Mains 2021 - Strategy, Doubts, Resources etc - ForumIAS

Mains 2021 - Strategy, Doubts, Resources etc

Hi peeps! 

Prelims result will be declared in 2-3 weeks. We may make it, we might not. Speculations will continue till then.

This thread is for those who want to move on. For those deciding to focus on the next phase of their prep; perhaps the most crucial one. We have less number of days this time (only about 85 days left). Let's collaborate and make the most of this time.

Here are the links to previous year's threads. Do go through them. There are gems in there.

https://forumias.com/post/detail/Mains-2020-Doubt-and-strategy-discussion-thread-1601963441?page=1 - In the description of this thread, you'll find links to paper wise threads of last year plus some handy resources.

https://forumias.com/post/detail/CSE-2021-Plan-Strategy-Daily-Routine-1602556617  This is the 2021 daily routine thread 

https://forumias.com/post/detail/CSE-2022-Plan-Strategy-Daily-Routine-1633964267?page=1 This is the 2022 daily routine thread created by@nerdfighter.

In both these threads, you are free to post your daily targets and hold each other accountable. Or just lurk there and be motivated by the effort people are putting in day after day. 

https://forumias.com/post/detail/Anecdotes-Facts-Examples-for-GS-and-Essay-1634039128 - This thread is created by@sbhati.Do contribute your facts and examples there. We can together build up a collection more than enough to conquer Mains.

Neyawn,DMand39 otherslike this
129.7k views

298 comments

Hello, good people of forum. I had a pretty bad mains last year, want to review my sources.

1) Society -

  • 2020: prepared nothing besides definitions of regionalism, communalism etc and few pointers.
  • Had difficulty with question on caste. so left it blank. Subpar performance on globalization and regionalism question
  • 2021: Thinking about doing 12th NCERTS + Rushikesh Reddy notes.
  • Any suggestions?

2) Geography

  • 2020: did NCERTS only.
  • Clueless on glaciers, desertification, forest resources etc questions.
  • 2021: Still clueless, cant identify any other source than ncerts.
  • Any suggestions?

3) Polity

  • 2020: Did Laxmikant
  • struggled with questions on speaker, evolution of RS, RPA process, functionality of local bodies etc.
  • 2021: maybe some VAM or toppers notes...?


Please can you suggest mains specific sources for these subjects...

Hello!

I maybe of help here. My scores for CSE 2020 are 93 in GS 1, 116 in GS 2

For Point 1 and 2:

1. You are correct in sources you've thought of in Society. Try to also start thinking on sociological lines for that portion. Look at test series questions and try to frame answers. Some aptitude can be developed from there too.

2. For Geography - those topics you mentioned were more in current affairs than NCERTs. You still have to use a mix of both for it.

3. For polity also, you may use VAMs - but be sure to crystallise and really reduce their volume in your head, have very tiny notes for them. If you want more, do the governance portion from Niti Aayog's India @ 75. Very handy source.


ssver2,GaryVeeand21 otherslike this
4.5k views
@EUROPOL My score increased from 111 (2018) to 132 (2020) so maybe I can be of some help. 
1. While starting any topic, it is wise to tell the examiner you understand what the topic means. This could be through an quote, story, acentode or simple explanation. I made a random fictional story in the first essay and made original 2-3 line quote kind of stuff in another one to begin with. 

2. I took essay classes from Shabbir sir and it helped me a lot. He made the thinking process and approach towards essay paper very different. So if you can get hold of his notes, it would be nice.

3. The biggest take away from his classes was to not run behind generic political, economic dimensions. Think through the topic and see how you can put dimensions that are more specific for instance children, women, media, etc. 

4. Your conclusion should not only summarize the topic but also give a positive leaving remark.

5. Don't overdo quotes and all. At least I didn't. But I specifically worked on connecting paragraphs which I had missed in last mains. I Googled words that could be used when changing paras.

