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What went wrong in mains 2016 and what worked

Only 2900 candidates cleared mains. Luck factor kept aside , successful candidates did something which others missed . Success stories give motivation and enthusiasm. But failures give lessons. Lessons which can have more far reaching impact. I will request all those who wrote mains to share their experience. What worked for them , what they lacked , what mistakes they committed, how they improved from previous attempts, extra efforts they put in , extra efforts they intend to put in in next attempt etc etc .. it will be helpful for others who can learn from mistakes and imbibe positives. Please share
•~dangal dangal~•
The difference between good and great is some percentage of extra effort
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Comments

  • has anyone noticed an eerie correlation with attempt at mains and failures this time ??

    I mean I am in service. I worked my ass off. I have seen others who were at their peaks falter with different optionals.

    On the other hand, there are first, second attempt people, with due respect to their hard work, qualified in hordes ?

    Surely this cant be a coincidence, these guys are taking attempts at mains to be a factor in scaling.
    ·
  • It was my first attempt and I could not clear mains. But my study partner cleared in his first attempt itself.

    Preparation was almost similar, both in content and aspect. Lessons learned are, especially for first timers:

    1) There seems to be two ways for mains preparation. One is to prepare basic and static portions according to the syllabus and then add on current affairs to it. On the other hand, we can give emphasize to current affairs issues, expecting they will ask these issues only. Finally, the question paper this time turn out to be in favour of the former.
    The first strategy was like building roof without foundation, which I followed, got punished. Some other first timers also failed due to the same reason.

    2) Even though I joined test series, I could not attempt it with commitment. It was my mistake. At the same time I know two people in my circle who have cleared it with no tests at all. They had minimum writing practice. In fact, one guy was writing essay in the exam hall for the first time. And not surprisingly, both had very good academic background which might have helped in scoring well. But most of the other first timers I know was consistent in answer writing and test series. Conclusion: Even though test series is not absolutely necessary to clear the exam, it is always better to take test series with full commitment.

    3) Completing paper is no more a guarantee to clear this exam. My friend has left around 130 marks, both in optionals and general studies(because she didn't know the answer), yet managed to clear. I know many who have completed the paper and failed. These days, candidates tries to complete the paper at any cost, sometimes compromising the quality. However, writing all answers can be beneficial in improving the ranks marginally, equal or more attention must be on quality.

    4) Diversified thought rather than factual content mattered in the paper, I guess. It is not relevant how much you know. It depended on how smartly you can diversify your answer with whatever little you know. My friend was blessed to have this quality. She had connected things in very interesting manner.

    Bottom line: Success in this exam depend upon a combination of factors and it differs among successful candidates. Some factors worked for someone is no guarantee that it will work for me as well. Some successful factors differs in their importance over a period of time, like completing paper is no more that relevant as it was in the earlier years. Therefore, to reduce the luck factor, it is essential to find what worked for most of the successful candidate and follow it. There are exceptions, but they are exceptions! We can not afford to follow those.

    I would also love to hear from people who have cleared the mains for the first time but in their repeated attempt. What changes they have made that helped them to clear.

    It became little long write up. Sorry.
    ·
  • I am very hopeful for the next time. I certainly had the scope for improvement and looking forward to give the best next time. But it is very painful to accept the mistakes and move on. #inrecoverymode

    ·
  • bhondu said:

    has anyone noticed an eerie correlation with attempt at mains and failures this time ??

    I mean I am in service. I worked my ass off. I have seen others who were at their peaks falter with different optionals.

    On the other hand, there are first, second attempt people, with due respect to their hard work, qualified in hordes ?

    Surely this cant be a coincidence, these guys are taking attempts at mains to be a factor in scaling.

    Nonsense conspiracy theory.
    One burger a day, keeps fitness away.
    ·
  • "The first strategy was like building roof without foundation, which I followed, got punished"

    Edit: 'The second strategy' in place of 'the first strategy'.
    ·
  • Hoppy said:

    It was my first attempt and I could not clear mains. But my study partner cleared in his first attempt itself.

