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TIPSREGARDINGUPSCCSEPREPARATION

YOGESHKUMBHEJKARAIR8CSE2015

IamYogeshKumbhejkar.IamanElectricalEngineerfromIITBombay.IsecuredAIR8inCivilServices
Exam2015withMathematicsoptional.Thisarticleisahumbleattempttosharemyexperienceof
UPSCpreparation.Pleasenotethatthereisnofixedwayofapproachingthisexam.Different
candidatesadoptdifferentstrategiesdependingontheirownstrengthsandweaknesses.Soitisupto
theUPSCaspirantstochoosewhichofthefollowingtipstoadopt.

PRELIMINARYEXAM
Sources:
History

IndianPolity
Geography
Economics
Science
Environment
CurrentAffairs
CSAT

OldNCERT11th
&12th
Std.
SpectrumPublication:ABriefHistoryofModernIndia
IntroductiontoIndianArt:11th
NCERT
LaxmikanthTMH
NCERT10th
,11th
,12th
std.
SriramEconomicsBasicsnotes+Mrunal.orgwebsite
TMHGSManual
Lastchaptersof12th
NCERTBiologybook,ShankarIASBook
DailynotespreparedfromIndianExpress+Hindu
TMHCSATmanual

Apartfromabovementionedbooks,TMHGSManualishelpfulforsuchtopicswhereyoucantfind
goodreferencebook.Italsohaslotsofobjectivequestionsforpractice.
Itisnecessarytocoverthesyllabusthoroughlyfromsuchreferencebooksandrevisethemregularly.
AUPSCaspirantspreparationshouldalwaysberevisionfriendly.Ifyouarereadingareferencebook,
eitherunderlineimportantpointsinthebookonlyormakeshortnotes.Sothatthenexttimeyouare
abletocoverthesametopicsinmuchlessertime.
Aspirantsshouldalsosolvelotsofpracticepapers.ThebestsourceispreviousyearsUPSCpapers.
ApartfromCSEprelims,objectivepapersofCAPF,CDSexamsconductedbyUPSCcanalsogivegood
ideaaboutthekindofquestionsaskedbyUPSC.Theaimshouldbetodeveloptheabilitytoattempt
optimumnumberofquestionskeepinginmindthenegativemarkingsystem.Inprelims,Iusedto
attempttheeasierquestionsfirstandthengoforquestionswhereIhadtoguessorspendsomemore
time.Inmanyquestions,evenifyoudontknowtheexactanswer,youcanguessitbyeliminating
someoptions.Todevelopthisjudgment,theaspirantshouldpracticeregularly.

CURRENTAFFAIRSNOTES
IusedtofollowbothTheIndianExpressandTheHinduregularly.TheDelhieditionofTheIndian
Expressnowcoverswiderangeoftopicsingreatdetailanditisveryusefulforthispreparation.This
editionisavailableonlineatepaper.indianexpress.com.EspeciallytheExplainedpageandeditorials
shouldbereligiouslyfollowedbyaspirants.
Readymadecurrentaffairsnotesarenoweasilyavailableandtheyarewidelyused.Butmy
experiencehasbeenthatifyouinvest34hoursdailyinproperlyreadingabove2newspapersand
makingnotesyourself,youwillhaveamuchbetterunderstandingofcurrentaffairs.Itwillbeamajor
pluspointineverystageofthisexamination.IdidnthavetofollowanymagazinesincludingYojna,
kurukshetraasthispracticewasenoughtocoverallmajortopicsoveraperiodoftime.
Currentaffairsnotesalsoshouldbemadeinasystematicordersothatitwouldberevisionfriendly.I
hadmade5notebooksfordifferentareassuchasEconomy,Polity,InternationalRelations,
EnvironmentScience&Miscellaneous.Withineachnotebook,thereweredifferentsectionsmade
asperthesyllabus.Soifthereisanyimportantnews,editorialetc.innewspaper,Iwouldwriteavery
briefsummaryintherelevantsections.Overaperiodofoneyear,Ihadnotesonallimportanttopics
inachronologicalorder.Sincethesenotesweremadeaccordingtomyownunderstanding,itwas
mucheasiertorevise.
Intheinitialdays.thenoteswillbequitelengthysinceeverythinginthenewspapersseems
important.Butgraduallyyouwilldevelopthejudgementaboutwhatisactuallyimportanttonote
downandthenthetimeneededformakingthesenoteswillreduce.

