This is for those of you who wrote Mains 2019 on 20th, 21st and 22nd. First, you need a pat on the back. A job well attempted is a reward in itself. I believe a lot of you must have read my previous blog post on this. Here are a few things that can help you set in the right direction in this study break.
#1 Don't celebrate too early.
I hate to be the one saying this, but a lot of people, who were too stressed or even burnt out by the exam, may be in a situation where the week-long break almost feels like a vacation.
One, because you got to sleep all Monday. And two because its a loong break. So here are the warning bells for you. The Internet ( and the world ) is full of people who celebrated early . You might not want to see this, but do take a look at these GIFs ( I curated them for you )
So do not celebrate too early. Don't be these people. Get sober at the earliest and get back to studies. ( And don't google " Celebrating too early" GIFs )
#2 Its not a vacation. This is a study break , not a vacation. Some people will actually do their entire optional this week with no prior preparation and will be among the Top 50 rankers. This time is a vital resource. Don't be the guy ( or the country ) with the resource curse - the more you have, the worse you do!
So get back to good old productive days before the examination. Just because this study gap is too big, you do not have to fall into it.
#3 Do write at least 2-3 pages of Hindi / Regional Language before writing it in the exam.
I mean it more than anything else. Every year , I meet a lot of cool dudes, who actually get 125 in GS Paper 1 and do not qualify in CSAT.
Because they were so cool CAT Toppers and Engineers, that they did not practice a single CSAT paper before the actual exam. They are waiting for their next attempt this year.
Their equivalent in the Mains examination is those people who take the language paper for granted.
Write ऋषि as रिषि , ब्रह्मा as ब्रम्हा , or राम की साइकिल as राम कि साइकिल multiple times and you have irritated a Hindi / regional language faculty so much so that you are bound to be penalised for it.
Every year, I met at least 40-50 students who shy-ingly tell me that they are from Hindi heartland and have failed in the Hindi paper. Since their parents won't believe that, and may think that they did not clear Prelims itself, they share fake Mains marks with other people, including parents.
In fact, there was a guy from Ranchi last year, who surprised me with such revelations. So at least write two three pages of regional language. You do not have to do it directly in the exam.
To be on the safer side, do some three four years मुहावरे and all that also.
I mean do not completely be blank about the nature of the compulsory language paper.
#4 Your fate is in your hands. Look there are some rules with Optionals. The first is, if you do Paper 1 well and actually write things that are asked, you get marks.
The Second Paper - across all subjects - is applied, and has some subjectivity. Optionals is always more predictable than GS. So work on it.
#5 Solve previous Years Papers. In all humanities subjects, there is one rule - i.e. previous years questions will be asked again, to a great extent.
So do look at past years papers.
You don't have to write them down - you don't ( and should not! ) have that time - but at least think of a structure and solution to the questions. Maybe draw a rough sketch?
#6 Prepare the areas UPSC has not asked questions from. There are two rules in humanities actually.
And UPSC has been resorting to this too often in recent times.
Do take a look at topics, areas from which UPSC has not asked questions. And prepare it well. This is the second rule.
#7 If you are feeling clueless and nauseated looking at your revision notes of the Optional, you are exactly like everyone else.
Welcome to the club.
Just because we cannot revise 100% of the notes in next 2-3 days does not mean we should not do even 60% of the revision ( which is probably doable ) . So as far as the revision is concerned, do not have that all-or-nothing approach.
Doing even 60% of the syllabus is better than doing nothing.
#8 Make a task list of the things you need to do in the next few days.
Spend an hour or so making the task list.
Once the task list is made, stick to the task list.
Follow it to the hilt.
Don't spend too much time revising your strategy from time to time.
Revise your notes instead. And do not worry about things that won't probably happen.
A To Do list is a great navigator for the day when you have too much work at hand, everything is equally important and you don't know where to begin with.
It is also a good tracker. Ensures that you do not miss out on any part of the syllabus that was there at the back of your mind.
Writing it down on a piece of paper, helps bring more clarity. Writing on paper is like writing on your mind.
#9 Don't make Post Mains Plans right now. Some of you may have vacation plans.
Some of you may have to say a Yes ( or No ) to some people on some outside-of-study plans.
Some of you may have a feeling that you done so poorly, you may actually need to do some crash course after Mains if you want to have a real chance next year.
But everything can wait for now. Put your feelings aside.
They don't matter. Not one bit. Till the Optionals are over.
We can plan strategy for next year , for the Interview, or a mission to the Mars after 29th.
Everything can wait.
#10 It is our choices, that show what we truly are, and what we are made of, far more than our abilities.
It is also our choices that determine where we land up in life, more than our abilities.
You can trust me on that. I have now spend three decades and a little more on this planet.
Do make good choices, and you could be in an altogether different place at the end of your Civil Services journey.
Until next time,
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