Mehak Jain AIR 17 UPSC Marksheet, Answer Copy, Optional Notes

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Mehak Jain UPSC Marksheet

Mains Marksheet

Mehak Jain AIR 17 UPSC Biography

Hello everyone. This is Mehak Jain, AIR 17 (UPSC CSE 2021). Through this channel, I intend to share my notes and strategy which helped me sail through the exam.

This was my third attempt and first mains! Will share subjectwise sources for GS and Public Administration, along with my quick notes for both.

I will start uploading the notes soon after prelims.

Everything can feel impossible – From clearing prelims to getting your desired service. But know that it’s not.

I failed my first two attempts at prelims  (cleared CSAT in all my attempts).
2019 cutoff 98, my score – 93.xx
2020 cutoff 92.xx, my score 85.xx
2021 cutoff 87.54, my score 105.05!

As I reflect back on my journey, here’s something i would like to share  –

1. Never crossed 100 marks in mock tests in 2019 and i failed. Scored upwards of 100 in almost all the papers in 2020 and yet i failed.
So, success in mock tests is not final and failure is not necessarily fatal. There is NO DIRECT RELATION between Mock scores and UPSC scores.

2. Do not carry the baggage of your past attempts in the examination hall. 2 hours, 1 question at a time. The answer is right there in front of you, FOCUS AND IDENTIFY!

Wishing you all the very best of luck for Prelims 2022. If I can, you too can! πŸ™‚

Mehak Jain UPSC Booklist

A brief history of modern India (Spectrum)Get Book
Indian Art and Culture by Nitin SinghaniaGet Book
Certificate Physical & Human Geography by GC LeongGet Book
AtlasGet Book
Indian Polity by LaxmikanthGet Book
Indian EconomyGet Book
Shankar IAS EnvironmentGet Book
Internal Security and Disaster Management by AshokGet Book

Mehak Jain UPSC Marksheet

Prelims Marksheet

What should you do after Prelims Exam by Mehak Jain UPSC Topper

Hello everyone!
I am sure you must have calculated your prelims marks by now. Here’s the most prudent thing to do right now :

β€’ If you think you won’t be able to make it this time, take a break, give some outlet to your emotions and prepare yourself for a long battle.
You have almost a year now. For the first 6 months, prepare exclusively for Mains. UPSC syllabus and Previous Year Papers is all you need – chalk out some important, recurrent themes, make short notes for them (if you’re notes person like me) and practice answer writing. You should do this for both GS and Optional.
Remember that you have be Mains ready before you appear for your next prelims
This is exactly what I did after my 2020 prelims result.

For answer writing, practice as many previous year questions as possible. After qualifying for Mains, you can take up a test series to cover contemporary topics and to learn the art of time management.

β€’ If you are ALMOST sure of clearing prelims, Congratulations! The toughest part (for most aspirants i believe) is over now. You have absolutely no time to waste.
Mains is one stage of the examination which is relatively more predictable – you’ll find many familiar previous year themes and current affairs related questions in the paper.
Fill up the gaps in syllabus coverage, if any, plan out your revision strategy along with Tests (can follow the same schedule as that of your test series).


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GS 4 ETHICS STRATEGY by Mehak Jain UPSC Topper

GS 4 ETHICS STRATEGY (Score – 127)

Ethics (and Essay) was my favourite part in the Mains preparation.  There are no fixed rules, not much factual stuff to remember and it gives you enough scope to be creative and candid.

I had kept a separate notebook for ethics, divided into 4 parts – one for quotes/phrases that i came across, second for the keywords mentioned in the syllabus, third for case studies from the newspaper (eg – fire incidents, air pollution, resignation of civil servants, extra judicial killings etc.) and another one for examples. I didn’t actively search for them, just kept on adding stuff as and when i came across them while reading the newspaper. After a year, i had a rich repository of my own. To this, i also added some diagrams from toppers notes (Shubham Kumar and others).

