Civil Services Mains 2020 Results: In or Out ? Way ahead, gratitude and Pain - ForumIAS

Civil Services Mains 2020 Results: In or Out ? Way ahead, gratitude and Pain

The Civils Mains result has been declared. This thread is for sharing your grief , joy , mixed feelings - absolutely anything and everything.

jack_Sparrow,musaand61 otherslike this



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Not being dismissive and pessimistic, but all these strategy wala post irks me after 4 failed attempts.

I never believed that mains is unpredictable, but this time, even after doing so much, i failed again. 

Maybe my optional was the culprit. But having an optional is itself  inviting unpredictability in the exam. 

I sometime feel that all the effort ib have put into this exam isn't worth it. 

To be honest this exam is ruining lives of young generation in India, who fall into trap of toppers and coaching wallas selling the idea that hard work surely pays off. 

Yes it does pay off, but the risk to reward is very high in favour of risk. 

I would only say that the decision to prepare wholeheartedly for this exam should be based on a rational analysis of risk and reward and never fall in the trap of - If I hard work more, I will surely crack it next time

This exam doest want individuals who are creative and innovative. It wants those who could rote learn, write fast, and have good writing skills. 

Sorry to be pessimistic again. 

You are not pessimistic,you are pragmatic.

Those who can rote-learn loads of facts-both relevant and irrelevant- and vomit in an eye-catching manner come across as good performers to the evaluators,who are accountable for nothing,to none.

Writing skill means not linguistic proficiency.Many recommended people are noticeably bad in this regard.

I laugh at those who waste time,energy and money on so-called test series,conducted by under-qualified  naive people.

This response is not directed to any of you per se, but I have quoted your comments to set the context.  It is primarily to provide a counter to the thought process that some you have put forth above. This is going to be a long one, but bear with me.

First thing is that when we are unable to clear the Mains or the Prelims ( or the Interview ), we have two ways of thinking 

One, is that it is unpredictable ( and nothing can be done about it )

Two, there is something that I am not able to figure out or crack. Its simply not occuring to me. 

If you think from the first perspective, we can not have an action plan. And practically, we can go ahead and pay Russian roulette with the expectation that out of several attempts, we will be able to crack in one of the attempts. And exhaust our attempts.

Also, that, we need to make no major changes, do nothing and go on and on.

If you think about the second option, you have a massive task of figuring out what is not working, what you have not understood and what others are doing right. That will require looking outside to real people ( not toppers from internet - but meeting the same folks in person - and this year as the results will come, i am very sure that may people from this community will clear and you can ping them and actually meet them . I can help with this if some of you want it )

But the major point is that we need to believe that something is being missed by me - its simply not occurring to me - and I need to find that out. And the best people to guide you are the ones who have just cleared the exam. Meet several of them, and find out what is commonly held by them, and derive your conclusions from there.

Not on anecdotal evidence.

Also, do not go by exceptions. Or the path of minimum effort. Something like - "I only studied 15 days, and did not write any tests and still I got through / go interview call".

People got through / got interview callnot becausethey only studied 15 days or didn't write any tests , butdespitestudying 15 days ORdespitenot writing any tests. That is a big difference.

It is true that the exam has high-risk reward - which is true with anything where the rewards are high. The prestige ( I am not even going to say perks, power ( which I dont think exists much anymore ), privilege, public interaction ) are insanely high - and I will not go into whether it is right or not, and why it is there in the first place. )

But risks are high not because of the effort needed. The risks are high because this is a post graduate level examination. Which means two things. 

(1) Candidates are of a certain age where very soon there will be earning pressure / marriage pressure from parents / society - exceptions are always there.

(2) Candidates are already financially exhausted given that the education budget of the family is already spent in 12th coaching / graduation/ college. Hence, we have the minimum financial resources left at this stage of the exam. 

(3) The seats are so less, and that getting a lower score ( such as clearing the Mains or the Interview ) is not a ticket to lesser jobs / PSUs ( unlike CAT or JEE where you can get something even if you dont top ) 

We do not say IIT is unpredictable because of the science-maths and humanities dichotomy ( Humanities will always have subjectivity ) 

If we are stuck at some stage, please note that we have to find out what is missing.

I will tell you in Civil Services, how teachers get stuck. And that is, when their notes produces some good ranks, then they dont update notes and now the notes are common, and upsc does not award marks for those notes any longer. So teachers after a few years become unpopular, unless they changes his notes.

The same happens to students also.

Consider this that between 2002-2008 almost every IAS officer you meet will say , to crack IAS, just take psychology optional and join a certain Pathak Sir.

It is not a myth.

It is a reality.

And between 2007-2012 every IAS topper will say take Pub Ad with some Mohanty Sir .

When after some years the notes are not updated ( as we are facing with Value added material of some major coachings ), we see that we stop getting marks.

This is a very harsh reality.

So if you know some senior who has 3 interview calls or 4 mains and is not making it and is stuck, a good way to break the ranks is to entirely change the base material.

Of course the senior will be comfortable with the notes as he knows that those notes at least guarantee an interview call and will be reluctant to change it, just like teachers are reluctant to change their notes because they think it is the pinnacle of all wisdom that can ever exist in the subject.

But one thing is for sure - If we have to clear this exam, we will have to accept what "is" and go ahead with it rather than try to create what "should be". Our preparation always has to align is what is, instead of what "should be" as far as exam preparation is concerned. 

I will share with you something.

In the past 8 years, there have been exactly  twopeoplewhom I have consciously tried to discourage from writing the exam - on grounds that they are wasting their youth and parents money. I wanted them to help me with something.

My point was that one of them had a very slow handwriting and I knew that with slow handwriting there is a glass ceiling. The other had the habit of reading things back to back, end to end without thinking in terms of "ispe question aayega toh kya likhenge" . 

