How to score good marks in civil services exam

Useful Tips: Successful Scoring in IAS Exam I want to share some of the strategies that might help you to score well in civil services exam. When you enter this UPSC examination and decided that this is your goal. First, lot of us will think that this is very hard! But with hard work, which is intelligently done, you can clear this exam very easily.

As you know that this exam is conducted in three stages. First come the prelims exam which is written by more than 5 lakhs people from across the country. So this exam is very exhaustive and it is mainly a screening exam.

Understanding the Exam process and preparation

So, basically if you see in this exam, every question you have got has four options and you have to select the right option. So more than choosing the right option in this stage, mainly consist of eliminating the wrong answers. So in this way you will be able to get a clear picture. Since UPSC has introduced negative marking, it is better to leave the completely unknown questions and mainly concentrate first on the questions that you know thoroughly, then the questions which you are having some basic guidelines. So this is the basic technique that we have to follow in the Prelims exam.

Other than that "How to prepare for the prelims exam". This is a exhaustive study level exam. Before preparing exhaustively, I will recommend that you study the basic books first thoroughly and then you can go for other books. So what happens is once you read the basic notes thoroughly, you get the basic understanding of the subject. And when you read the other books, you will get the added information.

For attending the prelims exam, make sure that atleast before one month start writing Mock Tests, so that you get to know more number of answers and mainly the Time Management. Because this is where most of us go wrong. So attend lots of mock tests before going into the Prelims/CSAT exam.

Next comes the Mains level, So out of the 5 lakhs people who are writing the Prelims exam, only 10 or 11 thousand candidates will clear the Prelims exam and they are going to write the Mains exam. As we know that Prelims exam is just of a screening nature, so whatever marks you are going to get in the Prelims exam, it not going to count in the final selection. This is a descriptive type examination in which lot of us don't have the basic techniques. It is the mains exam which resides the main marking and you have to get highest marks,so that you are in the list.

So again I want to share some of the strategies that will help you to score better than the others in the Mains exam.

Basic Strategy while attempting the Mains exam

First is, place yourself in the place of the examiner and think that you are correcting nearly 400 to 500 papers each day. So you have to think that how should I present my answers, so that my answer sheet becomes different from the others. So, some of the techniques or success mantras as many people say is present your answers neatly i.e. the presentation, answer format, underlining, using two colours for writing headlines then the points in such way.

Second is answer to the question. Don't answer what you know about the question, Answer what is asked in question, One more thing where many of us go wrong. For example "Role of Mahatma Gandhi in Indian Independence Movement". We write whatever we know about Mahatma Gandhi or Independence Struggle, and we don't write about the Role of Mahatma Gandhi. So first understand that what is being asked and then answer it accordingly.

Third point that can make a very critical advantage that is "using diagrams", so use lot of diagrams. If you see previous year exam papers, For example, there was a question regarding Partition of India. So most of us will write that India was divided into two parts in 1947 then again 1972 partition took place etc.

Then how a good answer writing approach should be like: How India was present before independence is a map and after independence how the map look like. So this is a very small diagrammatic presentation but it will make very critical or crucial difference in exam and definitely it will fetch more marks as well. So use diagrams, flow charts, present your answer neatly and to the point. And this is how the mains exam can be a very big advantage to you if you want to succeed in this exam.

Taking into action of the Interview or Personality Test

So, out of the 11 to 12 thousands people who are writing the mains, only 2 to 3 thousands people go for the Interview level. Now, out of these 3 thousands people around 800 to 900 candidates get selected finally. So how to make a difference again in this step.

First is, be yourself and whatever you are and don't copy others or institutes, coaching you are preparing with and other things, remember be yourself.

Second thing is read loads of Books, Opinions, Editorials, View Points and every thing, But form a unique opinion which is yours. Don't go with other's opinion, you read lot of things and analyze by yourself.

Third is Don't Bluff! If you don't know, tell that I am sorry sir, I do not know the answer and do not try to show that you know the answer. Most important point is Be polite but yet Bold. Present your opinion  with proper thought process and have conviction in your answers.

In general, that is knowledge of English, Look, it doesn't mean that knowledge of English is must, but it is an advantage to you because as such question papers will be in English and Hindi. So it is an added advantage that if you have the knowledge of English atleast. So that you can understand and moreover now the trend is such a way that in the Interview, the Interviewer encourage you to speak in the English which you know. So you should be able to present your feelings in the Interview board in the English you know.

Last but most important point is Be Calm! because that is where most of us feel tense and we commit blunders. So this point is very important right from the Prelims state to the Mains state to the Interview stage, in every stage keeping a calm mind is very important, because once you calm your mind is able to synthesise the various facts that you may not studies but you have might seen somewhere else.

So in that way keep a calm mind, reach the examination hall before 10 to 15 minute. If you are feeling somewhat tense, just do 5-10 min Yoga or some meditation, close your eyes and try to keep yourself calm.

Well, these are some techniques that may help you to achieve good score in the civil service examination. Good Luck!

Reference:  R. Lalitha, IAS | AIR: 12 - CSE 2009 | (Rank 1 in Tamil Nadu)

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