Thosewhoareinterestedinstartingsimilarnotebookscanchecktheindexofdifferentsectionsat
https://goo.gl/qFx5rp

Ihaveuploadedsamplecurrentaffairsnotesatthislink
https://goo.gl/lfeisb

MAINEXAM
Sources:
GENERALSTUDIES1
IndianCulture

OldNCERT11thAncientIndia+MedievalIndia,11thNCERTIntrotoArts
textbook

ModernIndiaHistory

OldNCERT11thModernIndia,SpectrumFreedomStruggle

PostIndependence

BipinChandra

History
WorldHistory

BVRao,Youtubechannel'CrashCourse'Videos

SociologyRelatedsyllabus

Internet,newspapers,12thHumangeographytextbookhelpsin
population,migration,urbanizationetc.questions

Geography

10th,11th,12thNCERTtextbooks,
GCLeongeforconceptsnotcoveredinNCERT

GENERALSTUDIES2
LaxmikanthIndianPolityTMH,
Currentaffairsnotesrepeatedrevisionasmentionedabove
BigpictureRajyaSabhaTVdiscussionsavailableonyoutube
FMGoldRadiospotlightnewsanalysis
InternationalRelations:CurrentAffairsnotessufficient
GENERALSTUDIES3
EconomicSurvey,
Currentaffairsnotesrepeatedrevisionasmentionedabove
BigpictureRajyaSabhaTVdiscussionsavailableonyoutube
FMGoldRadiospotlightnewsanalysis
Mrunal.orgNotes
SriramClassesEconomynotes
GENERALSTUDIES4
Lexiconbookbychroniclerepeatedrevision
Rememberingbasicdefinitions
SolvingcasestudiesthroughpreviousUPSCpapers,vision/synergyetc.testseries


Thestaticpartofmainspreparationshouldbedonefromlimitedstandardreferencebooks.Revision
isaveryimportantpartofmainspreparationanditisoftengivenmuchlessattention.Itismuchmore
beneficialtoreadasinglegoodreferencebookandreviseit4timesratherreading4differentbooks
onthatparticularsubject.

ANSWERWRITING
Practicinganswerwritinginlimitedtimeisveryimportantforsecuringgoodmarksinmains.
Irrespectiveofwhateverhardworkyouhaveputintothispreparation,itisonlyyourperformancein
those3hoursthatisgoingtodetermineyourresult.Hence,aspirantsshouldfocusonfollowingthings
inthisregard:
1. Improvingwritingspeedsothatyouareabletocompleteallquestionscomfortablywith
decentanswers.Thisispossiblewithregularpracticeandcanmakeconsiderable
improvementinyourfinalmarks.Iexperiencedthisdifferencemyselfbetweenmyfirstand
secondattempt.Considerthecasewhenthepaperhas20questions.Youcanscorebetter
marksbywritingdecentanswersforall20questionsratherthantryingtowritehighquality
answersforonly14~15questions.HenceIwouldadviseaspirantstotrycompletingallmains
papers.
2. Anyformalanswerwouldhavecertainkeywordsthatshouldbeunderlined.Itmakesjobof
theexaminereasierandthushelpsinfetchingmoremarks.
3. Theanswerwouldhavebetterstructureifithassomeintroduction&conclusionevenifitisa
briefoneline.Throughtheanswerwritingpractice,theaspirantshouldmakeitahabit.That
wayhe/shewouldntforgetitintheactualexam.
IhadjoinedSynergytestseriesinDelhi.Therearemanytestserieswhichareavailableonlinealso.It
islessimportantwhichparticulartestseriesyoujoin.Butitismoreimportanttoconsciouslytryto
improveyouranswerwritingskillsbystickingtothetestseriesschedule.Whenyougetlowmarksin
anytest,ratherthangettingdiscouragedpleasetrytointrospectandworkonthoseweakareas.
IhaveuploadedsampleGSanswersheetsatthislink
https://goo.gl/xvh28v