One of them told me point blank that "parents ne paida kiya toh kharcha toh bharenge, aur jab budhdhe ho jayenge toh hum unka bojh uthayenge ) . The other one kept quiet and doubled  his / her effort.

I never discussed this with them any further, but somehow, at least one of them took it as some challenge( which was not my intention at all ) and both these people somehow cracked the exam. After cracking one of them sent me a message - You never thought I would crack the exam. They were friends. Close ones.

I can tell you that people who have pulled themselves out have accepted that something is amiss and have looked for it somehow, found it and worked on it.

Success always looks effortless and easy once it is done, but a lot of effort goes into making things look effortless.

I will give you two case studies. Take a look at this.

He scored a single digit rank.

 A very common ( or common sensical ) thinking will be that he was genius and he did "nothing" - no class - no test series - and yet he got single digit rank.

When you will look from far, you will think "O he is a topper, and he is paid by coaching and what not", but the point is that you gotta meet people and see the amount of effort they are putting. It is intimidating even for me, though I see people slog day in and day out.

I can tell you that he had the choice of accepting his fate of not being able to score beyond a point and accept a certain service, ( and frankly if you ask me, I do not like the idea of leaving a comfortable service and rank and getting into the grind of rajinder nagar and ruining one's life for like six months ) 

He did not settle for his comfort zone, and I hate these guts, because frankly I dont have these guts.

He took classes, did test series and what not. He slogged like a beginner,and I think you should know these stories too.

Also, averagely, we cannot think beyond what we have seen or sometimes beyond our capacities. 

Some of you have mentioned that you would laugh at those who do test series. If we are looking for any improvements, we have to see what is the person doing.

I am not a great advocate of doing mindless test series, but let me tell you that out of Top 10 ranks, nearly 4 do a test series like an insane person, another 3 join a test series, but do not put so much effort,  and may wrote 5-6 tests and the remaining 2-3 may not join a test series.

You are practically laughing at all the people putting the effort.

Also, Let us say a student has written 8 Tests between Prelims and Mains with above average dedication. Do you know what that means.

First it means that he has done at least 24 hours of answer writing, which is when he would have fixed his speed, question handling issues.

Secondly, if he is a little sincere, he would hae studies at least 15-18 hours before every test. This means that he has done verified studied for least 120 hours - which also means that some changes would already occur in his personality as well as his preparedness, compared to someone who is waiting for prelims result.

And these are not people who are ignorant, lack exposure and are under misguidance. They are the ones who have friends and family in service, completely focussed, and they know what they are doing.

They are not doing some class or test series because they saw an AD. They did their due diligence, asked around and took decisions and held themselves accountable for those decisions.

I can tell you in my personal capacity I have met some people, whom I thought will never never never make it, and felt like telling them and yet some of them have gotten proper IAS and home cadre. To the point that I have stopped making an early assessment of anyone.

And there are at least a hundred people right on this forum ( and old discuss ) who slogged to a level ( which I personally think is not worth it - unless you want something that badly ) 

It is just that when results come and you make it, the joy kinda makes you reverse age for like 3-4 years. just like not making it to the list kinda ages you by 2 years.

Toppers Taking Money and Saying they did answer writing from Day 1 

So a famous educator had put a video saying that toppers take money and say that they did answer writing from day 1.

I will also like to throw some light on this phenomena here.

First is that, there is a myth that toppers of IAS exam get paid a lot by coaching institutes. This is a very clerical level thinking , very pedestrian and very low level thinking.

It is the same thinking that some people have when they pay a 100 rupee bribe to a constable and think that Delhi police commissioner gets a cut. And if a traffic constable by bribes earn 30,000 ( for the sake of example ) , then Delhi CP would be making x,y, crores.

This is a very simplistic thinking, but very popular because it appeals to the common man. Its easy, does not require any deeper digging .

I happened to be friends with a school and college juinor whose father was the then CBI director. There is this common thinking that CBI Chief would be such and such person, but he was very regular person and very honest. ( His father went on to be a Governor )

Also, a clerk level thinking is that a CBI director would make lot of money ( because constables / inspectors / SHOs make money ) , but the truth is far from it. Just because a CBI inspector may take bribe does not mean the DCBI would end up getting a "cut". People don't do that. He had a simple, but elegant house in a very posh area - govt accomodation that comes with the job.

Remember that the world is not as motivated by profit or money as it is by ideology or thinking. I can tell you the audience here that not a single coaching among the top 3-5 coachings would ever pay money to a topper to say something. 

Toppers are like you, and even if right now you think, that for money you will do something like this, trust me you wont do it when the time comes.  At best you may work at coachings and you may get paid for it. But that has been happening since ages!

And people dont take money / or gifts to promote someone. At best, if they get a gift, they may be asked by a smaller coaching usually not to take the name of any coaching which they had actually taken up.

Also when inthis video,the popular idea that is floated is that Toppers take money to say they did answer writing from Day 1, trust me there is no truth at all in it.

But you will have to dig deeper.

Let us wind the clock a decade back.

Since 2011, the Commission started reforms. There were huge protests for CSAT when it was introduced all of a sudden in 2011.

Then 2013 changes came is GS paper and now we had 4 papers instead of two.

Limites space writing and all that.

There was huge uproar. The govt then was a lot more democratic and actually gave platforms to students to raise their voices.

The UPSC was under tremendous pressure and the papers that came were on the easier side.

If you see 2012 -2016 papers, the questions were fairly straightforward and were actually asked from the mains news that were doing the rounds!

That was also the time when several dotcom websites came up with answer writing initiatives to cater to the directly asked questions.

Papers were current oriented and hence no foundation was needed so much. You could actually do answer writing on the internet and expect a lot of questions to come from there!

And they did!

