Also, ask for the following questions to check how well you are prepared for mains

1. Are you going for Complete coverage of syllabus?

The UPSC has tendency to ask questions randomly from any area of the syllabus. Moreover, there is no choice in the paper. Thus, it is important to cover all the areas of syllabus.

2. Are you taking Regular Tests? 
The mains preparation is incomplete until candidate appears in mock test and competes with other deserving candidates. Regular tests result into following benefits for the candidates:

– Identify weak areas of the candidates so that the candidate can work on those areas.
– Make strong areas even stronger.
– Remove fears, doubts and instill confidence among the candidates.

3. Are you solving past year questions?
Though it’s very rare that old questions are repeated but it is an admitted fact that same pattern is followed. Familiarity with past year questions guides the preparation of the candidates and makes the candidates aware about what the civil services exam expect out of the candidates.

4. How frequently do you Write Answers?
Score in mains is dependent upon knowledge of the subject and presentation of the knowledge. Thus, regular answer writing on day to day basis is of utmost importance. As part of answer writing, work on following aspects:

– Framing of introduction, body and conclusion.
– Techniques to organize the content, frame suggestions, add diagrams, etc.
– Ability to write for questions asked in various forms
– Preciseness in writing answers
– Clarify for the following words –  ‘explain’ , ‘evaluate’ , ‘critically evaluate’ , ‘discuss’ , ‘briefly explain’ , ‘critically analyse’ , ‘trace’ , ‘to what extent’ , ‘significance/importance’ , ‘interpret’ , ‘illustrate’ , ‘highlight’ , ‘examine’ , ‘elucidate’ , ‘distinguish between’ , ‘compare’ , ‘comment’ , ‘assess’ , ‘account of’ , ‘account for’ etc.

5. Are you following Comprehensive and yet Concise study material?
IAS exam contains questions from various subjects and thousands of topics. Thus, the appropriate study material for IAS preparation needs to be comprehensive. Apart from the subject books, keep track of Current Affairs.

As the IAS exam requires coverage of such a huge syllabus, appropriate time utilization is important for the success in the exam. Thus, it is important to study course material which is comprehensive but as the same time concise as well.

6. Are you planning to undertake multiple Revisions? 
It takes time to master the new concepts and thus, to facilitate mastery of concepts we recommend repeated revisions of the subject matter.

7. How many Essays have you written before the exam?
Often candidate preparing for mains, write their first essay in the exam itself. We recommend writing of atleast 5 Essays before the exam along with solution of past year papers. Directly writing Essay in the paper itself can prove to be risky and you may end up scoring drastically low.