Blog for IAS aspirants

Approach to Public Administration (Basics)

In Uncategorized on May 26, 2012 at 06:30

In this post, I will share my experiences about the study of Public Administration (PA). I must emphasize here that the following points must be taken more as a guideline rather than as some formula to scoring well. This post is like an introduction to the discipline for beginners and how to get started. I will discuss detailed strategy for the subject in another post.

PA is divided into two papers. While Paper-I has contents related to the discipline of PA itself, Paper-II is more about Indian Administration. For this subject, I took classroom coaching only from Mohanty Sir. I also joined multiple Test Series at different institutes.

To begin with, students must first understand what PA is all about. Read the syllabus thoroughly and go through old question papers. This way, you will get a feel of the subject and you will be able to decide whether to take this subject or not.

In PA answer writing is very important and this is a skill that can be mastered only with practice. The more you write answers, the more confidence you will gain of handling new questions in the exam. Handwriting does not matter as long as it is legible. Initially, you need not worry about time limit but later on you must practice writing test-papers within the allotted time. Once you have given the tests, come home and sit down with your answer sheet and question paper. Think calmly as to what points you missed in the questions you attempted. How you could have improved a particular answer. Think as to what is unique in your answer that may not be found in others’ answer scripts. It is always a good idea to underline basic points of your answer especially in short answer questions (20 marks). Do not forget to think over questions that you did not attempt in the practice test.

Sometimes, if you do not understand the question, look at the Hindi translation and see if you can gain clarity on what is being asked. Prepare your own handwritten notes to remember various facts such as ARC recommendations, reports of various committees and other important points you come across while reading books. Read them again and again, especially before the exam date. Even if you have joined a coaching class, it is still advisable that apart from the class-notes, you also prepare some more notes when you read books and IJPA articles.

Do not try to remember too many quotations as it is difficult to reproduce. The introduction and conclusions should be written well. Make sure that whenever you write the answer to a question, you mention the basic points first and then you must try and mention some extra things to convey to the examiner that you have a depth of knowledge in the subject. This may not be possible in every answer but do this at least in some answers. Also, organize your answers in small paras rather than in points.

Always remember, that quality of the answer matters more than quantity. You can actually just write around 250 words in a 30 mark question provided your answer has substance. Similarly if you feel the need to go up to 400+ words in a 30 mark question, you can do so provided you are not repetitive and you indeed have as much content relevant to the question.

PA is becoming more and more challenging each year. For both Paper-I and Paper-II, it is always a good idea to keep an eye out for new information in newspapers and magazines such as Yojana and Kurukshetra and also IJPA articles. But you will be able to do this only when you have got a grip over the fundamentals in the subject and these fundamentals are in your mind all the time. Only then, you will be able to immediately make correlation of something you read with a particular topic in the syllabus. Making this correlation at the right times (first while reading the article and then while writing the answer in the exam) is a skill that you will gain only with experience. That is why, I have emphasized in my “Getting in the right frame of mind” post, that students must spend time with their optional subjects. It is advisable to not go for shortcuts even though at times, they may be necessary to cover the entire syllabus.

Let me briefly recapitulate what I discussed above:

  • To begin with, go through the syllabus and old question papers.
  • Practice answer writing as much as you can
  • Quality matters, not quantity
  • Keep an eye out for developments related to PA while reading news articles for GS.
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  1. Sir frm whr do v get ARC-2 Rprt in a compiled form

  2. sir can post the marks cored by you in electrical engineering optional.?
    Did you attemt all questions in the exam?

    • Paper1: 196
      Paper-2: 153

      I attempted 590/600.

      • hhow you scored so much in pub ad (especially paper-1) ,
        can u please shed more light on your answer writing? i find it very hard to express views/ remember quotations and then to quote them at right place..
        i have gone well through the syllabus but unable to get confidence in writing the answers.. my answers tend to be a general thought.. (rather than some extra analytical type)..
        As only one month is left and i am loosing site..

        please help me overcome this..

        thanking you.

        • I got 394 in Pub Ad. Paper-1: 221; Paper-2: 173
          You will gain confidence only by answer writing. There is no other way. Practice writing as much as you can. Do not write generalist answers. Initially, you can even refer to books and your notes while writing answers if you can’t memorise all the things suddenly. But practice is the key to good answer writing.

  3. What’s your view about Rau’s Ias coaching ? I am from jaipur and Rau’s have recently started their centre in jaipur.
    Secondly, i was about to join vajiram in rajinder nagar, delhi but i do not know anything about this area since i never been to delhi ever. Are there any hostels or residing premises nereby where i can stay on reasonable rental basis ? Is this area safe to live alone ?

    • That area is very safe. Many students live there. I do not know anything about Raus since I did not join it, so I can’t comment on it. Rather than hostels, I suggest you rent out an accommodation.

  4. Also some say that frontline has an ideological bias ..so should we refer to frontline or India today or outlook?

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