It was because of this reasons that answer writing became a rage - it was no propaganda by websites or coachings or toppers. People actually did that.

And when paper turned to more analytical, or foundation level things - people who had spent doing coaching benefitted more.

Which is why you will find that toppers from that era vouch for current affairs like anything. They were not paid to promote answer writing.

They did answer writing.

In fact, everyone did!

And it helped too.

However, ideas such as floated above, are easy to understand, make immediate sense. Imagining the world to be a thief , scheming liars makes our life's woes easier to understand.

My point of writing all this at 12:45AM is because I believe that this forum is ( and can be ) a small community ofmainstreamaspirants who write the prelims, mains, interview and have the right perception of the exam, as opposed to the youtube crowd which has a completely different thinking about the exam.

We are a more aware crowd here, and some of us actually clear prelims, some of us actually clear mains, some of us actually clear in the final list. We are not an ignorant community. The world is a rational place.

Look , we all think while preparing that we are "the" ias aspirants ( and ias aspirants are like us ). But the pool of aspirants as well as people who clear the exam is very vast very varied. The exam caters to all.

It is not the best exam. It is not even an ideal one. But this is what we have. 

And it is natural to be pessimistic on days when it is not our day.

I apologise in advance to people who may be offended by my post, but please be assured that it is not my intention to offend anyone. The only purpose is to not end up with nihilism - nothing exists, nothing is true, and nothing can be done.

ssver2,Itachiand92 otherslike this
Out. It was my last attempt and now i am finally free to think somethink else other than being a civil servant. I have a work experience of 7 years now and now i will focus on improving my career. Best of luck to all you fellow forumiasians. It was a pleasure to be part of your bakar, your shayaris, your inspirational dialogues and most importantly never say die attitude of an IAS aspirant. 
Finally to my beloved UPSC exam, i have these final words.. tu mili nhi to ye mat samajhna ki tujhe bewafa samajh lunga.. tu aaj bhi mera pehla pyaar hai tu kal bhi mera pehla pyaar rahegi. 
See u friends ..cheers
jack_Sparrow,Sapienand68 otherslike this
GS 1, 2 and 3. They hardly make a difference if you've done the basics diligently. They can pull your ranks up and down, but they do not have the capability on their own to push you out of the pdf, "if you have done your basics right". 

The things that push your name in or out of the pdf are "Essay, Ethics and Optional". Without any doubt. Go through the marksheets, plot all the graphs that you want to. Do all the data analysis you can and you will arrive at this same conclusion. 
"Essay, Ethics and Optional" determines your selection.
" GS 1,2 and 3" determines only your rank.

Pehle selection to pakka karlo, if you have the any attempts left. Work like a crazy person to ace "Essay, Ethics and Optional". And then, rank toh improve kar hi sakte ho. It's a mad game, make your moves wisely. Do not try to pluck all fruits at once, pluck the low hanging ones, eat them, enjoy them and then think about reaching at the top to pluck those fruits. 

But it's the opposite that happens with the aspirants. They  go crazy over GS 1,2 and 3. Attend all the lectures, mug up multiple notes, handouts and compilations. Saara time isi mei nikal jaata hai. And then, you do optional in a hurry. Essay and Ethics are like traffic lights in GTA, nobody cares about them. Give them adequate attention, lagao yaar bees bees din in Essay and Ethics pe and see the output.  

It's all about clarity and strategy. Jab tak GS 1,2 and 3 aur current affairs ke piche bhagoge for Mains, you will always be disappointed. 

I'll tell you another honest thing, if you have done your prelims preparation well and read any Mains CA compilation once for GS 1,2,3. You will score above 80 on any day. You just need to keep focusing on the basics, the foundational concepts and presenting them well in the answers with a logical flow. They will bring your scores to near 100. Bas itna hi karna hai. Don't spend months on writing all those GS answers everyday when you can spend the same time to ace your "Essay, Ethics and Optional" papers. 

And also, Optional papers are not cakewalk. The syllabus is as vast as what studies in 3 to 4 years of graduation, if not more. You really think you can ace it by not giving it the respect and attention it deserves? Think again. Sit, think deeply and you'll understand what i am trying to say. 

Essays likho yaar, write at least 3 times in a week. Essay ke standard techniques hote hai, practice them, and improvise it with your own style. Practice so much that you should be able to write an essay on any damn topic. If you can just do this, you have your 150-160 scores in the marksheet. 

Ethics ka kya hi bataye. The whole hype is around the case studies but the real bonus / heavy marks lie in the theory section. You don't spend enough time in understanding the core concepts of ethics, reading all the required resources and more to gain an edge over everyone and then get disappointed with low scores in ethics. Case studies jitna bhi accha likhlo, your marks won't jump over a limit. If you write really good answers in part A, you will see the scores making a significant jump. Seedha 140s mei aayega. 

I know this was unsolicited, but then I felt like sharing it. 

- Just another Sandeep Bhaiya. 

Tetsuko,missionmangaland64 otherslike this

I've been asked by many community members to share my experience. I didn't want to comment on anything with conviction without seeing my marks. Now that I'm writing about what I did, this in no way means to be a write-up on 'what is the ideal way'. Take this with a pinch of salt and do your own analysis in objective manner. This is going to be a long write-up as I'll try to be as comprehensive as I can about my approach. 

A brief background first. This year was my 2nd attempt. I wrote mains in 1st attempt. It was a disaster. I left around 120-130 marks blank. This event itself was a big turning point in my preparation. I was devastated after the optional paper. So, I did not waste much time and started preparing for mains straightway with a few learnings. These will be beneficial especially for people who'll be writing their first mains this year-

Do not blindly follow the advice of writing too many tests if you don't even have your mains notes ready. 

