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Mains Strategy & Approach for Answer Writing by Nitesh Kumar Mishra, AIR-158, UPSC CSE-2023

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Nitesh Kumar Mishra, who secured a rank of 158 in the UPSC CSC 2023, shares an insightful strategy for tackling the Civil Services Examination, drawing a parallel between cricket and the three phases of the exam: Prelims, Mains, and Interview. Here’s a breakdown of his approach:

Strategy Overview:

  • Cricket Analogy: Nitesh likens the UPSC exam to cricket formats to simplify the approach: Prelims as a T20 match requiring quick, sharp strategies; Mains like a Test match demanding endurance and depth; and the Interview as a One-Day match where strategy and focus are key.

Mains Strategy (Test Match):

  • In-depth Preparation: Mains is the crucial phase where detailed, thorough preparation is required, akin to playing a Test match where every session counts and there’s no room for laxity.
  • Break Down the Goals: Nitesh recommends breaking down the overall score goal into smaller, manageable targets. For example, aiming for an 850+ score by detailing scores from each paper like optional, GS, and essays.
  • Utilize Existing Resources: For his optional subject (Agriculture), Nitesh relied on comprehensive notes from his university days, which he found to be highly effective.
  • Micro Listing: He advises preparing detailed notes on micro-topics that can cover 400-700 words, ensuring you have enough material to handle any question from multiple angles.

Prelims Strategy (T20 Match):

  • Quick and Focused Preparation: Prelims preparation should be sharp and focused. Using tools like micro-listings can help in quick revisions and covering a broad range of topics effectively.
  • Regular Testing: Taking regular mock tests to simulate exam conditions and adjust strategies accordingly.

Interview Strategy (One-Day Match):

  • Focused Preparation: The interview requires understanding your strengths and weaknesses and preparing accordingly to showcase your best qualities and knowledge.

General Tips:

  • Adapt and Utilize Modern Tools: Nitesh highlights the importance of adapting to modern educational resources like online platforms and AI tools such as ChatGPT, which helped him in answering and understanding complex topics efficiently.
  • Visual Aids in Answers: Incorporating maps, charts, and diagrams in answers to make them stand out and to capture the examiner's interest, especially in geography-related answers.
  • Comprehensive Practice: Emphasis on practicing previous years’ questions and regular writing practice to improve answer quality and manage time effectively during exams.
  • Holistic Learning: He suggests studying topics in an interconnected manner rather than in silos, which helps in Prelims that require a multidimensional thinking approach.

Nitesh's methodical and strategic approach, combined with practical tips and modern tools, provides a comprehensive blueprint for UPSC aspirants aiming for success in the demanding Civil Services Examination.

 

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