UPSC Civil Services Mains Exam: Only 75 Days To Go, Here’s How IAS Aspirants Can Plan Their PreparationUnion Public Service Commission (UPSC) building, New Delhi (Vivek Singh/The India Today Group/Getty Images)

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) preliminary exam was conducted on 4 October 2020. By now, the serious aspirants would have calculated their marks using various answer-keys available online.

Anyone scoring above 95 should seriously start the Mains exam preparation. Leaving out a few days for cooling off, only 75 days remain till the Mains examination that will start from 8 January 2021.

Not only the aspirants have to cover a huge syllabus spanning the four general studies papers, but also perfect their optional subject preparation.

Apart from this, the students also have to take care to practice answer writing sufficiently. In the Mains exam, the aspirant has to write two papers of three hours. This means six hours of writing, with three hours of continuous writing.

Most of the students, when they start writing papers will find it difficult to even attempt all the questions. They shouldn’t get disheartened and keep practicing.

Since the time is less, the students should make sure the time they are spending on revising/reading the material instead of answer-writing benefits their answer writing skills because ultimately, it is only through their answers that they will be able to express their knowledge.

A good way to do so is to revise the material in a question-answer format rather than plain reading. The candidate should think of a question on the topic, and then form an answer to the question in his head with the introduction, body and the conclusion.

It is also important to recognise one’s weak points and prepare accordingly. Some people have a fast writing speed but need to work more on the grasp of the material. Others have a good grasp on the material but find it difficult to write things in their own words.

It is important to remember that candidates have to answer 20 questions in 3 hours. meaning, there isn’t much time to think first and then write the answer. Basically, candidates will not be able to recall and copy paste material from their memory. That such questions come is even more unlikely.

So candidates should remember that they will have to write answers in their own words. In its notification, the UPSC itself clarifies that it is not looking for expert knowledge or great English language skills.

Candidates should focus on remembering key words (like basic structure, natural justice, drain of wealth, globalisation of indifference etc.) and using them write the answer in their own words. Wasting time and energy on writing like a newspaper columnist might cost the candidate their attempt.

Since the time is less, making and sticking to a schedule is necessary. It is best if the schedule of the candidate corresponds with any test series they have joined. Always remember to give a test with your best preparation instead of thinking that I will do better in the next one.

With discipline and exam-focused preparation, candidates can prepare themselves well for the Mains examination.

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