(If you're a first-timer, you just read something that can save you the hassle of repeating attempts. This advice is not to be taken with a pinch of salt. Read it again and again. Internalise it. If someone says otherwise, he's not your well-wisher. Give him a big F-word and keep on following this advice.) 

2nd attempt. 2nd Mains. Few things were clear by now. 

To ace Mains:

1) Write all questions. 

2) Must have 4-5 points for every sub-topic on the tip of the fingers to handle the bouncers. 

With these two goals in my mind, I began preparing for mains.

  • I revisited the idea of not writing tests after tests. The key lies in revising again and again. After a point, the revision was so intense, in my head, I actually had phrases ready to open and conclude, if a question were to be asked on water, agriculture etc.
  • I had identified thematic areas that are UPSC's favourite. I did this exercise for both prelims and mains. This helped me score in 120s in Prelims too. 

This was the bedrock of my strategy. So, I gave more emphasis on these areas-

  • Favorite themes of UPSC
  • PYQs
  • All the sub-topics mentioned directly in the syllabus. 

This made my life simple and super-easy. 

The D-Day:

Essay:I chose 'Being human.....and being humane' and 'Patriarchy'. The idea was to stick to the demand, no matter how average the content was.Kept on revisiting the topic questionafter making arguments after arguments in the body. Used a lot of linkers and rhetorical questions to maintain the flow. Expecting above average in Essay. 

GS1:I think I have a fairly good command on static subjects. Prelims reading helped me answering Pala empire, Persian literary sources etc. type questions. Made a few maps. (Learn to draw India's map. It leaves good impression). I have a fair drawing skill so, my map work is good. Presentation does matter here. In my first attempt, I scored 85 marks after leaving 50 marks worth of questions. Presentation was neat. Answers were crisp.

GS2: I do not know how will I fair in this paper. The questions were analytical like last year. Despite PSIR background, it was difficult for me. When paper becomes difficult, I generally feel I get an edge over others. This is so because, I do not write irrelevant content and bogus words. I write only what is asked. In GS2, I wrote 1 page for 2-3 10 markers and 1.5 page for 2-3 15 marks. These were questions where I didn't have much content, but whatever content I wrote in those pages were hitting 'bulls' eye'. This is how I finished my GS2 paper 5 minutes before the stipulated time. 

My GS2 marks will probably be a good yardstick to ascertain whether it's possible to score fairly good with less content if you hit the demand well. I really wish it breaks the myth associated with filling pages to get more marks. I do not believe in that practice anyway. 

GS3: This paper was all about data crunching. I used a lot of data in my answers. Drew beautiful maps in questions like potential of renewables, water and agri etc. This paper was loaded with content since the questions were straightforward unlike GS2. 

GS4: If there was a paper I was really concerned about, it was Ethics. The case studies were unconventional. Ate away lot of my time. I could not write one 10 marker and wrote 2 for namesake. The paper where I faced mismanagement of time. 

However, I wrote decent case studies. My approach was bit unconventional. I wrote them like short essays to strike a conversation with examiner. Except for the one on arms trade, all were written in Essay format. So, I was worried whether it would be liked or not. I guess I have gotten okay marks, not too bad. 

Overall experience after 2 Mains ( 1 successful and 1 unsuccessful):

1.Understand the demand. If a question is asked to show how a certain 3 laws affect federalism, show the 'how' part. No points for mentioning the features of those laws! 

2.Revise more, Write less tests.I will commit the crime of repeating this idea again. Do not trade off the time for revision and write tests. 

3.Mains is fairly predictable. Analyse the pattern. First timers can be excused, but if you're someone who's repeatedly failing mains, you should consider doing this exercise ====>>>

  • Favorite themes of UPSC
  • PYQs
  • All the sub-topics mentioned directly in the syllabus. 

That's it. It has been a long read! This is what I did this time and was able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. In no way, I intend to show this as the best possible strategy. This is simply what helped me. I'd try to elaborate more about this approach once I get to see the marks. Until then, this is it! 

ssver2,Joeyisthebestand61 otherslike this

A friend of mine told me this morning about the Mains results. And I just couldn't stop myself from logging in. Although I see some new names, but I was never in doubt about the capability of@AzadHindFauz to go all the way. We used to share an answer writing group before I deleted my telegram account (perhaps out of shame of not qualifying prelims). And one glance at his answers was all it took for me to realize "yeh banda nikaal lega." Congratulations Amigo.

@SergioRamos , I really don't need to tell you anything. I am sure you embody every bit of grit and perseverance that the person who goes by the name of your username does :smile:. Keep at it.

@Patootie and@whatonly,If you guys made it through, then know that you deserve every bit of success which is on its way. Go for the kill and ace the interviews. If one of you didn't, then know that this is just a small blip in the grander scheme of things and big things await you in the near future. All my love and prayers for you two :muscle:

And to all the others who I haven't had the chance to interact with, A big Congratulations on making it through. This is no time to rest. Go all guns blazing.

And now coming to those who missed out.

I have been away from this beautiful platform since the Prelims results (back in October). Even though I had vowed to "bounce back 1000 times harder," I have struggled to be my sane self. I succumbed to the negativity and allowed myself to be sucked into a never ending negative spiral. All this after 3 consecutive failures in Prelims. 

And then I see people here who wrote their 5th Mains without success. For some, the juggernaut that was UPSC has come to an end. Even though the pain you guys are feeling at the moment is radically different from someone who failed in prelims, I would still say that I understand what it is that you feel right now. Everyone's journey is different. Everyone's stories are different. But somehow all of us find ourselves sandwiched between expectations and failures, between desires and disappointment and between an uncertain future and an unchangeable past.  How each one of you is going to cope with this is an individual choice. But if you ask me, keep uttering simple things like,"kuch na kuch kar lenge"or "Kuch to uparwaale ne mere liye bhi socha hoga." These seemingly simple things have amazing powers. 

