Posted in CIVIL SERVICES GUIDANCE, POPULAR

Civil Services Exam: Daily Doubt Solving Sessions

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I’ve received a lot of questions in the past  across social media pertaining to different aspects of the Civil Services Exam. I’ve tried my best to answer them on social media as well on the email ids given by many of you. But my blog seemed the best medium to address them collectively so that more and more aspirants can benefit. Feel free to post your doubts in the comments section below and I will answer them one by one within 24 hours.

If your questions are not visible in the comments section immediately, do not worry. It only means that they are pending for my approval.

Looking forward to guide you a little better. After all our country needs dedicated bureaucrats. 

Make this year’s exam your greatest attempt. I wish each one of you my very best 🙂

ALSO READ >> Civil Services Mains: Mastering Answer Writing

 

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411 thoughts on “Civil Services Exam: Daily Doubt Solving Sessions

  1. Hello mam ,I m very confused regarding the optional. whether I should choose psychology or Public administration ,i m in a dilemma .I have a lot of interest in psychology that Public administration I have read from different blogs that Psychology is not a scoring subject and very few materials available .Is that true? If I will take optional from where should I start ? and also i have an Engineering background .Sp please help me.Thank you

    Like

    1. Hi Biswambar,

      First of all, don’t go by what others have to say because the performance in an optional depends on the individual alone. Nobody else should pass a judgement.

      Both psychology and public administration are good optionals. You should base your choice depending upon three factors –

      1.Your interest after seeing the subject matter
      2.Heftiness of the syllabus
      3. Available Guidance.

      I studied psychology in college along with Hons. and hence it came a little handy to me. For a fresher, some guidance will be required.

      So for starters, I’d like you to go through the complete syllabus for both and the past 3 year papers and then come to a logical conclusion.

      Once you do that, ping me here and we’ll proceed further.

      Like

  2. I was working on a timeline. Hence wanted your view. Keeping in mind the 2018 exams, by when would you recommend one to finish all the NCERTs and start with the reference books?

    Like

    1. There are 2 ways to proceed –

      1. Finish all the NCERTs and then switch on to reference books.

      2. Prepare from NCERTs and Reference books simultaneously, moving from NCERTs to reference books.

      I insist you go with 2.
      This way you’ll prepare well, understand all the facts and save time.

      But if you want to go with NCERTs alone, then you should try finishing them in the next 75 to 90 days.

      Like

      1. Thank you so much, Akriti!
        I cannot begin to explain how helpful you’ve been. You come across as someone who genuinely wants to help the aspirants and that’s selfless and commendable.

        Since you’re suggesting to go with option 2, I might as well give it a try.
        Please let me know in case I’m missing on any reference books below:
        1. Polity- Laxmikanth
        2. History- Bipin Chandra
        3. Physical Geography- Khuller
        4. Economy- Raman Singh

        Thank you:)

        Like

        1. Awww..thank you. That are some kind words 🙂

          All the books mentioned by you are good reference books. So please go ahead. I’ll just suggest you start reading Environment as well.

          Best wishes. Visit here for any doubts anytime.

          Like

  3. Hello Ma’am, please guide me regarding my optional i.e. anthropology as it has very concise syllabus and related to human beings so I found it interesting. Is it ok to go for it being an engineer. How should I start my preparation for CSE 2018 from scratch now.

    Like

        1. Anthropology is a good optional especially if you have a hold over it. So why go for something else. Go for it. I discussed it with a friend as well. So he told me the same that it is a scoring subject indeed. Best wishes.

          Like

  4. Hi Ma’am,
    Read your many answers at quora & I appreciate your efforts to address queries in best way possible.
    I am an civil service aspirant & will be giving CSE2018 as my first attempt.
    I am in dilemma to select my optional, having done B.Pharm & MA in Pub Ad (with only basic understanding of subject) I prepared my mind to opt for pub ad but the recent trends of questions (gone through previous year papers) & marking pattern is creating hindrance to go for it. I given a look at the syllabus of psychology as well & found it OK. As I don’t have in depth knowledge the subject it would be of great help if you can guide me whether opting psychology can be a good choice to succeed in UPSC , how much comfortable it is for an beginner , efforts required to get hold on the subject, the difficulty level by UPSC for the subject, compatibility of the subject with a pharma graduate.

    Thanks in anticipation!!

    Regards,
    Somjeet Shastri

    Like

    1. Hello Somajeet

      Thank you for that insight about yourself. Before I answer your query, I’d like you to answer the following questions , so that I guide you better-

      Q1) Do you find psychology interesting ?

      Q2) Have you ever studied psychology before ?