    Preparation was almost similar, both in content and aspect. Lessons learned are, especially for first timers:

    1) There seems to be two ways for mains preparation. One is to prepare basic and static portions according to the syllabus and then add on current affairs to it. On the other hand, we can give emphasize to current affairs issues, expecting they will ask these issues only. Finally, the question paper this time turn out to be in favour of the former.
    The first strategy was like building roof without foundation, which I followed, got punished. Some other first timers also failed due to the same reason.

    2) Even though I joined test series, I could not attempt it with commitment. It was my mistake. At the same time I know two people in my circle who have cleared it with no tests at all. They had minimum writing practice. In fact, one guy was writing essay in the exam hall for the first time. And not surprisingly, both had very good academic background which might have helped in scoring well. But most of the other first timers I know was consistent in answer writing and test series. Conclusion: Even though test series is not absolutely necessary to clear the exam, it is always better to take test series with full commitment.

    3) Completing paper is no more a guarantee to clear this exam. My friend has left around 130 marks, both in optionals and general studies(because she didn't know the answer), yet managed to clear. I know many who have completed the paper and failed. These days, candidates tries to complete the paper at any cost, sometimes compromising the quality. However, writing all answers can be beneficial in improving the ranks marginally, equal or more attention must be on quality.

    4) Diversified thought rather than factual content mattered in the paper, I guess. It is not relevant how much you know. It depended on how smartly you can diversify your answer with whatever little you know. My friend was blessed to have this quality. She had connected things in very interesting manner.

    Bottom line: Success in this exam depend upon a combination of factors and it differs among successful candidates. Some factors worked for someone is no guarantee that it will work for me as well. Some successful factors differs in their importance over a period of time, like completing paper is no more that relevant as it was in the earlier years. Therefore, to reduce the luck factor, it is essential to find what worked for most of the successful candidate and follow it. There are exceptions, but they are exceptions! We can not afford to follow those.

    I would also love to hear from people who have cleared the mains for the first time but in their repeated attempt. What changes they have made that helped them to clear.

    It became little long write up. Sorry.

    +1
    Very helpful
    •~dangal dangal~•
    The difference between good and great is some percentage of extra effort
    ·
  • edited March 1
    Me and my roommate were studying together.both of us has cleared pre in 3rd attempt.he cleared mains and i m out..lesson learnt.
    1-Stay Chutiya to hide ur core competency and let ur opponent underestimate u.Benefit-u will not ask r refer his resources 2-he will have luxury to ask anything he dont know.yes!!!!everthing is fair in upsc and war.
    2- Have guidance from some serving officers.i was not having any such help.he was continuously guided by Atlesat 3 officers.
    3-younger age.yes i know atleast 10 people of my group who r near 30+.all r out..for some it was 4th mains in row.
    two birds who r in r around 25/26....
    4-luck deficit...god grace....iitian..good command over english....belong to elite parents like Doctor /IAS....

    personal experience...no offence...
    ·
  • Hoppy said:

    It was my first attempt and I could not clear mains. But my study partner cleared in his first attempt itself.

    Preparation was almost similar, both in content and aspect. Lessons learned are, especially for first timers:

    1) There seems to be two ways for mains preparation. One is to prepare basic and static portions according to the syllabus and then add on current affairs to it. On the other hand, we can give emphasize to current affairs issues, expecting they will ask these issues only. Finally, the question paper this time turn out to be in favour of the former.
    The first strategy was like building roof without foundation, which I followed, got punished. Some other first timers also failed due to the same reason.

    2) Even though I joined test series, I could not attempt it with commitment. It was my mistake. At the same time I know two people in my circle who have cleared it with no tests at all. They had minimum writing practice. In fact, one guy was writing essay in the exam hall for the first time. And not surprisingly, both had very good academic background which might have helped in scoring well. But most of the other first timers I know was consistent in answer writing and test series. Conclusion: Even though test series is not absolutely necessary to clear the exam, it is always better to take test series with full commitment.

    3) Completing paper is no more a guarantee to clear this exam. My friend has left around 130 marks, both in optionals and general studies(because she didn't know the answer), yet managed to clear. I know many who have completed the paper and failed. These days, candidates tries to complete the paper at any cost, sometimes compromising the quality. However, writing all answers can be beneficial in improving the ranks marginally, equal or more attention must be on quality.

