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

Hi guys,

Messed up pre big time, scoring only 80, selection unlikely. Missed some straight forward questions due to lack of revision and some brainfade during the exam. I have a few questions:

Q 1) My mains portions are not at all covered and neither do I have notes made for them. So I have decided to enroll in a mains test series (offline), wrap up these mains specific portions by December and optional with notes along with some answer writing. Commit to full fledged pre prep after that. Is this a good way to go about it?

Q 2) I am struggling with current affairs in general. Saw most of you guys have gone with monthly magazines, but I find doing that less rewarding. The current affairs bits that stick with me organically are those that I did on a daily basis, but haven't found a daily source that is as good as Vision when it comes to presenting/ wording stuff, can you guys suggest a daily source (except insights)?

 Q 3) Did you guys make notes of Laxmikanth, spectrum etc? I find revising from the texts itself difficult in the last few weeks of the exam, any tips on that front? Is it advisable to make notes of such texts?

Q 4) How did you make use of mains PYQs? Did you write answers for them, what did you compare against?

Q 5) How did you make incremental improvements on the answer writing front? While comparing topper copies, did you answer the same questions in their copies and check what you could have done differently?

Thanks for your time in advance!

1. This sounds perfect. Make sure that you have your notes for maximum portion of mains, ready before the prelims itself. This will help u a lot in the gap between pre and mains.
2.  I also agree with the fact that reading magazines is not everyone's cup of tea. I am also not a big fan. I used to read newspaper daily and along with that I used to watch Only IAS prelims booster discussion daily on youtube. I find it better to study through video method, so it worked perfectly well for me. I also used to read forum's factly magazines, which I found quite good.

3. I have made 15-20 pages worth of notes of entire lakshmikant, and i highly recommend that u do something similar. Considering the fact that u do have a lot of time at ur disposal right now.  These notes helped me revise Lakshmikant 5-7 times before the actual prelims exam. 
I will attach sample photo of my notes in a few days.

4. For optional I made my notes according to the PYQS itself, so it really helped. A group of my friends from forum itself used to discuss pyqs that helped us understand them better and formualte answers for that. 
For Gs, I did not write complete answers for all the PYQs but I made sure that I had sufficient material to answer those questions.  If I found something new, I used to add it in my notes.

5. Incremental changes came from answer writing and more practise. I personally was not able to write FLTs because of time constraint, but I did go through topper's copies like u mentioned. I used to write answers to the questions that toppers had already answered, in a time bound manner and then I used to compare my answers with them .. 
I also used to allot 1 hour timer for 7 questions and would practice writing answer. I focussed initially on content and then on presentation, followed by time management. This was my process of incremental improvement.

dalpha,DMand26 otherslike this
3.5k views

Hello everyone,

Congratulations on the selection!

This is with respect to prelims current affairs - I am finding it difficult to follow daily CA (quiz+newspaper), monthly magazines and yearly compilations at the same time. At the end the mock questions will also be there. It will be too much to revise.

What should I drop? (if at all it is advisable)

 

If you have been doing newspapers and monthly magazines religiously, there is no point of doing yearly compilations. 
I would suggest you to make 1-2 pages notes of the monthly magazines that you read, so that by the end of the year you<30 pages of condensed notes to revise. 
And anyway, I believe that the utility of yearly compilations is decreasing over the years.
I, personally, used to make questions for myself from newspapers and monthly magazines and would revise the same before prelims. There were roughly ~150  questions for each month.
Attaching a sample of the same-



DM,GaneshGaitondeand14 otherslike this
2.1k views

This is the second best thing to happen to the Forum. Kindly keep helping guys :heart:

curious_kid,DMand14 otherslike this
3.7k views
» show previous quotes

+1

For mains Current affairs I joined ForumIAS' Current affairs class. It's excellent. Concise notes, Value added and dipin sir will help you to remember the content in class itself.


