Strategy for Preparation of GS Mains and How to Assess Yourself Part 2

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How to Write Answers

  • For writing always use standard size page used in actual examination
  • “Structured Approach” to answer has three parts – Starting Paragraph, Main Body of the Answer and conclusion paragraph. The flow should be as explain below –
Structured Approach

Step 1 Understanding the Question

First You Should See, for How Many Marks a Question Has Been Asked. Depending Upon That You Will Size the Maximum Number of Words Allowed. Understand the Exact Content Expected by Examiner. Understand the Phrase Given in Question like Whether the Question Has Explain or Discuss or Analyze Etc. Understand the Nature of a Question, Whether It is Objective, Analytical or Mixture of These Two.

Step 2: Making a Structure of Answer

  • Structure Means You Need to Make a Skeleton of Main Body of the Answer in a Point Format. Once You Have a List of These Points then Re-Arrange the Points in an Order of Priority. After That Arrange the Points in Paragraphs. You Should Allot Word Limit to Every Paragraph (for Example - for 30 Marks, Word Limit is Generally 250 Words. Based on the Total Word Limit, Starting Paragraph Should Be of 40 Words, Main Body Should Be of 180 Words and Conclusion of 30 Words)
  • Due to the Efforts You Put in the Above Activity Will Definitely Increase the Quality of Answer and Before Actually Writing the Answer You Will Be Confident About the Content. Continuity of Answer is Also Fantastically Maintained While Structuring the Skeleton as Explained Above.

Step 3: Writing First Paragraph

  • First paragraph is your first interaction with the examiner. The well you manage it, smoother will be the further engagement.
  • While writing the first Para, you need to convey two things to examiner –
    • You have understood the question and
    • What is the crux of your answer

Step 4: Writing Concluding Paragraph

  • Conclusion should be based on the overall approach of the question and answer. It should not be looked as a repetition of main body. Constructive and futuristic conclusion fetches good results.

Step 5: Presentation

  • Presentation Brings Out Our Capabilities to Deliver Our Understanding About the Subject.
  • The Candidates Must Give Relevant, Meaningful and Succinct Answers. Presentation Should Be Neat and Clean. Important Points Should Be Underlined.
  • Headings, Subheadings Should Be Neatly Marked. Schematic Diagrams-Graphs-Figures-Flowcharts-Maps, if Relevant Should Be Provided.

Step 6: Formatting the Answer

  • Three different formats can be used to write a good answer. These formats can be used as a whole or for majority of answers they can be combined.
    • Essay Format i.e.. . writing answer in plain paragraphs
    • Heading-Paragraph format i.e.. . answer is divided into different headings and under every heading paragraph can be provided
    • Point Format i.e.. . answer is written in point form without paragraphs or complete sentences

Points to be Remembered

  • don՚t cross word limit
  • don՚t bluff
  • Presentation should be neat
  • Language should be mature and tone should be rational

How to Assess Yourself

Make a Habit of Getting Yourself Assessed from the Faculties. Get the Assessment of Your Answers from Faculties or Senior Students. There Suggestions Should Reflect in Your Answers


  • Revision, as the word revels, is looking back to the things we did. It helps in boosting the confidence if done in a proper manner.

Step 1: Understand

  • Study the topic to be learnt slowly
  • Make sure you understand the key points and concepts
  • Mark up the text if necessary – underline, highlight etc
  • Re-read each paragraph slowly

Step 2: Summarise

  • Now make your revision note summary
  • What are the main idea, theme, and concept?
  • What are the main points? How does the logic develop?
  • Use bullet points, minds maps, patterned notes
  • Link ideas using mnemonics, mind maps, crazy stories
  • Note the title and date of the revision notes (E. g. WTO, IMF, 1st March)
  • Organise the notes carefully and keep them in a file
  • This is now in your short term memory. You will forget 80 % of it, if you don՚t go to Step 3.

Step 3: Memorise

  • Take 5 min break after every 25 minutes of study
  • After each 5 min break test your self
  • Cover the original notes summary
  • Write down the main points
  • Speak it loud
  • Tell someone else
  • Repeat many times
  • The material is now in your long term memory. You will forget 40 % of it, if you don՚t go to Step 4.

Step 4: Track/Review

  • Create a revision diary (one A4 page per day)
  • Make a revision plan for each topic
  • E. g. 1 day later, 1 week later, 1 month later.
  • Record this in your revision diary

For Example -

  • WTO, IMF, 1st March – 25 minutes
  • WTO, IMF, 10th March – 15 minutes
  • WTO, IMF, 3rd April – 15 minutes … and then at monthly intervals