      Like

  5. Is it better to prepare the static portion and then start writing answers or just attempt them even just by reading an article from the newspaper and answering a question related to that article? Please guide 🙂

    Like

    1. Hello Sahithi,

      Static and dynamic components should go hand in hand. As for writing answers, that’ll come later. First make notes and keep modifying.

      What is the approach that you’re currently following ?

      Like

  6. Hello mam i have started preparation from my begnning of 1 year with b.com graduation …..i am doing my graduation from my home town in a simple colledge ….and preparing full time for cse in delhi from 1 year only for cse as i go to town for only giving exams ……i am now confused that what will haplen if i didnt succed in upsc…..or state level exams…. niw i am in 2nd year and still preparing hard for cse …. please mam suggest some imp tips to kept in mind while preparing cse exam for me as i have to give exam on 2020 …….so please please mam and should i opt sociology as optional … and one last question that did qualification of an candidate does matter in interview as i have no such qualification 😮😯

    Like

    1. Hi Sanjay,

      Don’t worry so much. It’ll hamper your productivity. A modest suggestion for you would be to apply for other government exams as well so as to keep a sound back up option.

      Now coming to Sociology, yes it is a good and a scoring optional so go for it. As for the interview, no prior qualifications are not the only criteria you’ll be judged on. Your personality will determine the success in the PI. All the very best 🙂

      Like

  7. Hello mam,

    I read on quora that you had english literature as optional. I also want to take it as my optional. Is there any good coaching in Delhi. please tell me your detailed strategy for english literature.

    Like

    1. Hello Leena,

      Before I answer your question, I’d like to know 2 things from you –

      1. Do you have a background in English Literature ?

      2. What board have you passed from in Class 10th ?

      Like

  8. HI Akriti,
    My greetings to you. After deep thinking i have arrived at a conclusion about my optional.
    I have chose English literature. Your posts were really helpful for me to decide on this.
    Can you share the book list for it so that i can purchase them ASAP. I would appreciate if you can give it section wise. Thanks in advance and please carry on with the good work.

    Like

    1. Hi Bharat.

      I appreciate your kind words. Also, good decision to take up literature.

      Now coming to the book list, I need you to proceed in a methodical manner here. I don’t insist on you buying all the books at once.

      Here’s what you need to do –

      Start with buying the texts first (You can also download them from the internet).

      Buy ‘A Glossary of English Literature’ by M.H. Abrams

      Lastly, buy ‘History of English Literature’ by Compton and Rickett.

      Do this much. Ping me for any further queries. Best wishes.

      Like

  9. Hi Akriti,
    Good day
    Am just a beginner and a working professional having max. 5 hours and weekends to prepare.
    By today’s date i have merely completed Polity and some economics NCRTS and i have many books to be covered.
    Please suggest me
    1.A good study plan for this 5 hours
    2.How to make answer writing everyday and how to frame questions for the answers?
    3.Will Mains questions be directly asked from Syllabus or from relating to current affairs?.
    4.Will Mains preparation also cover Prelims or must i prepare separately for mains?.
    Sorry if my questions are vast.
    But please help me am confused.

    Like

    1. Hello Ukamanikandan

      Let me address your concerns one by one –
      1.A good study plan for this 5 hours
      A good plan will be to alternate subjects. Since you have only 5 hours, I would recommend you divide them between a subject from GS (2.5 hours), The Hindu (1 hour) and your optional (1.5 hours). Make sure that you revise the previous days work for the first 10 minutes of each hour , when you study different subjects the next day.

      2.How to make answer writing everyday and how to frame questions for the answers?

      Answer Writing will come later. You will first have to create notes. Make them while studying itself. Even if they take time, don’t worry. They will prove to be your most useful resource eventually.

      3.Will Mains questions be directly asked from Syllabus or from relating to current affairs?.

      They will be set in a way that they pertain from your syllabus but are related to the events that are in news over the past 1 year or even more.

      4.Will Mains preparation also cover Prelims or must i prepare separately for mains?.

      Mains Preparation covers the entire preparation for Mains. It is very wise of you to prepare for Mains first. A lot of aspirants don’t and then lose out finally.

      Lastly, don’t ever think, your questions are vast. I am here to help dedicated aspirants. You are always welcome here 🙂

      Like

      1. Wow thank you so much for your great response.

        If i take notes from Hindu it consumes around 3 hours
        So can i read hindu without taking notes and also follow any online material for monthly revision.

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        1. I won’t suggest that. Instead, prepare the optional only 2 days a week. This can be an alternative approach. DO NOT STOP making notes from the Hindu. Reading it orally will not be beneficial at all.

          Start with this schedule. Lets see how it works out.

