Education and Career News / Trends from around the World — April 21st, 2021

5 min read

Curated by the Knowledge Team of ICS Career GPS


Education

The ability to write good answers is developed by regular practice.
(Image Credit: Freepik)

Write good answers in civil services exam

Excerpts from article published by the India Today Web Desk

The civil services examination is not only a test of the knowledge of the candidates but it also tests their ability to write well-structured answers in limited time.

The ability to write good answers is developed by regular practice. A good answer is one which is relevant, meets the demands of the question, sticks to the word limit and is finished in time.

Here are some tips for writing good answers in the civil service’s examination are:

1. Read the question carefully

It is extremely important to read the question properly. Certain words in the question; like elucidate, critically analyze, enumerate, etc. need to be paid special attention to. They determine the main demand of the question. It is important for the candidate to be aware of their meanings. Careful reading of the question helps the candidate to write an answer which is relevant.

2. Organise the answer

It is important that one’s answer has a broad, well laid out structure. It makes the answer more presentable and easier to read. One may define the key terms in the introduction, quote a recent report or highlight some relevant facts. In the main body, the candidate may give appropriate subheadings for each part of the question. The conclusion may sum up the main arguments in the answer. If the question deals with certain socio-economic or governance-related issues; offer practical solutions in the end.

3. Write in limited time

An important challenge candidates face in the UPSC exam is writing short and to-the-point answers in limited time. In the UPSC exam, one has to attempt a 250 marks question paper in 180 minutes, leaving one with 7.2 minutes for a 10 marks question. Increasing one’s writing speed to answer a 10 marks question in 7.2 minutes satisfactorily may seem daunting at first, but is imperative.

4. Creative presentation

Using creative presentation tools like flow charts and diagrams make the answers more appealing to the examiner. They can also help the candidate save time. It is important to be innovative while using them. Their optimal use requires familiarity. Their repeated use during answer writing practice helps.

5. Stick to the word limit

It is important to not only know what to write, but also what not to write. Crossing the word limit will not fetch more marks, instead you will lose time. It will make it difficult for you to answer the other questions in the paper satisfactorily.

6. Highlight 

The keywords in the answer may be highlighted by underlining or writing in capital letters. The typically highlighted words include scholars’ names, key facts, government reports and important concepts. This helps the examiner easily identify the important points of your answer.

7. Regular writing practice

Developing a writing style in sync with the needs of the UPSC examination requires rigorous writing practice. Regular writing practice is one of the most vital and also most neglected aspects of the UPSC preparation. After the preliminary examination, the candidate must attempt several full length practice tests. With practice, the candidate’s answer writing technique will evolve.


Career

Leaders should turn difficulties into opportunities.
(Image Credit: Freepik)

Building resilience during COVID-19

Excerpts from article by Lionel Frankfort, published in knowledge.insead.edu

The tools and strategies top leaders use most is to convert stress and anxiety into positive energy. Leaving the fear zone is important for leaders because if they are stuck there, it creates even more confusion for the people who rely on them. In this article we trace how leaders use their personal narratives, regardless of their veracity, to navigate out of the fear zone.

Leaders employ these mechanisms of resilience to manage personal anxiety and restlessness

1. Cognitive reframing

The art of reframing is in the ability to put the COVID-19 crisis into perspective and interpret the facts in a less threatening manner.  Here are few concrete ways:

  • Develop the worst-case scenario to see whether the crisis poses an existential threat for the company. When it did, this exercise also revealed the steps needed to dodge disaster.
  • Take the helicopter view of the crisis, make sense of the events, and define a trajectory. 
  • Read to broaden your perspective. Business books don’t count, explore philosophical or scientific topics.

2. Bonding

Besides the feeling of togetherness in the eye of the storm, sharing with each other relieves stress and changes perspective. Leaders in their own ways, invest deeply in connecting with their family or close colleagues.

3. Acting for health and safety

Acting for the health and safety of their family and colleagues was crucial in reducing worries. Government rules were followed at a minimum, if not augmented by additional precautions such as foregoing travel in summertime. Leaders thereby have less anxiety about risks they might be running, leaving more bandwidth for the needs of their business.

4. Sense of purpose

Creating a sense of purpose in the pandemic was common among leaders who landed quickly in the growth zone and declared good business resilience. The purpose was not necessarily restricted to the firm itself. Having a worthy goal in mind helped convert stress into positive energy.

Boosting personal resilience is a leader’s first responsibility. They should turn difficulties into an opportunity. All leaders deploy one or more of the above mechanisms to raise personal resilience, and thereby fulfil their leadership mandate.


(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the above mentioned article are those of the author(s). They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of ICS Career GPS or its staff.)

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