Thread to Clarify Doubts, Seek Guidance from 2021 Batch Civil Servants - ForumIAS

Thread to Clarify Doubts, Seek Guidance from 2021 Batch Civil Servants

Hi, everyone! Starting this thread, so we can all seek specific guidance from, clarify our doubts from friends who successfully cleared CSE 2021. Please feel free to ask any and all questions, however trivial, so we can collectively benefit.


It's opportune time for this, as with Pre 2022 ending in a few hours, friends giving Pre this year can also benefit from their Post-Pre Preparation Experience.

Tagging 

@sjerngal  @Pam123 @AzadHindFauz @TheFinalStand @CSLWARRIOR @Arsene @Bubba_gump @Apollo11 @impatientoptimist  @whatif1997, and requesting them to enlighten us plebs on tricks & trickeries of preparation.

Edit: Adding@Newton981 (AIR 107)

curious_kid,DMand23 otherslike this
82k views

237 comments

@sjerngalCould you pls share your marks and a link for your answer copies? They will help us in analyzing the quality of answers for a particular score.



I have not really written many tests. Wrote just one FLT test each for GS-2,3,4 and 4 tests for optional. (due to time constraint).
Will share whatever tests I have written on my telegram channel. 

@sjerngalFrom anthro mock tests to final exam: Have you improved the answer quality significantly or only minor changes?

  • I improved introduction and conclusion
  • Did a lot of value addition, interlinkages of topics 
  • Tried to finish paper on time (wasn't able to do justice to 2-3 questions in paper 1, hence less marks in that)
  • Wrote more points and tried to make answers non generic. 

P.S: In the test series, examiner deliberately tried to give less marks, so that we don't get overjoyed. 


thanks for the details sjerngal. I was having doubt because your answers in mocks are very good and was curious whether you have made any improvement for final or not. Now its clear.

I have a naive doubt.
suppose if a person studies only prev topper Akshat Jain's answers and write the same answers in final exam. How much according to you he would score? (Because I observed good content (from diverse sources) in your answers; I just want to know the utility of gathering content from diverse sources, over reading just the Akshat's book). What are the severe disadvantages of relying on only one or two books (Akshat Jain + Bhasme) for final exam?
Sorry for naive question; I am less aware of optional marking scheme and expectations from answers (vis a vis GS)
5.1k views
Are yearlong test series (Vision,MGP,Insights ylm) really beneficial or should we  instead practice with TLP amd insights secure questions on a daily basis?Also which yearlong test series do you suggest for both quality improvement and subsequent value additions to topics.

If you are giving next year, then take year long test series or follow daily answer writing. I think both have their own pros and cons, choose as per ur best judgement. People have cleared following either or some even both.

I will point some pros of daily answer writing:

1. keeps you in flow

2. free initiative vs 25-30k in institute test series

3. learning from peers

4. Coverage of current affairs as well as helps in prelims

For year long, i will suggest Insights Secure, but if doing post-prelims I will suggest IAS Baba TLP.


For year long test series, you can buy of any good institute. From my personal experience, I found MGP good, though I gave all test post prelims. Its pros:

1. Experience of writing 3 hr exam. It helped me finish all my papers 5-10 mins before

2. Current affairs important topics- many questions were directly related and this helps, as you have very limited time to think and write, both have to be done simultaneously

3. Evaluation as well as guidance by mentor, it could be very useful especially for first timers

4. Comparison with peers 


For value addition, I mean only topics which are not covered in prelims and are specifically asked in Mains, I used Vision IAS VAM and made notes from it. 



dalpha,DMand2 otherslike this
4.8k views
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Add me to the list of selected guys from forum AIR 107. I will also provide my two cents on the above questions.

1. Could you please give a broad timeline of your preparation?, including

It took me 3 years and 2 attempts to clear this exam (June 2019- 2022). Though I had given two attempts before but not prepared as such. 



a) When you started with & completed Mains Topics?

I started the common topics together via standard books from the beginning in 2019. However, I did Mains specific topics only in 2021 attempt from Vision IAS VAM. 



b) Was Optional Preparation Simultaneous?

Yes, my optional is Management. But to manage it was a big struggle as no standard coaching or material. However, in the end, it worked I got 276 in optional which is pretty good this year. 



c) Your Revision strategy. Daily? Weekly?

No particular strategy, I made notes on Cerego a timely reminder app and use to revise them once in a while. 

Also i kept a target of 3 revision of notes prior to exam. 

However, I did not create notes for CA (though tried initially) and so no revision only daily newspaper. 



d) When did you start giving Mocks for Pre?

after 3-4 months into the preparation. I started with Vision and Insights sectional tests



e) When did you write 1st answer?

after 1-2 months of prep from InsightsonIndia daily secure initiative. Though did not follow after 2-3 months. If I had done, I think it would have certainly helped. 



f) Time set aside for Prelims-only Preparation (and how were Mocks incorporated in this phase)

I used to give at least one mock on each Sunday in my first attempt. Second I had better understanding and confidence so increased frequency primarily in last month with 2-3 mocks/ week.

