Mains 2021 Post result Thread: What went wrong and way forward. - ForumIAS

Mains 2021 Post result Thread: What went wrong and way forward.

The thread will be a one stop place to discuss the probable things that went wrong in mains exam and ways to rectify them. 

sonder,Just_restlessand48 otherslike this
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139 comments

I'll start. I believe not having done enough rattafication of the static part of GS as well as optional was my doom. My problem is that I do not have ready made points in my head for the obvious parts. I completely overlooked the rattafication part of this exam thinking of this paper as above all this. But mugging up genuinely helps. Will try to work in this direction! 
ssver2,sonderand17 otherslike this
20.5k views
Plus, the obvious mistake of not writing enough answers thinking that somehow I'll manage with limited practise. 
ssver2,GaryVeeand6 otherslike this
19.8k views
In past two mains, I was always short of content. I hardly ever looked at syllabus. Since I never faced a prelims problem, so I thought I am in the right direction and with time, mains would be doable. But this is apparently not happening. By the third mains, I had very enriching content for GS and average for PSIR, I did revise most of the things, however I believe less answer writing practise was unable to translate content into marks. Even this time, i could not write more than two mocks for optionals. I did write 8-10 for GS though. I believe how many test one writes is a good indicator of level of preparation, not necessarily though. 

Primarily answer writing could be fault to large extent, and inadequate understanding in psir to some extent. Answering what is asked is another challenge for me.
ssver2,sonderand11 otherslike this
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@Jammu what was your approach regarding mains Pyq? Solved them or just brainstorming? 


sonder,SAand3 otherslike this
19.7k views

In the last 3 days, I have realized that 60% of the questions require answers which need to be practiced beforehand in our room (for example NHRC, CBI, SCO, Parliamentary Committee, legislative council, SHGs, etc). These questions give ample scope for scoring good marks, the rest 40% of the questions are new for everyone which may or may not give you marks even if you have written average content. Thus ensuring a good grasp of static and conventional topics is very important to ensure decent marks in GS. 


My mistake was that I ignored the static portion of History, Polity, and Economy after Prelims and thus wrote whatever I remembered from Prelims Preparation.

ssver2,GaneshGaitondeand13 otherslike this
20.3k views

In the last 3 days, I have realized that 60% of the questions require answers which need to be practiced beforehand in our room (for example NHRC, CBI, SCO, Parliamentary Committee, legislative council, SHGs, etc). These questions give ample scope for scoring good marks, the rest 40% of the questions are new for everyone which may or may not give you marks even if you have written average content. Thus ensuring a good grasp of static and conventional topics is very important to ensure decent marks in GS. 


My mistake was that I ignored the static portion of History, Polity, and Economy after Prelims and thus wrote whatever I remembered from Prelims Preparation.

This is so true. Seeing the papers, I too realised that instead of running after the crazy ones, had I done my revisions of static properly, Way more marks could have been scored. Many could be answered substantially from NCERT itself, had I just revised them. 

ssver2,GaryVeeand7 otherslike this
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@Jammu what was your approach regarding mains Pyq? Solved them or just brainstorming? 


I was part of a very good telegram group where we would group call at 9pm daily in November and initial week of December and discuss our answers on some pre decided 7/8 questions. All of us would come with answers. One person would be the host, others would add some content or value addition in structure, if need be. It was a very good mutually learning exercise. We maintained the rhythm and momentum. We did it for GS 2,3,4. But i am not sure if many of us have cleared mains.

ssver2,sonderand2 otherslike this
19.6k views

Another problem I face is being directionless post prelims. For Prelims there is a certain code and process largely common for all. 

But post prelims, confronted by the vast vague syllabus, somehow I lose sight of the target. This often leads to lowering the intensity and dedication post prelims for a while. 

ssver2,sonderand12 otherslike this
20.3k views
One more thing i have observed in my preparation. After being trapped in this cycle, I never got leisure time to work exclusively for mains. After every Mains, I thought I will get PT call, and it never happened. And post mains result time has always been depressing lasting for 2-4 months. 

So basically I wrote three mains with same content and got almost similar marks everytime. Post this mains, i worked extensively on Mains, but there is long way to go. Cutoff se 30-50 marks zyada aane par achchi service milegi, yahan cut off se 70-90 marks behind hu mai.
ssver2,GaryVeeand10 otherslike this
19.6k views

One mistake I made was writing too many mock tests (>25 including Essay, GS, and Optional) which left me very less time for revision.