          Like

          1. Oh ok
            Thank you very much i will follow that.
            Or shall i make it like this
            Weekdays fully GS and weekend fully for Optional??
            I have the complete weekends

            Like

  10. @ Akriti : Was confused over couple of things.
    1) OPTIONAL : PoL Science or Law. I am currently doing 3 yr graduate law (done after graduation),into the 2nd year this time.Law optional syllabus converges with first 2 years of curriculum but I read the first year more with a bent of clearing the academic exams.Basics are in place for both paper 1 and 2 sections in law optional for like 70-80% of the topics.But the issue here comes is there are not many good coachings of law in Delhi.Yes I may just be able to do it by myself but 2 likely hurdles appearing are how not to digress from the subject as it is vast and other one being evaluation part.Moreover, 2016 paper was very tough indeed and not many selections heard till now from Law optional.Even Ravindran Sir opined that law paper was tough and didnt see many students in mock interviews either.
    The advantage with Political Science seemingly is that the selected candidates have fetched even 325+ marks plus there is good coaching in the form Shubhra Ranjan Mam but I fear Nov may be late to start in terms of attending optional classes.
    2) I missed the newspapers of June.Should I read the old bundle first ,then switch over to July or read the new then the 30 old newspapers(it is some ask) . I started making notes but then it takes lot of time.I was confused over whether I should make notes in register(hard copy form) or on digital platform like Evernote.Things can be added or deleted easily in digital platform but then notebooks gives the better feel to read. How do I choose 1? Which monthly current affairs module would you suggest (Vision/Vajiram/IasBaba/Insight)?
    3) Should Indian Express be read alongside and how about the magazines EPW,World Focus,Down to Earth,Science Reporter?
    4) What would you suggest in terms of approach to GS as in I am versed with GS basics, attended classes too.Should I go to develop quality depth in each subject of GS(say level 3 or may be 4) or build onto say level 2 first in all subjects.This thing confuses me in GS as to should I merge say all the information / material regarding a topic like say Indian Monsoon(for this I assign myself a task to complete this from ncerts,+1,2 more refernce books + coaching notes) and get the final notes as the best quality notes from that topic or should I prepare notes like these are the notes from ncert class -11th geo ,12th and so on.In other words the debate is Quality or Quantity !!

    I will really appreciate if you try to address all the issues as per the chronology in which i asked.
    Thank You

    Like

    1. Hi Sumit,
      Thank you for the detailed list of queries. It will help other aspirants as well who struggle with similar doubts. Let me elaborate on the individual questions one by one –
      1. I generally don’t prioritize one optional over the other when most aspirants ask me about their choice of optional. However in your case, I will make an exception and outrightly ask you to go for Political Science. Now this doesn’t imply that Political Science is easy. It’s just that it will benefit you more in the long run. Also, you must have studied a chink of it while preparing for General Studies. So you shouldn’t really worry so much. As for attending coaching, why waste time attending formal classes when you can prepare the optional yourself. If at all, you want to attend, go for weekend classes only.
      2. Try not missing out on newspapers. Else, it becomes an irksome task reverting back and reading stale news. Don’t read June editions first. Read them along the latest editions. Pick up the newspaper for the latest date and tag 2 editions from June. This way you will not feel reading newspapers monotonous. Now coming to notes, they should be a mix of both although written notes should be a priority. Don’t stress too much on investing time in making written notes because they will be your most handy resource as the exam draws closer. As for monthly current affairs module, I’ll suggest Insights.
      3. No you don’t need to read the Indian Express. Hindu is more than sufficient. But magazines surely, you’ll have to read especially EPW and Down to Earth.
      4. GS is all about quality. There will be no point completing the syllabus without having an in depth of knowledge of concepts. The syllabus for GS, especially for Mains is really vast. Many times, aspirants are unable to complete it. But the right approach would be to marvel things as you read them. You will be a lot more confident this way. You do not require making notes from the NCERTs because they’re anyways a compilation from various books. If you feel that NCERTs have information that other resources don’t, just add it to your notes. That is all. Also, try to have less resources but of excellent quality rather than more resources with low grade material. More resources will slow you down. So go for Quality ALWAYS.
      All the very best. Make your attempt count and keep visiting here for any doubts.

      Like

  11. Hello ma’am,
    If I have Started my preparation from scratch from July 2017, from which month should I start my answer writing practice.

    Like

      1. Okay, thank you so much.
        Just one more query, Should I start writing on the current affairs based questions like the ones given on Insights on India? Would that help?