6. My essays had sub-headings. Both of them. In fact that helped me align my essay better but I didn't use the cliche what, pros/cons, advantages/disadvantages kind of sub-headings. Of course I don't remember what I wrote in exam but I do remember working on this and making some random sub-heading lists, some words that could be used in multiple sub-headings etc. 
For this, Anudeep Sir's essay notes (freely available on his blog) were useful. 

I wrote 2 (or may be 3) tests at Vikas Ranjan sir's and more or less was scoring around 120 in them. I took the comments seriously (more or less connecting paras kind of stuff) but also ignored some. For instance, in almost all essays the remark stated less dimensions. It was true but I had purposely decided not to take all dimensions under one sub heading because I wanted to delve deeper into the dimensions. I took several dimensions but spread across different headings. 

Minal Karanwal mam has written about essays in detail on her blog. I found it helpful


titanium17,EiChanand14 otherslike this
3.7k views

Hello, good people of forum. I had a pretty bad mains last year, want to review my sources.

1) Society -

  • 2020: prepared nothing besides definitions of regionalism, communalism etc and few pointers.
  • Had difficulty with question on caste. so left it blank. Subpar performance on globalization and regionalism question
  • 2021: Thinking about doing 12th NCERTS + Rushikesh Reddy notes.
  • Any suggestions?

2) Geography

  • 2020: did NCERTS only.
  • Clueless on glaciers, desertification, forest resources etc questions.
  • 2021: Still clueless, cant identify any other source than ncerts.
  • Any suggestions?

3) Polity

  • 2020: Did Laxmikant
  • struggled with questions on speaker, evolution of RS, RPA process, functionality of local bodies etc.
  • 2021: maybe some VAM or toppers notes...?


Please can you suggest mains specific sources for these subjects...

Hello!

I maybe of help here. My scores for CSE 2020 are 93 in GS 1, 116 in GS 2

For Point 1 and 2:

1. You are correct in sources you've thought of in Society. Try to also start thinking on sociological lines for that portion. Look at test series questions and try to frame answers. Some aptitude can be developed from there too.

2. For Geography - those topics you mentioned were more in current affairs than NCERTs. You still have to use a mix of both for it.

3. For polity also, you may use VAMs - but be sure to crystallise and really reduce their volume in your head, have very tiny notes for them. If you want more, do the governance portion from Niti Aayog's India @ 75. Very handy source.


Your performance in GS 2 is amazing...

Which VAM you had referred for polity...? 

Did you employ similar test series based approach?

Hey, so I had done all topic wise VAMs for 2019 Mains itself (my first attempt), and scored 90 then. This time focus was on higher level retention and addition of India @ 75 Report + ARC summaries for specific sub-topics (used GS Score for this) for governance along with newspaper examples.

Wrote 3 sets of GS 2 papers. Marks were 101 (Vision), 87 (Forum), 96 (Vision) in them. The point wasn't the score, but my time management and on the spot recollection.

On both these major counts, I think I could improve. Probably why the 116. 


@TheSousChef this might be what you are looking for as well.

DM,GaryVeeand12 otherslike this
3.6k views

D503said

Can someone explain what does it mean when they say that since UAE is a transshipment hub, CEPA will allow india to access Middle east and North African markets. How does this happen. .

A trans-shipment hub is basically a middle point where goods may come bundled together and then are diverted to their respective destinations. Think of it as a Metro station. Hundreds (maybe thousands) may come together via the same train and exit at the station. From then on they can take an auto to their homes. This is obviously much cheaper than taking an auto directly from the beginning.


Now UAE being a trans-shipment hub means that it has the facilities to cater to larger shipments. So to save costs, India can bundle together a lot of shipments together, send it to UAE (since import tariffs would be greatly reduced under CEPA), and from there it can be broken up and sent to Africa, other Middle Eastern countries etc. This is the first way in which trade will be boosted.


The second way is by circumventing the rules of origin; which the commenter above has explained.


The third way is by setting up warehouses and re-distribution centres in UAE.
Now suppose some company in Africa wants to import pharmaceuticals. Instead of sending a representative to India, they can send them to the UAE warehouses to inspect the goods instead. This will obviously improve contact between Indian and African traders as well as reduce prices. Thus here also trade would be boosted.



