Sunday, March 18, 2012

[Strategy & Studyplan] Public Administration Mains Paper 1 & 2- By Mrunal

[Strategy & Studyplan] Public Administration Mains Paper 1 & 2 (Hindi / English) for UPSC IAS Exam Recommend Booklist

For those totally newcomers, wanting to prepare Public Administration in Just 2-3 months.
  1. Why Public Administration is Popular?
  2. Challenges/Obstacles/Problems in Preparation
  3. Essential Books and Study Plan for Public Administration
  4. Core Study Material For
  5. Non-English Non Hindi Vernacular Medium (Gujarati, Marathi)
  6. Not Recommend Books!

Public Administration as a Mains Optional Subject

  • Public Administration is a very popular optional subject both in UPSC and state public service exams because
  • The syllabus is relatively short, requires less mugging (compared to geography or history)
  • Syllabus has a lot of overlapping with topics of general studies and Essay (polity, budget, empowerment, good Governance, disaster Management etc)
  • Books, material and question papers of public administration are very easy to find in both English and Hindi medium.
  • The subject is easy to understand, any graduate from any stream: medical, engineering, science, commerce or arts can get a good grip over it after to 2-3 months of diligent preparation.
  • This optional subject is taken in huge number by both English and non-English medium aspirants, so when they get selected for the interview, the "success-rate" looks huge compared to Botany and Medicinal science.

Challenges of Public Administration

  • Public Administration is an "easy" subject, and by easy, because any Tom, Dick or Harry can read the books once and (can manage to) attempt the questions. So it takes much effort to shine out from the Mains-crowd in terms of answer quality.
  • Lately UPSC has started asking unconventional question, thus making the life a little more difficult.
  • Keep in mind, selecting Public Administration as optional doesn't automatically make you an IAS- hard work and good luck are essential.
"Before a science can develop principles, it must possess concepts" - Herbert A. Simon
So let us possess some concepts before developing the Principles of Public Administration Preparation Strategy. (PAPS!)There are two types of questions in Public Administration (Mains) Exam

Types of Question: Static vs Dynamic

Static Questions

  • They are on the expected lines, directly lifted from the books.
  • They don't require brain application, in the answer sheet you just have to jot down whatever points you've prepared (or mugged up.)
  • For example: Functions of Cabinet Secretary or Functions of O& M office.
  • Problem: even a 7th standard kid can read the book once and understand what it is all about.
  • But when you actually answering in 150 words, you have to write down the specific points, you cannot beat around the bush, like you did in the board and university exams by filling up answersheets by garbage and repeated lines.
  • And You cannot waste 10-15 minutes in "brainstorming or framing" an answer for this. You just have to mechanically reproduce the information from your mind on the piece of paper.
  • The advantage of a static question is, you write down the points and get full marks (unlike Dynamic questions, where the examiner may be expecting for a different angle of answer or opinion altogether)
  • Static questions give competitive advantage to rot-learners. For example if total function of cabinet Secretary are ten and you write down only 6, while others write 9 or 10, you are a gone case.
  • That's why always have a crispy "key-words" note ready for static questions . For example
  • functions of cabinet secretary:
  • 1. Agenda 4 cabinet
  • 2. Advice PM
  • 3. Newspaper case
  • 4. Conscience keep
  • 5. Chief coordinate
  • 6. Select Jt.secy
  • 7. Conference of C/S

---etc.etc.And so on.
^or in the book itself, write down the keywords in the margin of the same page . You can quickly do revision of it. Whenever you pick up the book for the first-time, just finish the notes making simultaneously. "baad mein kar loonga" (I'll do it later) approach is dangerous. You'll have to re-read the entire topic again.

Type:2 Dynamic Questions

Dynamic questions are "not directly from the book". You've to pause, brainstorm, think and structure an answer before putting it on paper.Example:
Kautilya's Arthashatra bears considerable similarity with features of Weber's ideal bureaucratic model. -2009 Mains
Here, First you've to brainstorm the ideas, e.g.
  • What was Kautilya talking about?
  • What was weber talking about?
  • How are their ideas related?
And then you structure a good answer out of it.
same way another question
Explain how McGregor took forward Follet's ideas in the context of complex organizations -2011
Again If you've done proper revision, you can brainstorm the ideas very quickly else you'll end up wasting 10-15 minutes in just trying to 'recall' what was Weber's idea?IF you start writing the answer immediately without thinking, you'll end up beating around the bush and then 150 words limit will be over before you can even touch the 'actual' question.

