UPSC CSE 2018 Rank: 616
STRATEGY FOR UPSC CIVIL SERVICES EXAMINATION:(GS)
3 Things to be analysed before starting preparations for Civil services:
1) UPSC Civil Services Examination Pattern (Prelims, Written Mains and Interview Stages)
2) Language selection for preparation and Mains examination writing(As per your strength and
3) Optional Subject Selection for Written Mains Examination(Look at the syllabus of all the optional
subjects and decide as per your interest, conveniency and connection with the subject)
NOTE: The below material is indicative and referred by me but you may bring changes to according to
your conveniency and comfort. The sources mentioned here are from English medium’s perspective
only. However you may refer it according to your conveniency.
MATERIAL AND STRATEGY FOR PRELIMS:
• Ancient history – Old NCERT by R.S. Sharma
• Art and Culture – 11th class Fine Arts NCERT(An Introduction to Indian Art – Part 1) + Nitin
Singhania Sir’s Book
• Medieval History – Old Ncert by Satish Chandra (This portion can be skipped if need be owing to
shortage of time as the outcome is pretty low)
• Modern India – OLD NCERT by Bipan Chandra + Rajiv Ahir’s Spectrum Publication book (Both
• 4 NCERT’s – Class 11th NCERT’s – (Fundamentals of Physical Geography) + (India:
Class 12th NCERT’s – (Fundamentals of Human Geography) + (India –
People and Economy)
• G.C. Leong – Certificate Physical and Human Geography
• NCERT’s from class 9th to 12th (Only Macroeconomics NCERT for standard 12th)
• Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh
• Mrunal Sir’s Videos
• NCERT’s – 11th and 12th Standard
• Indian Polity by M. Lakshmikanth
• Shankar IAS Academy’s Notes + Current
6) Current Affairs:
• The Hindu / Indian Express – any one (Make daily notes and revise them weekly)
• GKTODAY Monthly current affairs(Exclusively for prelims)(Can be read on website or Gktoday
• Vision IAS Monthly Magazines (For Prelims + Mains)
• Yojana + Kurukshetra for Conceptual building and clarity.
7) Science And Technology:
• Current Affairs + Class 8 to 10 Science NCERT’s
Apart from above also refer to PIB website releases daily (http://pib.nic.in/AllRelease.aspx) and read
INDIA YEAR BOOK (previous editions will work however I would suggest you to read the latest edition)
The strategy for Prelims is to clear concepts of each subject, have a command on the factual and
conceptual data of current affairs and solving as many MCQ’s and Test papers as you can. You must
also revisit the prelims papers of past 4 years to analyse how the questions are being asked. The key
to clearing prelims is attempting more with increased accuracy which will come only with practice.
MATERIAL AND STRATEGY FOR MAINS:
1) ESSAY PAPER:
• Write Test Series (any – Vision or GS-Score or any other you want) + Have a good command on
current facts for every burning issue and topic. Write a very compact, cohesive and connected
essay and maintain the flow of the essay. The essay need to be arranged in a very proper
manner. Also keep justifying the central idea of the essay in each of your paragraphs or ideas
again and again.
2) General Studies 1 Paper:
• History: Prelims Material + Freedom struggle by Bipanchandra and India Since Independence by
• World History: OLD NCERT by Arjun Dev + Norman Lowe(if time permits) + Internet
• Indian Society, Role of women, Urbanisation, Globalisation etc: Internet + Sociology Ncert’s
• Geography: Prelims Material + Current Affairs
3) General Studies – 2 Paper:
• Indian Constitution, Indian Consitutional Scheme comparison with other countries and related:
Prelims Material for Polity + D.D. Basu – Introduction to the constitution of India + Vajiram and
Ravi Handwritten notes for Polity + Internet + Current
• Constitutional Bodies, Quasi Judicial bodies, Executive and legislature, Ministries etc: Internet +
• Government Policies, Development Process and Development Industry, Welfare Schemes, Social
Sector, Poverty and Hunger: Yojana + Kurukshetra + Current + Refer PIB and India Year Book
• Governance, Role of Civil Services in Democracy: Internet + 2nd ARC reports(Selective – 4th
• International Relations: Wikipedia for each grouping and bilaterial relationship history + Current
Affairs. Use strategic, Geopolitical, and geoeconomic dimensions to write the answers.
4) General Studies – 3 Paper:
• Indian economy, Inclusive growth, Government Budgeting: Ramesh Singh’s book + Sri Ram IAS’s
Economy printed Material(Very good source) + Current affairs.
• Major Cropping patterns, Farm Subsidy, Irrigation systems, Agro Marketing, E-technology for
farmers, PDS – issues, livestock, Food processing: Internet + Current + Chapter on Agriculture in
India Year Book + Vikaspedia website Agriculture Section( http://www.vikaspedia.in/agriculture
• Land Reforms in India: Internet
• LPG, Infrastructure and Investment Models: Internet + Current
• Science and Technology: Internet + Current
• Environment: Current
• Disaster Management: NDMA website (https://ndma.gov.in/en/) + Internet
• Security Issues: Internet + Current
5) General Studies – 4 Paper: Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude:
• Use LEXICON by Civil Services Cronicle for basic understanding of all the major concepts of this
paper. Make notes for each and every concept and definition for each keywords.
• 4th Reprort of 2nd ARC for Ethics in Governance Portion.
• Solve Case studies from IIM and MBA universities and practice.
2 papers of Optional Subject – As you will be the best judge in your optional subject, it is beyond my
purview to recommend the same.
Current Affairs: Use same strategy as prelims however focus on Vision IAS monthly magazine and
Newspaper notes for overall analytical part. Refer Vikaspedia, Ministry websites, Wikipedia, PIB etc.
STRATEGY FOR WRITTEN MAINS EXAM:
• As mains exam demands analytical capability in all answers, you need to have a thorough
multidimensional analysis for each and every concept and topic that you read.
• Writing practice is extremely crucial in mains along with reading. Join a test series(I prefered
VisionIAS for English GS + GS Score – though you may join any other you like) and write as many
answers as you can. For beginners, try to write 2 to 4 questions each day and gradually shift to
writing the whole paper of 20 questions in 3 hours.
• Personally, I prefer to write answers in points however you can write it in paragraph too. Break
the question into subquestions and justofy each sub question individually. The key to answer
writing is the answer should be multidimensional with diverse analysis and all the jargons
covered. Maximize the points that you give rather than going deep into one single point.
Maintain a good and short intoduction, and try to write a positive conclusion.
• Speed is the issue in Mains so i sincerely suggest you to keep writing answers and try to
complete it question withing 9 minutes. and only then you shall be able to complete the paper
• Maintain legible handwriting.
• Strictly follow word limit. Try to opti mize ur answer by giving as much key words and technical
words as you can.
• For Paper 4 – Ethics – try to give system related perspective rather than an idealistic answer and
try to think as much dimensions as you can when thinking over a case study. Also think as an
officer rather than a common man, who has to follow rules and regulations in order to do his
work rather than using idealistic discretions. This shall fetch you good marks. Try to reflect the
heirarchy of officers and their role in your case while sitting at a certain position in government.
Also highlight all the stakeholders involved in the case at the very beginning.
The strategy above is as close as I can mention to fetch good marks however, you are your own best
judge and you can apply your flexibility according to your conveniency.
Feel free to contact me on Facebook or my EMAIL ID for any queries or doubts: