Lately we have received many requests to provide guidance on how to form a good opinion and how to write a good answer.
Opinions are vital for this exam , for the simple reason that , they are not only asked in Mains questions but also in Interview . Thus it is important to develop a good opinion.How to do it is a greater question and the way to do it differs from individual to individual.
However, we are providing a generalist guide in this regard and you may incorporate them and augment them as you see fit.
Opinion are very diverse and principally follows the concept of ” each to their own” . That is to say, every individual has his/her opinion . What is important is that one should back his/her opinion with valid reason and logical thinking.
On a technical stand point opinions can be of two type based on deductions :-
Deductive opinions are those where , a certain amount of data can be logically deducted to form the opinion.For example – Lets us say there is a region called “Harappa” that have 1000 population.Now , if one gathers the data on per capita income , once can deduce that the standard of living of Harappan people is good or bad.So the deductive opinion on certain amount of data for a certain region may hold true in this case.
Problem arises when we do inductive reasoning.For example – one collects data only of Harappa and not of nearby regions such as Mahenjodaro or Kalibangan. In this case if an opinion is given on standards of living of Mahenjodaro or Kalibangan based only on the sampling data collected from Harappa, it might hold true or not.
To make it rather simple to understand, lets take the recent example where almost all newspapers across globe termed “Delhi as unsafe for girls” or for that matter “India is a country of rapists”. The opinion is formed on the basis of a single or very few incidents(the implications aside) . In this case , when a certain person reads the news , one gets the perception as such – either of the whole country or of Delhi. (Another good example can be the recent events of “intolerance” )
But we all know that it is not true. However perception is stronger than reality and we are generally guided or misguided by our preconceived perception.Thus inductive reasoning can be dangerous and can distort our opinion.
The art lies in segregating perception from reality and only when we are capable to do that , we will be able to form good opinion without misconceptions and prejudice.
More so, our answer in exam demands such clarity and the very job that we all aspire deems it a necessity.
So in conclusion , here are few tips to form good opinion and incorporate them in your answer :-
You must question everything in your mind.For example – If you come across any article/editorial don’t only consume what the writer says , try to get a grasp on the writer – Who he/she is, where he/she belongs , why he/she wrote such an article, what is the necessity behind it and what prompted it and why it was written at that given point of time.Once you find certain views , try to find the views that counter it. This way you will have reasons from both sides and then you can form your opinion.
This might sound a lot to do , but it is rather simple , just inculcate the “Spirit of Inquiry” and you will see the change.
When you read something , try to think over it for next one or two days and get a grasp of all alternative views on it.
Try to think on multiple angles . For example – If you are writing an answer on corruption – try to think- whether it is only economic or is there any moral/ethical angle to it.Do we see the corruption in other spheres such as politics or environment etc.Simply put, try to push the boundary of a concept beyond the conventional.
When you come across a certain concept , try to form a holistic view on it at the first sight and note down the points.There is no point in reading 100 articles on the same issue that have same theme but different words . Thus try to understand a concept at first sight and try to internalize the various points that you can put forth if asked in the exam.
Most importantly , everything should be related to syllabus. There is no point in discussing unrelated topics that will be of no help.
Lastly , You should know what to know and what not-to-know. For example – If you are reading an article on Project Loon – try to understand the basics of it however there is no benefit of going beyond the basics and exploring the technicalities of it, simply because this job requires a generalistic understanding of all subjects not to be master of it .Quite akin to Jack of all trades as far as general studies concerned.
But you have to be master of one. That is your optional paper.Mastery is must for this.
Don’t compartmentalize the general studies beyond requirement.Each paper can help you with an additional point while writing answer for other paper. For example – while writing an answer on economic question you can put some ethics in to it too . But be careful not to thrust a point in your answer that the question never demanded, thus the answer should follow the question and should flow from it.
With that ,we wish you all the best and hope that this gives you certain perspective and helps in your preparation.
We have received few more questions on time management and we will be answering them shortly.
Feel free to write to us at any time with any query that you may have. We are here to help.