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Free Material by Mango Dolly ( ITS, IRS) : Public Administration Notes 2.0

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[Video] IAS Topper Rank 43 Harsh: How to crack IAS in first attempt at age 22

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Mains 2016 – Getting the Most out of You & Last Minute Tips

The one thing that separates us – the homo sapiens – from all other species is that while humans have a “history”, the history of all other species is merely read as evolutionary biology.

Which is why you do not have a history of trees. Or dogs. Or cats. All that we know is dogs evolved from wolves.

But humans ? We have departed far from what our biology destined us to be, to create a history for ourselves.

And history is created by individuals. Like you and me.

While the destiny of all other species is guided by its DNA, we have accomplished feats far greater than our biological destiny – which was to hunt, forage, and survive. Like other apes.

That brings us to the grand conclusion – we can drastically change the course of our lives with what we choose to do. If you don’t like things around you – like your address, or your current sitting position – you are uniquely positioned to change it. Imagine, what if a tree doesn’t like its address?

You could begin that, right now, right at this moment, by even a simple act like just cleaning your glasses  – and the world will suddenly look a little brighter.

Trust me, it works. 100% for all people who wear glasses 🙂

So while you embark on your most important mission starting this week, I would like to share some thoughts.

Be the sparkling light. Not the spent fuel.

This may not be helpful if this is your first Mains. Because then, you must already be brimming with energy. You should be.

But a lot of our friends are writing their not-first Mains this year. Some of them have secured an interview call more than once before – and some of them are in services too.

But both I and they know, that knowing is not enough. Translating knowledge into words in a limited time frame  and limited world limit is a different ballgame.

And I could tell you that the most important component of this act is – energy and ethusiasm, not knowledge – which is why all knowing people don’t make it.

But those who write a good paper with all their energy do.

Just like David beat Goliath.

Underdogs win.

So do not be like spent fuel. Or burnt coal –  ( which can burn again and again, but with much lesser calorific value each time ).

Be ignited instead. And write a good paper.

When you are in the examination hall, give your 110% to the paper in front of you – WITH.ALL.YOUR.ENERGY. And that will do half the job.

Remember that preparation levels won’t matter eventually. If you think you only prepared for 3 months, look at this guy. So what you have done is sufficient to write a good paper, if you really give it your best shot :

  • even when your hands are hurting
  • even when your shoulder is hurting
  • even when you feel, like last mains, this mains isn’t going to get you a top rank.
  • even when it is the second paper of the day and if you have lost all your energy and enthusiasm.

Don’t let the fatigue of having written earlier Mains or having written a dozen tests in past 2 weeks get you.

Write with all the energy of a million dreams you and your close ones have had for you getting into the IAS. Its worth it. You know it

Complete the Paper – a radical approach

You already know this. You just don’t know how to do it. So here are some practical tips. Do this only if completing paper is a problem with you. ( People with fast handwriting can choose to ignore this part. Really) This is how to do it.

( Also, watch this video on introducing the answer – will help save lot of time )

Tell your mind that the first few questions shouldn’t exceed 2 pages.

Or 15 minutes. Do not write 3 page answers to first 5 questions in 90 minutes and one page answers in the rest. That won’t cut it. Write uniform length answers – as far as possible. Let it not appear that you have only half attempted the last questions because of lack of time.

Its better to have 2 page answers in each question rather than to have 3 page answers in first 10 questions and half page answers in another 5 questions and leaving out 5 questions.

After every 30 minutes, leave the question you are currently on,

and move to the next question. Lets face it. If you are slow, and don’t want to leave 6+ questions, you may have to do this. for questions where you have competed one page, you wind it up after every 30 minutes in under 2-3 minutes, so that you don’t miss out on easy questions which may be at the end.

By winding up I mean, writing the exact points asked and forgoing pleasantries.

Don’t write more when you know less.

Its common to see candidates write more in questions they know less. To convince the examiner that they don’t know less.

For example, there is a question in culture you have no clue about.

Write what you know and move on. I could see in the ForumIAS Open Test, that brilliant candidates ended up writing longer answers in tough questions that they had no clue about. Don’t do that. Don’t be those brilliant candidate.