D503,GaryVeeand8 otherslike this
3k views

Good morning all. I need some advice and sine this thread says 'etc', posting it here.


I am currently residing in a small town near Indore where you don't even get any other ISP than BSNL. This is my first attempt and first mains, hence. I also do not have any peer who is studying for this exam. 

My question is - Should I relocate to Delhi ? 

As such, the environment in my home is very 'studious' and weather here is pleasant. Delhi might be an opposite. Plus, my parents also do not intend to leave me alone and would likely relocate with me. Personally, I only feel the ease of finding material in ORN since I do not have notes for all topics and test series and all for optional. MGP works good online but not sure about anthro tests. 

Could someone please advice if I should move to Delhi ? Is the 'maahaul' required ? 

You have barely 60 odd days , you will not even find time to talk yo your parents downfloor, forget about mahaul. Civil services exam on a whole is a lonely process. And the loneliness bites hardest during the month before pre and during mains if you haven't got everything sorted out like what to read , when to read , where to read from. If you have all the things you need to ace mains like short notes , reference material etc you will be in an automatic mode and won't even think about friends , mahaul, peers . I guess you are not in this category yet , so I will suggest you to take a day out to sort out and zero in on your notes, books, magazines, and once this has been done automate your process. From The moment you wake up till you go to sleep every hour should be spent according to the plan , there should not be a single wasted minute. if you are able to successfully pull this off , greater things await you at the end of next 2 months.

Villanelle,Pam123and8 otherslike this
2.6k views

    


Found this in one of Vision's modules. Self aware wolves? lol

GaryVee,Villanelleand6 otherslike this
3.5k views
@EUROPOL My score increased from 111 (2018) to 132 (2020) so maybe I can be of some help. 
1. While starting any topic, it is wise to tell the examiner you understand what the topic means. This could be through an quote, story, acentode or simple explanation. I made a random fictional story in the first essay and made original 2-3 line quote kind of stuff in another one to begin with. 

2. I took essay classes from Shabbir sir and it helped me a lot. He made the thinking process and approach towards essay paper very different. So if you can get hold of his notes, it would be nice.

3. The biggest take away from his classes was to not run behind generic political, economic dimensions. Think through the topic and see how you can put dimensions that are more specific for instance children, women, media, etc. 

4. Your conclusion should not only summarize the topic but also give a positive leaving remark.

5. Don't overdo quotes and all. At least I didn't. But I specifically worked on connecting paragraphs which I had missed in last mains. I Googled words that could be used when changing paras.

6. My essays had sub-headings. Both of them. In fact that helped me align my essay better but I didn't use the cliche what, pros/cons, advantages/disadvantages kind of sub-headings. Of course I don't remember what I wrote in exam but I do remember working on this and making some random sub-heading lists, some words that could be used in multiple sub-headings etc. 
For this, Anudeep Sir's essay notes (freely available on his blog) were useful. 

I wrote 2 (or may be 3) tests at Vikas Ranjan sir's and more or less was scoring around 120 in them. I took the comments seriously (more or less connecting paras kind of stuff) but also ignored some. For instance, in almost all essays the remark stated less dimensions. It was true but I had purposely decided not to take all dimensions under one sub heading because I wanted to delve deeper into the dimensions. I took several dimensions but spread across different headings. 

Minal Karanwal mam has written about essays in detail on her blog. I found it helpful


@Joeyisthebestthank you for sharing. Really helpful.


Please avoid too many dimensions in the two essay format. Stick to 5/7/9 broad themsee. The radically high number of dimensions was rewarded in the single essay paper structure earlier, but increasingly too many dimensions May kills your essay score. Should not be a khichri.

GaneshGaitonde,Kapiushonand6 otherslike this
4.9k views
even answer key of CSP 2020 is not out yet. UPSC be like "transparency and accountability" par Question puch lete hain GS 4 mein. hehe.
GaryVee,plmokn25688524and5 otherslike this
5.4k views

@HeNeArKr ,@sjerngal ,@Purplesunbird 

Here's the thread. 

