While you prepare for the IAS exam, it is advised to use the Prelims cum Mains approach, which is strictly followed at Officers IAS Academy. This would enable the aspirants to gradually cover the vast syllabus for both stages. However, aspirants occasionally tend to put off their mains preparation, which puts them in a difficult position once they clear prelims. I will attempt to clarify what an aspirant should do in such a difficult circumstance.
How to approach the Mains exam, if you are short on time?
The first thing that has to be done is to have a look at the previous year’s question papers. You should learn the areas from where very few questions are asked in addition to being able to comprehend how the questions are asked. For instance, in GS-1, only one question from World history is often asked for the Mains exam. This doesn’t imply that you should not study World History at all; rather you should prioritize other areas over it. Identify the subjects and areas that generate the most questions for the actual Mains.
Once you do the above-mentioned analysis, start your answer writing sessions and simultaneously prepare the necessary content for each topic. Also, go through the Previous Year’s Questions once again to make yourself familiar with the nature of the questions asked. For instance, you may anticipate quite a few questions from the GS-1 “Indian Society” topic each year, and the content that is related to it is easily available. Continue in this manner for all the other subjects, by making sure that you assign them time and effort, in the correct order of significance. Try to assign the least significant topics the barest amount of time and preparation. Likewise, follow these instructions for your optional paper. Keep aside adequate time for your optional preparation and provide enough time to analyze the papers from the previous year and develop an appropriate approach.
Focusing on subjects that takes less time
In general, the syllabus is quite vast for General Studies (GS), particularly GS1, GS2, and GS3. In contrast, GS4 (Ethics) may be completed quickly because the syllabus is relatively simple and short. Ethics is certainly a scoring paper, even though there is very little overlap with the other papers. You can use this as an opportunity to make up for the possible lost marks from other GS papers. Additionally, try to allocate the deserved time for the Essay paper.
A good essay may be written using the skills you’ve developed during your UPSC preparation, and like the Ethics paper, it will get you the additional marks that you need for the Interview Call. However, write the essay with content, clarity, coherence, and substance for the essay to receive the maximum marks. Although it could be challenging for you to create a strong essay on your first effort, you will see significant changes once you put your best effort.
How to effectively use the common topics?
An advantage that you can instantly take is the overlapping topics of Prelims and Mains. For instance, the Polity of the prelims and GS2 overlap. The topics of the environment, science & technology in GS3 and Prelims are also similar. As a result, you have a solid foundation in these areas. These subjects now need to be supplemented a little to make them content-rich for mains. For example, strengthen the Polity you studied for the prelims by learning about many crucial judgments and the analytical side of key government schemes. This would significantly improve the quality of your answers in a short amount of time because you have previously covered the fundamentals (during your prelims preparation) and what you need to do now is sharpen the knowledge that you possess already.
Although reading through the aforementioned advice will help you increase your marks for the Mains exam, you should maintain a continuous answer writing approach. Your chances of getting the Interview Call will be affected if you are unable to complete all of the questions in the allotted three hours. While taking practice tests for Mains, you will also learn the tips and tricks of improving the score. The crucial thing to focus right now is to pick up that pen and keep writing until you feel competent, regardless of whether you began late for your Mains preparation. You may join our Mains Answer Writing Program that hand holds you through the preparation process to get your Interview Call. Continue writing with us so that you receive the best IAS coaching from our Gurus who themselves cleared the Civil Services exam. Before I conclude, I wish to assure you that our team at Officers’ IAS Academy understands your concerns, and we will be with you every step of the way. I wish you the best for the upcoming Mains exam.