KAS (Mains): Strategize your preparation

The KAS Exams are known to be intense. Syed Shahnawaz Bukhari, a Commercial Taxes Officer with the Government of Jammu and Kashmir gives  some tips to Kashmir Life readers about the Mains.

Congratulations on clearing your KAS preliminary examination, and welcome to yet another phase of this competitive examination—the most decisive one.
What is the right strategy and correct approach for preparing for the Mains Examination? That is a question that I have often been asking by KAS aspirants on the phone, through email or even Facebook. I’m asked this question in addition to another basic one—“What should be my choice of optional subjects?” It is ironic that many aspirants are still thinking of this question even at this stage of the examination. That is why I thought of writing this piece, in the hopes that it will help you to some extent.

The Question Paper
Please choose a subject as soon as possible. Begin your exam preparation right now, or else it will be too late. Study your syllabus well. Studying your syllabus thoroughly is an integral part of preparing for the civil service exams. You may easily neglect these, but then the consequences will be dire—the possibility of not being selected. Generally, many KAS aspirants simply read syllabi, and do not really study it.

This is the first major mistake you can commit. Immediately after studying the syllabi, collect the minimum number of relevant books you will need, and start reading those books. The next logical step is to study (not read) previous question papers, so that you can get an idea about the nature and types of questions asked on different topics. One can also get a better sense of how questions are framed on different topics, and how to go about with your preparation.

This is actually the beginning of the preparation for the mains exams. But it is either neglected or overlooked by majority of KAS aspirants. Study the question papers topic and subtopic wise; list the questions topic and subtopic wise, and frame the possible questions that can be asked topic or subtopic wise. This will make you understand the scope of the topic. This helps in preparing answers for those questions, and ensures that you do not leave any area of the topic or subtopic. The nature, type, and number of questions asked on every topic must be analyzed. Your preparation must progress along these lines.

Writing down Answers
Once you are done with this analysis, your next step is to write the answers to those questions. While you prepare for the examination, writing answers is one of the most important and crucial steps. Therefore, you should get in the habit of writing the answer to each and every question, topic and subtopic wise. That is itself preparation of notes. Write a well structured answer which will encompass all the components which are asked for in the questions. Solving previous question papers is an essential aspect of preparations for the Mains Examination.

Often Overlooked:
General Science
I have noticed that many candidates, particularly those with a professional degree in science, often ignore serious preparation of General Science and focus mainly on their optional subjects. Such an attitude is more like a bad gamble. Economy, Science & Technology and Statistical Analysis are the areas that can pose a problem for you in scoring. If you have prepared Economy for your Prelims, doing it for the Mains will not be difficult. Statistical Analysis has to be practiced with the help of the previous years’ solved questions. This is given in all the guides, and also the NCERT Statistical Analysis. Scoring in GS is mathematical, and you should definitely try any additional scores you can gain from serious preparations.

Stay Up To Date
Be in touch with current affairs. If you are good in current affairs, you can write better answers for Polity, Economy, Science and Geography questions in GS. Additionally, it helps you in the Optional Subjects like Political Science, Public Administration, Sociology, Anthropology and others.
Remember, your basic strategy during preparation for the Mains Exams is to keep cool. Avoid anxiety and distress. Your self confidence plays an important role in your success. If you prepare well and rigorously, on the scientific lines as enplaned, nothing will prevent you from achieving your goal.
Good Luck!
Feedback at: essenbukhari@gmail.com

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