For section A, i referred to Forum IAS red book. Used to google the keywords if i was not satisfied with the content. Can also try looking at the ‘images’ section for some diagrams on the syllabus topics.

After prelims, i made some final notes for revision out of this notebook and revised them 3-4 times before mains.
(Which I’ll be sharing here).

Answer Writing Strategy by Mehak Jain UPSC Topper

For answer writing, i had practiced almost all the questions of UPSC from 2013 onwards (completed this before Prelims 2021) and attempted 2 sectional tests and 1 FLT after prelims (as a part of MGP, no separate test series).
For previous year questions, I also referred to discussions by Peeyush Sir on Kalam IAS YouTube playlist and enriched my notes on case studies.

How to attempt the paper?
I believe Section A offers better opportunity to make your answers stand out from the rest and I started my paper with Section A.
I used to first attempt all the questions from section A except the quote based question (3 parts, 10 marks each), then move to Case Studies and attempt the quote based questions at the last (I found them relatively easier to write and could quickly finish them in around 4-5 minutes each in case i was running short of time).

GS 3 Strategy by Mehak Jain UPSC Topper

GS 3 Strategy (Score – 100)

Prepare notes on keywords of the syllabus, value addition in terms of data, facts, diagrams.

Mrunal Sir’s notes for Economics (2019 edition, read once, highlighted them and never updated them thereafter, used them mainly for static portion)

Indian Agriculture – mostly from QEP handouts (ordered online, not a part of the programme)

Science and Technology + Environment – Mains 365 and google search for other topics mentioned in syllabus but not directly covered in Mains 365.

Disaster Management – made a list of disasters and prepared short notes + diagrams on each of them.
Referred to IGNOU material for some basics and policy related aspects (as a part of Public Administration optional, can skip for GS)

Internal security – Read a book by Ashok Kumar + value addition from Mains 365.

Mehak Jain UPSC Topper Notes

I am sharing my consolidated notes for GS 3 here. These were prepared between prelims and mains 2021 (during my first revision) from my existing notes. Enriched them further using Mains 365, toppers notes and copies, QEP handouts etc.

PS – These are not meant to be used by absolute beginners as they only contain references and not the background.
May be most helpful for quick revision and some value addition for those appearing for mains.

Coaching Institutes Joined by Mehak Jain UPSC Topper

Institutes/Programmes I was associated with

GS Foundation course – Chanakya IAS Academy
Public Administration Foundation course – Synergy IAS
(Experience with both was lukewarm, they did help to get familiar with basic syllabus though)

Test Series
1. GS – ForumIAS MGP 2021 (12 tests, after Prelims 2021)
2. Essay – KalamIAS (3 tests after Prelims 2021) + also discussed a few ethics answers with Peeyush Sir.
3. Public Administration – Lukmaan IAS – A comprehensive test series before Prelims 2020, but couldn’t qualify Prelims that year πŸ™ + A mini full length test series after Prelims 2021 (4 FLTs)

(Experience with all the above institutes was amazing, was satisfied with their content as well as evaluation.)

UPSC Mains GS 2 Strategy by Mehak Jain UPSC Topper

My quick revision notes for GS 2. I used to revise the common topics from my optional notes, will try and share whatever i find relevant for GS.^

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GS 2 Strategy (Score – 122)

The strategy for all papers remain as simple and straight as ever – prepare all the keywords from the syllabus (eg comparison with constitutions of the world), some
readymade content for oft repeated questions (working of commissions), current affairs from Mains 365/any other compilation (exact question on women in judiciary) and have some ‘sprinklers’ (quotes, data, phrases) to spice up your answers.
And you know by now, Previous year papers are an absolute must, so get going!

Mehak Jain UPSC Topper IR Notes

Hi people!
Sharing my IR notes. I found these notes online (suggested by a friend) and updated them with maps and other current affairs from Mains 365.
It’s a scoring area and can be prepped well in advance. I made maps in almost all the questions in IR and tried to use quotes wherever possible (not the overused ‘no permanent friends’ though!)