        Like

  12. Hi Akriti, I had contacted you via Quora.Like I had mentioned before I am in a dilemma over choosing an optional between ANTRHOPOLOGY and ENG LITERATURE.I understand it is best to choose a subject that is most interesting and less popular.
    As far as Eng Lit is concerned, I come from an engineering background and I have studied in a CBSE school upto 12th grade, and while in school i was interested in reading and interpreting poems.This might be the reason why I developed an interest in the Eng optional after reading the syllabus.However I understand the kind of interpretation required here is that of master’s level.So my question is will it be possible for an aspirant like me to complete the syllabus in 6 months?(bec i understand revision also plays a key role).Also did I mention I don’t have articulating skills when it comes to writing? 😉 (although I believe one can develop the skill with practice)

    Regarding Anthro, the syllabus is again okayish but I am not sure if its a scoring subject.Also considering where I live there is limitation to the personal guidance one can get unlike English Lit for which plenty of professors are available.

    Like

    1. Also please let me know the pros of taking Eng.Out of curiosity is it a scoring subject and Does a lot of people opt for it?The questions will be mostly static right?Analysing past few years’ papers I didn’t find any question that seemed out of syllabus or related to current world scenarios(correct me if i am wrong)

      Like

      1. Is it a scoring subject – Yes
        Do a lot of people opt for it – No
        Will questions be mostly static – No

        Pros –
        1. Extremely interesting subject that will hold your attention right till the end
        2. All resources available. Extra notes available. Online Guides available. Library material available.
        3. Coaching and Guidance available.
        4. Will help you write better answers in GS as well because you will learnt the art of making notes here.
        5. You can have your own perception of things.

        See current world scenarios can come in the compulsory passage question. So work on that because its challenging. Other than that, the syllabus is fixed but the more interpretative you can be , the better it’ll prove for you.

        Like

    2. Hi Anjali,

      See, right at the outset, let me point out a flaw in the criteria you’re choosing for the optional and that is – “you’re looking for a scoring subject.”

      Every subject in the official list by UPSC is scoring. Point is whether you’re willing to work hard. Don’t go by numbers or popular opinion. That isn’t how its meant to be. Go by 3 factors –

      1. Your interest in the subject
      2. Resources Available
      3. Guidance Available

      If you want to go for English, sure. Start practice writing and read one text daily. If you have guidance accessible to you, I insist you take it because the optional is new for you.

      Don’t be scared. I am here to guide you for English. Begin by reading a text daily and history of English Literature. Start connecting texts to the eras of literature.

      Just start.

      All the best.

      Like

  13. Hello ma’am Akriti,
    I’m a BA 1st year student doing my Honors in English Literature. I just wanted to know what would you suggest me for my CSE preparations as a student of Literature. What are the best steps I can take towards my preparation for the UPSC exams. I believe you can relate to me because you were a literature student yourself.

    Like

    1. Hi Limayala

      If you’re interested to be a civil servant, sure I’ll suggest you. Literature is anyways one of the best optionals for CSE.

      If you really want to start, do the following 3 things for a good beginning –

      1. Know the exact pattern
      2. Go through the entire syllabus
      3. Start reading the Hindu and introductory books.

      Once you do the above 3 things, you’re good to proceed further. You can ping me here and I’ll help guide you.

      All the best.

      Like

  14. Hello I found you on quora this is a commendable initiative where one can get answers .
    My question is this time people who cleared UPSC all have scored very good in essay and the general studies the marks are exceptionally high like 160 and above in essay and especially in kannada literature more than 300 why is it so,is this because of liberal correction or did the candidates did better than the previous batches.So where does this leaves people who have taken optional like History and other arts subjects who have not scored better than the literature students, does the regional language optionals get more marks because of the evaluators jingoism towards his language.
    Thanking you in advance it’s a long question though waiting for your answer.

    Like

    1. Hi.

      First of all thank you for your kind words. I’m glad you found my initiative useful.

      Now coming to your question –
      See UPSC evaluators don’t mark liberally or strictly as per their whims. They have a set of instructions to follow. If this year candidates have scored high, it is because of their own effort and hard work. Each year aspirants of a few optionals score better than others but that does not mean that optional B is less scoring than optional A. Afterall aspirants from Optional B have also cracked the exam, even if their number is less.

      Lastly, coming to regional languages. 1 factor works here –

      The aspirants are limited. But their knowledge is not. An aspirant choosing a regional language as an optional has got to know the subject extremely well. Hence the marks scored are usually good. Also , the candidates opting for regional languages is less so the competition is also less compared to other optionals. Jingosim isn’t really an issue. UPSC evaluators are smarter than that. If at all, an issue arises, UPSC will fix it from scratch.

      I hope you’re more convinced now. Best wishes.

