It is the descriptive test in the second stage or the mains that make the much anticipated KAS exam stand out from other tests conducted by the PSC. The descriptive stage may leave the candidates, who have until now trained for the PSC tests, clueless. Most candidates have started preparing for the preliminary exam as that is the first stage qualifier. Moreover, the syllabus of the mains exam hasn’t been published by the PSC yet.
However, career experts say that the aspirants should start preparing for the mains as well along with the prelims. High scores in the mains are required for securing top positions in the rank list. The scores of the preliminary exam would not be considered while preparing the rank list. Here are a few tips to prepare for the descriptive mains even as you are studying for the prelims.
The mains exam of the civil service is likely to be the model for KAS as well. However, it wouldn’t be as difficult as the UPSC exam. In the civil service mains, the candidates have to attempt 9 papers including the optional subject. As per the KAS scheme, there are just 3 papers that carry 100 marks each. The candidates would get 2 hours for each paper. Though the questions would be in English, the candidates can write the answers in both English and Malayalam.
In civil service, the mains would usually be conducted 3 or 4 months after the prelims. This is likely to be the case with KAS as well.
Though the syllabus isn’t published, most of the topics that are included in the prelims would be asked for the mains too. As there is no optional subject, there is no need to prepare for that. While covering each topic for the prelims, you should also have an idea about presenting it as a descriptive essay.
In the prelims exam, there would be multiple choices of answers for a question, from which the candidate has to choose the right answer. In other words, the candidate only needs to recognize the correct answer from the multiple choices. However, in the mains exam, you have to have in depth knowledge in every topic to score high marks. Those who have been preparing only for the PSC exams should alter their way of training or practicing.
Each topic could be divided into modules that contain small descriptions. For example, while studying about the Indian independence movement, every freedom struggle led by Gandhiji could be divided to singular modules. You could even rely on pie charts, tables or diagrams for this purpose. The knowledge and information that you get by regularly reading the newspaper would help you in the mains and in the interview stage as well. Notes could be prepared by dividing the topics. These notes should be updated when the follow up of a particular topic or news article comes in next day’s newspaper.
Having in – depth knowledge about a subject is not enough; you should also have the skill to explain it on the answer sheet in the most convincing way. The person who values your answer sheet should be able to grab the idea with clarity. So, it is important to practice to hone your writing skills. Practice every day for the mains exam after the prelims is over. You should decide in advance your preferred medium, English or Malayalam, for writing the answers.
Note the writing style while reading newspaper. An answer should have an introduction, body of the answer or the explanation and a good conclusion. It is better to avoid unnecessary jargons that would make it difficult for the person who values the answer sheet. Approaching the topic in a direct and straight forward manner is better than bluffing for the sake of number of words. Be sure to avoid grammatical and spelling mistakes in your descriptive answers.
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