Neyawn,DMand12 otherslike this
3.7k 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

DMsaid


@sjerngal @AzadHindFauz @CSLWARRIOR Apart from revising my notes, what else can I do to improve in GS1,2 & 3 further?? Should I join Forum CA classes? Last year tried to read Mains 365 once but due to paucity of time, couldn't revise it properly and remembered very few points. 

By joining Forum CA classes will I be able to use more examples in my answer?

Overall what should be my strategy this year for GS 1,2&3?


Yar mains 365 or dipin sir ka class mai asman zameen ka antar hai. Plz mains 365 ka dipin sir ka compare mat karo. 

Sir ka aisa tarika hai na padhane ka tumhae bahut kuch class mai hi yad ho jayga. 

But class kai bad room par jane kai bad 

One page ka condense notes jarur bana lena. Like I will  one page notes as a sample. 


Darvey78,Macroand7 otherslike this
3.6k views
My Questions

1. Could you please give a broad timeline of your preparation?, including
a) When you started with & completed Mains Topics?
b) Was Optional Preparation Simultaneous?
c) Your Revision strategy. Daily? Weekly?
d) When did you start giving Mocks for Pre?
e) When did you write 1st answer?
f) Time set aside for Prelims-only Preparation (and how were Mocks incorporated in this phase)

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

3. How did your general Day Schedule look like?
a) Did Newspaper first, or Static Subject?
b) Did 1 subject per day? Or,GS & Optional Simultaneously everyday?  

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. 

BattingBaba,AzadHindFauzand7 otherslike this
4.1k views
Deleted

Hi guys,

2022 prelims was my first attempt and am getting 82, underestimated prelims and started on it towards Feb end, hence was not able to do sufficient mocks. I've been preparing from my home through self study, although I am attending CA classes of Dipin sir and took MGP 2022 but haven't wrote them yet.

Now, at this point I'm in a dillemma as to moving to Delhi for mentorship or not. I'll explain below,

  1. I personally don't know any peer/senior/guide/or aspirant that is prepping seriously.
  2. Guidance(other than topper videos) was one aspect that was lacking in my previous attempt and this prelims has made me quite anxious and I wish to foolproof my prep, especially pre.
  3. I have never prefered moving to Delhi for prep as a) I am not doing any classes, neither do I plan to for next year; b) I prefer to study by myself and the 'pressure environment' in the hub sounds a bit depressing (motivation is not an issue); c) I wish to avoid time leakages in commute/ food hunting/ house hunting etc.
  4. Despite all this prelims has made me anxious that I might be missing out prefessional guidance sitting at my home.

Can you guys please help me out with following questions through your experience?(a desperate cry for help) Up until now I was flying solo and pretty confident that my decision to not move has been right but now I'm questioning it and have no reference to talk of or anyone I can discuss the ground realities with.

  1. How much of a difference does it makes If one is writing mocks in academy centres and getting them discussed vs at home? (simulation point of view)
  2. Is there an edge to having constant 1-on-1 discussion with the mentor, also, in reality do institutes really provide personalized inputs? wrt number of students.
  3. In your experience is it worth shifting for answer writing practice and mentorship?
  4. If anyone had a similar situation to me, is there any way to seek constant guidance? any pointers? (institute or Serious peer groupwise)

Would be thankful if someone could help me out! thanks!



crikeymate,Pandit96and7 otherslike this
2.1k 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?

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

3rd attempt (2021) , 1st mains. Once missed pre by less than 2 marks and once due to CSAT(2020).

Preparation heavily focussed on optionals. Completed optionals throughly after failure in 1st prelims.

gs strategy more inclined towards current affairs. Did monthly magazines throughly.

didn’t write answers much, didn’t write any essay beforehand in this attempt. Wrote a few in 2020 as i was expecting to sail through (had great marks in gs 1 paper prelims). 

So, hopefully this mains the focus will be on writing more answers. 