      Like

  15. hello mam,I am preparing for 2018 cse. I have not finished syllabus yet.when should i start answer writing and how do i go about it? and also can you help me in notes making of statics and also current affairs.I make notes on evernote.

    Like

    1. Hey

      Start practicing writing answers right away. You won’t find a better time. Have you been making notes ?

      Sure I can help guide you make notes.

      Best wishes.

      Like

  16. Hi Mam
    Can you please suggest the complete list of books for geography optional?
    And Is it possible to have your mail Id mam if you dont mind?

    Like

    1. Here:-

      Paper-I

      Physical Geography – Majid Hussain/ Savindra Singh
      Modern Physical Geography – Strahler and Strahler (Optional)
      Certificate Physical and Human Geography – Goh Cheng Leong
      Physical Geography Made Simple – Rupa Publication
      Dictionary of Physical Geography – Penguin
      Evolution of Geographical Thought – Majid Hussain
      Economic and Social Geography Made Simple – Rupa Publication
      Models in Geography – Majid Hussain
      Dictionary of Human Geography
      Oxford Student Atlas
      Paper-II

      India – A Comprehensive Geography – Khullar
      Regional Planning in India – Mahesh Chand
      India Year Book – Publication Division
      Yojana and Kurukshetra Magazine

      I address all the queries here itself so that no student loses out. Giving my mail id is not a problem but then the conversation will happen in private and a lot of curious and deserving aspirants will lose out on important information 🙂

      Like

      1. Oh ok mam
        That’s great
        But the reason for mail is that I started to take note.
        So I wanted to show you the notes and clarify whether they are ok

        Like

        1. Mam sorry for this,
          Am confused between Geography and maths optional.
          I look at Maths because am Somewhat good at my engineer level maths and quite interested in Solving problems but i went through syllabus of UPSC maths but only names and am not sure about the content.
          Is it possible for you to give me solution like
          1.Whether will i be able to compete with UPSC maths syllabus with my engineering maths skills
          2.can maths UPSC syllabus be completed in my study plan of “5 hours a day +weekends”.
          3.Finally is it better option to go with for working professional with short duration to prepare.

          Like

          1. See if you’re not sure about the content, I will not recommend you to opt for it. However, I will insist you go through the previous year papers for maths, check for yourself and be 100% sure.

            Quitting your job will be a risky decision but worth it if you make it. If UPSC is what you want to pursue, give it your all.

            Like

  17. Hello mam,

    I read on quora that you had english literature as optional. I also want to take it as my optional. Is there any good coaching in Delhi. please tell me your detailed strategy for english literature.Although I had done my bachelor’s in economics but I was pretty much interested in English &did freelancing in college time .I have done my schooling through CBSE board .Please help me solve my dilemma between economics & english & how can one judge if he/she is good at English for upsc

    Like

  18. I read all your suggestions. Really helpful they are! 🙂
    My query is about the optional subject only. Much like you I’m also a graduate in English Literature (completed honours in english this year from University of Delhi). As I’ve gone through the syllabus of UPSC eng. literature optional subject, 70% to 75% of it has already been covered in my graduation. Plus, after completing a full fledged 3 year course, I’m not bored of it! I like the subject, I have a good grasp of it! So as you chose english literature as your optional, is there any suggestion or point which says that I should NOT go with it as my optional?

    Like

    1. Thank you Avisha.

      The fact that you’ve studies Hons. in English from DU puts you at an advantage like you rightly pointed out. Familiarity will be a benefit for you.

      My only suggestion to you would be to work on the question that comes from an unseen passage. Put both your literature and language skills to use there. There you will not be familiar but your knowledge will help you out.

      Best wishes.

      Like

  19. Hello Mam,

    First of all thank you for all the suggestions. I have read few articles of yours and those are already helping me.

    I am targeting CSE 2018 and has started preparing few weeks back. My doubt lies in selection of English literature as optional subject. I am an engineering graduate(so have studied literature only till class 12). Will you please suggest if English literature can be opted and scored well by a person from non literature background?

    Thanks in advance.

    Like

    1. Hi Suchita.

      Glad to know that my articles are helping you out. I’ll be writing exclusively about English Literature as an optional as well.

      Now coming to your question –
      An aspirant without a background of English Literature can very well opt for it (just like other optionals). However, it is important to remember that English Literature as a subject is not only about reading stories. There is much more. Without understanding the complete history of literature and the contemporary theories, it is difficult to score well. So my suggestion to you would be to study the subject deeply. Also, refer as many books as possible for creating notes.

      Best wishes.