Write what is asked, not what you know

This is repeatative. And obvious. And probably wastes your time at this juncture. I mean you know this.

But this is the single biggest reason to explain the discrepancy between your awesome paper and poor marks – and best paper getting least marks.

UPSC marking has evolved from time to time. There was a time when long answers were rewarded. Then there came a time, when long answers were seen to be penalised. In last 2-3 years, it has been most rewarding to write point wise and not deviate form the topic. Relevance to the question asked is the most important criteria these years.

So focus on what is asked. Read again what the question asks. Read twice, maybe – but read well.

And if at all, you know something really well which is brilliant, and badly want to tell the examiner , but you know that this isnt what has been asked – here is what to do  – put that in a small diagram or a flow chart. Thats all.

Motivate yourself. Get into the zone.

No matter what I tell you, the coming week isn’t going to be just another day. Not because of the significance of the exam – but because of the whole schedule. You wake up at 6 AM and rush to the center, especially guys with Rohini / Noida Center. This isn’t what you had been doing for the last few weeks or  months.

Which is why I told you to do an Open Test and get used to it. At least once.

Keep yourself motivated and hydrated.

If you have written n number of Mains and think that “is saal bhi kuchh hona jana hai nahi“, try being afraid. Fear is the biggest motivator.

If you are already afraid ( which is different from anxious, there is a difference ), keep calm and focus.

And if you are anxious, read on.

Make List of Things to Do – Stop the flipping mind

The next few days – spread over the examination, cannot be days of random activities. They have to be a set of pre-defined activities. Especially if you are anxious. Make a list of To Do things – for the next day or even a week – and just follow along. Strike through when you have achieved something. I cannot emphasise more on the significance of this.

This is especially true if you have some parts of the syllabus left – especially the optional subjects. Keep a list of things to do – including last minute revisions,so that you do not forget the important things because of lack of time.

This helps in two ways

  • First, it helps you focus on the important things. Without a To Do List, you are likely to flip from one book to another- or one www to another
  • Second, you can really ensure covering small topics, which you may have left for last minute – especially some of those topics, that you think do need a last minute revision. Last minute revision helps especially in the Optionals. So don’t be misguided by someone who says don’t do last minute studies – at least for the Optionals.

Lastly,

When people said Civil Services tough, this was what they were talking about. Spending a week under pressure, trying not to feel the pressure and doing your best. Studying was the easier thing to do, perhaps. Living these days look much tougher.

Remember, this is the last leg of your journey. While I know this is the time, when you feel the need to sleep, rest and get distracted with  poker, TV series and what not – more than usual times – note that you will have plenty of time for all of this once the exam is over.

This exam will bring the best out in you, only if you are willing to give your best. I cannot emphasise more.

Most adversities are opportunities. It is just that we don’t know at that time.

So hold on – and run the last lap – as best as you can – and success will be yours.

And for those of our friends, for whom poetry is inspiration , here are a few lines

प्रासादों के कनकाभ शिखर,
होते कबूतरों के ही घर,
महलों में गरुड़ ना होता है,
कंचन पर कभी न सोता है.
रहता वह कहीं पहाड़ों में,
शैलों की फटी दरारों में.

अमृत क्लेश का पिए बिना,
आताप अंधड़ में जिए बिना,
वह पुरुष नही कहला सकता,
विघ्नों को नही हिला सकता.

“उड़ते जो झंझावतों में,
पीते सो वारी प्रपातो में,
सारा आकाश अयन जिनका,
विषधर भुजंग भोजन जिनका,
वे ही फानिबंध छुड़ाते हैं,
धरती का हृदय जुड़ाते हैं|

Here is wishing all our ForumIAS Friends who are writing Mains this year, the very best!

May this be your last Mains 🙂

Until Next time,

With ❤ ,

Neyawn

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IAS Rank 292 : How I made Notes from the Newspaper – Arushi Sharma

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50 Days to Mains – Do your best

A year back, about 40 days from the Mains examination, @greymatterules sent me a PM, saying –  “Bhai, its normal to be a little depressed before Mains, na”?