To sum it up, Even though I lost a few vital months while grieving, some amazing things still somehow found their way to me and I am in a much better mental space now. And so, what I am trying to say is, Grieve if you want to. Don's let some shitty notions of Masculinity stop you from crying or seeking help. Grieving has powers to heal. Eventually, some path or the other is going to open up. This quote might help:

The Darker the night, the brighter the stars

The deeper the grief, the Closer the GOD.

May the force be with you !!

Itachi,missionmangaland58 otherslike this
Couldn’t make it to the list. 

Thank you all wonderful people who reached out to me. I haven’t been able to reply to everyone and I might not. Hope you understand. 

The defeat is obviously crushing. It sucks. The only solace is that I chose to do this. When I chose to pursue this exam, I chose the possibility of failure as well. 

Anudeep Durishetty mentions in his blog that the first defeat is shocking, the second humbling and the third, absolutely devastating. I braced myself for that, even when I was fully expecting (hoping) that I would clear. I’m gutted that I haven’t cleared; I feel there’s a great part of me that just feels numb. The defence mechanisms have kicked in fully. The only questions before me is: What next? Where do I go now?

Eventually, I will have to deal with how I feel. There is always a fallout. Those who were afraid that I would succeed would smirk again, much like they did when I failed before. I understand that, I can live with that. But what hurts me the most is the pain this has caused to my team. My mother, my girlfriend, and many others who genuinely cared. My angels. Right now, I’m so helpless if I try to think of a cure. 

I don’t blame UPSC or the evaluators or the inherent subjectivity/uncertainty of the exam. There was something wrong in my preparation and I fully appreciate that I reaped the results of what I sowed. 

First order of business is to find myself a job. Thinking of Prelims 2021 is akin to torture at this point. When I gave this attempt, I made a vow that 2020 would be my last attempt. I don’t want to be stuck in this cycle for as long as I’m allowed to. 

However, if there is one thing I learned, this exam is like heroin. “You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.” In an ideal world, this battle should never be personal. For me, that is a fiction. It is a personal one, intensely so. Truth is, I don’t know if I will find it within myself to attempt it again. I’ll just have to wait and see. 

I thank those of you who tagged me for your lovely words. I thank in advance those of you who will reply to this comment fornotoffering me your sympathy. 

ssver2,Joeyisthebestand55 otherslike this

I don't know if I should post this here or not but I have nowhere else to go. Some of you may know me as I used to post my daily routine here. I stopped doing that because my whole family got infected with COVID. 

My father is no more as COVID took him away from me. I have lost my pillar of strength. The person who stood by me in this journey. The person who always gave his all to fulfill my hopes and aspirations. I don't know if I will ever find the courage to attempt this exam again without his support. I feel lost. I have no idea what will affect my mother more, COVID or the shock of losing my father. 

Life will never be the same for me again.Oh papa... 

ssver2,missionmangaland55 otherslike this

Got some respite today after UPSC Mains debacle.

Cleared RBI PHASE 2.

D503,Itachiand52 otherslike this
@Lbsnaa2021 Will conclusion be any different if your younger brother is appearing for interview in say 5th attempt?

D503,ssver2and52 otherslike this

Thank you so much guys!

AIR 16 it is :)

mightyraju,ssver2and51 otherslike this

I have few queries regarding Mains preparation and overall preparation in general

1. Have given 4 prelims till now, couldn't clear, missed by 1-2 marks in last two attempts. I am working now, and doing well financially as well. But the dream to become a civil servant is still there and hence mustered the courage to give one more attempt. Prelims has become a huge mental block for me, I am not sure how to go about it. I was doing good preparation keeping May 31st in mind, but suddenly this delay of 3.5 months has again got me into a fix.

How should I go about the preparation now, should I focus on prelims and mains simultaneously or should I do optional now, this conundrum about formulating an ideal preparation strategy is taking a toll on me. It's making me very anxious everyday. I think about equal weightage to Prelims, Optional and little bit Mains, but again it becomes too much in a day. If I do only optional, then the thought of 4 failed prelims mocks at me.

A brief background - I started my prep in 2016 quitting job as a business analyst. Failed in 2017 prelims, immediately realized UPSC is very uncertain and wrote other exams - IRDAI and NABARD and others. Presently working at IRDAI (Since 2018 Jan). Got married in 2018, we had a beautiful baby in 2020 and life is a bliss now.

Sometimes I wonder why am I preparing for this stupid exam, and then I feel it's really worth it, I should give one more shot. I wish, I should have been blissfully unaware of this exam like I was till 2015-16. I was 25 then and happily working in a corporate job with good onsite opportunities.

Even last year, when prelims got postponed, I was very relieved. Thought I will do optional thoroughly, prepare for mains and then at the end of day, didn't clear prelims itself. Last year after prelims debacle, I enrolled in a CA program of levelup IAS and been following them regularly. 

Anyone in similar situation - How to get rid of this prelims blockage from mind, what to do for mains ideally. 

Congratulations on being gifted with a baby :) 

Is it a boy or a girl?

As a thumb rule, if you have not cleared Prelims three times in a row, 99% chances are that you will not clear it the fourth time, unless you have donesomethingradical about it . ( Or unless you have done at least CA, and you get a CA wala paper ).

Identify the known bottlenecks. There are four major reasons why people dont clear Prelims 3+ times.

#1 They think they have read basic books, but they havent. Basic books are to be read, chewed and digested. No questions can be gotten wrong from them. 

#2 They have an obsession of Optional Subject. I annually see people take up PSIR Test Series and crash course and studying it 2 -3 months before the Mains. If 2 months before thePrelims, you are doing anything else except Prelims, you are  a risk taker. Risk takers come in two varieties - and one of them are the reckless ones, who dont calculate risks, and fail, and the probability of failure was 100% for any third observer execept the risk-taker who simply is not aware of it.