    4) Diversified thought rather than factual content mattered in the paper, I guess. It is not relevant how much you know. It depended on how smartly you can diversify your answer with whatever little you know. My friend was blessed to have this quality. She had connected things in very interesting manner.

    Bottom line: Success in this exam depend upon a combination of factors and it differs among successful candidates. Some factors worked for someone is no guarantee that it will work for me as well. Some successful factors differs in their importance over a period of time, like completing paper is no more that relevant as it was in the earlier years. Therefore, to reduce the luck factor, it is essential to find what worked for most of the successful candidate and follow it. There are exceptions, but they are exceptions! We can not afford to follow those.

    I would also love to hear from people who have cleared the mains for the first time but in their repeated attempt. What changes they have made that helped them to clear.

    It became little long write up. Sorry.

    Level of understanding and maturity wrt the exam process that you've gained in one attempt is commendable ! Keep your spirits high and race ahead ! You are not very far from your dream rank/selection.
    ATB
    I shall bomb the world one day !!
    ·
  • bhondu said:

    has anyone noticed an eerie correlation with attempt at mains and failures this time ??

    I mean I am in service. I worked my ass off. I have seen others who were at their peaks falter with different optionals.

    On the other hand, there are first, second attempt people, with due respect to their hard work, qualified in hordes ?

    Surely this cant be a coincidence, these guys are taking attempts at mains to be a factor in scaling.

    Baseless.May be you have observed from a very skewed sample set.
    I shall bomb the world one day !!
    ·
  • edited March 1
    I am reminded of 'A Scandal in Bohemia'.

    "It's a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts." - SH.
    A Lion doesn't concern himself with the opinions of the sheep.
    ·
  • I am reminded of 'A Scandal in Bohemia'.

    "It's a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts." - SH.

    Brilliant. Applies to so many places.
    One burger a day, keeps fitness away.
    ·
  • raj87 said:

    Me and my roommate were studying together.both of us has cleared pre in 3rd attempt.he cleared mains and i m out..lesson learnt.
    1-Stay Chutiya to hide ur core competency and let ur opponent underestimate u.Benefit-u will not ask r refer his resources 2-he will have luxury to ask anything he dont know.yes!!!!everthing is fair in upsc and war.
    2- Have guidance from some serving officers.i was not having any such help.he was continuously guided by Atlesat 3 officers.
    3-younger age.yes i know atleast 10 people of my group who r near 30+.all r out..for some it was 4th mains in row.
    two birds who r in r around 25/26....
    4-luck deficit...god grace....iitian..good command over english....belong to elite parents like Doctor /IAS....

    personal experience...no offence...

    this is the best wisdom one can ever give.
    One burger a day, keeps fitness away.
    ·
  • Hoppy said:

    It was my first attempt and I could not clear mains. But my study partner cleared in his first attempt itself.

    Preparation was almost similar, both in content and aspect. Lessons learned are, especially for first timers:

    1) There seems to be two ways for mains preparation. One is to prepare basic and static portions according to the syllabus and then add on current affairs to it. On the other hand, we can give emphasize to current affairs issues, expecting they will ask these issues only. Finally, the question paper this time turn out to be in favour of the former.
    The first strategy was like building roof without foundation, which I followed, got punished. Some other first timers also failed due to the same reason.

    2) Even though I joined test series, I could not attempt it with commitment. It was my mistake. At the same time I know two people in my circle who have cleared it with no tests at all. They had minimum writing practice. In fact, one guy was writing essay in the exam hall for the first time. And not surprisingly, both had very good academic background which might have helped in scoring well. But most of the other first timers I know was consistent in answer writing and test series. Conclusion: Even though test series is not absolutely necessary to clear the exam, it is always better to take test series with full commitment.

    3) Completing paper is no more a guarantee to clear this exam. My friend has left around 130 marks, both in optionals and general studies(because she didn't know the answer), yet managed to clear. I know many who have completed the paper and failed. These days, candidates tries to complete the paper at any cost, sometimes compromising the quality. However, writing all answers can be beneficial in improving the ranks marginally, equal or more attention must be on quality.

