Mains ( And Prelims ) Marksheet : Getting the Closure out of your Marksheet

Yesterday was an important day for those people who appeared for CSE 2017. The UPSC, albeit reluctantly, came up with the marks-sheet of those who wrote the Civil Services Examination 2017.

This is one is for those of you who made it. And those of you who did not.

We often try to find patterns in the marking scheme of things. And try to co-relate it with our performance. And see if those co-relations match up our effort-outcome graph.

There are three things I want to tell you

First, even if you do the co-relation right, and such a correlation exist between the effort-reward graph. Do – not make the mistake of “I scored less in this paper , I must focus on it – and I have scored more in this paper – I must focus less on this”.

While you will need to focus on where you have scored less, do not lose focus on where you have scored fine. In UPSC, you will always pay a price for  losing even a little focus on a subject that you deem to be your strong area.

The Gods do not reward people who do not secure the ground gained by them.

Scored 155 in Essay? Don’t write a single essay this year, and you will go back to 110.

Think that Philosophy Optional Paper 2 is good and your strong area and you need to work hard on Paper 1 this time? Do not do what you did last year + more, and this time you will see reversal of marks of Paper 1 and Paper 2 – ending up with the same total as you end up this year.

Second, to achieve the mains marks / percentile that you got this year, you will have to put in extra effort. To score better than that, you may have to put a lot more extra effort than you did previously.

I met ForumIAS Member Rasalghul last week. He scored a 905 in Mains, and got some 110s rank.

“So-did-you-hugely-benefit-from-my-answer-writing-video-that-everyone-who-has-cleared-the-exam-is-talking-about?” I asked with an ear-to-ear grin on my face.

(Okay, I wasn’t smiling, but I am imagining the candidates side of the story )

“No, Sir I did not benefit from it. I watched the video fully and carefully. I was already doing it the way you told in the video”. He said nonchalantly.**

“Okay, but here is the thing”, I said, humbled by his curt reply.

“I know you have fairly good marks in the Mains. ( He was a tall-fair-handsome guy who would probably be modeling if he did not do Civil Services ), but to get the same marks as you did last year – you will have to work extra hard. That is if you plan to write the exam again.”

My point is -the exam – or the way in which this exam rewards candidates – is that it invariably penalizes you the minute you do not focus on any of your subjects / Papers.

And if you keep see-sawing between the subjects each year, your marks will keep see-sawing too, every year. So between the months between Prelims and Mains, focus on everything – as oxymoronic as it may sound – if not in the number of hours spent, then at least on your strategyfor it.

Three, find your closure.

With the end of this years examination process – which happens after the marks are declared, it is time to find a closure.

Especially for those of you who are no longer in the Examination process – because you are not/cannot write the exam any more, or because you got IAS, or because you got IFS  ( and that means you dont have to / cant write the exam anymore ).

You may not realize the importance of it  – or the scarcity of it – just as yet – but a closure is extremely important at this stage.

And in case, you plan to not have one, because you want to use it as the starting point of your journey. – Just as ForumIAS Member @HHH did when he did not find his name in the final list – take a look at this – thats an equally good option too – as long as you are not in deep agony.

Here is the link to the video he shared.

Some of us, we are so deep in the preparation, that we do not even know what will give us the closure.

My inbox is full – not only with people who have not cleared the exam – but with people who have done it – gotten into IAS or IFS or IPS or IRS or other Allied Services.

Almost all of them have one question – Why Me? 

Not because they did not get what they wanted, but because they got what they wanted.[2]

But they did not score highest in the paper / interview in which they wanted to score and had put in a lot of effort.

Closures are not personal. They are private.

There is a difference.

Yesterday was not so bad.

It ended well for me, with at least one closure that I witnessed, which I will share with you[3]

<private content removed>

Closures are important. To begin afresh.

Because lose ends leave cobwebs.

I was extremely happy[5] to see at least some people find their closure yesterday – because thats one luxury I never had.

So find your closure, and even if you don’t find it – begin afresh.

Until next  time,


P.S. Views exressed are personal and do not represent the views of ForumIAS. You can reach me at , and while I may not be able to answer all your emails, I will read every one of them. I am a good listener.

** With a Rank 3 and Rank 4 in the family – and in the IAS – he probably had the best guidance possible, and didnt really need my help.

[2] It is man’s insatiable desire that is the source of his biggest strength – like thinking of building a mission to the Mars – as well as biggest weakness – that is the curse of dissatiafcation with whatever one has.

[3] Most people would think a person securing Rank 1 would not even look at his marksheet. That is far from truth. Everyone needs a closure. A rank may not get it, but a marksheet can. You get a closure when you either get what you want, or have zero chances of getting what you want. The former is usually better.

[4] Conversations I have with people I work with are generally casual so that I remain approachable at all times. The use of smileys, winks or a tongue out does not mean I wink, put my tongue out or close my eyes and smile in real life. They are merely representations of an emotion as passed over an electronic medium such as Whatsapp, and is part of popular culture. Do not be judgemental about it.

[5] The word for that is vicarious.

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By Neyawn

Neyawn is an anonymous member the founder of ForumIAS. He is a coder Mentor & Teacher by profession, and often writes for ForumIAS. You can buy him coffee , if you really really like his work. He has built ForumIAS - the community - twice. You can say Hi to him or ask him a question on ForumIAS, or follow him on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn . You can also write to him at RxAxVxI@FOxRUMxIAS.COM ( remove the small "x" from the email ).