[Strategy] Cracking UPSC in First Attempt : GS Mains Strategy of UPSC IAS Topper Saurabh Dixit (AIR 162 / CSE 2016) First Attempt, No Coaching, GS Mains Preparation Strategy and Answer Writing [Part 3]

UPSC IAS TOPPER, Saurabh Dixit

UPSC Mains Strategy

AIR 162, CSE 2016

First Attempt, No Coaching

This Article is a Part of Series of Articles written by Saurabh Dixit who has secured AIR 162, CSE 2016 with self study in the very First Attempt.

Read the Part-1 Here

Read the Part-2 Here

Answer writing

As I had said earlier, if this your first attempt, don’t worry about answer writing.

Focus on finishing the syllabus first.

You first need to know what contribution did Netaji and Gandhiji had in our freedom struggle to attempt a comparative. You need to know what air mass is before you write about it’s role in affecting micro-climate. In a nutshell, I believe if you know it, you can write it, if you don’t – writing skills won’t save you.

Format of answers: after my pre-exam, I joined mains test series Test series(s). Always take them as self assessment. Take the schedule as a guide to finishing the syllabus on time. It helps you develop a habit of sitting for three hours and write like a generalist. The scores in test series do not reflect your chances of success in CSE. Period.

Be least bothered about underlining, highlighting, paragraphs or points etc. Just write what you know. Be lucid, legible and innovative. Always stick to the point. Bang on!

Another important thing – there’ll always be 10-12 questions (out of 20) that you can score best in. Don’t lose out on them. 4-5 questions will be like you have a general idea, a tangential concept – yet you’ve to attempt it. However, do not bluff in those. Just write 100 words, if you know 100. (I did this in GS Paper II and have got 103, so you can trust me or not). And for some questions like McBride commission, etc just don’t bother. Nobody knows it. You can’t bet your selection on questions like these.

These are fodder for people who think CSE is a lottery, let it be. Just be cool in the exam.

Many a time students form an opinion of the exam just by looking at first few questions. Avoid that temptation. The exam is same for all. Be positive about it. It helps.

So what did I do after August 7?

I took rest for a couple of days, made a plan. I made a list of topics important for mains that I had not revised (for e.g., world history). Now, I knew I was good at GS part or rather the static part of syllabus. I knew all I had to do what practice tests, write few essays, keep an open mind, be imaginative (helped me score 150 in Essay) and learn Sociology by heart.

I did as per the plan. Read Yojana, Kurukshetra, Economic Survey, IYB (chapters like Agriculture), revised NCERT History books several times and so on.

More important in this phase is to remain positive but not overconfident. Revise multiple times. Period.

Clues to the main(w) exam suggest U in UPSC doesn’t stand for Unexpected:

DD Kisan (yes, I looked at theYouTube playlist while preparing agriculture for GS III) was showing programs on PMBFY. Pre exam had question on PMFBY. And GS III had a 12.5 marker on PMFBY. Surprise anyone?

CSE 2015 had a comparative on Gandhiji and Babasaheb. Our PM released archives on Netaji in starting months of 2016. CSE 2016 had a 12.5 marker n a comparative between Netaji and Gandhiji. Surprise anyone?

CSE pre 2016 had a question on Vijaynagar. CSE main had a 12.5 marker n Krishnadevaraya – the ruler of Vijaynagar – surprise anyone?

CSE 2015 had a question on insolvency bill. (This should have made you go through important bills, even coaching institutes started including it in their current affairs material). CSE 2016 had a 12.5 marker on prospects and challenges on inland waterways ( a bill declaring national waterways was passed in the same year). Surprise anyone?

The whole point is, most questions in CSE are expected and can be guessed, if you’re all in the game. I was, and it helped.

Above all, keep following things in mind. Don’t get lost in petty details. Always have the macro picture in mind.

Be quick in analyzing and develop habit of good presentation.

– Saurabh Dixit, AIR 162

(“ForumIAS is the best platform to help students in today’s era”, says the UPSC Topper)

Mains Scorecard

Below is the Mains Scorecard:

mains Saurabh Dixit upsc


Next GS Mains Test Series for UPSC CSM-2017 on 17th August, 2017. Click Here for more details.


Print Friendly and PDF