    4) Diversified thought rather than factual content mattered in the paper, I guess. It is not relevant how much you know. It depended on how smartly you can diversify your answer with whatever little you know. My friend was blessed to have this quality. She had connected things in very interesting manner.

    Bottom line: Success in this exam depend upon a combination of factors and it differs among successful candidates. Some factors worked for someone is no guarantee that it will work for me as well. Some successful factors differs in their importance over a period of time, like completing paper is no more that relevant as it was in the earlier years. Therefore, to reduce the luck factor, it is essential to find what worked for most of the successful candidate and follow it. There are exceptions, but they are exceptions! We can not afford to follow those.

    I would also love to hear from people who have cleared the mains for the first time but in their repeated attempt. What changes they have made that helped them to clear.

    It became little long write up. Sorry.

    I have pasted your write-up in my OneNote. Thanks and All the best.
    ·
  • I have learned one simple thing...leave no stone unturned...fully utilize the time u have..u are cheating urself and building false hopes if u are writing mains with avg prep...example leaving static n doing current only is no excuse for a full timer ..stop thinking that u are intelligent...world hard smartly..baki after marks dekh lena
    Prelims - 2, Mains - 1, Interview - 0.

    Optional philosophy, Chomu-philosopher + Chomu-engineer!
    ·
  • I am reminded of 'A Scandal in Bohemia'.

    "It's a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts." - SH.

    Bhai i'm fan of your articulation! Keep writing your mind.
    ·
  • Hoppy said:

    It was my first attempt and I could not clear mains. But my study partner cleared in his first attempt itself.

    Preparation was almost similar, both in content and aspect. Lessons learned are, especially for first timers:

    1) There seems to be two ways for mains preparation. One is to prepare basic and static portions according to the syllabus and then add on current affairs to it. On the other hand, we can give emphasize to current affairs issues, expecting they will ask these issues only. Finally, the question paper this time turn out to be in favour of the former.
    The first strategy was like building roof without foundation, which I followed, got punished. Some other first timers also failed due to the same reason.

    2) Even though I joined test series, I could not attempt it with commitment. It was my mistake. At the same time I know two people in my circle who have cleared it with no tests at all. They had minimum writing practice. In fact, one guy was writing essay in the exam hall for the first time. And not surprisingly, both had very good academic background which might have helped in scoring well. But most of the other first timers I know was consistent in answer writing and test series. Conclusion: Even though test series is not absolutely necessary to clear the exam, it is always better to take test series with full commitment.

    3) Completing paper is no more a guarantee to clear this exam. My friend has left around 130 marks, both in optionals and general studies(because she didn't know the answer), yet managed to clear. I know many who have completed the paper and failed. These days, candidates tries to complete the paper at any cost, sometimes compromising the quality. However, writing all answers can be beneficial in improving the ranks marginally, equal or more attention must be on quality.

    4) Diversified thought rather than factual content mattered in the paper, I guess. It is not relevant how much you know. It depended on how smartly you can diversify your answer with whatever little you know. My friend was blessed to have this quality. She had connected things in very interesting manner.

    Bottom line: Success in this exam depend upon a combination of factors and it differs among successful candidates. Some factors worked for someone is no guarantee that it will work for me as well. Some successful factors differs in their importance over a period of time, like completing paper is no more that relevant as it was in the earlier years. Therefore, to reduce the luck factor, it is essential to find what worked for most of the successful candidate and follow it. There are exceptions, but they are exceptions! We can not afford to follow those.

    I would also love to hear from people who have cleared the mains for the first time but in their repeated attempt. What changes they have made that helped them to clear.

    It became little long write up. Sorry.

    Very helpful. Point 3 & 4 struck me as if I've written them myself.
    ·
  • Hoppy said:

    It was my first attempt and I could not clear mains. But my study partner cleared in his first attempt itself.