Also, i used to give Unacademy Combat every Sunday, i liked it. 


2. Your specific strategy for Current Affairs:


a) In how much depth did you read Newspaper (Only Op-Ed/Science Tech?, or all of it?)

I primarily read Hindu, but for some months in between Indian Express as well. Initially a lot of time upto 3 hours as well but later got an understanding (or due to COVID, paper was short) was able to finish in less than an hour. 

I used to go through the whole paper and skip non-relevant parts including Opeds which are not useful.



b) When did you read CA Magzines? Did you read them bit-by-bit everyday, or all in one sitting?

I tried but could not follow them. However, i read vision PT365 in both attempts, not all booklets but of environment, culture, IR and S&T. However, nothing came in Prelims as much I remember. 

So daily newspaper reading without notes was my source of CA. Prelims is less CA oriented and Mains is more. For Mains I took ForumIAS MGP+ test series and did IAS Baba TLP, both helped immensely with CA. 




3. How did your general Day Schedule look like?


a) Did Newspaper first, or Static Subject?

No fixed schedule, but usually started with paper



b) Did 1 subject per day? Or,GS & Optional Simultaneously everyday?  

Not 1 per day, but mixed 2-3 subjects to break the monotony. 


Hope this helps. 

@Newton981 Congrats! Saw you replying to 2 year old threads on Management optional, and checked the blog you linked. Should have guessed!

Could you provide a timeline of Optional Preparation too? How many revisions did it take for you to feel comfortable in it? And did you give any mocks for the same?

Mine is Commerce & Accountancy, so almost all of Paper 2 and half of Paper 1 (Financial Management) overlaps with Management.



Optional preparation for me was a bit haphazard. I followed a few toppers blogs and videos but doing it from books was a bit too much effort and off the mark. 

Once I started doing PYQs, then things seem to sort in some ways. I did almost 80% of PYQs since 2013. when pattern changed. Besides we were group of about 10 where we used to write 1 PYQ daily, this helped me a lot. 

For revision, i made quick note on an app like Anki and kept revising them. Besides I rewrote whole PYP once again before mains and gave 1 revision to it.

For commerce, I think, the coaching and guidance is better than Management and you might look for the good ones out there, it will help you prepare in more guided manner.

DM,morsmodre
4.8k views

Should one join Forum Current affairs classes (online) before prelims results?? In case I join it after prelims results, will I miss out on anything? 



4.6k views

Should one join Forum Current affairs classes (online) before prelims results?? In case I join it after prelims results, will I miss out on anything? 



You will not miss anything. You will get access to the classes that you have missed. 

Unbroken,
4.6k views

@sjerngalCould you pls share your marks and a link for your answer copies? They will help us in analyzing the quality of answers for a particular score.



I have not really written many tests. Wrote just one FLT test each for GS-2,3,4 and 4 tests for optional. (due to time constraint).
Will share whatever tests I have written on my telegram channel. 

@sjerngalFrom anthro mock tests to final exam: Have you improved the answer quality significantly or only minor changes?

  • I improved introduction and conclusion
  • Did a lot of value addition, interlinkages of topics 
  • Tried to finish paper on time (wasn't able to do justice to 2-3 questions in paper 1, hence less marks in that)
  • Wrote more points and tried to make answers non generic. 

P.S: In the test series, examiner deliberately tried to give less marks, so that we don't get overjoyed. 


thanks for the details sjerngal. I was having doubt because your answers in mocks are very good and was curious whether you have made any improvement for final or not. Now its clear.

I have a naive doubt.
suppose if a person studies only prev topper Akshat Jain's answers and write the same answers in final exam. How much according to you he would score? (Because I observed good content (from diverse sources) in your answers; I just want to know the utility of gathering content from diverse sources, over reading just the Akshat's book). What are the severe disadvantages of relying on only one or two books (Akshat Jain + Bhasme) for final exam?
Sorry for naive question; I am less aware of optional marking scheme and expectations from answers (vis a vis GS)

Look, these days UPSC is not asking straight forward questions in anthropology. Gone are those days where you could rely on one source and think of scoring 250+ 
So if you rely on just one source your score will sort of reach a plateau .. 

Secondly, relying on one source makes the mind very mechanical.. These days questions are asked that involve a lot of interlinkages and it will be impossible to attempt such questions if you do not really develop interest in the subject. 


Thirdly, it is anyway a competitive examination and you have to make your answer stand out !!

DM,BattingBabaand2 otherslike this
4.6k views
@sjerngal Thank You ma'am 


4.1k views

How should one prepare for Art and Culture and Post Independence History in GS1 paper?


Art and Culture: Are prelims notes/CCRT revision enough, or should I make separate notes for Mains/Refer to some topper notes? 


Post Independence History: Should I refer to NCERT or random online sources?

Liesel,
4.1k views

@sjerngalCould you pls share your marks and a link for your answer copies? They will help us in analyzing the quality of answers for a particular score.