I probably told him what I really think is the truth – Its okay to be slightly worried. You sign up for these things when you are required to write the Mains Examination. Especially when you have spent more than a year preparing for this exam. @greyamtterrules had spent three.

The key is acceptance, I told. You can either worry about being worried, or you can STFU and study.

The truth, as Christ said, will set you free. The exam is stressful, and don’t spend energies fighting the stress and anxiety. Just let it pass. And as I and @tejaswani often joke – This too shall pass.

So as we inch closer to the Mains Examination, I thought of writing for friends on the Forum and outside. So it is @yoga123, Navneet, @gloomydespair @kek @andysai  @drkingschultz ( who should study more )  and our other friends on the forum.

I wrote last year right before the Mains examination, and thankfully, it did work for @proust, @matrix_reloaded , @battletank and even @holymojito ( who secured IFS), who turned out to be my junior from School!

So here is the gyan

# 1 Your worst enemy right now is anxiety. Here is how to win.

The syllabus is your second worry. You will conquer the syllabus ( or half conquer it) anyway. But the one thing that you need to understand is that anxiety will make you flip from one book to another, perhaps from one site to another, and one subject to another.

So when you are studying Culture, your mind tells you it has low RoI and you should be doing Essay instead. If you are doing Ethics, you want to move to Current Affairs. Don’t do that.

Write down your goals, like Choti Singh does ( you are still doing it right? ) and stick to them. If you have written down to cover World History, don’t change plans. Stick to the plan. Finish World History.

In short I want to tell you two things

  • Minimize the time you take to make decisions and then rethinking on those decisions about what to do and what not to do
  • Once a decision has been made, stick to it. Indecision is worse than wrong decisions. At least as far as UPSC preparation is concerned. No flip flops.

 

# 2 Finish off your Test Series as soon as you can.

If you have done a Test Series from any decent place, you must finish off your Tests. Writing Tests  in itself has a therapeutic effect and gives a sense of accomplishment. Helps fight anxiety. And most importantly – realigns you to the need of the exam. Every time you write a test.

Everyone wants to get the syllabus done  two times yesterday.  And write all mock  Tests just the last week before exam – all 16 of them – two Tests a day.

Life doesn’t work that day. If you are one of those, who has been collecting things to do for the end, ( just  like  fat people who eat all the untasty things of meal  in the beginning , so that they can eat all the tasty things at one go – in the end ) you are not going to enjoy how things turn up at the end.

You won’t finish anything in the end. So write Tests even if you do not have an evaluation. Just do your part.

# 3. Your Success depends on doing your part right.

Your  success, like everyone else’s,  depends on doing your part. Not on your teacher doing his part. His success depends on doing his part

I am not aware of anyone who failed because someone else did not do their part. Usually. So live under no illusion. Do your part well, and thats all we can do.

So when RxIAS asked me he has been collecting all Test so that he will do them  in the end, I told him – This is the end. There is no other end

# 4. Follow any one source/site / blog.

In the movie adaptation of one of my favourite books – The Life of Pi by Yann Martel  (partly  because my father was assigned a name by his school headmaster, just like Piscine Pi’s name was, in the novel ) the conversation goes between Irfan Khan and Pi goes like this

Santosh Patel: Piscine, you cannot follow three different religions at the same time.
Pi Patel : Why not?
Santosh Patel: Because, believing in everything at once is the same thing as believing in nothing.

If you follow everyone, you end up following no one. So follow one and do things. And do not have this feeling of being left out at all.

So no matter how much some websites, forums or blogs make you feel you are missing out if you are not a part of them, follow one. ( or two ) depending on your attention spam. And be okay with letting go of things you cannot follow.

I asked @proust why he did not do answer writing practise elsewhere last year. He said, Sir, I knew my time was limited, so I decided to just solve questions posed on ForumIAS threads in my notebook. That gave him a 400+ score in GS and 43 rank. Thats a good rank.

# 5 Distribute time near equally  among your subjects

If you are a first timer, a great measure of time would have been spent on covering GS Paper 1 – doing the new things – like World History and Post Independence History

If you are NOT a first timer and have not joined a Test Series, a major part of your time would be spent probably NOT STUDYING.

And if you are one of those who joined a Test Series, your major time would and should be spent in doing just one Test Series right.

