Mains 2020 : Essay and GS Discussion, Issues, Difficulty Level, Way ahead - ForumIAS

Mains 2020 : Essay and GS Discussion, Issues, Difficulty Level, Way ahead

Hello All, Essay paper is done. Question was a bit weird, at least part A where quotes were also not famous types. How did people approach the essay paper, which topics did you write on ? Did you use whitener anywhere? Did you do rough work ?
root,musaand51 otherslike this


2017- 809
2018- 774
2019- 751
2020- ?

2020- 738.

Pattern follow ho raha h 6^2-1, 5^2-2, 4^2-3.........

missionmangal,Caesarand50 otherslike this

This will be long. Read only if you are interested, and if you have the patience. 

In late 2018, when my girlfriend asked me if I was single, I said that I was "married to UPSC for now." She is someone so far away from this whole UPSC thing. I had already failed a prelims exam then, and I had bought into the idea that a relationship would be a distraction from my goal. In any case, love happened for me much before I had planned for it, and I couldn't stop myself from being in a relationship with her. Post that, in 2019, I couldn't get through prelims again. Prior to my exam in 2019, I was so keen on clearing that a great number of times, I gave her gyan like "You don't know what this exam is like, what I'm going through, I need to study all the time, I simply dont have the time to call you blah blah." The last thing she wanted to be was to be a distraction for me. Whenever I gave her this nonsense, she'd be hurt but still would try not to bring it up. Of course I did catch the drift, and made it up to her, but it is still something I regret. 

I didn't clear 2019 prelims either. 2020 was a roller coaster. She supported me all the way through. I had stopped watching topper interviews, but that was her only source of information about the exam. She texted random people for support regarding my optional, tried to understand as much as she could about this exam.She made me so many bookmarks, a countdown calendar, so many little things like that.

I worked hard as well, and she worked on her academics as well. We've always told each other that we should help the other strive for being the best versions of ourselves. We were quite prepared for the exam in May 2020, but then, COVID happened. Things went for a toss. I had already been going through signs of depression, and that just intensified. 10 times or so. To the point that it felt like physical pain. I was so done with the exam. One night, around 3, after having entirely wasted at least 2 months, I called her and told her that I was done with the exam. I wanted to choose security, maybe try and go back to my old job from over 3 years ago. I will always remember that conversation for the rest of my life. You would not believe how far away I was mentally from giving the exam post lockdown, until the conversation happened. It was like a rope for a drowning man. She made me realise how much I had forgotten that being in the UPSC cycle was by my own choice.

I changed my habits after that. I started waking up at 4 every morning after that. Gave my everything for the preparation. One thing I realised was that when I was actually working for it (and not just saying that I was), I could find time for all these other important things in my life as well. I started playing an instrument simply because I wanted to play it to her. I started writing about my life on forum. I started working on my own fitness. I genuinely started living my life again. The exam was a part of it, it was definitely not my whole life. Much before October 4, I knew that I would clear prelims this time around.

And so I did. She was the happiest person on the planet. And then came the monster that was mains. Much like she has done since 2018, she supported me through it all. I worked hard and gave it my best shot. 

Irrespective of what the results are, I was satisfied with how far I had come, purely in terms of the effort. If it were not for her, I wouldn't even have given this attempt. I would have probably gone back to having a handsome paycheck, but with a whole lot of regret. 

One thing I realise when I look back is this. When I thought I could just avoid giving the 2020 attempt and just escape the insane trial of the mind that is the CSE, I ignored one fact. This exam is like Hotel California. "You can check-out any time you like, But you can never leave!" 

If one clears the exam, they are often for years caught in the high of it. Offering advice, or just enjoying their moment in the sun. If you fail, there's regret that consumes you. If you get out of the cycle and choose to never give the exam again, there's always that nagging voice in the head that says: "What if this attempt is the one that works?"

Yesterday, I told her that I was done with the exam if I didn't clear it this time around. She smiled and said: "We'll see." 

