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Before I talk about detailing and its solutions, I would like to reiterate two facts. The first of these, which you will find further ahead, is that at some point detailing and analysis become one. Although they are not exactly the same, they seem similar in many aspects. But, actually, it is not one. Detailing means to accumulate samples; on the other hand, analysis means to derive conclusions from the accumulated samples. Therefore, when we talk about detailing, it means to collect information regarding a specific topic with a specific angle.
Definitely, information does not mean anything unless we use it. And the process of using this information is called analysis.
Therefore, whatever information you will be provided here regarding the use of detailing, out of those solutions, you would have read many in some form or the other previously. Nevertheless, the only purpose of repeating these solutions collectively is to instill them into the brain, so that you can use them for a definite purpose.
Second point is that for detailing you require a comprehensive and in-depth vision. I have discussed this topic in the context of ‘extensive’ and ‘depth’ earlier. I won’t talk about ‘depth’ here. But as far as extensive-vision is concerned, I do believe that it is important to inform you that if your vision is not comprehensive, you will not be able to infer whether an event or the information in front of you at present will be of use in the future. Most students often make mistakes in this context. Initially, they overlook the information; but later they find out that the information was useful, and because it is a difficult task to peruse through the material again to find the information, they do not do it. This happens with almost everyone.
Therefore, preparation of civil service exam is for a student who is going through a tough phase of breaking through his current ability to improve his ranking; he must have foresight. Until the mind and the thoughts develop openness, you won’t be able to identify the information at present that is necessary for detailing. If you start identifying inaccurately, you will accumulate so much irrelevant information that it will seem like a burden. Even if this worthless pile of material contains pieces of valuable information, you will not be able to find it. Therefore, here, a comprehensive and well balanced vision is required.
I will now familiarise you with the facts and solutions that will help you with detailing.
- Definitely, you do not need to conduct detailing of the entire subject. You are only required to pick a few topics for detailing which you believe are important for this year’s exam. Additionally, you are required to perform the detailing from an angle which has the highest probability of being examined.
You should create a list of such topics for yourself, so that when reading the newspaper and magazines, when listening to the news, or in other situations your brain immediately identifies that this information is useful. This list should be in front of you at all times, and in a way that you can review it in your mind often. If you do not practice this then definitely some important facts will be missed.
- As soon as you encounter important facts, you should note them down. Do not postpone. For this purpose, I believe that there should be a small diary in your pocket and a pen with you. Even if you put this off for a bit, understand that it will be postponed for good. I have felt that if you try to note it down afterwards, there will be some deterioration, which means that you won’t be able to write it down properly. At least in this matter, you should make this principle of promptness an underlying philosophy of detailing.
- For all the topics you have chosen, you must have predetermined amount of pages in your notebook. You can call this a different approach of keeping notes. Usually, students make notes of a topic, but keep in mind that your ‘so-called notes’ are unlike these notes. Whatever you are doing here is not to know or understand the topic, but to study the minute details to strengthen your understanding of the topic, so that you stand out from others.
Whenever you find a fact do not mix it up with others. Note it down on the pages assigned for that topic in your notebook or diary on the same day whenever you get time or definitely before going to bed. Furthermore, if you find something in a newspaper or a book, keep it. Do not, out of laziness, underline the excerpt and think that you know it. Also, do not cut out the particular section and place it in between the pages assigned for the topic. I say this because if you practice the above, the facts will not rest in your brain in an orderly manner. Those facts will not only remain in a disorganised state, but will also remain entangled with each other. You will have to bear the loss of this during the exam. Therefore, you have to get out of this rigidness. I don’t know any other alternative to this.
- Keep your mind, eyes and ears open. Be aware of your surroundings. I am talking about the living world. I am not talking about books for the time being. Assume, you either live in a village or are visiting one. Try to find out by talking to the residents the amount of benefits they are receiving due to government schemes and the difficulties they are facing. Ask them about the possible solutions of those problems. Have conversations with them and try to identify their additional needs. Trust that the topics that you will hear and get to know will be important. Not only important, but they will be different in such a way that you wouldn’t be able to find them by studying. They will also be practical. They will be original obviously. And the most important thing is that you will never forget these facts. You are aware that such questions are numerous in the civil services exams.
Here you will not only gain information regarding the government schemes, but you will also be able to know about a lot of different issues of your nation. These topics include changing landscape of the village, current structure of the society, pressure on people’s lives etc. You will be able to understand the village. If you do this you will gain an understanding of approximately 70% of the issues that concern the nation. This information will provide you with counter thoughts to understand the life in cities and metropolitans. Do you think this is a small achievement?
- This can be done not only in a village but also in other sections. You can visit government offices to know about administrative situations and bureaucracy. By talking to people you can increase your understanding of the nation’s political landscape. After talking to a woman you will realise that their perspective of their problems is completely different than your understanding, as a man, of their issues. You may disagree with their thinking, but remember that when it comes to detailing, it doesn’t matter whether you agree or disagree. There, the question is only about accumulating the colourful dots that you will use to conduct detailing of your pictures.