Additionally, not doing a self-review of my answer made me believe the feedback received from evaluators which were very general in nature and did not help me to improve further. 

I felt that completing a paper on time with average content is the only criteria to qualify mains.

ssver2,GaryVeeand12 otherslike this
20.2k views

I will also list out problems 

1. Main issue is feedback system ; unlike Prelims where one can see the pattern of his/her mistakes easily and can check by himself/herself , we have to largely depend on others in Mains . My mistake was depending on tests for this , Instead programs like TLP of daily writing 5 questions is much better as feedback loop is short 

2. Considering value addition as a luxury , not necessity

3. As others pointed out , not rattafying the topics like NHRC etc ;Though I wrote on it before exam , I just wrote same points which i   Wrote in test there too =>Did not rote learn them

4. Optional

4.1 I hate my optional since i find it lengthy

4.2 Map part daily takes my 1 hour yet Somehow I score low in map portion

4.3 To be honest, I did not focus much on rote learning terminologies which needs to be done + time period + Historians (Though these points are considered as value addition but I think they are necessity given sheer competition)

5. Post - Prelims fatigue is too much for me somehow ( I study lot less post prelims )

6. Not reading newspaper ->Reading newspaper always pays , I still remember many news articles which I had read at start of my attempts rather than magazines in last 2 mains

7. Can anyone please suggest how to balance a length , low -return optional with GS ; Any tips are highly appreciated . Due to some reasons, I cannot skip attempt and have to continue with attempt and not change optional 

ssver2,GaryVeeand10 otherslike this
19.5k views

Other mistakes:

1) Ignoring Mains 365 initially and then burdening myself with one whole reading of Mains 365 in the last 20 days.

2) Stopped reading newspapers in the hope that it will be covered in some compilation. 

3) Focussing more on absolute scores rather than relative scores.

4) Did not work on case studies (GS 4) despite several red flags during mocks.


ssver2,EiChanand8 otherslike this
19.4k views

I agree with all the points mentioned above. This was my first mains, and I thought it went well. But after post-result analysis, I found a lot of cracks in my preparation as well as answer writing. Personally, I felt I did have structure and presentation but lacked following:

ANSWER WRITING

- In 15 marks questions, restricted myself to the question and did not address more dimensions (This was pointed out in earlier MGP Tests but due to paucity of time, I prioritised completing paper over content)

- Relevant examples were missing (Requires regular newspaper reading till 15 days before the exam)

- Screwed up the static questions like legislative council (Depended on prelims preparation, hence could not even remember the basics) 

PREPARATION:

- Paid less attention to current affairs in both GS 2 and GS 3 ( Rather than looking for new sources, this time I will revise the CA magazines only)--Needs thorough revision

- Revision was mostly done immediately before the exams (ideally requires 30 days for GS + Optional)

- Did 8 GS Mocks, even less for optional. Need to increase >10 in GS and >5 in optional to experiment with content and value addition (Earlier my priority was completing the paper, this time it would be writing the best answers possible in terms of content)

- Last but not the least, Optional (Geography) was not as smooth as it should have been. Needs more quality content. (Rest marks will tell!)

I feel in each GS paper, screwing up 2-3 doable questions and sub-par performance in Optional were the causes of my failure in this attempt. Hope to not repeat these mistakes again!

ssver2,EiChanand13 otherslike this
19.9k views

Those who have written mains this year (whether cleared or not) please attach some of your mock answer copies.

you can get feedback from others regarding your mistakes.


This will also help those who have not written mains ->understand the level difference between 'those not clearing mains' and the toppers (by comparing your copies with topper copies).



SergioRamos,nerdslayerand4 otherslike this
19.1k views

At the moment very difficult for me to assess what went wrong, but I'll try

For GS: I was doing well in MGP mocks and consistently getting decent scores and generally good reviews. Last 4 full length mocks that I attempted at Forum's centre in Delhi (exactly in mains like condition with 2 papers in a day right a week before mains) my scores were: 99.5,99.5,103,102 so i was pretty confident going into the exam about GS. Now I might not have performed upto that mark in actual exam but I feel there is less chance that I produced a major plummet. So I am inclined to rule GS out.