      Like

  20. Hello Mam. Namashkar.
    What should be the approach to start Mains answer writing practice ? I have started writing answers from INSIGHTS SECURE but to grasp the concept and to carry out background study consumes a lot of time. Should I make notes on the new topics and continue accumulating concepts or should I follow any other approach ?
    I am actually new to this blog. So I donot know whether this question has been asked by any other fellow candidate or not.
    Thanking you,
    Sidharth Acharya

    Like

  21. Hello, I am a graduate in English Literature from Delhi University. I am pursuing a Masters degree in same. I wanted to enquire regarding the feasibility of choosing EngLit as an optional for CSE. Is the syllabus doable; are there any coachings in Delhi; does its subjectivity factor pose a problem in scoring good; how can one prepare for it by oneself?

    Like

    1. English Literature is an excellent optional if you have your heart in it. I’m not a propagandist of coaching for literature. Your syllabus at DU covers pretty much everything. Just preparing.

      Best wishes.

      Like

  22. Hi Ma’am, I am finding geography tough to visualize especially concepts. How do I go about it? Also when should we start answer writing?

    Like

  23. Hi Ma’am, I am finding geography tough in terms of understanding concepts. How should I proceed with it? Also when should we start answer writing and from where do we get feedback?

    Like

        1. Start with ICSE books (Classes 8, 9 and 10). ICSE books will help you crack the basics. They are very well written. Then move on to other books (Begin with Physical Geography by Khullar).

          Like

    1. Sure.

      Start relating items from news to your GS syllabus. Will be very helpful. I’ve written an article exclusively on reading the Hindu. Go through it and then revert back here.

      Like

      1. Actually I am able to find the relevant news but because of lack of understanding of issue and subject knowledge, it takes lot of time. And there are so many keywords in newspaper. Also is it better to make notes from newspaper on prelims or mains perspective?

        Like

        1. Here’s what you need to start pursuing –

          1. Invest more time on GS. Master the basic concepts. Once you lay a firm foundation, you’ll love reading the Hindu and relating it to your GS syllabus.

          2. Make notes from the Mains perspective ALWAYS. They’ll prove immensely useful.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Aspirants don’t disturb me. The intention here is to solve as many doubts of aspirants as possible. So keep asking until you have 100% clarity. I wouldn’t have mind sharing notes but I’m in Bangalore right now and the notes are back home.

            I don’t prefer communicating on mail because a lot of other aspirants tend to miss out on essential conversations. However, if you feel there is a dire need, sure.

            Like

  24. Hello again!

    The last time I’d asked you for reference books on psychology you’d asked me to refer to NCERT and Baron/ Morgan.
    However, a lot of topics such as methods, developmental psychology etc are not be found.
    Could you please suggest me additional resources for psychology. Since you had psychology as an optional subject I’m hoping you’d be able to help:)

    Like

    1. I’d asked you take them as your first reference books because building a strong foundation is extremely important.

      I insist you buy Mukul Pathak notes. They’ll really help you. A modest suggestion would be to understand all the topics mentioned in the aforesaid resources and then proceed towards other topics.

      I can suggest you a few more books but do finish the ones mentioned to you earlier –
      Ciccarelli- Paper 1
      Applied psychology by Smarak Swain for Paper 2

      Like

  25. 1. Ma’am if you don’t mind can u write a detailed note for preparation w.r.t beginners like each stage of preparation with respect to prelims and mains. Like given a timeline what should be each phase of systematic preparation so that one could get thorough with the basics and also when one should begin about thinking about preparation of essays and ethics. Also if u don’t mind when should we think about interview preparation etc. I didn’t find much information in your blog regarding them.
    2.Also can u suggest what is the best way to study maps in geography and make interconnections. Especially physiography of India and all.

    Like

      1. Ma’am what are the sources of current affairs which would be sufficient apart from Hindu from both PRELIMS and MAINS point of view especially for beginners? Like insights or current affairs booklet. Also what should be done to cover PIB?

        Like

        1. Start following websites for more updates on current affairs especially the official ministries. Also, visit Mrunal frequently. Subscribe for Yojana and Civil Services Times. For PIB, subscribe for http://pib.nic.in/newsite/usr_sbr.aspx in order to receive latest updates. Make sure to keep compiling all of the above in one source for your convenience.

          Like

        1. 3-4 years is way too long a time to be invested for an exam. Your first attempt should be your best attempt. Wasting years will not only frustrate you but also make you lose out on excellent opportunities elsewhere. If you’re serious about UPSC, give it your best shot in 2018 itself. Lingering on attempt after attempt is not recommended. More attempts are still ok if an aspirant cracked the Mains exam but couldn’t beyond PI. But if at all an aspirant does not qualify even the prelims , more attempts will be time wastage. It’s always better to have security at the back of one’s head. Along with UPSC, give your state service exam as well as SSC CGL exam in order to gain confidence and a good back up.