    Preparation was almost similar, both in content and aspect. Lessons learned are, especially for first timers:

    1) There seems to be two ways for mains preparation. One is to prepare basic and static portions according to the syllabus and then add on current affairs to it. On the other hand, we can give emphasize to current affairs issues, expecting they will ask these issues only. Finally, the question paper this time turn out to be in favour of the former.
    The first strategy was like building roof without foundation, which I followed, got punished. Some other first timers also failed due to the same reason.

    2) Even though I joined test series, I could not attempt it with commitment. It was my mistake. At the same time I know two people in my circle who have cleared it with no tests at all. They had minimum writing practice. In fact, one guy was writing essay in the exam hall for the first time. And not surprisingly, both had very good academic background which might have helped in scoring well. But most of the other first timers I know was consistent in answer writing and test series. Conclusion: Even though test series is not absolutely necessary to clear the exam, it is always better to take test series with full commitment.

    3) Completing paper is no more a guarantee to clear this exam. My friend has left around 130 marks, both in optionals and general studies(because she didn't know the answer), yet managed to clear. I know many who have completed the paper and failed. These days, candidates tries to complete the paper at any cost, sometimes compromising the quality. However, writing all answers can be beneficial in improving the ranks marginally, equal or more attention must be on quality.

    4) Diversified thought rather than factual content mattered in the paper, I guess. It is not relevant how much you know. It depended on how smartly you can diversify your answer with whatever little you know. My friend was blessed to have this quality. She had connected things in very interesting manner.

    Bottom line: Success in this exam depend upon a combination of factors and it differs among successful candidates. Some factors worked for someone is no guarantee that it will work for me as well. Some successful factors differs in their importance over a period of time, like completing paper is no more that relevant as it was in the earlier years. Therefore, to reduce the luck factor, it is essential to find what worked for most of the successful candidate and follow it. There are exceptions, but they are exceptions! We can not afford to follow those.

    I would also love to hear from people who have cleared the mains for the first time but in their repeated attempt. What changes they have made that helped them to clear.

    It became little long write up. Sorry.

    So to summarize:
    Quality over Quantity.
    Basics then Current Affairs
    Writing ability over number of tests
    One step,One Punch,One Round At a Time.
    How you do anything is how you do everything.
    ·
  • This was my 1st mains.

    I guess UPSC penalises indepth answers supported very well with facts and data.

    Have seen people studyung with me, both, in first attempt and in 2/+, clearing with average studies and average quality of answers. Breadth matters more than depth.

    Those in multiple attempts and having studied alot, like an ass, doing everything from content, planning, answer writing, consistently performing well in ALL tests- gs, essay, optional --> have seen them faltering in this mains despite attempting mains well.

    Usual observation this time- those with limited but broad knowledge & who could put it up on paper simply, without much analysis, have cleared.

    Though the scores are are not yet out and it's difficult to comment precisely as to where the toy crumbled, this seems to be pretty much a common feeling among those whome I've seen working really well.

    This is an opinion formed from observation where area of perception is obviously limited. Would like to see other observations to boost score in next mains.
    ·
  • This was my 1st mains.

    I guess UPSC penalises indepth answers supported very well with facts and data.

    Have seen people studyung with me, both, in first attempt and in 2/+, clearing with average studies and average quality of answers. Breadth matters more than depth.

    Those in multiple attempts and having studied alot, like an ass, doing everything from content, planning, answer writing, consistently performing well in ALL tests- gs, essay, optional --> have seen them faltering in this mains despite attempting mains well.

    Usual observation this time- those with limited but broad knowledge & who could put it up on paper simply, without much analysis, have cleared.

    Though the scores are are not yet out and it's difficult to comment precisely as to where the toy crumbled, this seems to be pretty much a common feeling among those whome I've seen working really well.

    This is an opinion formed from observation where area of perception is obviously limited. Would like to see other observations to boost score in next mains.

    This is no conspiracy theory that I want to put forward.

    I guess the observations like- not much analysis, simple and broad answer etc- are the traits that are expected by UPSC.

    If true then it's indeed necessary to mend our ways in time.
    ·
  • I am reminded of 'A Scandal in Bohemia'.

    "It's a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts." - SH.

    Nailed it...
    ·
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