#3 They fail to understand that competitive examination requires revision. How many times? As many times as you can. A good number for revision is 5-7-9 times. Its not college exam. Keep sources minimum and revisions maximum. Most of the times candidates I have met say that "I have read the book" but can't answer questions from there. If you say you have read a book, you should answer any questions from there. The good news is that it is not only possible, but actually easy once you set the goal of maximum revisions.

#4 Taking Guidance from a senior / or being demotivated by a senior who has not cleared Prelims. This can be fatal. The Civils exam makes you wiser by all means.

But flunking prelims gives youverywrong notions about the exam. I means its terrible. The people who have written even one Mains vs people who have written 0 mains have very different perception of the exam. Failure is a great teacher, but Prelims failure more often that not teaches you some very wrong lessons.

My suggestion to you would be that with all might focus on clearing prelims. You may do Mains stuff till 2 weeks of July at max - and there also please do GS. Dont be seduced by Optional. Toppers / Interview Appeared students who tell you to do Optional. They may tell you to do optional because they cannot bring themselves down to your position, and give you the suggestions fromtheirperspective.

Last but not the least, listen to all people, but follow only one, or best is to follow yourself. Onlyyouexactly know your true position. Not even your spouse. In fact least of all the spouse. 

Remember that while other people may be the reasons for the screw ups in your life, but the responsibility to clean up the mess is exclusively yours. In the end take a good decision.

And there are no good or bad decisions, for that matter. Decisions have to be made good by dint of hard work. 

Decisions are good or bad in the hindsight.

Also, please do not be offended if this sounds rude, but paucity of time forbids me from sprinkling niceties after every sentence. Also, kindly know that we /community people have your best interest in mind when we / community members are offering you an advice - as per our understanding of your situation. 

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Okay, this is nothing pertaining to the ongoing discussion. I just felt sharing it here, as I feel much more safer here vis a vis any other platform.

I was reading about 15th Finance Commission (FC),  when this thread was  witnessing it's peak on gender discussion. While revising the FC's ToR, recommendations, constitutional provisions etc (you know, the usual stuff), I realised something interesting. 

I dunno how and why, but  my mind automatically posed me a question: why there are no women member in 15th FC? 

The feminist in me could not resist the temptation of digging more on this. And I am extremely proud while I say this being a man myself. Having constantly been involved with women's issues of various manifestations, both in my personal and professional capacity, I might be tad bit more attuned to the problems women face both generally and in specific situations.

I started my research, and here is the conclusion- It was disheartening to obs that only one women (Smt Sushma Nath 14FC), SINCE 1947, was found worthy to find a place at FC, despite India producing a galaxy of stalwart women economists and public finance experts.

Why I am writing this? What's the purpose of retreating this fact?  The answer is simple- Glass ceiling hurts. Everyone.

It's  because of these reasons, the question of marginalization should never be absent from our radars. Specially when we all are eying for positions of power in society.

I understand that not everybody feels comfortable with loaded terms like feminism, especially because it is grossly misunderstood, but I believe all men and women should have at least a basic and sympathetic comprehension of women's issues if we are to progress as a society. I hope all of us can consciously give it a thought, without preconceived prejudices and with well-informed outlook.

Let me share with you all something really personal. Everyone has that one single spark, which propels one to really work hard for this exam. Everyone is driven by that one incentive, which serves as a reminder to bounce back from your low points. For me, the main aim for sitting for civils is exactly this. Of all the marginalities, issues faced by women is something very close to me. I don't want that every other girl in my village faces the same fate, pertaining to hinderance in her higher studies, which was faced by my sister. I don't want to see the discrimination, I know someone who faced, when all the resources in her household was readily spent on his  brother's convent english education, while she was forced to study in a resource less sarkaari school, despite she toping every exam she wrote. I don't want to see a similar fate of my friend, who was married off to a stranger, against her wishes, while she was at peak of her studies. I don't want that a girl faces restrictions, which I know someone faced, when she was all set to represent her school at the state level, just because "her periods clashed with the tournament" and those blood stains stained her career forever. I don't want a similar fate, which a close relative of mine faced, WHEN SHE WAS BURNT ALIVE, opposing the dowry in her in-laws house. I still remember those scenes, when that police officer shooed us away when we went to register  that FIR. I don't want that any other working women faces glass ceiling (that's why that particular episode of Yes Minister is my fav)  that a very close friend of mine is facing while she works in a corporate job. I don't want that my teenager sister frantically calling me and crying coz a leech harrassed her online. I don't want that men demand "nude picks" and send "dick picks" the moment they loose civility online. Ask someone who has faced all this trauma because men . occupies such spaces. I don't want that  the she is married at the gun point of dowry. I don't want that she faces harrassment while traveling in public transport (remembering how once in one of these forum thread, someone has to actually come forward and explain why first compartment in delhi metro is actually reserved). I don't want to see how some of the brightest of women i have met, is struggling emotionally AND PHYSICALLY to a toxic marriage. You know why our labour participation is low? Coz she is busy serving her husband, cleaning, washing, and care giving activities, while men invisibles  her work. I don't want to see any girl.....the list is endless. But the issues are not.

Sorry for writing this long post. I dunno if this will contribute anything to the discussions, but I felt writing it. Have poured my fear and apprehensions. And this is why having such discussions are important. Be it a tvf series, or be it a real life series.

Patriarchy hurts. Everyone.

