Mains 2021 Post result Thread: What went wrong and way forward. - ForumIAS

Mains 2021 Post result Thread: What went wrong and way forward.

My current affairs strategy was all over the place. When prelims was postponed, I managed to pull through, but could not do it for mains. I had big chunks of current affairs that I hadn't revised properly before mains - really screwed up my GS2 and GS3.

I didn't practice writing full-length mocks for optional, and messed up time management in paper-1. Managed to rectify this in paper-2 but I guess it wasn't enough.

The most important thing, probably: I lost momentum after prelims. I thought I wouldn't clear it, so when I somehow did, I wasn't able to pull myself back to that pre-prelims pace. If I write the exam again, I'm not going to bother going through coaching institute keys and trying to figure out whether or not I'll clear prelims.


In the last 3 days, I have realized that 60% of the questions require answers which need to be practiced beforehand in our room (for example NHRC, CBI, SCO, Parliamentary Committee, legislative council, SHGs, etc). These questions give ample scope for scoring good marks, the rest 40% of the questions are new for everyone which may or may not give you marks even if you have written average content. Thus ensuring a good grasp of static and conventional topics is very important to ensure decent marks in GS. 

My mistake was that I ignored the static portion of History, Polity, and Economy after Prelims and thus wrote whatever I remembered from Prelims Preparation.

Also relate to this. Some of my static part was based on prelims memory. :/


This was my second attempt and second mains which I couldn't clear. I am still facing issues regarding time management. I was never able to complete mock tests on time.Although I almost completed the actual papers but I feel I could have increased atleast 10 marks in each GS paper simply by devoting sufficient time for the 10 markers through which I had to rush because of my poor time management. Anybody who has faced similar issues in the past and were able to overcome it?

Not sure how much this will help you, but I exceeded my time on every mock except the very last set of tests I took. The main thing I changed was writing questions in a particular order so that I was able to track my time. Tracking 7/11 minutes on a clock is pretty hard to do, so I had a 20-20 minute split. Every 20 minutes, I would finish 3 10-markers or 2 15-markers.

Keeping track 20 minutes at a time is pretty easy. There's always other orders to write questions, but create a time split up so you can keep track of every few questions. That way you don't overshoot your time much. Doesn't work for optional though.


Relating so much to@Art_vandelayNot sure this is the right place to post about this, but here I go: since the mains result came out, I've been trying to look for a job. I deal with grief better by keeping myself busy. I started preparing right after graduation and have no work experience to speak of. Not even an internship. I was aimless in college, I did decently well but had zero interest in anything I studied. When I started preparing for UPSC, it honestly felt great. I finally had something I wanted to do. I genuinely liked all the subjects that I studied. It was my first attempt, so everything was very new and I was very curious and actually wanted to learn. It was a really nice feeling. But after things stopped feeling 'new', I started stagnating. I stumbled through prelims and crashed and burned in mains.

When I browse through LinkedIn, I can see that I have skills and knowledge that I got because of UPSC, and some skills that I had before itself. But I don't have the qualifications to back anything up. I can only show off my skills in an interview if I'm invited to the interview. Pretty sure I get cut out in the resume stage itself. I've started to hate the fact that I'm not independent at all, still having to ask parents for money and feeling really guilty every time I spend it. I'm scared of failing UPSC again and scared I'll have nowhere else to go because no one will give me a job. All the other exams seem to be coming up too fast for me to even figure the syllabus out.

I always thought I'd figured out a backup - if not this, I can do a post-graduation or write some other exams that are easier but reality is a bit different. UPSC isn't the only exam with insane competition and a taxing exam process. I don't want to let go but I'm terrified of getting stuck in this loop.

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