Thursday, July 10, 2014

How I did it- Lessons learnt from mistakes in the first attempt

Immediately after completion of mains examination in oct 2012, I had set up a commission called the ‘Lessons Learnt Commission’ to look into the mistakes made in the first attempt. Today, the report of the one man commission (whose only member was obviously myself :P) is being declassified!

Over all, the difference this time was in Essay and the interview. I will share blunders made in the interview preparation in a separate post shortly!

1)              SLEEP WELL BEFORE THE EXAM!!! ## essay paper screwed

2)              Never change YOUR last minute plans- I decided not to cover a particular topic (Map pointing of Indian rivers) after talking to a friend who said it’s not important. And as you can expect, lot of simple rivers were asked that year in map pointing!

3)              Need to prepare psychology in such a way that whole of it can be revised in 1 day!

4)              Segregate topics based on whether LMR (Last Minute Revision) required or not and calculate the total time required for LMR . Further brand the important LMR topics into LLMR (Late Last Minute Revision). Must to revise LLMRs (Late Last Minute Revision)!!!!

Take section wise care (in case of optional papers) ie After revising a chapter from section A paper 1, move to Paper 2 section one and so on ie all sections need to be covered in a balanced way as one has to attempt few questions from all sections in case of optional

5)              Practice at least essays and get them evaluated by few experts! (Due to overconfidence, I had written only one essay and had showed that to only one person who praised it a lot. This made me casual in my preparation and I ended up with just 80 marks out of 120)

6)              speed speed speed!!!  

7)              Lack of answer writing was evident..

8)                    Not thinking before writing.. Possibly due to lack of time but needs to be handled

9)                    Nothing is too trivial.. mug up at least once even the mundane topics like causes of draught etc. Was Not able to write outstanding answers to general/simple questions (answer to question on renewable energy was lackluster)

10)                 Get done with culture, history and polity. Be thorough with these topics so that you do not have to revise them just before mains

11)            The good old (previous year) questions!! Every one of them! cover them thoroughly ## trans fats question in GS 2012

12)                 Wasting time in geography question paper analysis before psycho paper!!! (What an Idiot I am!)

13)           Avoid duplication of efforts-Not aligning with coaching notes and making notes from scratch!

14)                 Timing of stats needs to be moderated/adjusted (had spent 45 minutes on statistics in GS paper!! Height of idiocracy! Well this topic has been deleted now but the lesson is that don’t spend disproportionate time on any question/section)

15)           GS current affairs of the last few days(read news paper till about 20-25 days before the exam) are very very important. Due to pressure on other fronts I left reading the newspaper about 2 months before the exam and was made to pay through the  nose!

16)           At least number the questions correctly!!!

17)                 No PIB now!!

18)           NON REVISON OF THE HINDU NOTES/news paper markings made by myself ; not reading opinion based part in vision ias notes. My newspaper reading was a complete mess. In the end, I had to rely totally on current affairs notes of various coaching classes.
DON’T SPEND more than 1.5 hours on reading the newspapers at any cost!

19)           Bills and laws that are even a year old need to be covered!!

20)           Complete coverage of entire one year current affairs. Give due importance to current affairs predating prelims


22)           Do monthly revision of GS current affairs notes

23)           At least write what u have thought in the exam hall! ##missed WRITING even the jottings on the question paper /rough space

24)           Revise ancient history from culture viewpoint for mains also; also read ALS wizard’s book.. on topics like religion

25)                 More analysis oriented material to be read for foreign affairs. Read IDSA website and world focus special editions


27)                 In science, focus more on conventional issues rather than trying to find some exotic stuff. DON’T WASTE TIME CHASING EXOTIC STUFF!!especially in SnT and Environment

28)           Important to revise even the most basic things. Don’t overlook basic things ## like article 21, UNFCCC

29)                 Your subjects failed to fire!! Specially psycho.. could nt revise paper 2. DO NOT DISCUSS paper with friends before all exams get over!!

30)           Deeper coverage of science and tech terms.. not just for 2/5 marker but for 15-20 markers(was not able to implement this in 2013 either )

31)           In geography and psychology, the mistake of leaving 12 markers for the end## need to decide on the approach to attempt the paper-big questions first or the smaller ones!

32)           Read about domestic and international river water disputes. They form an important topic


  1. 17. No PIB now?!


  2. @Krishna: means reading Press Information Bureau news updates is useless

  3. Point 18. Sir could u please clarify what do you mean by "non revision of the Hindu notes". did u or did u not revise them ?
    Also, what is it about the Vision notes ?

  4. what about pib backgrounders and features ,bhaiya?

  5. @ankit: I could NOT revise the notes I had prepared myself . That year vision IAS had put separate notes for editorials which I did not read and that was a wrong thing to do!

    @ankur: Backgrounders are good. Dont know about features