“The more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in combat” This should be your moto while preparing for the Main Examination.
In preparation for the Main Exam, it is extremely important to recognize that “good knowledge” does not automatically translate itself into “good answers”.
Here are some tips to effectively convert your effort and knowledge into marks
- Your answers need to be easy to read and have a basic level of neatness ( not necessarily in beautiful handwriting ). If certain letters are not legible, work on them separately. Also, appropriate spacing between words, sentences and paras would go a long way in making your answer presentable.
- Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. Use simple language, short and crisp sentences (Maximum of 2 lines per sentence). The language used in NCERT Texts would be a good example.
- Introduce your answer with a relevant current affairs topic, piece of data or a quote, wherever possible. This could help the examiner distinguish your answer from the rest.
- Divide your answer into sub-parts as much as possible. This would make your answer look organized, diversified and holistic.
- Answers can be structured through key-words of the question or dimensions like socio-economic-administrative-political-legal angles. Use your discretion.
- Ensure that there is a logical flow to your answers, one point leading to the other in a connected manner in a way that it helps final conclusion.
- Use diagrams when it is easier to present more content in less words. For example : to bring out the interconnections between different dimensions of a topic or a time-line of events. But note that these diagrams should not be a repetition of the same content that you have also written on.
- If there is nothing that you know about a certain question asked, please do not attempt it or if you know only 2–3, write only that. Be sure that you do not want to insult the examiner by cooking up a story. Instead spend that time more usefully, by qualitatively improving other answers that you know best. Like say with better conclusions or more dimensions or better diagrams.
- Practice framing answers in your mind. You could look at past-UPSC question papers or of coaching institutes and make a mental map or scribble down as a structure what you would like to convey in your answer. This would prepare you to think faster in the actual exam and structure your answers better.
- Pay attention to “directives” like critically evaluate, describe, analyze etc. in the questions and answer accordingly.
- Substantiating your answers with meaningful data is a great way to differentiate your answer from the rest. It makes your answer concrete and gives a strong basis to your claims.
- Write conclusions that give a sense of “closure” to the examiner.
- The more you write answers under a constraint of time, the faster you get. Join any good test series, to plan your preparation and get accustomed to the rigour of a 3 hour examination.