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The Road Not Taken- By Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

This poem is something extremely close to my heart. When I took the plunge into this exam by leaving my job, I was at a crossroads. Each of the roads had its own opportunities and neither one was any less traveled really. Further, much like each way leads to another way, each one offered a different life, fulfilling in its own ways. At that time, I decided to use this poem as my anthem of uniqueness. I was following my dream, and to dare to follow your dreams is the stuff of great poetry. I rationalised it as my road less traveled, but it wasn’t really any less traveled than the other one. Had I cleared my exam in either of my last two attempts, some day long into the future, I would probably proudly tell my grandkids that I took the road that was less traveled, and that made all the difference. If my experiences as an IAS officer made me regret my choices, I would still rationalise them but say that they were wrong in retrospect. I would say that they made all the difference, in a tone filled with  regret. 

After my failures, I found myself at a crossroads again. It wasn’t the same crossroads and I wasn’t the same person. Each way had led to another way, until I reached here. I could have given one more full time attempt or taken up a job. I chose my way of taking up a job. I am still preparing for the exam. If I clear it now, one day, I would probably tell my grandkids that I took the road less travelled of preparing alongside a full time job, and that that made all the difference. If I don’t clear it, I’d tell them that about how I don’t regret any of the time I spent preparing. I’d tell them how preparing and not clearing the exam helped me become a much better lawyer, and contribute better in the private sector. I’d probably even tell them that this was what was better for me than the services. And I would then point to this crossroads and say how my choice made all the difference, and how my choice of moving on from the exam was the tougher thing to do (which most others don’t).

Whenever you are stuck at a crossroads, you will make a choice. Someone else would make a different choice. Each choice would have its own takers. Each choice would lead you down an entirely different path, as one way always leads to another. One day, everyone would rationalise their choices and point to them as the ones that made all the difference. “That has made all the difference” can be said with a heavy heart or with glee. Or with a mixed flavour of regret and relief. 

@PursuitofHappyness Whichever path you choose, I genuinely hope you, my friend, will get to a point someday, when you will say it with joy. Pursuit of Happyness is my favourite movie of all time. There’s a line in that movie. 

You can chase your dream with a job. You can chase your dream without a job. Just protect that dream, man. Don’t let anyone tell you how you can or cannot chase that dream. You know best. It’s your dream after all. You don’t ever have to justify your dream to anyone. You will one day rationalise your own choices, whichever path you choose. And you will say that you protected your dream in the way you best knew how. That’s the stuff of poetry.  I wish you the very best, my friend. :)

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Further to earlier post, about over 40% Dholpur House staff being infected, the same source informed that yesterday a meeting was held virtually to decide on the upcoming schedule. As meeting was virtual, only 2-3 participants were present at Dholpur House, with majority of staff still off limits and several in isolation/ quarantine.

Silence was observed for recently passed away section staff and admin staff, including for Shri Birendra Nath Nishad, Section Officer, DoPT, liaisoning as important point of contact between UPSC and DoPT since last Nov.

Few (among many) of the actionables decided :

1. Indefinite defferment of CMS, in light of GoI leveraging several working, final year grads. 

2. Opinions sought from PMO for way ahead, DoPT for current recruitment cycle & Law Ministry for legal questions.

3. No particular discussion on CSE(P) per se, but definite decision taken on realigning the whole calendar for 2021. As reverts from different ministry and PMO comes back, a new calendar will be issued.

4. As of now, UPSC is more concerned with safety of its staff and members.
And completing the ongoing examinations, especially the interview by Aug-Sept 2020.

5. Before conduct of any exam, and esp ones like CDS, CSE(P); a whole process is initiated almost 45-60 days in advance, for selection of centres, allotment of roll numbers, staff requistioning from State Govts etc. 
As NDA was on 18th Apr, these work for it started in Mar 1st week. Hence, despite rises and almost none lock down back then, exam could be conducted. 

Right now, none of process for CSE(P) has been started, and all state govts are in limbo, with regards lockdown and resources. Therefore, exam for Prelims 2021 cannot be held before end August, considering peak around end may/ early june.

PS: " Please save this message and if UPSC does any better I must quit this space" !
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Life is sometimes just simply too difficult, isn’t it guys?

I’m taking a break from the exam. I’ve lost my shine, man. You know that thing I’m talking about? That heart. You need that to endure. I’ve lost it somewhere along the way and I can’t seem to find it. The pressure of trying to find it just makes me feel l might explode. 

So I need a clean slate, even though I know there truly is no such thing. I want to be able to hope again. You know that thing about hope? You would only truly appreciate it if you’ve ever found yourself completely devoid of it. Things stop meaning anything.

 So, I’m just going to go get professional help, think long and hard about a lot of things, and figure out what the hell it is that I truly want to do in life, or if I should just simply stop trying to control things and see where life takes me. I don’t believe in saying that I want to find myself again, because whoever I thought I was has always changed with time. But I do believe I want to find something. I don’t want to feel the way I do now. So conflicted, anxious and dissatisfied all the time. I want to feel gratitude again. I want to feel different from the way I feel now.  

I don’t know if I will return to this exam, but I think that the time has come when I must finally choose self preservation at the moment. This decision of mine is not intended to influence anyone to take a similar call. I’m simply saying that I just find things too difficult and overwhelming at the moment, and I want to hide behind a shield I’m yet to forge. I hope this will work. At least I’m beginning to hope again?

I have immense respect for all of you who are braving all your demons and choosing to pursue your goal. It takes great courage. Put in your honest effort and see where it takes you. Good luck to all of you. :)

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Ek guzarish rahegi aap sabhi se, jab bhi koi aapse UPSC preparation shuru karne ki baat kare, unhe zaroor kehna padhna aasan hai, balki padhna sabse aasan hai, agar utni himmat hai apne mann pe kabu paane ki aur mann maarne ki to hi aao preparation mein.

Hum sab ne UPSC ki taiyaari kuch na kuch sochkar shuru kari hogi. Mein ye badal dunga, mein wo kar dunga, prestige hai, social recognition hai and all.