Gemstone Mining from Standard Reference Books

  • Dynamic questions are generally derived from some random sentences given in the standard reference books. (SRB)
  • Readymade guidebook and Printed material from coaching class= only copy paste the chief ideas from SRB but cannot do the gem-stone mining.
  • So whenever you read a book containing some analytical or philosophical idea about the topic, try to dig gemstones from it, and note it down. Suppose you read 10 books in the span of four months, it is impossible to do another in-depth reading of the same books before 2 weeks of the mains exam. Besides have to prepare general studies and other optional subject. That's why whenever you are reading any book of public administration, after every paragraph,Try to summarise the idea for any key "gemstone" in one or two sentences, wherever applicable. Consider this example
Indicate the milestones in the story of development from Nehruvian model to the Liberalisation Model.(asked in 2011's Pub Ad.Mains Paper 1)
On the first hand it looks like a static question, just list down changing approaches of five-year plans over the years, then LPG etc. But (in my opinion) This question is lifted from Mohit Bhattacharya's New Horizones of Public Administration
,Chapter 10 :Development Administration. I'm copy-pasting the sentence from his book:
…In the Fifties, when development set out on its journey, The search was on for goods and things. Roads, buildings, dams, fertilizer, wheat, rice, these are the targets; development meant to direct it planned activities to produce or construct these things.
(journey=> it clicking your brain? this is indirectly 'lifted' question by UPSC)(Milestones hinted by Mohit in the same chapter)
  • 1950s: Aeroplane perspective
  • 1970s: Helicopter vision
  • 1980s: Steamroller approach
  • 1990s: Panchayati Raj.
Then you dress it up with Changing approaches in Five years plans etc. and The Impact on examiner, will be totally different.Another example
Incrementalist paradigm posits a conservative tendency in public policy making.15m (2011 Mains Paper 1)
It is Directly lifted sentence from Nicholas Henry's book: Public Administration and Public Affairs
Chapter 10 : Understanding and improving public Policy.
Note: Some Online question papers have typing mistake : "Instrumentalist" paradigm. Actually UPSC asked about "Incrementalist" paradigm, download the question papers from original site only!

Back-breaking Move of UPSCTM

  • A trademark move of UPSC to break the backs of coaching factories and senior players.
  • UPSC Chairman has an affinity for 'first timers', as said in an interview. :(
  • Now what does this mean? If UPSC asks a very routine static question from Taylor, Fayol or Weber, the senior player who has been in this business (with or without coaching) for 2-3 or more years, has lot of competitive advantage over a newcomer / first timer.
  • The strategy adopted by coaching factories of Delhi is something like this:
  • Heavy emphasis on Static topics of syllabus (Thinkers, Theories, personnel, Financial administration et al) combined with tonnes of mock-test answer writing preparation. Their preparation is very 'professional' : Ignore Public Policy and Development administration, you can take it out in 'options' and concentrate heavy on personnel , thinkers etc. Besides their 'assumption' : examiners don't give enough marks from public policy / DA questions.
  • For a seasoned veteran out of these factories, routine static question paper= walk in the park, easy 150+/300 marks.
  • So lately UPSC has stopped giving importance to the static topics or "HOT" current affairs and started heavy on Development administration, Public Policy etc. And even from the core topics they are asking very unusual questions.
  • 2009, 2010, 2011 UPSC has increased the intensity of back-breaking move, for both public administration and general studies paper.

Innocent Bystanders

  • Those small town candidates who themselves don't goto Delhi for coaching but follow their printed postal material and method of preparation, which they learned from some xyz friend who went to Delhi earlier.
  • What happens to Innocent Bystander in Action movies? They get killed during the car chase of hero and villain.
  • Whether it is Public Administration, or general studies, prelims or mains, innocent bystanders always suffer the most. Some of you might have first-hand experience of this.

Notes making

  • As I said earlier any Tom, Dick or Harry around can attempt 300/300 marks in the question paper, even after reading the books for only single time. Truckload of Juntaa from the coaching factories of Delhi, mug up the readymade (garbage) notes of Vajiram, Mohanti, Bhavani Singh, Sunil Gupta et al and vomit out everything verbatim from those notes, in the answersheets.
  • The examiners check dozens of answersheets in few hours, gives below-average marks to these 'factory-answers' so your answers should be sparkling, unique, must stand out in the crowd, or you will also get average marks= no interview call.
  • There won't be any MCQs in the mains exam, your marks will depend on the content, quality, width and depth of your descriptive answers.
  • Your vocabulary, command over language, way of expressing your idea, your handwriting- everything matters.

Excuses Excuses

Ofcourse Coaching 'sirs' will tell everything that a lazy person wants to hear:
Oh you attempted only 20 marks worth questions? don't worry cut off will be less than 15 marks! No problem! Your handwriting doesn't matter, command over language doesn't matter, you don't need to maintain notes, you don't need to remember the thinker-quotes, just read from my printed material.etc. etc. etc.
  • But think for a moment: a rough estimate (not looking for statistical debates here)
  • 12,000 candidates clear preliminary exam, 5000 would have opted for Public Administration, 2000 of them would be Senior players who're already dead tired giving attempt after attempt, really hungry for success and have learned from their past mistakes.
  • They don't make such excuses, they never shy away from hard work. They keep making and updating their notes from every possible current affairs source or reference book possible. They keep revising it, they keep practicing mock-answer-writing at home at regular intervals. They hang charts of quotes, thinkers, factual data in their study table and room. They maintain separate pocket-diaries for revision of "easy to forget points" topics such as NPM, PCA etc.
  • I'm talking about "THE" professionals. If you don't work hard, someone else will and he'll become the topper while you fill the application form for the next year's preliminary exam.
  • When you maintain your own handwritten notes, you are improving your handwriting passively and automatically. Besides in Mains you've to write for 6 hours each day. (each descriptive paper=3 hours, and 2 papers per day). The speed and elegency in handwriting can only come through practice.

Bogus Postal Courses

Donot waste your money in postal courses. Each and everyone of them is mere rephrasing and copy pasting the sentences from IGNOU's booklets and some random data from internet articles here and there. Better consult the original source itself.
Some of these 'readymade' postal courses and printed class notes, intentionally skip the difficult sounding concepts for example in Max Weber/ bureaucracy topic, they start Directly from Read more »

1 comment:

  1. very informative post indeed.. being enrolled in,I was looking for such articles online to assist me.. and your post helped me a lot :)