet.
Practice answer writing is the central idea.
Now coming to the questions themselves.
Over the years a well planned strategy of the coaching malls had been to impregnate a simple idea in the mind of the candidates and that is that UPSC can ask anything under the sun. It has resulted in some sort of fear psychosis where UPSC is being seen as an enemy to be vanquished.
The biggest myth and the most potent propaganda. If they had to ask anything under the sun why would they even waste time in printing a notification that runs into tens of pages, most of it listing the syllabus? To be fair to UPSC, we should accept that they ask question from the syllabus. Yes they do expect you to go a little further and probe all the current happening or background of a listed topic but that is it.
And ‘itna to haq banta hai unka’. After all they are picking up the ones who shall practically run the country. So they need the brains that go a little further and are certainly not oblivious to their surroundings.
For example, all of us have read about the thaw in the relations of US and Cuba. Every other day there was some news items. But shall not a general “educated” person (the ones that UPSC claims to be looking for) probe about the very first thing that crosses our mind when we think of Cuba. Castro? Yes. Cigar? Yes. But what about “Cuban Missile Crisis”? Shall we really blame an examiner who expects examinees to have done a background search on Cuban Missile Crisis?
Somehow question in mains, especially in GS Paper II and Paper III, can be traced back to some prominent current event, until and unless coaching malls decided to run commentaries on it and UPSC decided to give it a skip and save it for future.
Remember, the Nagaland and Ministry of Oil confrontation and a direct question in UPSC or the Mid Day Meal mishaps and question in mains or AIIB formation and the mains question? Examples abound.
So what is the bottom-line? Read the syllabus, again. Have a well chalked-out plan and execute it. Read the newspapers and focus on items with direct correlation to the topics in the syllabus. Frame a question and practice writing the answer. And, in case you are hard-pressed for time, which you shall be for sure, leave the work to us.
We can and we will hold your hand to success. The Mains strategy should be out by tomorrow. Let’s get cracking!