Hacks for Civil Services Mains

The mains stage of the exam is rightly called Mains as it determines whether you will feature in the coveted result PDF or not.  This article primarily gives you some hacks, and not the rudimentary study tips.

  • Identify the low-hanging fruits: Marks in GS are very unpredictable. They do not vary much and the syllabus too is not very well defined. The trick to maximise your score is by focusing on: Ethics, Essay and Optional. (EEO) For GS I-III, reading newspaper daily and revising the standard text books a month before suffices. But for the EEO, it takes practice. Focus on this and be assured of sailing through Mains.
  • Bank on Previous Years papers: Before starting your writing practice, do got through last years papers. Atleast last 5 years. They do get repeated. This is very common for optionals particularly.
  • Write mocks in real exam like conditions: When writing online or offline mocks, ensure that you do not get up for the next 3 hours! Write it like it’s the actual exam. Attempt all the questions. Always.
  • Act wise when pulling a bluff: When you don’t know an answer, break up the parts of the question and write definition of keywords. Also, make use of flowcharts or line diagrams to make the fixed space answer sheet look a little filled. This is particularly advisable for GS I and III.
  • Learn some standard authors/case studies: Mentioning authors like Amartya Sen in GS III, Jean Dreze in GS I and III, Gurcharan Das in GS IV are a sure shot way to stand out. Even if you don’t remember their literary work, just quote your own opinion by mentioning their names. However, this is a trick advisable only when you know some basics of their writing. Like Sen would always call for focus on equality through economy.

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