So, in the end it is scary if you have spent two months studying one single thing ( like an optional )

Why?

Because Its a slippery slope. You end up doing more of what you are doing. Do not fall for it. If you have spent two months doing only paper 1  of your optional , this should be a wake-up call for you.

I have invariably seen that in UPSC the dictum of “Savadhani Hati, Durghata Ghati‘ applies .

If you scored very well in Optional Paper 1 last year and did not do well in Paper 2 – you need to work hard on Paper 2, but at the same time maintain your score in Paper 1. Or else this year, you will reverse your score in Paper 1 and Paper 2 – and end up with the same marks. Back to square one.

#6 Identify your bottle necks and get it resolved.

Apart from male alopecia among IAS aspirants, there is perhaps no problem that Man has not been able to solve. So if you have a problem, find a solution. If you can’t, just ask someone who found a solution and copy it. And if yo have the solution, implement it. If you have implemented the solution, evaluate how it has worked for you.

So if you have a problem scoring marks in GS Paper 2, and static part is your bottleneck, I will tell you to – do M Puri Notes ( or Pub Ad Paper 2 Notes of Vajiram ) They are good for static part. Harsh did it in 5 days and I am not sure how much it helped in get a good score, but for sure GS Paper 2 was ticked off from his To Do List. That helps reduce your workload.

# 7.  Persevere.

I often tell this story. To myself.

A cheetah can always run faster than a deer.

By that logic, a cheetah should hunt a deer every time it goes for a kill.

But this does not happen, Why?

Because with such fast speed, a Cheetah can only sustain the run for a few minutes. The speed races blood through its heart and heats up the body. Beyond a point, the Cheetah cannot sustain the speed. Or it dies of body overheat. All the deer has to do is to persevere till the cheetah gives up.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e51TlGBTyVg

Get the point?

My questions is, will you persevere? Just a little longer?

Because thats the key.

Your last days are the most important. So no matter how you have studied in the past, it is the coming 50 days that will matter the most. If you think this is your first Mains and you are a fresher and have no chance of making it this year, speak to those in the Allied services writing this exam. They are scared OF candidates like you. It is just that you do not know it.

# 8. Your problems are not as big as they look.

If you are stressed, a lot of lives problems look magnified right now. Mole hills will look like mountains. Some relative just asking you this question – “Aur Taiyari kaisi chal rahi hai” will make you want to declares war on all your relatives.

Thats normal.

So persevere with whatever you have been doing. You will have your moments of disillusionment with people, teachers, parents and friends – and argh – the writer of this article.

Sometimes half the world will look like your enemy. The other half? That  will look like relatives back home asking you for your result.

Dont fall for this.

If you have been doing a book or a course and found it useful, dont go for something new. Complete it first.

If you have joined Chokkalingham’s online classes and he is killing you with three hours of gyan everyday,  let me tell you he will cover 3 newspapers and possibly everything that you need for current affairs. And if you are a first timer, you will never know as much as he will teach you in three hours, unless you spend 2 years reading the newspaper every single day. So do not half finish things.

And you are better than you think. So get up and get things done. You are bigger than your problems.

# 9. Write every single day from now. Start today.

Unless this is your third attempt or more, and unless you have already clocked dozens of Test Papers, you must write. Every day from today.

Because the Commission does not know how much you have studied , or how much you have given up on sleep for this exam. They only test your writing skills and judge you on that basis.

So work more on writing – because that is what will be tested.

#10. Content is King. But Presentation is Queen.

And if you have ever played chess, you exactly know what I mean.

I am not talking gender here.

Having gone through a few hundred copies, largely of people who has appeared for Mains and / or Interview before ( hence a very filtered crowd ), I have realized that after 2-3 years of preparation ( unless you have squandered that time, which usually doesn’t happen, because Mains appearing candidates have to study ) you may not have much to add to content.

And probably content is not your bottleneck. Probably your presentation , structure and ease of reading answers is. If you don’t get what I mean, click here to see what I would call a neat presentation. (IRS Dude, IPS Dad)

So your answers have to be simple, easy to read and understand and must address the question.