You (or anyone else) can create individual threads paper wise (GS1, 2, 3, 4 and essay). I'll pin them in the description.

Rashmirathi,MichaelScarnand4 otherslike this
41.7k views

@Neyawn I have a doubt.. If one is attending dipin sir's classes, does that person also need to go through monthly magazines or are the classes sufficient. 

I am specifically asking for mains 2021. There isn't much time left and I have to cover a lot in gs, so I want to rationalise my time to the best.. 

I have been following epic magazines since it's first edition, but I stopped reading it from July because of prelims.. 

Sir will take about 25 classes post Prelims, those are the most important. The classes will be at a fast pace than usual. You can expect 2-3 issues per class.

Sir will provide list of important issues and handouts for issues that can be done from handouts without need for class. So that should suffice.

heisenberg_,RaGaand4 otherslike this
4.6k views
@aa12 a better evaluation metric would be self evaluation. Go through the questions and the model answers in addition to your notes, if any. Check where you could have added points and possible value additions. During this period evaluators seldom get the opportunity to scrutinise copies thoroughly. 


Villanelle,sjerngaland3 otherslike this
4.1k views
Any special thread for Geography optional students? for upcoming mains.
Menchester14@,Mutantand3 otherslike this
4k views
@IwW I took essay Programme at Shabbir.. I couldn't find it useful... I felt by following his strategy, we are killing our own unique thought process.. His hacks in class like targeted brainstorming, Keywords substitution etc limits our innovation.. As a result my essay marks came down to 111 in 2020 from 128  earlier. Essay is about presenting our original opinion, joining his classes might compromise in arriving at our own original opinion. Rather better to take test series and see how you can present your thoughts in organized manner.


plmokn25688524,IwWand3 otherslike this
5.4k views
Which mains test series is better? Vision IAS or Forum? Please help..

Forum is much better. Have been a student of year long MGP programme - apart from checking and answers given,  mentor support is something which is very good here.

rahulgandhi,EiChanand3 otherslike this
3.5k views
Deleted

D503said

Can someone explain what does it mean when they say that since UAE is a transshipment hub, CEPA will allow india to access Middle east and North African markets. How does this happen. .

This is through circumventing rules of origin of products. UAE being a transshipment hub acts as a central point to regional trade. Products originating from other countries can use the benefit of products made in UAE through some minor value addition and eventual tag of "Made in UAE".  


It is pretty much similar to India's objections of goods coming from ASEAN FTA which were essentially Chinese goods exploiting our FTA deal.

 
Transshipment hub will act both ways, hurt and benefit India. 


D503,GaryVeeand3 otherslike this
2.9k views
Can anyone please provide me with Dipin Sir's notes on Agriculture !!!!

https://blog.forumias.com/download-handwritten-forumias-current-affairs-handouts-mains-2020/

You'll find them here in the economy section. Even though this is last year's notes, most of it is relevant now also. 

Also agriculture classes for 2021 haven't been conducted yet. 

D503,plmokn25688524and3 otherslike this
4.8k views

Hi all, 

Could anyone assist me in getting a pdf of blank answer sheets that most accurately mimics the one we get at the actual mains exam?

To anyone writing mains this/ next year, I noted the dimensions of official UPSC answer sheet in mains this year. Sharing this to avoid confusion. 

  • Writing space is 16.2cms wide X 20cms long
  • Total page dimensions are 24.1cms wide X 27.2cms long
Spock,UK01and2 otherslike this
3.8k views

Hey when will DAF I start for mains 2021? 



Newton981,nerdslayerand2 otherslike this
4.9k views

@HeNeArKr ,@sjerngal ,@Purplesunbird 

Here's the thread. 

You (or anyone else) can create individual threads paper wise (GS1, 2, 3, 4 and essay). I'll pin them in the description.

Thanks bro!! Much needed.

Celeborn,Rashmirathiand2 otherslike this
41.5k views

@root @Neyawn  can it be pinned? Pls

Celeborn,Rashmirathiand2 otherslike this
41.4k views
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