Aaj 7 years into preparation, ek sachhai maine samjha hai ki ye sab cheez hum jo bolkar khud ko preparation mein jhop dete hai uska actually koi maksad nahi hota.

Sachhai to ye hai ki sabse kathin kaam hota hai khud ko sambhalna. And by that I don't mean earning good and all.

Mujhe mere relatives hamesha puchte hai kab niklega tumhara, kuch sadharan sa karlo, duniya jahan ke taunt maarte hai. 

Bas ek hi relative hai hamara, jo sabse sahi sawaal karta hai-

Beta khush to hona zindagi mein? 

Ye mera sach hai...

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Some points I noted down that kept coming up in different topics. The plan was to use them wherever I needed a point or two more as a last resort.

1. Encourage people’s engagement - CBOs, SHGs, PRI

2. Strengthen legislative and regulatory framework

3. Use technology: AI, ML

4. For legislation, refer to Law Commission 


6. Portal has been launched (true for most things)

7. Urban-rural angle

8. Any tech ->digital divide

9. Any tech ->privacy, security, data sovereignty

10. Build skills

11. Grievance redressal mechanisms

12. Challenge - Lack of research

13. Projects ->Land acquisition problems

14. Economy ->investor confidence will be affected

15. Develop standard operating procedures

16. Agriculture, infra ->land records digitisation

17. Social issues ->collect detailed data

18. Local language for communications

19. Reduce GST for sector 

20. Challenge - weak regulation

21. Problem with program: cost overruns

I started doing this only towards the end, so the list can be much longer!

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Hello guys, I hope you all are doing well.

From today, roughly 70 odd days are left for UPSC Prelims 2021. Pressure is high and everybody must be giving it their all. There is something I realised during my first attempt that I would like to share. Clearing UPSC is not a 9-5 job. To further elucidate, if you think you can just study a fixed set of hours per day and clear the paper, the chances are pretty slim. The competition this exam carries and the width of syllabus it boasts, you need to live this exam all the time. We always read in governance answers how policymaking in silos is bad and we should have convergence. Something similar is needed here. We just cannot study for 7-8 odd hours and detach ourselves completely. You have to be ever-present and keen mentally, especially in the last few months. This does not mean that you drown yourself in the books all the time. Instead, keep thinking about the things you learnt, interlink it, bring new points and observe everything around you, with the static portion making sense of your surroundings. Because when Lucky Ali sings Kyun Chalti hai pawan, your answer should not be na tum jano na hum!

Be curious 24*7 and it will reward you.

Secondly, this( Prelims) is a hurdle we must cross. Prelims is a very sadistic phase. It is just like an arena where there is a limited type and way of using a weapon(you have to choose your answer from the given options only) to vanquish your enemy(the exam). 

A student's true prowess is reflected in the mains paper, where all his accumulated knowledge comes to use, the way he wants it(his choice of weaponry). UPSC unshackles you from the OMR blocks and lets your knowledge flow. It is such a therapeutic experience. You can interlink farm crisis to 2nd FYP, further link women distress to Green revolution, anything. The paper is your canvas. Writing the mains is the true reward for an aspirant spending year long with issues and developing understanding. You are neither right nor wrong. You are just a vessel of ideas, pouring your thoughts on a piece of paper. I do not think any exam gives you such an opportunity to write your heart out. Those 2-3 months post prelims are literally hell but are so worth it. 

It is completely unfair to the knowledge and hard work of a student to not being able to use it in its fullest form. Like Goku without using Kame Hame Haaaaaaaaa!

We have to break the shackles of the OMR bubbles and unleash ourselves, at any cost. This would be a true reward we can give to ourselves, for all the rough times we have been through, our very own FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION.

At this crucial juncture, let us promise ourselves that we will do everything in our power to cross the Preliminary hurdle, because my friends, on the other side, there is a battlefield honouring warriors like us, and willing to transform us into Gods, if we sacrifice our sweat and blood.

Let us do it!

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I might be posting this on the wrong thread, but here goes. Just trying to clear my head.

I did not clear CS Mains 2020. I was in a great deal of pain. Maybe I still am, but dwelling on it does not make it any better. I have two more attempts left. After a lot of introspection, I have decided to give the 2021 attempt. There are an umpteen number of reasons why I should not give the attempt, but I have made a conscious commitment to not dwell on them. "Life is available only in the present moment", I've read.

As regards preparation, the last two months were wholly wasted. I will be joining work in two weeks time. I will have to work roughly 10 hours a day on average on weekdays. Weekends are off, and for the most part, I would be free. 

Until the marks are out, I wouldn't know for sure where I had gone wrong in CSM 2020. However, if I should stand a chance in Mains 2021, my gut says that I would have to work on: a) De-specialising in GS-2; b) Having a much more structured preparation for GS-I; c) Writing safe essays; d) Have higher standards of what constitutes an average answer; e)Being sure of compulsory language paper.

I can only afford to spend roughly 3 hours a day on average on weekdays and 6-8 hours a day on weekends. However, if I can ensure that I use this time productively, I feel that I can get to where I want to be with respect to preparation, come Mains 2021.

I am jumping into this being fully aware that even these efforts might not result in success. I am not doing this because it is the best job in the world which everyone must aspire to. I am not pursuing "my dream job." My why is intensely personal. I am doing this because I want to and because I chose to. The challenge excites me,  even though I hate that it does. I guess it is my self-interest that drives me to aspire for selfless service after all. 

My relationship with UPSC has long been at its toxic worst, but something disallows me from walking away. In this case, something forces me to be the creep who understands the word "no" to mean "try harder." Preparing for the attempt feels like torture, but walking away without a stronger fight still feels like regret. I must choose the lesser evil. Closure, one way or another. Wish me luck. 

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