ESSAYPREPARATION
Ifyouseeessaymarksoftheselectedcandidates,youwouldrealizethatthereiswidevariation.Some
candidatesscore140+markswhereassomescorearound100.Thisdifferenceisnaturallytranslated
intotheirranksalso.Thecandidatescoring140+neednothavewrittensomethingextraordinaryin
his/heressay.Itrequiressomepracticebeforehandandkeepinginmindfewbasicaspectsofessay
writingsuchasfollows:
1. Inessaypaper,choosethetopiconwhichyouknowsufficientnumberofdifferentpoints.Itis
notadvisabletoexperimentwithsomeabstracttopicifyouarenotcomfortablewithit.
2. Inthefirst10~15minutes,notedownallthepointsyoucanthinkofonthelastpage.Ifyou
arenotabletorecallenoughpoints,thereisatrick.Trytoconnecttheessaytopicwith
differentoptionalsubjects.
Forexample,ifyouarewritinganessayonIndiastourismsector.Thenyoucangetsomeof
thepointsasfollows
a. tourism+geography=Tourismpotentialduetogeographicdiversity
b. Tourism+economics=Tourismasaneconomicactivity
c. Tourism+history=Importanceofhistoricalplacesfortourism
d. Tourism+Medicalscience=Medicaltourism
e. Tourism+Internationalrelations=Easeofgettingtouristvisaetc.
3. Onceyouhaveenoughnumberofpoints,thentheyshouldbeputinapropersequenceso
thatthereisanaturalflowtotheessay.
4. Finallyintheremainingtime,yourjobisjusttoexpandallthesepointsinlucidmanner.

Itisnotnecessarytouseflowerylanguageinessay.Languagecanbesimplebutyoushouldbeableto
conveyyourideaproperly.Ifyoucoverwiderangeoftopicsinyouressay,thatwillfetchmoremarks.
Ifyouarediscussingsomeproblems,thenalsowriteaboutpossiblesolutions.Alwaystrytobe
optimisticintheessay.
Ihaveuploadedsomeessaysatthislink
https://goo.gl/sBJ6wL

OPTIONALSUBJECTPREPARATION

CHOOSINGTHEOPTIONAL
Myoptionalsubjectwasmathematics.Aspirantshouldconsiderfollowingthingswhiledecidingon
theoptionalsubject:
1. Itisdesirableifyouhavesomegenuineinterestinthesubject.Youwillbestudyingthat
subjectindepthandifyouhavesomeoriginalinclinationitwillcertainlyhelp.Ifyouare
comfortablewithyourgraduationsubject,thengoforthatoptionalasyouwillsave
considerabletimethatway.
2. GothroughthesyllabusandpreviousyearsUPSCpapersofthatoptional.Itcangiveyou
someideaaboutthesubject.
3. Talktocandidateswhoarealreadypreparingwiththatsubject.Theycantellyouaboutthe
trendintheperformanceofthatoptionalinpastfewyears.
4. Checktheblogsofselectedcandidateswhohadthatoptional.Findoutaboutavailabilityof
goodreferencebooks/material.
Theoptionalscorecanmakeorbreakyourresultandhenceitshouldbechosenaftercarefulanalysis.

WHYMATHEMATICS
ItisveryimportantforaUPSCaspiranttohavegenuineinterestinmathematicsifhe/shewantsto
choosethisoptional.MathsusedtobemyfavouritesubjectinschoolandinIITBalsoIhadpursued
additionalcoursesinmathematicsoutofinterest.Sincethesyllabusislarge&requiresconsiderable
practice,itisnecessarytohaveagenuineinterest.
Apartfrommyinherentinclination,thisoptionalofferscertainadvantageswhichmadeitanobvious
choice.Inthisoptional,themarksyougetarealmostproportionaltoyourefforts.Withproperhard
work,acandidatecancomfortablyattemptallthequestionsinexamandexpecttoscorearound50%
marksevenafterheavyscalingwhichcanofferthenecessaryedgeinthisintensecompetition.Such
candidategenerallywouldnotfindanyquestionsurprisinginmains.Thiskindofcertaintyisnot
presentinhumanitiesoptionals.

