As the prelims exam of UPSC is only for screening of the civil service aspirant for the mains exam. The marks of the mains exam paper is counted for the merit except two qualifying papers along with personality test marks. Therefore, the excellent mark in mains is prerequisite for getting selection in the prestigious civil services exam commonly known as IAS exam.
In addition to it, for scoring good marks in the mains exam of civil services you have to join a good mains test series. A good test series for UPSC is comprised of the features that fulfill the required needs of aspiring candidates.
The features of a good UPSC mains test series are:
- It should cover both fundamentals part as well as current affairs related question as per UPSC standard.
- It should be section-wise to cover basics and full length with current related questions.
- Cover most probable topics for the upcoming mains.
- Provides answer key with explanation to you for future references.
- Provides constructive and individualized feedback by an expert.
- Provides you with all india ranking and performance analysis report.
- It should be flexible but written within stipulated time and regular in nature.
- Help in sustainable and holistic enhancement of answer writing skill of the candidate.
Also, benefits of joining good test series are:
- It prepares you mentally for an exam like environment and helps you to strategize well.
- It improves accuracy.
- It will help to cover entire syllabus timely.
- Detailed discussion makes learning more comprehensive.
- The more you commit mistakes, the more you learn i.e. test series integrates a new way of learning things with practice.
- Helps you in writing the UPSC mains test series within stipulated time.
Now, come to the question of which test series for UPSC to choose to test the depth of your knowledge and writing skill. It depends on factors like availability of time and accessibility.
On the basis of availability of time, we can categorize the civil services aspirants into 3 groups i.e.
- Aspirants who are fresher
- Experienced aspirants
- Working professionals
For aspirants who are fresher i.e. candidates who have not given any attempt they should go for comprehensive upsc mains test series (sectional as well as full length test series) and also practice UPSC prelims test series a lot. This kind of test series will help you in building your conceptual clarity and also related current events.
For experienced candidates i.e. those who had already given their attempt and have decent level of understanding of the topics covered in syllabus. This kind of candidates should go for full length test series because it will help in developing your writing skills. Once you have enough content. You should focus more on their representation aspects with the help of diagrams, schematics’, flowcharts. It helps in fetching extra marks.
For working professionals, there is always paucity of time. They should focus on joining a test series which will help them in improving their writing skills. Also, they focus more on test series which provides more probable questions. Always go for full length test series because it will cover the topics from every section of the syllabus in comparatively less time.
Moreover, on the basis of accessibility, it can be divided into two groups:
- Online test series for UPSC
- Offline test series
IAS online test series is helpful for those civil aspirants who are either living in remote areas or doing self study because they do not have proper access to any formal coaching.
Now a days, both UPSC prelims test series and mains test series are available online. So, it is easily available to the candidates of remote areas who find it difficult to come to cities.
In offline test series, you will get the experience of real-time exam.
Sometimes, the candidates ignore the essay test series but it will help you in formulating different strategies for writing essays like how many minutes to think, write, length of essay etc. Also, provides an opportunity to experiment with different topics. As one can choose philosophical, straightaway easy topic to see how well one can write.
The feedback provided by the evaluator will help you in rectifying your mistakes and developing crucial strategy thereafter. If you will practice writing essays in exam like conditions you will not face any difficulty in writing 2 essays in the exam hall. As a result of practice and good selection of essays you will get very decent marks.
Finally, writing test series plays an important role in one’s preparation for IAS mains. If you write test series you will be benefited in two ways: firstly, you will be able to increase your writing speed; secondly, you will be prepared to write answers within a stipulated time limit. This will help you in scoring very good marks in mains.