In the Civil Services Examination - main, which takes place this month, candidates’ main concern is how to write a good answer. Some also want to please the examiner. I keep telling my students that the examiner is a man in a hurry. So, if you make his life easy, he will reciprocate in the same
way. Here are a few last-minute suggestions to strike such a trade-off:
1 Have faith in your preparations, memory and your ability to recall what you have read. Basically, trust yourself. The ability to believe in yourself gives you a feeling of control on the whole process of exam.
2 Read each question two or three times with a cool head and then decide what its requirements are by giving a fair interpretation to each word in it. To do this, the question should be treated as a single inquiry and not as a collection of inquiries, though at times a question may require you to focus on more than one aspect of a theme.
3 Subsequent to the decision about the broad nature of the main inquiry in a question, split the question into its basic components as almost every question would have two or three parts.
4 After deciding on the components, candidates should give them an order or sequence. This is necessary since on plain reading of a question, they mostly don’t find the components and their relation to each other laid out neatly.
5 Decide the “points” to be mentioned in your answer. These should be classified as “major” and “minor,” with the former coming in the beginning of the answer and the latter finally supplementing the thrust of the main argument. All the points should appear in a logical sequence to prove the relevance of the material or arguments given by you. Weave a cause-and-effect chain in your answer.
6 Your answer should be a crisp, dry, bare-to-the-bone statement of facts in simple prose without any devices of ornamentation or flowery language. Don’t use any quotation as far as possible. Don’t quote names of authors, books, articles etc with the intention of impressing the examiner. Resist the temptation of writing everything that you happen to know on the subject.
The author is director, Rau’s IAS Study Circle, New Delhi - Jaipur