- I would like to provide you with an important piece of information. Keep in mind that you should not rewrite the facts that you have already noted. When you perform the detailing you will have two types of information. The first type will be in the form of the notes that you have taken previously. The second type is the information for detailing. This is a special type of information. You have to be careful that this information is not repeated. If that happens, your information for detailing will lose its character. This is because our brain absorbs common topics easily. However, for detailing, you require a special kind of information. Therefore, whatever information is presented here has to be special even if it lacks in quantity.
Do not assume at all that you need a lot of new facts for detailing. This is not the case at all. The truth is that any special type of information will highlight your answer. You can compare the importance of this to the importance of the number zero in mathematics.
In itself the number zero doesn’t have a value; however, when you place it in front of another digit then the value of zero increases the digit’s value tenfold. Your thinking in terms of facts collected for detailing should be similar to this.
- Generally, our approach towards studying is that we make use of what we have available. This fulfils most of our needs, but for detailing you need to step ahead a bit. This is possible if you put in extra effort to find the special type of information that you feel you require for a topic. That is, do not make use of only what you have already found. Find what you need for some matters. For example, assume that you are preparing for a topic about ‘deadlocks in the parliament’. For this, you may have year-old statistics, but the parliament was in a state of deadlock afterwards as well. It is possible that the newspapers did not report the new statistics or even if the numbers were reported you may not have noticed it. What you need here is to pull out those new statistics. There are multiple sources available for this; use those.
- You already know about the sources you need to gather facts, however, it wouldn’t be an error to reiterate these. We can include the following in these resources.
– A new report about the topic.
– A new discovery.
– A new research.
– A new statistic, and
– New opinions.
Additionally, there are a lot of other sources such as magazines on a variety of topics, websites of various government institutions, and a lot of information present on the internet. I am usually reluctant to specify these, as I have found that if the students are told to use these resources, they spend most of their time on these. Whereas, these should be used as references. Only practice this when you require a particular kind of information for detailing.
Use these in a sensible way, It shouldn’t be the case that this practice gives you a regressive result.
- We all have our own ideologies. We base are opinions on a subject based on these ideologies. This is not erroneous. However, don’t be trapped by your opinions to the extent that you are not even ready to listen to other’s opinion forget agreeing with it. This is wrong. This is in fact very wrong. Let me tell you of an interesting incident in regard to this.
While discussing an experiment that I conducted the day before my daily audio guidance, I requested the youngsters to not honk unnecessarily while riding a bike or driving a car. I spent ten minutes explaining to them in detail and in a logical manner that how meaningless blowing the horn is. I started receiving multiple emails in which most youngsters expressed their agreement and pledged not to do this. They also mentioned their positive experiences in subsequent emails. However, not all emails were like this. Some of them had expressed disagreement, which I respect. But the mail I specifically remember goes like this: “You are incorrect. You are instigating us to do wrong, you must not do this. You do not know that I have often been in situations where if I hadn’t used the horn, I would have been in a serious accident. Would you have compensated me then?” Although the words may be a little different, the thought was the same.
If you try to understand the psychology behind this kind of reaction, you will not have any problems with catching on to the fact that this consciousness comes from believing that ‘only my opinion is right’. This thought does not leave space to accommodate another opinion. This consciousness is like iron, which is solid and flat, and thus restricts other opinions from entering.
Friends, I am not talking about being right or wrong. The truth does not lie with a particular person. Einstein’s principles that were thought to be absolute truths at the time are now being disproven. I am talking about the quality of a consciousness that accommodates others. If it does not, it is clear that it does not have anything for detailing.
It is clear that this consciousness will keep repeating its opinion in circles and feel that it has stated its opinion in a firm and concise manner. Detailing is not conducted line by line. For detailing, different forms of patterns are required. Here, the variety in opinions work as different forms.
The truth is that you should strive to give preference to opposing opinions. You have your own opinions. As soon as someone expresses their opinion, you will notice that your brain will be naturally stimulated to prove you right. As soon as the brain is stimulated, the arguments will automatically come to mind. It is possible that one of these arguments is new and it may work as detailing. It will be best to apply my advice rather than taking my word for it. If the results are affirmative then keep at it; otherwise, don’t waste a second in abandoning it.
- As you are aware, in the examination hall you do not have the time to think about the answer to a question with leisure; to form an opinion on it and then write the answer. In there, you have to start writing the answer as soon as you are done reading the question. If you do not have the foundation for your answer, keep in mind that your answer’s framework will become unstable. You will write an incoherent answer. The examiner won’t be able to understand the point you are trying to make in the end. Students think that if they study a lot, this problem of theirs will be solved. Whereas, the root cause of this problem lies in not having opinions. if you have opinions about a topic, you will observe that the facts as per that opinion will continuously and automatically appear on the examination sheet. This will not only provide a definite direction to your answers, but will also result in your answer being structurally firm and beautiful. Imagine a layered rock or a beautiful ascending ladder.
Therefore, I find it necessary to form opinions on important topics beforehand. In doing so, the brain shows creativity in the sense that while writing, it will automatically come up with such thoughts which you did not even think about. This very thought will become that special thought that will make your answer different from others.
Friends, there could be other solutions apart from this. For the time being, I have specified as many of these as I could think of. However, I do know that for civil services exam, these solutions should suffice. The more you apply these, the more well-versed you will become with this art.
NOTE: This article by Dr. Vijay Agrawal was first published in ‘Civil Services Chronicle’.