Well, my 2018 self is so ashamed right now, and rightly so. She's always known me and this exam much better than I ever did. :)

P.S: Generalisations simply do not work when it comes to this topic. If your partner inspires you, supports you and challenges you, there's no force as powerful as love to move you to action. On the other hand, if your partner does not care for you, but only themselves, obviously it has no place in your life. Be wise to know the difference. However, always remember that love is a two-way street. Your partner asking for attention isn't a distraction, it's basic human nature. Irrespective of what you tell yourself, you always have time for it. :)

Joeyisthebest,Auroraand44 otherslike this
meanwhile some of us in the forumThumbs Up Crying Cat | Know Your Meme
Caesar,MikeWozniakand44 otherslike this
Beware of fake pdfs from now😕

Based on my limited experience I am releasing an advisory to not to fall for the fake pdfs
  1. Always check the UPSC website first once you see any pdf circulating on any social media.
  2. If no result uploaded on UPSC website then BEWARE about opening that pdf.
  3. If you still open the pdf then first check the date on the right-hand corner of the pdf on the first page before checking the roll number. If it is not of that day then it is a fake one.
  4. If date is also correct then the formatting of the header on the first page will not be proper. That is a RED flag.
  5. Do not believe in rumors spread regarding exact result dates/cut-off heard anywhere whether on Forum or Telegram or even from my cat. 
  6. If you are seeing "mahaul ban raha h" comment on here or on any other social media platform then quit that platform for that day and just keep checking UPSC website. Usually, that is an initiation of fake pdf ritual. 
  7. Lastly, when the holy pdf is here then do not type Ctrl+F and just type in Roll Number. See that all pages have been loaded properly. I have seen my friends facing crushing sadness of not finding their roll number only to realize that it has not loaded properly and finding it thereafter. Always Download the pdf first. 

Savdhar rahe Satark Rahe.

Cse aspirants can write 250 words on literally everything :p 

alankritbhatia6382,Caesarand41 otherslike this
Anyone lost hopes after seeing all these debates?
Joeyisthebest,missionmangaland39 otherslike this

Stop romanticising this exam, efforts involved in it, perseverance etc....  In the end, only thing that matters is the result. 

Romanticization of this Russian roulette has ruined many promising careers including mine...  There were many easier path to achieve success & my friends climbed ladder of success by following conventional route like

IIT=>IIM =>consultancy Or

IIT=>Ivy League =>google, fb, amazon

Believe me, these paths were much easier with higher success rate... 

UPSC's Akbar, babar etc leaves you unskilled for the market.... Once you fall in this trap, it becomes insanely difficult to get the similar job profile with similar package after 2-3 years gap.... 

I have seen  stanford's passout, carnegie mellon's passout ruining their career by preparing for upsc.... 

I wish I had time machine so that i could undo my decision of resigning from job....  My advice to newbies will be to not only listen to success stories but also to failure stories of many promising candidates.... 

Who knows luck may favour me this time after getting rejected in interview round for 3 times... May be i may even get double digit rank this year but that won't change the fact upsc is a glorified lottery! 

If I am able to save anyone's career through this, this long rant would be worth it! 

missionmangal,alankritbhatia6382and37 otherslike this

So,I was giving out some polity related advice to my girlfriend, and she sent me this, with the caption, SAVDHAN RAHEIN, SATARK RAHEIN!:P

missionmangal,Blueberryand36 otherslike this
I don't know why so many people are afraid of prelims! All that one has to do is to study one hour for one month. Lol :P
Oasis,missionmangaland33 otherslike this
UPSC prep takes such a toll on a person. Man! Intense shit. I am just sitting, not studying even though knowing how unexpected the exam can be, waiting for the result to arrive. 4 years into this prep and still I cannot give a guarantee that I will clear prelims if I have to give it this year. Wake up every morning with no excitement. Khatam ho yaar ye phase ab. BAS HO GAYA! :/
missionmangal,Auroraand32 otherslike this

Dear All

I know it's not the right time to trouble you, but I thought to ask in this thread, as GS's experience would be fresh for you, hence this timing. The question is simply this-What kind of home work actually works in the exam hall while writing mains?  I mean is it the 'answer writing modules'? Or is it the exercise of preparing model answers of past papers? Or is it something else?  Please share what worked for you like mota-mota. Asking it here because I think the maturity of the crowd on this thread would give an honest and unbiased answer. Else, bahar market mei kisi se puchoo, to apna commercial agenda leke aa jaatey hai. 

