The Post Mains Guide to Interview Preparation and further preparation

I once met a farmer,

It was the end of Harvest. And the sowing season was far away.

“So now”, I said, “you will take a looong break, and make merry?”

“No Saheb”, if we take any rest now, our hands and legs will rust. We need to prepare ourselves for the sowing season. For a farmer, there are no long breaks. If we do not have work in the fields, we go for work in the cities. But we work 12 months a year”.

“You should be doing seminars for Civil Services Aspirants”, I said.

Because most Civil Services aspirants study only 3 months a year – between the Prelims and the Mains.

Let us admit it.

The Civil Services examination takes 10-12 months of preparation. Whether you study 12 months a year or you study 3 months a year for 4 years – is a matter of personal discretion.

I learned a lot of things from rural folks. And farmers.

And if you have written the Mains last fortnight, here are some lessons for you.

1 As you sow , so shall you reap.

Its called the law of sowing and reaping. Whatever you sow , you reap. So if you are fence-sitting , waiting for the results to appear , before you start your Interview or next years preparation, get the basics right. So here is the thing.

If you keep sitting, and sow crap for the next two-three months, be prepared to reap crap.

2. You always get more than you put.

If you decide however, to put in an extra effort, and decide to prepare for the Interview, or work on your GS Mains, by making notes, writing a Mains Test Series before the Prelims or work on your optionals – ( because that was a known bottleneck this Mains  ), trust me, you will end up reaping much more than what you have sowed.

#3 Pick up your DAF and make a new notebook.

And write the keywords from your DAF on it. Give it 3-5 pages. Populate it with possible questions. If your name is Ayush, you should know about Ayush – the Department, and how it made a full pledged ministry. Or what is the meaning of the name. Or do you live up to your name?

Get your friends and family to ask you questions based on the keywords of your DAF. This is Phase 1 of Interview Prep.

In Phase 2, you write answers to them. 1-2 lines of answers. So, if you are from Agra, the possible questions can be- How can you solve traffic congestion problem in Agra. And you need to prepare pointwise answer.

#4 Read the damn newspaper.

“Who is the bladerunner?

“Ma’am Oscar Pistorius is known as the bladerunner.”

“And why was he in news?”

“Because  he is accused of shooting dead his girlfriend”

These were questions asked from a candidate in his UPSC interview. And trust me, if Dision IAS, or any magazine is compiling such information for UPSC, they are either not UPSC magazines, or they are not doing their job right.

And if you have decided to finish once for all Current Affairs by doing magazines at the end, it won’t work out.

#5 The trouble is – you think you have time.

Avinash has just written the Main examination. Winter is coming, and he has decided to save on the room heater by sleeping for the next two months. He wakes up at 11AM, sips tea by 1PM, has late lunch, browses the Internet for a bit, reading stuff that will increase his knowledge.  The evenings come quickly, and he is merely able to revise one episode of Game of Thrones before he goes to bed.

“Its winter, and besides I have nothing to do after Mains. Don’t you know?”

I met Avinash last week. We decided to meet at 5PM. He didn’t make it because he did not have the time.

I also met Abhishek last week. He had eighteen days in hand before he had to join the NPA for his training. He had just written Mains, and allocated 1 day to guiding aspirants over IFoS Papreparation. You can see his video here.

I asked him what he is gonna do in the coming days. He said – Sir, there is no time. I will go home, meet family, read two books, and goto the gym to get back into shape.

Now you probably know why Avinash didn’t make it. Avinash won’t make it.

So get rid of your lethargy ( read comfort zone ) and dress up and show up. Join a test series, gym , an NGO or a make a group of your own. And get started. And you will see how busy life is.

Or stick your neck in the sand like an ostrich and think its not time to study yet.

#6 Get Fit. Dress up well.

If you do get an interview call, an average male candidates spends three days deciding what clothes to wear. And an average women takes about 7 days to decide what saree to wear. Period.

The bad thing about being a man is that you may not at all fit into the formal clothes, which you have not probably worn since the placement days in college.

Plus, you have almost killed a week, when others have revised Current Affairs, and even appeared for their first mock. So the message is – get fit – so that you can fit into the clothes that wait for you.

#7 Lastly, work on your weaknesses

If you have been unhappy with your Mains , find out the part that makes you unhappy. Is it the essay, or the optional of GS Paper? Find out your weak areas. Weak areas are the ones where you feel there is scope of improvement. And weak areas are also those where you have not performed well in your Tests.

Do the needful, because labour never goes in vain.

And when your journey ends in glory, you will look back on these days of struggle with dreamy eyes. Those were the days!

Because everyone does.

Until next time,


(P.S. ForumIAS does have an online group for Interview prep, lead by Jitendra , IPS, Yo_Yo and Mohit, ping them and we should have something coming up in a few days time

P.S.2 Will be shortly coming up with a write up for CSE 2018 aspirants. Keep checking this space 🙂




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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 ).