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          1. Can u tell me which would be exhaustive book list for history ancient, medieval and modern? I mean are the old ncerts and spectrum enough or is it needed to refer bipi chandra and tamil nadu textbooks in addition to it?

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          2. Tamil Nadu textbooks not really.

            Bipin Chandra certainly yes.

            BOOK LIST

            History: NCERT Class VI – Our Past

            History: NCERT Class VII – Our Past -I

            History: NCERT Class VIII – Our Past II and III

            History: NCERT Class IX – India and the Contemporary World – I

            History: NCERT Class IX – India and the Contemporary World – II

            History: NCERT Class X – Themes In World History

            History: NCERT Class XII – Themes In Indian History – I

            History: NCERT Class XII – Themes in Indian History – II

            History: NCERT Class XII – Themes In Indian History – III

            Additional Books for Reference: NCERT History Textbooks of old syllabus (1990s):

            Ancient India (class XI) by RS Sharma: This covers the ancient Indian history syllabus completely.Alternative Published version: India’s Ancient Past – RS Sharma: Covers all of the NCERT syllabus and is more detailed in all aspects. Should be a good substitute.
            Medieval India (class IX) by Satish Chandra: This should be enough for Medieval.Alternative Published version: History of Medieval India – Satish Chandra: More detailed than the NCERT but less easy to read. NCERT would be better.
            Modern India (class X) by Bipin Chandra:Alternative Published version:India Before Independence: Bipan Chandra’s published book is easily available is more comprehensive, but the NCERT is more objective and easier to read.
            World History (Class X): Should be enough for an intro to world history

            Like

          3. I wanted to know is insights secure synopsis a reliable source to verify the answer writing for both static and dynamic contents for mains exam? I mean is the structure of model answer there reliable?

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          4. Please tell how often or when should we refer economic survey, india year book, yojana and kurukshetra. Also should we refer science reporter or any other magazines like that

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          5. It isn’t about ,”How often”.. It’s about the context and the necessity. I insist you refer to Mrunal videos/content on Economic Survey. It’ll help you understand concepts really well. As for India Year Book – Read it cover to cover. Yojana should be read on an issue wise basis.

            Science Reporter is a good resource. You don’t need more science magazines.

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          6. Hi Akriti Ma’am, Considering the fact that we don’t have luxury of words in mains, is it necessary to make notes from newspaper or is developing broader understanding enough?

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          7. Can u please give a detailed description about the various qualifiers in mains exam questions like “Examine”, “Critically Analyse”, “Discuss”? I m very much confused about them

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  26. Hello ma’am , This is Abhishek I started my preparation for upsc 2018 with NCERT books , I hereby have doubt regarding the optional subject in between psychology and philosophy .
    I completed my graduation in Biomedical engineering this year.
    So can u please suggest me which optional subject will be related to my field and will be easy for a science background aspirant??

    Thank you so much for your guidance !

    Like

    1. Hi Abhishek,

      See, choosing an optional should depend on your interest, resources available and your grip over the subject.

      Both psychology and philosophy are good optionals. I insist you go through the syllabus for both as well as the previous year papers. Once, you do that, make an informed decision. You can revert back and clarify any doubts here.

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  27. Thank you:)
    However, I have a small doubt. Since the subject matter of both Baron and Ciccarelli is overlapping, shouldn’t either of the two suffice?
    Also, how helpful are the NCERTs for psychology?

    Like

    1. Sure you can go with one. But its always good to have access to more authors.

      As for NCERTs of Classes 11th and 12th – Very good books (Especially the older versions).

      Like

  28. Hello ma’am,
    What should be the way to approach NCERTs? Should the notes be made out of it or they should be just gone through once?
    And what about approach for other standard books like Laxmikant, GC leong etc.?

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    1. Hi.
      You don’t need to make notes out of NCERT because NCERTs are anyways a compilation of various books. However, if you feel a concept has been covered very well, include the extra information to your notes.

      Now coming to other books, you’ll need to make comprehensive notes except for Laxmikanth.

      Best wishes.

      Like

      1. Thanku ma’am.
        And if I am covering Hindu and making notes out of it, how should I use the current affair magazine for my prep ?

        Like

  29. Hey!
    There’s a constant debate that goes on about using Old NCERTs vis a vis the new ones.
    Could you please help us with the name of the subjects for which one should essentially be reading the old NCERTS.