Hope they are of some help to you! And MAINS SEASON IS ON, I will try to upload the rest of the notes asap πŸ™‚

Mehak Jain UPSC Topper Answer Copy

I am sharing the evaluated copies for you to observe the following :

  1. Nobody can write perfect answers. A good score is always a combination of some average, some above average and some highly qualitative answers.
  2. Time limit – I struggled with completing my paper in time initially but improved over time. In the final exams, i was able to complete ALL MY PAPERS.
  3. How to incorporate the facts, diagrams, maps etc. in the answers (you can source most of them to the notes shared already)
  4. Structuring and headings – picked up exact words from the question after repeated feedback in sectional tests.

Mehak Jain UPSC Topper Public Administration Optional Strategy & Booklist

Public Administration (Score – 259 {140+119})

Sources :
1. RK Sapru for thinkers (Yes, i never read Prasad & Prasad)
2. IGNOU material for Unit 1 of Paper 1 and Disaster Management of Paper 2.
3. Class notes of Synergy IAS (Aribam is an easy substitute for the same)
4. Rajni Goyal/RK Arora for Paper 2.
5. Fadia and Fadia for many topics not covered in above sources.
6. Vajiram classnotes for Paper 1.
7. Mohit Bhattacharya – New Horizons

Apart from this, i also referred to some specific sources mentioned in Lohit Matani Sir’s detailed booklist.

A lot of content enrichment was done from Lukmaan Test papers and material provided by them (especially for Public Policy unit).

Also read some reports (skimmed through after completing my basics) :
1. Second ARC (read original reports for topics that directly find a mention in the syllabus and summary by some institute for the rest).
2. Isher Judge Ahluwalia Report (for Urban Governance paper 2).
3. PRS report on Police Reforms (a brilliant resource for Law and Order unit of paper 2).
4. Public Enterprises Survey reports (for PSU unit of paper 2).

Answer Writing :
β€’ Practiced PYQs topicwise (Arihant Compilation) – Wrote 3-4 answers everyday with a group of friends, solved/discussed almost all PYQs.
β€’ Wrote comprehensive test series before 2020 prelims (because i was hoping to clearπŸ₯²) – helped me a great deal to cover all the topics of the syllabus + content enrichment from model answers.
β€’ 4 FLTs after Prelims 2021.

I plan to share the following here :
A. Unit wise, topic wise quick notes for both Paper 1 & 2. They are meant for revision purpose and were prepared between Prelims and Mains 2021 πŸ‘©πŸ»β€πŸ«.
B. Detailed notes for Thinkers – very comprehensive, compiled from various sources.
C. All the reference documents mentioned above.
D. Test papers

Public Administration – Administrative Thinkers Strategy by Mehak Jain UPSC Topper

Coming to the most important part of Public Administration – Administrative Thinkers, here are some suggestions :

  1. Read about the background of the thinker (covered in RK Sapru and other books too). It gives you a context to understand their ideas a little better.
  2. Do comparative study – classical thinkers vs human relationists vs behavioral thinkers vs participative management thinkers. Keep noting their similarities and dissimilarities.
  3. Interlink thinkers with all the topics of the syllabus. Add relevant examples from Paper 2 when studying thinkers and add thinkers’ ideas when studying paper 2 topics.
  4. Make sure that you use relevant keywords/phrases when answering questions on thinkers. Eg : FW Taylor – soldiering, one best way, mental revolution, brain worker vs hand workers etc.
  5. Criticisms are very important. UPSC generally asks an entire question on one single argument against the thinker. So prepare each criticism in detail and substantiate it with examples.
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Sharing my comprehensive notes (and not the quick, crisp ones) for thinkers. Consolidated from various sources like Synergy class notes, RK Sapru, IGNOU material, Vajiram class notes etc.