If you are a first timer, this is especially for you – Do not write what you know. Write what is being asked. If you have some time. If you want to know what makes a simple, to the point, answer, take a look at this Answer Booklet of an MGP student. ( 400+ Marks in Mains, and a very  had working candidate, so much so that I feel proud sometimes! )

He/She is in service  and I will get him/ her to help the community once the Mains are over.

# 11. Make the most your time left

Because your next one year depends on what you do in these 50 days. And if you think you are having a tough time , ask those who are not writing Mains this year.

Men rise to occasions. These aren’t challenging times. This are times of opportunity disguised as hard work.  Make use of it.

Make a plan. And believe it’s impossible to fail. And you shall not fail.

And if you are wondering, what happened to the protagonist of this tale @greymatterrules, mentioned in the introduction – he secured a position in the IAS last year. He told me all he did was Persevere.

Wish you a very Happy (belated) Dussehra. May the good in you triumph over all thats negative.

( Apologies for this late article, be kind please )

Until Next Time,

With  ❤ Neyawn

( If you found this article useful, consider leaving a comment or sharing it on Facebook with someone who may need it . Views are strictly personal, and do not reflect the views of ForumIAS )

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Quick Update : Mains 2016/2017 Orientation Session at Old Rajinder Nagar

Dear Friends,

ForumIAS will be holding a a Mains 2016 Preparation Orientation Session at Old Rajinder Nagar at 11 AM tomorrow on 19th August, 2016.

Agenda of the Session will be :

  1. Discussion of Sources/Books of Preparation for Mains 2016 – This will help you in case you have not frozen your sources yet.
  2. Writing Answers for Mains Examination – all four papers – This will help you in case you have not been able to improve marks over successive attempts.
  3. Do’s and Don’t for Answer Writing – What to do and what not to do for GS Mains Answers.
  4. How to Write a Good Essay – The Structure of the Essay – or the various structures that you can follow for your essay.
  5. Q & A Session by Top Scorers from ForumIAS Community – Our Rankholder ( Rank 43 and Rank 86 ) will be talking about their own preparation, and you can ask them questions that you may have.

The Session will commence at 11 AM. The Session will be addressed by ForumIAS Team.

ForumIAS Members @proust aka Harsh Kumar ( IAS Rank 43 ) and @greymatterrules aka Narendra Shah ( IAS Rank 86) will be taking up Q & A Session with candidates preparing for Civil Services Mains 2016 and 2017.

So if you are in Delhi and happen to be in Old Rajinder Nagar, please drop by.

For Students of Mains 2016 and Prelims 2016 Test Series

  • Candidates who have enrolled or want to enroll for the Mains 2016 Guidance Program, kindly try to report early as we have limited seats ( about 50-60 seats in the Test Center )
  • Candidates who were part of the Prelims 2016 Test Series are invited to join us for one to one counselling, as much as possible for preparation for Mains 2016. While we have gotten in touch with almost everyone, we are still unable to locate a few of you. And thanks for doing well, we are proud of you 🙂
  • Candidates who are joining the Mains 2016 Guidance Program , please come with your marks ( or at least remember your marks ) so that we can better help you.

Videos : The Videos including future discussion and orientation videos will be made available to the students of MGP Online Program, so you will not be missing anything.

Venue:

ForumIAS Test Center,

1st floor, 104, Opposite Popular Juice

Entrance form Opposite Subway

Bada Bazar Rd,  Old Rajinder Nagar,

New Delhi, Delhi 110060

Phone: 9821711603

Nearest Metro Station : Karol Bagh

The goal of the event will be to provide a peer acquired advice and guidance based on past 2-3 years of writing/answering  pattern / format which has worked for ForumIAS Members who have scored good marks in General Studies. This should help you improve Mains score in case you have been unable to do so. This will also help Newcomers to re align their preparation by only narrowing down to limited sources with high RoI.

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First Attempt : IAS Rank 43: 413 Marks in General Studies, Harsh shares his GS Strategy

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Atul Vats, Rank 60 shares what sustained his motivation in IAS Preparation

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The 30 Day Guide to Prelims Preparation

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IAS RANK 145: Preeti Yadav, 3rd Attempt, Public Administration Optional

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