Essay: generally I did get decent reviews although not very high scores in Mocks so given the subjective nature of topics this might have been a cause of concern. Although I was satisfied with my essays but probably examiner felt otherwise.


Optional: I went with a new optional this time, switched from History to PSIR with hopes of boosting my scores from 250 ish to around 270-280+. This feels most likely the cause of the debacle because I probably did not give enough time to write its mocks and answers between the pre and mains window.


At this point, it is all conjecture and some clarity will come only after scores are released. Once I clear prelims again I'll give it a good thought and maybe reach out for help from@Neyawn 


Per Aspera 

Ad Astra

ssver2,EiChanand8 otherslike this
19.2k views
For me It's loosing momentum and not peaking at the right time especially near Mains. First two attempts were engaging from reading point of view but couldn't clear prelims. Last two attempts when got a chance to write Mains, lost momentum and began procrastination backed by thought that next time phod denge, abhi chill Maro! Optional is my strong hold(Since it's science optional and hence pretty measurable) but forgot that it too needs practice. Went in the exam hall with bare minimum revision and thought sums could be managed in the exam hall itself ended up sabotaging last Mains. Did learn a bit this time and practiced optional but only Paper 1 and this time screwed paper 2. Over reliance on optional makes me lazy on GS so scoring pathetic there was not surprising at all. So here I am, caught into the cycle of pre and Mains. This time I have decided to give equal focus to both optional and GS and rest will see. 
ssver2,GaryVeeand11 otherslike this
19k views

Low syllabus coverage (this was my first attempt - and a complete disaster, even though not unexpected). Had to give 80-90% of my time post Prelims only to optional.

1. Could still only cover ~65% of optional syllabus and zero mocks - my optional (Maths) ensured I'm out

2. relying on just Prelims level reading for static subjects like History, Geography, Polity. Only 1-2 mocks of each GS paper, no time to incorporate feedback or compare with toppers' copies, even though scores were decent (85-95)

3. Only relied on newspaper and TV debates for content. I now realise some compilation is needed to fill the gaps.


Takeaways: finish Optional before Prelims itself, read some good compilation selectively, spend time with the GS answers you write - compare and improve.

ssver2,GaryVeeand9 otherslike this
18.9k views
I did not do any exclusive notes preparation for mains

I learned essentials for prelims and elaborate it with some facts + namesake intro-conlcusion and used it in my daily answers

Should have given exclusive Time for mains and worked on creative attractive answers

Right now with two months left for upcoming prelims, I cannot execute anything new ,maybe after giving prelims and seeing my 2021 mains marks ,I will get a clarity

One thing I should definitely rectify is make elaborate notes on each topic , so that I don't reread the entire book or check internet , ultimately revision should become a cakewalk

Hoping to come out of dejected state in last couple of days by watching some webseries etc ,will probably start the journey again in next two days

Wish me luck
All the Best
ssver2,GaryVeeand7 otherslike this
18.8k views

My current affairs strategy was all over the place. When prelims was postponed, I managed to pull through, but could not do it for mains. I had big chunks of current affairs that I hadn't revised properly before mains - really screwed up my GS2 and GS3.

I didn't practice writing full-length mocks for optional, and messed up time management in paper-1. Managed to rectify this in paper-2 but I guess it wasn't enough.

The most important thing, probably: I lost momentum after prelims. I thought I wouldn't clear it, so when I somehow did, I wasn't able to pull myself back to that pre-prelims pace. If I write the exam again, I'm not going to bother going through coaching institute keys and trying to figure out whether or not I'll clear prelims.

ssver2,GaryVeeand8 otherslike this
18.7k views

In the last 3 days, I have realized that 60% of the questions require answers which need to be practiced beforehand in our room (for example NHRC, CBI, SCO, Parliamentary Committee, legislative council, SHGs, etc). These questions give ample scope for scoring good marks, the rest 40% of the questions are new for everyone which may or may not give you marks even if you have written average content. Thus ensuring a good grasp of static and conventional topics is very important to ensure decent marks in GS. 


My mistake was that I ignored the static portion of History, Polity, and Economy after Prelims and thus wrote whatever I remembered from Prelims Preparation.

Also relate to this. Some of my static part was based on prelims memory. :/

ssver2,Jammuand1 otherslike this
18.6k views
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