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Topper’s Strategy for Mains: Notes, Answer Writing and Last minute preparation by Samixa Jha AIR-362 UPSC CSE 2023

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Samixa Jha, who secured rank 362 in the UPSC Civil Services Examination, shares her comprehensive strategy for the Mains exam. Her approach is divided into three crucial parts: Foundation Notes, Answer Writing, and Last Minute Strategy.

Foundation Notes

1. Two Types of Notes:

  • Base Notes: Created while understanding any topic from a source. These notes are foundational and crucial for initial learning.
  • Micro-Detailing Notes: These are detailed notes for each word in the syllabus. For example, for the topic of agriculture, include sub-topics like the Green Revolution, Rainbow Revolution, millets, etc. Incorporate both static information and current affairs.

2. Sources:

  • Samixa recommends referring to detailed PDF resources for micro-detailing. She personally used GS Core micro detailing for both Prelims and Mains.

Answer Writing

1. Tailored Approach:

  • Each paper needs a different answer writing strategy. Use simple English and avoid jargon to ensure clarity and ease of understanding for the evaluator.

2. Paper-Specific Tips:

  • GS1: Introductions should provide background information, and answers should include diagrams and maps where applicable. Use resources like Nitin Singhania for diagrams.
  • GS2: Focus on current affairs, especially in dynamic areas like international relations and governance. Use data, examples, and short case studies to substantiate your answers.
  • GS3: Emphasize data and facts to substantiate points. Use relevant statistics to stand out.
  • GS4 (Ethics): Use real-life examples and case studies. Collect examples from newspapers and compilations to make your answers unique.

3. Practice and Evaluation:

  • For beginners, focus on understanding and revising topics before diving into answer writing. Start with weekly answer writing and gradually increase the frequency as the exam approaches.
  • Get your answers evaluated by reliable coaching institutes or mentors rather than relying solely on online platforms for feedback.

Last Minute Strategy

1. Notes for Final Revision:

  • Prepare concise notes containing current affairs, data, diagrams, and key points. These should be iterative notes refined over multiple revisions.
  • Ensure these notes are comprehensive yet concise for quick revision before the exam.

2. Content Addition:

  • Incorporate value addition in your answers through data, figures, and relevant information to make your answers stand out.

Interview Preparation

1. Dossier Preparation:

  • Be thorough with your Detailed Application Form (DAF) and related topics, such as your father’s occupation, your home state, and your educational background.

2. Mock Interviews:

  • Although mock interviews can be different from the actual interview, they are useful for practice. Take notes from mocks and focus on common questions.

3. Real Interview Experience:

  • Understand that the real interview is cordial and not as intimidating as mocks. Panel members may not ask the same number of questions as in mocks.

By following these structured strategies, Samixa Jha was able to effectively prepare for and excel in the UPSC Mains examination. Her approach emphasizes thorough preparation, iterative learning, and strategic answer writing, which can help aspirants achieve similar success.

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