THESYLLABUS
Theprescribedsyllabusformathsisquitelargewhichmakesitnecessarytosticktolimitedsources.I
reliedonnotesprovidedatIMSforcoveringthesyllabus.Sincethesenoteswereverycomprehensive,
Ididn'thavetospendtimescanningreferencebooksforrelevantmaterial.InitiallyIwouldunderline
importanttheorems,formulae,resultsmentionedinthenotes.ThenIusedtocompilethemina
notebookandthiswasusefulforrevision.SoeventuallyIhadanotebookwithjustthecruxofthe
matter.Iwouldadviseallcandidateswithmathsoptionaltopreparesuchasummaryforalltopics.
Duetolargesyllabus,thereisanaturaltendencytoskipafewchapters.Butforthesakeof
compulsoryquestions,itisnecessarytoknowatleastbasicsofeachchapter.Thephysicsrelated
chaptersofstatics,dynamics,mechanicsaregenerallyleftuntouchedwhilepreparingmathsoptional.
Regardingthesechapters,mypreparationwassuchthatIwouldbeabletosolvethecompulsory10
markquestions.Theyarequitemanageableonceyouknowthebasictheoryandthereisnopointin
unnecessarilylosingmarks.Therealanalysis/calculus&modernalgebrachaptersaretimeconsuming
butcandidatescan'taffordtoskipthem.
Ihaveuploadedmymathematicsnotesatthislink
https://goo.gl/ugRyAF

PRACTICE
Justknowingtheoryisnotenough.Itneedstobeaccompaniedbyconsistentproblemsolving
practice.Itisbesttosolvequestionsthathavealreadybeenaskedinmains.Ifsomeproblemseems
verynonintuitive,itwouldhelpifthetricktosolvesuchproblemiswritteninyournotebook.

TESTSERIES
Testseriesisveryimportantforthisoptional.IhadjoinedIMStestserieswhichhelpedmein
identifyingmyweakareas.InbothCSEandIFoSmains,thereweremanyquestionssimilartothose
coveredinIMStestseries.
Withenoughpractice,acandidatecanachievetheabilitytocompletethemathspaperin3hours.Itis
importanttoassessyourperformanceaftereachtest.Necessarystepsshouldbetakentorectify
commonmistakesthatyouarecommittinginthetestseries.Youshouldbealertnottorepeatthe
samemistakesagain&again.Asyourperformanceimproveswitheverytest,theactualmainspaper
willseemjustlikeanyothertest&youwillbeabletocomfortablycompleteit.
Presentationofyouranswermattersalot.Youraimshouldbetomakeexaminer'slifeaseasyas
possiblesothathe/shewillawardyoumaximummarks.Onlythefinalanswerdoesn'tmatter.Writing
properstepsisalsoimportanttoshowthelogicalflowwithwhichyouarrivedatthesolution.
Specificallymentionwhichevertheoremorpropertyyouareusinginaparticularstep.Wherever

possible,drawneatdiagramswithproperlabelling.Suchsmallthingswillcollectivelyfetchyouthe
extramarksthatyouareexpectingfromthisoptional.
Thehabitofwritingsuchdetailedanswerswillnotdevelopovernightandhenceyouhaveto
consciouslyworkthroughthetestseriesinthisdirection.
Ihaveuploadedasamplemathsanswersheetatthislink
https://goo.gl/Fe2Kgh
DURINGMAINEXAM
ThemainsexamscheduledoesnotprovidemuchgapbetweenGeneralStudies&Mathspapers.You
willgenerallyhave1dayinbetween.Yournotebookcontainingimportantformulae&theoremswill
beveryusefulatsuchtimes.Youwillbeabletogothroughthissummaryofeachchapteranditwill
providemuchneededconfidencebeforetheactualpaper.
Duringthemainexam,Iwouldadvisecompletingthecompulsoryquestions1&5first.Thenyoucan
choose3outofremaining6questions.Easierquestionslikethosefromtopicslikelinear
programming,numericalanalysis,linearalgebraetc.shouldbethepriority.Evenifyoudon'tknowthe
completeanswertoanyquestion,writeasmanystepsasyoucansincepartialmarksalsomatter.
Onceyoufinishpaper1,don'tstartimmediatelyanalyzingyourperformance.Irrespectiveofwhether
youareveryhappyordeeplyunsatisfiedaboutpaper1,trytoforgetaboutitandstaycalmforpaper
2.