    Like

    1. How about I provide you a list of all the NCERTs that you should read (irrespective of the editions) –
      HISTORY

      History: NCERT Class VI – Our Past

      History: NCERT Class VII – Our Past -I

      History: NCERT Class VIII – Our Past II and III

      History: NCERT Class IX – India and the Contemporary World – I

      History: NCERT Class IX – India and the Contemporary World – II

      History: NCERT Class X – Themes In World History

      History: NCERT Class XII – Themes In Indian History – I

      History: NCERT Class XII – Themes in Indian History – II

      History: NCERT Class XII – Themes In Indian History – III

      INDIAN SOCIETY

      Indian Society: NCERT Class VI – Social Science: Social & Political Life I

      Indian Society: NCERT Class VII – Social Science: Social & Political Life II

      Indian Society: NCERT Class VIII – Social Science: Social & Political Life III

      Indian Society: NCERT Class XI – Sociology: Understanding Society

      Indian Society: NCERT Class XII – Indian Society

      Indian Society: NCERT Class XII – Social Change and Development in India

      ART AND CULTURE

      Art & Culture : NCERT Class XI – An Introduction to Indian Art

      Art & Culture : NCERT Class XI – Living Craft Traditions of India (Chapters 9 & 10)

      GEOGRAPHY

      Geography: NCERT Class VI – The Earth Our Habitat

      Geography: NCERT Class VII – Our Environment

      Geography: NCERT Class VIII – Resource and Development

      Geography: NCERT Class IX – Contemporary India – I

      Geography: NCERT Class X – Contemporary India – II

      Geography: NCERT Class XI – Fundamentals of Physical Geography

      Geography: NCERT Class XI – India – Physical Environment

      Geography: NCERT Class XII – Fundamentals of Human Geography

      Geography: NCERT Class XII – India – People and Economy

      Additional Books for Reference: NCERT History Textbooks of old syllabus (1990s):

      Ancient India (class XI) by RS Sharma: This covers the ancient Indian history syllabus completely.Alternative Published version: India’s Ancient Past – RS Sharma: Covers all of the NCERT syllabus and is more detailed in all aspects. Should be a good substitute.
      Medieval India (class IX) by Satish Chandra: This should be enough for Medieval.Alternative Published version: History of Medieval India – Satish Chandra: More detailed than the NCERT but less easy to read. NCERT would be better.
      Modern India (class X) by Bipin Chandra:Alternative Published version:India Before Independence: Bipan Chandra’s published book is easily available is more comprehensive, but the NCERT is more objective and easier to read.
      World History (Class X): Should be enough for an intro to world history
      POLITY

      Polity: NCERT Class IX – Political Science: Democratic Politics Part – I

      Polity: NCERT Class X – Political Science: Democratic Politics Part – II

      Polity: NCERT Class XI – Political Science: Indian Constitution at Work

      Polity: NCERT Class XI – Political Science: Political Theory

      Polity: NCERT Class XII – Political Science I: Contemporary World Politics

      Polity: NCERT Class XII – Political Science II: Politics in India since Independence

      For Polity: Class 9 to 12 NCERT books should be read in detail, with focus on 11th and 12th (of which World Politics, only if time permits).

      INDIAN ECONOMY

      Economy: NCERT Class IX – Economics: Economics

      Economy: NCERT Class X – Understanding Economic Development

      Economy: NCERT Class XI – Indian Economic Development

      Economy: NCERT Class XII – Introductory Microeconomics

      Economy: NCERT Class XII – Introductory Macroeconomics

      SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

      Science: NCERT Class VI

      Science: NCERT Class VII

      Science: NCERT Class VIII

      Science: NCERT Class IX

      Science: NCERT Class X

      Science Class XI – Chemistry: Unit 14 & Biology: Units 4 & 5

      Science Class XII – Chemistry: Unit 16 & Biology: Units 8, 9 & 10

      ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY

      Science: Class XII – Biology: last four Chapters (13 to 16)

      Like

  30. MAM, can you help me out in evaluating answers of ethics, essay and few GS-2 & GS-3 questions on a weekly or even on a fortnightly basis? I hope your insights and valuable guidance can enrich my answers for the Mains examination.

    Like

  31. Mam, I’m a begginer for this UPSC preparation. I have four years of time to give my first attempt so now I’m starting with ncert and current affairs and simultaneously taking test pertaining to the topics I studied. Is this good or should I make any changes.

    Like

    1. Hi Anu,

      I answered a different question asked by you first so you can ignore that reply (since I understand your academic status now).

      It’s good that you’re starting with NCERT books. My suggestion to you would be to add ICSE books to your list as well.

      Cover all the basics first and then move on to reference books.

      Best wishes.

      Like

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