Please share. It will help a noob, and many other alike noobs. Number milna ya nahi milna, selection hona ya nahi hona, ye sab baad ki baat hai.Aap sabhi log mere se experience mei badey hai. Just wanted to take dividend of that experience. Thanks.

Also, keep toiling.Bas thoda sa aur....


Not many would concur with my opinion, but you've asked for an honest opinion so I'd tell it anyway. 

There was a time when I had trouble completing the papers within 3 hours. The problem was not my slow handwriting or a bad pen or lack of answer writing. 

It was lack of knowledge. As knowledge improved, the speed improved automatically. 

The newbies should not worry about answer writing at all. Focus on the content. Read. Revise. Consolidate. Make final crisp notes before you start writing.

Don't fall for the marketing gimmicks like daily answer writing. If you're not able to tell me the 5 challenges to Indian federal system within 15 seconds, you should be reading the books than writing answers! 

This advice does not appear flashy, easy. So it has less takers, but as philosophers have rightly said that truth cannot be suppressed for long, it will occur to you at some point in the preparation. Some learn it in the first attempt. Some take more than 4. 

Caesar,EiChanand32 otherslike this
To all the people who are going to check the PDF one last time, all the very best. You guys have been warriors throughout. All we can do is be inspired by your resilience and perseverance. I wish nothing but happiness for you all. 
Whenever I feel low or unwilling to work, I always look up to one of my seniors in the library who also gave his last attempt this time and his never-ending hustle inspires me. The fighting spirit you peeps show goes beyond success and failure because with that Himalayan grit, today or tomorrow, you guys will be at the top. 
Thank you, for keeping me, and others like me, inspired and on our toes.
All the best my dear seniors. :)
Oasis,MikeWozniakand32 otherslike this

Sharing this screenshot here as it might motivate someone.

This post was posted here after last year's mains result and I had taken it's screenshot. I know this guy personally and he has written mains again this year !

ssver2,Oasisand31 otherslike this


» show previous quotes» show previous quotes

Ladki ka chakkar babu bhaiya ladki ka chakkar. 

Maine apni gf ko eco(entire 600 pages of mrunal),geo,polity sikhaya aur attempt dilvaya state psc ka as she was nt able to clear upsc pre. Select hone ke baad mjhe hi chod kr chali gayi. Aur mai yaha upsc mains-mains khel raha hu.

Itna buri Tarah shayad hi kisi ka kata hoga.

I watched Ecchi in front of my girl - Forums - MyAnimeList.netwait, you guys have/had gf?

Caesar,Auroraand31 otherslike this
When the issue of separate dabba in metro for women is raised, the classic reply is that any padha likha would certainly know it.. mujhe nahi pata ki kya aisa jarurat hai special treatment ki.. first u need special treatment n then it is said that inequality pervades the society... I believe treat everyone equally, forget about their gender.. no special treatment to anyone.. 

Since you said you don’t know why it’s needed I thought I should reply, because people truly might not know why since we don’t talk about it openly enough. 

The reason women have separate metro dabbas is to protect them from acts of sexual harassment or even sexual assault. Including but not limited to common things like leering, groping, or rarer things like straight up having a man visibly staring right at your breasts and masturbating. (This has happened to a friend of mine, I’m not just making it up).

I dream and hope for a day when one day we will not need separate dabbas anymore. I also feel for the injustice done to men who have to fear for their safety and reputation if they happen to stand near a woman, because she might misinterpret an innocent glance or movement and yell and have people beat them up. This is how we are all, both men and women, suffering as a result of the same problem.