MATHSRELATEDQUESTIONSININTERVIEW
Intheinterview,youcanexpectsomequestionsrelatedtomathematicsoptional.Generallyyou
won'tbeaskedtosolveaproblembecausethatabilityhasbeentestedinmains.Theywouldliketo
seewhetheryouhaveagenuinecuriosityregardingmathematicsoutsidewhatismentionedin
syllabus.Inmyinterviews,IwasaskedaboutRamanujan'swork.TherewerequestionsonVedic
Mathematics,NationalMathematicsDay,importantIndianMathematicalInstitutions,Fieldmedalist
ManjulaBhargavaetc.Hencewhilepreparingforinterview,trytobeawareaboutthese
nontheoreticalaspectsofmathsaswell.

SHIFTINGTODELHI
Ispenttwo&ahalfyearsinDelhiforUPSCpreparationandmanyaspirantsaskmewhetheritisreally
necessarytomovetoDelhi.MyopinionisthatitdependsentirelyonthecandidatewhetherDelhiis
theidealplaceforhimorher.Youshouldbeabletoadjusttoanewcity,newfood,newweather
whichisnotalwayseasy.PlaceslikeOldRajinderNagarputconsiderablefinancialburdenonthe
candidateifyoulookattherentetc.Youalsoneedtohavesomeselfdisciplinesothatyouusethe
freetimemainlyforyourpreparationandnotinotherunproductiveactivities.
Now,ifacandidateisabletomanageaboveaspectsthenDelhidoesprovideaconducive
environmentforasincereaspirant.Youcanfocusonyourpreparationawayfromotherdistractions.If
youfindagroupofsincerefriends/roommateslikeIwasluckyenoughtohave,thenitcanbereally
helpful.Suchgroupisusefulespeciallywhenyoudontrealisethatyouneedtomakeacourse
correctioninyourstrategy.
Ifacandidatecantshiftduetoanyreasonssuchasfinancialconstraints,pleasenotethatthereisno
disadvantageinitduetotheinternetnowadays.Alltheimportantbookscanbeordered,Hindu&
IndianExpresscanbesubscribedonline,testseriescanbeavailedthroughpostandyoucantryto
formagroupofsincereaspirantsinyourplaceitselffordiscussions.Nocoachingcanguarantee
successinthisexamsincemostofitdependsonyourselfstudy.Coachingclassjusthelpsin
maintainingsomemomentuminpreparationandhencecoachingshouldnotbethesolereasonfor
shifting.
Adecisioncanbemadetakingalltheabovepointsintoconsideration.

MAINTAININGPOSITIVEATTITUDE
AUPSCcandidategoesthroughmanyupsanddownsduringthepreparation.Therewillbeafewdays
whereyoudontfeellikestudyingandthatisfine.Butwhatisimportantisthathowquicklyyoucan
getoutofthatphaseandgetyourpreparationbackontrack.Dontdisconnectfromrestoftheworld
justbecauseyouarepreparingforUPSC.Stayintouchwithfamily,relatives,friendsasitisvery
helpfulinmaintainingacheerfulattitude.Butatthesametime,valueyourtimeanduseitjudiciously.
Ilikedwatchinglotofmovies/TVseriesandlisteningtomusicbeforestartingUPSCpreparation.
Duringthepreparation,Imayhavereducedthetimespentontheseactivitiesbutnevercompletely
stoppedthem.Iusedtojogdailyinanearbypark.Regularexercisehelpsindealingwiththestressof
thepreparation.
Lastbutnottheleast,alwayskeepremindingyourselfofwhyyouwanttojointhecivilservice.Aslong
asyouhavethathonestburningdesireinsideyou,youwillbeabletoovercomesuchtemporary
obstacles.

Allthebest!

DOWNLOADS
Linkofoverallfolder
https://goo.gl/ycCIbT
SampleGSanswersheets
https://goo.gl/xvh28v
Sampleessays
https://goo.gl/sBJ6wL
Notesonallmathematicstopics
https://goo.gl/ugRyAF
Samplemathsanswersheet
https://goo.gl/Fe2Kgh
CurrentAffairsNotesIndex
https://goo.gl/qFx5rp
SampleCurrentAffairsNotes
https://goo.gl/lfeisb