Q. What should be your strategy under the new calendar of the UPSC for CSE 2020 (04 Oct.)?
ANS. To our surprise, the UPSC on June 05, 2020, came up with a clear plan of examination for CSE 2020 which has vanished all the doubts and uncertainty about CSE 2020. Now prelims will be on 04th Oct and the Mains from 08th January, which seem to be overwhelmingly certain as by that time the COVID-19 may have substantially subsided.
Some important dates are:
1. CSE PRELIMS: 04 OCT., 2020
2. CSE MAINS: 08 JAN, 2021
Therefore, the main moot point is now what should be your strategy? As in past, we have conveyed the strategy by categorizing the aspirants as per their level of preparedness for CSE 2020. Largely, the aspirants can be categorized as
1. Those who are yet to appear in the interview (CSE 2019)
2. Those who have already appeared in interview and are still left with attempts (CSE 2019)
3. Those who have appeared at least once in the Mains
4. Those who have appeared in prelims but not qualified so far
5. Those who are going to appear for the first time in prelims

The strategies as per the above categories are as follows:


Let’s go for elaborating the last three categories’ strategies
Q. Why those who have at least once appeared in mains, should write tests for optional/essay/ethics/GS?
ANS. Simply because of the following reasons:
1. They will have to maintain their past levels
2. They will have to update themselves with the last three months developments and incorporate in their thoughts to reflect in answers. Since they studied in past, hence, their conceptual and applied understanding are based on past developments. The COVID-19 related developments will make many past developments irrelevant and the answers will demand freshness.
3. Let’s take an example: now answering any question today in any paper will demand new references, examples/facts/understanding- it is a challenge for any old aspirants.
4. Proper and efficient utilization of time to outcompete others. If you will not outcompete, the UPSC will cast you out.
5. They can afford such time allocation between prelims and mains

Q. Why those who have appeared in prelims but not qualified so far, should adopt a mixed approach?
ANS. Simply because of the following reasons:
1. Their fundamentals have not been very clear
2. Their level of preparedness as per the UPSC standards is lacking
3. They will have to still come out of their comfort ZONE of perception that just by few marks they miss every time
NOTE: We have been asking questions every day as The Wisdom Test-The PT Quest, we find on the basis of the mistake committed by the candidates that how they lack the basic fundamentals/conceptual understanding as PRELIMS questions are now also based on understanding rather than merely knowledge.
Q. Why is it a golden opportunity for those who are going to appear for the first time in prelims?
ANS. It is because of their late start. They may have started in 2019 and may have been struggling to finish syllabus of both GS and optional subject, so that, they can appear somehow and qualify in the first attempt, hence, the extension of prelims by four months means a boon/golden opportunity as now they can comfortably complete and revise their syllabus. They can also complete their optional properly.
But they should maintain a balance. Qualifying prelims is important but without mains preparation means wasting opportunity. Hence, they should also focus on mains as per their level of preparedness for GS and optional subject.
Note: The above-mentioned strategies are general in nature. The aspirant can learn from them and can devise their own strategy as per their own needs/suitability.

Thank You
The Lukmaan IAS Team