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Civil Services Exam Scoring Section : Civil Services Exam (CSE) Mains examination is designed to test the intellectual prowess of an aspirant. It is intended to assess the overall intellectual traits and depth of understanding of candidates.There are two papers of 300 marks each in the CSE Mains examination. In the General guidelines given, it is stated that

The nature and standard of question in the General Studies papers will be such that a well-educated person will be able to answer them without any specialized study“.

Although the syllabus prescribes many distinct areas like Indian Polity, India and the World, India’s Economic interaction with the world, social and economic issues and so on, the questions asked are primarily from interlinked areas and mostly from current issues.This implies that the aspirant of CSE Mains exam should develop the habit of understanding things around in a logical manner and of expressing the ideas in a concise and analytical fashion.

Tips to remember when attempting the CSE Mains exams:

The descriptive nature of the questions in the CSE Mains exam makes it difficult for the examiner who perhaps checks 400-500 answer sheets a day, to devote a lot of time to a single paper. Therefore, it becomes absolutely necessary for you to ensure that you present your answers uniquely such that it can grab the examiner’s attention.

To make your paper stand out in CSE Mains exam the following pointers could prove beneficial:

  • Use of two colors for heading and its points, underlining important points
  • Maintaining proper format and aesthetical/organized presentation of the answer
  • Answering to the point and not beating around the bush
  • Use of diagrams or flowcharts wherever necessary to present your answer in a better way

Questions to attempt that can fetch you some easy marks:

1) In a CSE Mains exam, a major part of the “General Studies” section of the question paper involves questions about Ethics, Integrity, Aptitude and Decision making.


Though there are several coaching classes and books available to help an aspirant prepare for the CSE Mains exam, this part of the question paper solely relies on the individuality of each aspirant. It does not require extensive research or study, but this is where the examiner tries to understand the aspirant’s unique thought process, and tries to derive whether they could be successful in what they aim or not. It tests your awareness in general public matters as well as emergencies.

2) Essay paper is the trump card in the CSE Mains examination.

It appears simple but getting a decent score in this 200 marks paper is not that easy. Many of the aspirants might not have penned down an essay in their lifetime. But it is not a cause for worry.The pursuits of comprehension, precision and articulation, practiced in the General Studies papers will help here. The style and flow will come through practice. In particular, critical analysis requires perfection of timing through practice.

In order to ace the CSE Mains exam, you need to develop the habit of writing concisely, precisely and timely-in all the areas of the syllabus. It is a time tested method for maximization of score in the CSE Mains exam.

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