I have not really written many tests. Wrote just one FLT test each for GS-2,3,4 and 4 tests for optional. (due to time constraint).
Will share whatever tests I have written on my telegram channel. 

@sjerngalFrom anthro mock tests to final exam: Have you improved the answer quality significantly or only minor changes?

  • I improved introduction and conclusion
  • Did a lot of value addition, interlinkages of topics 
  • Tried to finish paper on time (wasn't able to do justice to 2-3 questions in paper 1, hence less marks in that)
  • Wrote more points and tried to make answers non generic. 

P.S: In the test series, examiner deliberately tried to give less marks, so that we don't get overjoyed. 


thanks for the details sjerngal. I was having doubt because your answers in mocks are very good and was curious whether you have made any improvement for final or not. Now its clear.

I have a naive doubt.
suppose if a person studies only prev topper Akshat Jain's answers and write the same answers in final exam. How much according to you he would score? (Because I observed good content (from diverse sources) in your answers; I just want to know the utility of gathering content from diverse sources, over reading just the Akshat's book). What are the severe disadvantages of relying on only one or two books (Akshat Jain + Bhasme) for final exam?
Sorry for naive question; I am less aware of optional marking scheme and expectations from answers (vis a vis GS)

Look, these days UPSC is not asking straight forward questions in anthropology. Gone are those days where you could rely on one source and think of scoring 250+ 
So if you rely on just one source your score will sort of reach a plateau .. 

Secondly, relying on one source makes the mind very mechanical.. These days questions are asked that involve a lot of interlinkages and it will be impossible to attempt such questions if you do not really develop interest in the subject. 


Thirdly, it is anyway a competitive examination and you have to make your answer stand out !!

@sjerngal thanks for clarifying my doubts.

could u give any answer writing / test series suggestions for Anthro? have u taken any coaching for anthro?

what was your time division for (GS+Essay) and Anthro?


4k views

How should one prepare for Art and Culture and Post Independence History in GS1 paper?


Art and Culture: Are prelims notes/CCRT revision enough, or should I make separate notes for Mains/Refer to some topper notes? 


Post Independence History: Should I refer to NCERT or random online sources?

I got 108 in this years GS1 mains

I studied for Art and culture only from Nitin Singhania pdf notes (not the book). In addition, I used test series and revised those questions.

For post-independence did not do anything, at max 1 question comes. So low ROI. This year, i don't think there was any question.

Though others scored above 120 as well, so extra effort could help. But it might take away ur time from more important topics. So take ur call

ssver2,dalphaand7 otherslike this
4.4k views

I don't know if this is the correct thread for this question but I am going to give it a try - how did you deal with your emotions, especially in the time period between the Prelims and their result? One minute I am sure I will make it and the next, the What Ifs start haunting me? I am generally good at staying in the present but this specific time period before the result has been really troubling me. I keep on thinking, what if can't make it this time too (this is my 2nd Prelims - left my job for health, have dedicated around 1.5 years to this process)? Career? Marriage pressure?  


Yeah, what tips would you recommend to help with these emotions? Anything you read that helped you? I meditate and that generally helps but even meditation is not helping right now. Thanks in advance.

GaryVee,Archandand9 otherslike this
4k views

I heard dipin sir joining vajiram . So will he take current affairs classes in forum . Vajiram has policy of not letting their teacher teach any where else. Can someone clarify on this. I was joining the course but then I got to know about this. Any info about this please. Thanxs in advance. 


3.4k views
@Newton981 Thank You 


3.3k views

I heard dipin sir joining vajiram . So will he take current affairs classes in forum . Vajiram has policy of not letting their teacher teach any where else. Can someone clarify on this. I was joining the course but then I got to know about this. Any info about this please. Thanxs in advance. 


Forum has given confirmation that dipin sir will be teaching in the current affairs programme


3.2k views
Anyone selling Shankar and Forum test series ? 

Jai Shree Ram !


2.6k views
hello everyone , this was my 2nd attempt in prelims , and through several answer keys i am scoring 120+ in gs paper1 , however in csat i am hanging at borderline although through various answer keys i am still at 68 -70 , but i am feeling that i am going to fail in csat , and so am unable to bring myself to prepare for mains , also i dont have a degree that can get me any job , so should i go for some other backup like preparing for cat , or should i begin with mains prep, also how should i convince myself to start preparing for mains without doubt of failing in csat ?

We both are hanging in exactly the same spot brother. The only difference is that it was my 3rd attmpt. 

+1

2.5k views
Deleted
» show previous quotes

+1

Same here ...4yr job exp.. 2nd attempt with prep... 2 yrs in prep

But i guess, whats keeping me sane is the fact i have a backup plan in my mind

At least for now.

2.1k views
@Newton981 how to use insights secure? Do you follow their schedule or just randomly write answer? 
2k views
@sjerngal no community meet ths yr.It ill return evry 2 yrs on auspicious day of Magh purnima.Bettr luck next time🙃


1.9k views

How should we approach PYQs of GS between prelims and mains? Should we try to practice it or should we focus more on pattern, structure and type of questions asked?

1.8k views
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