Knew all my lacunae. Struggled to maintain any schedule after 2020 attempt. Good people of forum know that i was struggling. Made a post about it. Probably deleted now. So therefore a lot of scope for improvement.

However from 2019 to 2020 was my real preparation that somehow helped me in this attempt. 

Schedule during those days: newspaper, monthly magazine revision, optionals revision/test writing (joined the answer development series of Shubra Maam) , sometimes used to write few gs answers using insights secure, csat classes, etc. 

for prelims in 2021, sole focus was on to clear CSAT. But for gs, did full length test series and read pt365 thing(for quick revision). 

Hoping to clear 2022 pre,  didn’t get much time to revise as interview was on 9th may and got involved in father’s surgery. Then anticipation of results, and then results. So focus again was on not failing CSAT. Apart from that in 2-3 days just revised the static portion. 

Pre focussed 2-3 months for someone who is just starting is required. 

curious_kid,Mettleand6 otherslike this
29.7k 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.



DM,Auroraand6 otherslike this
2.8k views

How to efficiently revise big topics like world history given that its weightage is less and time between prelims and mains is less ?

And how to divide time between prelims and mains across different papers to optimize the preparation. 

Struggling to manage time for revision, writing my 1st mains.  

@sjerngal  @Pam123 @AzadHindFauz @TheFinalStand @CSLWARRIOR @Arsene @Bubba_gump @Apollo11 @impatientoptimist  @whatif1997


Make it a point to give any such topic , only that much respect and time as it deserves. 
World history is vast, but at the max, only 2 questions will be asked, so you need to deliberately stop yourself for going too much in the details. 

In order to optimize preparation, go through PYQs and analyse that how many questions are being asked from which topics and then prepare accordingly. 
For example Disaster Management should not be given more than 2 days (in my opinion), however, Modern history might require you to devote 3-4 days. 
Make PYQs your friend.


Regarding revision, don't focus too much on revision at this moment. Focus on completing the syllabus.. The entire month of august, should anyway be used for revision only.. So dont stress yourself a lot if you are unable to recall things at the moment.  No one really remembers everything , yet with time a major chunk of the syllabus gets internalised. 
Keep revisiting whatever you study at regular intervals. 

D503,DMand6 otherslike this
3k views
Q1/5: Join AWFG: U will be able to prepare the mains topics as Forum will provide u list of questions. It will also help in incremental change in answer writting.

Q3: I made notes of Laxmikant and Spectrum. 50-60 pages of hand written notes, noting down only the tricky things.


Mettle,AzadHindFauzand5 otherslike this
3.4k views
@Archand I will suggest you should go for Dipin sir classes ,I will go for Dipin sir classes over any other program be it anyone 


AzadHindFauz,Archandand4 otherslike this
2.9k views

Hello, 


I am confused between opting for the Dipin Sir CA course (which is fab content wise) or the MK Yadav QEP that helps provide frameworks to people to come up with answers quickly and comprehensively. 


Also, could anyone please help me understand the difference between watching the DIpin Sir CA videos or just reading through his class notes?


Thanks!

Go for Dipin sir's CA classes.

1. They are more insightful and rich in quality.

2. They have better cross-linkages. The content could be used across Essay, Ethics, and Optionals (humanities) if you know how to use them.

On the other hand, merely getting frameworks for different topics wouldn't be of much help in my opinion.

DM,Archandand4 otherslike this
2.9k views


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


a) When you started with & completed Mains Topics? Ans: GS: Dec 2020-Feb 2021


b) Was Optional Preparation Simultaneous? Ans: Completed GS before Pre and Optional(PSIR) after pre.


c) Your Revision strategy. Daily? Weekly? Ans: Completed the First reading of all subjects in one go. Followed it by revision


d) When did you start giving Mocks for Pre? Ans: I joined SFG for Pre.


e) When did you write 1st answer? Ans: Joined AWFG for Mains.


f) Time set aside for Prelims-only Preparation (and how were Mocks incorporated in this phase) Ans: 3 months for Pre only preparation. Focused on SFG only for Pre.