Motivational post by Mehak Jain UPSC Topper

Mehak Jain UPSC Topper
Motivational post by Mehak Jain UPSC Topper
Success is the result of daily habits, not huge transformations.
(Atomic Habits by James Clear)
Mehak Jain UPSC Topper
Motivational post by Mehak Jain UPSC Topper
The SQ4R method for better retention! πŸ‘©πŸ»β€πŸ«



Sources – Newspaper (daily – The Hindu), Monthly magazine (Vision) and Yearly compilation (Rau’s Compass for Prelims and Vision’s Mains 365 for Mains)

Notes Making
1. Newspaper
– Did not make any notes from editorials/other articles.
– Noted down anecdotes/introductions for essay, if i came across any
– Collected examples for ethics (section A)

2. Monthly Magazine – read it in 2-3 days (2hrs each day)
– made no notes out of it for prelims
– used to write any case study/examples/diagrams in my static notes for Mains (only in 3rd attempt)

3. Yearly Compilation – used to note down some pointers for Prelims, no dedicated, full fledged notes as such (just a few things that i considered important and i was likely to forget)
– made notes of some most expected topics froms Mains 365 (like UCC, OSOWOG, ESZs etc.)

Public Administration
– newspaper articles (have already shared a channel for the same –
I mostly read the newspaper on my own and read only selected articles shared on the channel.
– Test series and model answers.

Last Minute Tips for Mains 2022

A. Answer Writing
– Don’t spend too much time in introduction and conclusion. KISS (Keep it Short and Simple) should be the guiding principle.
– Subheadings using keywords from questions are an absolute must.
– Try to give at least 4-5 points for all aspects of the question.
– Value addition (diagrams, flowcharts, maps etc.) for around 12-14 answers as it may not be possible in every single answer.
– Give 2-3 points under way forward (govt schemes, futuristic solutions) and add a short concluding remark.
– When running short of time, prioritise body points over everything else. Can also make use of flowcharts/schematics to quickly summarise your points.

B. Time Management
– Go through the entire paper once before you start writing (you usually get some 3-4 minutes reading time)
– Attempt the paper as per your own strategy devised during mock tests. I used to attempt Q1-5, then Q11-20 and finally Q6-10.
– Skip the questions you’re not sure of/can’t recollect and come back to them towards the end. Your subconscious mind will try to gather whatever information it can about the topic in the meanwhile and you can attempt an average answer to that question.
– Save 1-1.5mins (especially from long answers) in questions where you are struggling with content and use this time to write the prepared questions well.
– Completing the paper is absolutely non negotiable so keep a track of time spent on each question. Try to stick to the 7/11mins target as far as possible.

C. Presentation
– Clear IBC format (Intro, Body, Conclusion)
– Ease of Reading/Vertical reading: examiner should be able to read through various parts in the first glance itself.
– Use of tables is a great way to summarise things and should not be restricted to just comparison type of questions. For instance, use of table to show the different mountain ranges and the relevant local factors affecting it (GS1 question, 2021)
– Diagrams/maps etc. are not an end in themselves. Don’t push yourself too hard to include them. Do what comes naturally to you.

Last 1 day strategy for UPSC CSE Mains Exam by Mehak Jain UPSC Topper

Hello everyone!
A few quick pointers for those writing Mains tomorrow :

  1. Attempt ALL the questions.
  2. Stick to your strategy, no last minute changes.
  3. Be prepared for a few bouncers – you don’t have to hit a 6 here, just make sure that you don’t get clean bowled. Attempt the question to the best of your knowledge. Try saving a minute or two in such questions.
  4. Not every answer has to be perfect. Remember, it’s all about 2 below avg + 5 avg + 8 above avg + 5 best answers in the exam.
  5. Pray. Believe. Conquer.

Focus on the powerful, euphoric, magical, synchronistic, beautiful parts of life and the Universe will keep giving them to you.
May the force be with you! ❀️