I don’t like it either when I see there’s a separate women’s compartment. I don’t like it that we still need it. But I still enter it, because it’s preferable to the feeling of dread and fear that creeps up my spine when a man stands a bit too close to me in the general compartment. Most likely the train is too crowded, and he’s a perfectly decent human being who is also feeling scared and uncomfortable. But maybe, just maybe there’s a chance he’s a pervert who will rub his junk on my back (has also happened to someone I know). How do I know? I don’t want to assume the worst, I don’t want to believe that every man I see is capable of such monstrosity, I don’t want to be afraid for no reason. But the risk is too much to take, right, and the examples are too many. At that moment, the point is not that it’s not all men. It’s that all women will face this soul-crushing and frustrating predicament. So I go into the women’s compartment. 

Your point about why we still need special treatment when we claim equality intuitively makes sense. But it’s because the problem is too complex, and recognising that we deserve equality is very different from actually achieving it. We may have achieved the first step (understanding that harassing women on public transport is wrong) but we haven’t achieved the second (women actually feeling safe on public transport)

So yeah, I can’t wait for the day when we evolve as a civilisation to the point where the patriarchy and all its accompanying perversions, that in turns victimise and monster-ise us, both men and women alike, is eliminated. But until then, we still need the metro dabbas. Just please know that every time you feel frustrated that women get to claim a whole compartment to themselves, there are probably many women equally frustrated that they still need it. I also dream of the day when your last line comes true, but we have some way to go until then. Maybe the next generation or the one after that can live in that utopia.

Joeyisthebest,missionmangaland31 otherslike this
Mains result generally subah aata hai ya shaam me? 

Maut ka koi time nhi hota bhai

ssver2,missionmangaland30 otherslike this


I tried my best to update you guys with relevant results info.

Thank you for bearing me. If i hurt anyone's sentiments i am sorry. ❤

Wish you all the best for future.

Best wishes,


Caesar,Auroraand30 otherslike this

Caesar,MikeWozniakand29 otherslike this
» show previous quotes

Ye toh theek hai but ARC/NITI ne kya recommendation diya hai ispe.. wo toh daalo, else 3 marks milenge bro tumhe. Good discusion though :D


2nd ARC recommended that after 13 Years of Dating, One should go for Domain Specialisation and get Married. 

NITI AAYOG, on the other hand, gives a 20 Year Vision plan that you must be well settled in life after 20 years with a happy job, family, kids - BUT being typical NITI AAYOG, fails to tell BC YEH SAB KARNA KAISE HAI :D

Caesar,MikeWozniakand28 otherslike this

Here goes the female version

Long story, so bear with me. 

We met in school. Frinds since then. 

I come from a broken family. He supported. 

Separated in high school (lost touch) , United during college again (same town) 

He got ill. Couldn't study or focus. Got a year drop. I was there. Tried everything since his family couldn't be there. 

He was depressed for 2 years. I was there through it all.  He somehow regained strength, got his degree. Meanwhile i had started working in the same town. 

After 3 years of work, I wanted to advance my career ( MBA), but was disillusioned with corporate. He reignited the childhood idea of civils. I went to Delhi (parents were shocked but supportive) 

Studied hard cleared pre 2018. Mains went okish. 4 marks short of cutoff. Thought ho jayega next attempt. Was heart broken. He was there. He supported. 

We couldn't meet (his work) but still were there for each other. 

2019 cleared pre. Mains optional paper - got an anxiety attack. Somehow managed the 2nd paper. 1 mark short of cutoff (general candidate). I wanted to give up. He said - he was there if my career never took off. But I should try. 

2020 - prepared realy hard. Optional was a thorn both times. Gave my all to it during lockdown. Prelims - again my anxiety attack decided to resurface. Couldn't focus during csat. Didn't clear pre. 

Now I was depressed. Didn't know what was going around me, who was saying what. Time just passed by. He was there like a rock for me. He knew I needed time. Healing. He did all he could. Made me meditate, take a art of living course. Build small study habits. 

I am out of it now, and in best of spirits to give 2021.

Twist - his parents want to get him married. And he wants me.. But I don't want any big life change before 2021 results. So figuring it out. 

Relationships -  are a great power if there is support, maturity, understanding. Like someone above said - we can't tell everything to our parents, or friends. 

Sorry for such long writeup! 

missionmangal,Auroraand28 otherslike this

Me, not having cleared even prelims yet, going through this thread

Oasis,Caesarand27 otherslike this
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