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?) Ans: No newspaper for Pre and Mains. Followed Youtube videos for daily newspaper analysis. For interview read IE in-depth and made notes.


b) When did you read CA Magzines? Did you read them bit-by-bit everyday, or all in one sitting? Ans: Monthly. Completed in one go.


3. How did your general Day Schedule look like?


a) Did Newspaper first, or Static Subject? Ans: I completed one subject in one go.


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

AzadHindFauz,Pam123and4 otherslike this
31.1k views

Hello Y'all . Congrats . 

What would you suggest to  a non engineer for CSAT [ medico here ] . It was/ is always been my achilles heel . I have  had face time crunch in CSAt PAPER. how to increase the speed ? . Any book or guide that would be of much helpful to pity souls like us ? like how to decipher a question , how to choose variables [ I m that stupid ] . Please consider answering my question in the difficulty level of CSAT 2-3 years . Please even consider a CAT book if thats the last resort to undersTand the concepts . R S Agarwal is no use here [ my opinion ] . 

Hope someone emphathize and reply .  

What I am going to suggest may sound petty, even silly maybe. But what you are facing looks like a complete washing of basic concepts. Since you have the time, you would benefit if you start afresh. Buy Maths NCERTs from 7th standard to 10th standard and solve the solved examples chapter by chapter. You would need 1 week per standard with 1 hour per day max. Once these are done, you would feel you are in the grove now. This is the weekend to take a CSAT mock and see for yourself. Maths is more memory than we think when it comes to the kind that comes in CSAT. As for Verbal, you are already reading so much so all you need is to solve PYQ and train your mind on the kind of questions asked, so your time is not wasted in deciphering the question itself. Obviously, others may differ vastly from what I said. Try the NCERTs thing, we really underestimate them. If you feel they helped, then do unsolved exercises as well to further your speed. 

dalpha,Raillifeand3 otherslike this
2.9k views

Lieselsaid

Wanted to ask about Ethics, specifically the long ARC chapters...

What is your review of ARC2 for Ethics?

If it is recommended -

1. Any suggestions to read it more selectively and efficiently? Like what subtopics to definitely read, what can be skipped etc., if you've gone through it?

2. Any summary versions you found good? 

GS SCORE has good summaries of 2nd ARC. You may refer to it. 
However, if you are writing mains this year, focus more on practicing. Ethics is more about writing skills, rather than feeding your FOMO and reading more and more. 
In fact all the standard books or coaching materials like Forum Red book, already cover important topics from the ARC

Muffin,JohnButlerTrainand3 otherslike this
2.7k views
Hello everyone.. Have been occupied lately. 
I will respond on this thread soon :) 
Neyawn,Auroraand3 otherslike this
29k views

Lieselsaid

Wanted to ask about Ethics, specifically the long ARC chapters...

What is your review of ARC2 for Ethics?

If it is recommended -

1. Any suggestions to read it more selectively and efficiently? Like what subtopics to definitely read, what can be skipped etc., if you've gone through it?

2. Any summary versions you found good? 

GS SCORE has good summaries of 2nd ARC. You may refer to it. 
However, if you are writing mains this year, focus more on practicing. Ethics is more about writing skills, rather than feeding your FOMO and reading more and more. 
In fact all the standard books or coaching materials like Forum Red book, already cover important topics from the ARC

Hi. 


I'm not sure if this has been covered already but I was wondering if you (or other people who've been through the process) could speak about how do we self evaluate or improve our writing skills? I do get them evaluated but I think external evaluation can only help so much. 

For self evaluation, I used to make a checklist of things that I wanted to incorporate in my answers, for example- write in points, use subheadings etc. 
After giving a test or practicing writing an answer, I used to see whether I have used them in my answers or not. 
Also, comparing your answer with model answer and what the toppers have written is also a good step, to see where you stand. 

DM,Archandand3 otherslike this
2.1k views
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