Weekly Time Table for CSE Exam 2018

A lot of aspirants have been asking me about an ideal schedule for CSE preparation. There is no set schedule. To each their own philosophy works best here. However, in the current post, I will share the time table, I followed during the course of my preparation.

Weekly Time Table Covering Subjects

While preparing for CSE, I had created a set schedule for myself. If it suits you, do follow it –

  • MONDAY – Polity , Economy, Geography, Current Affairs
  • TUESDAY – History, Environment, Science & Technology, Current Affairs
  • WEDNESDAY – Optional, CSAT, Polity, Current Affairs
  • THURSDAY – Optional, CSAT, economy, Current Affairs
  • FRIDAY – History, Geography, Environment, Current Affairs
  • SATURDAY – Science & Technology, At & Culture, Economy, Current Affairs
  • SUNDAY – Revision and Mock Tests

The above schedule was followed by me about 5 months (time invested was at least 2 hours per subject) at the beginning of preparation. After that , i felt I had an edge in a few subjects so modified the time table weekly keeping both prelims and mains in mind.

Here are some additional tips that will prove beneficial –

  • Create a daily, weekly and monthly plan covering topics, and hence subjects.
  • Do not read one subject at a time for GS and leave the rest. For instance don’t formulate a strategy where you go on studying , let’s say , polity for 2 months and leave out all the rest.
  • Alternate subjects and study.
  • Besides subjects covering GS, make sure you invest about 2 hours exclusively on Current Affairs (from sources like the Hindu, online portals and official websites for various Ministries)
  • Allot the current affairs read by you to various subjects of GS. For this you can either make topic wise notes or just add the information to your existing notes. This compilation of Current Affairs will be one of your best resources for both prelims and Mains.
  • Keep an hour (at least daily) to refer to websites like Mrunal & Insights just to make sure that you are not losing out on any topic.

Work really hard. Amplify your strengths and abate your weaknesses. Sincere efforts never go wasted. Make your attempt count.


How to Write a Powerful Essay for Civil Services Exam ?

If you have the knack of expressing the most candid thoughts of your mind in the most beautiful way on paper, you can credit yourself with writing a good essay 🙂

By beautiful , I mean – simple, accurate and methodical.

Speaking of hacks, here are some points , I feel , make a difference in writing a good essay –

  • Understand the essay topic completely and make sure you don’t beat around the bush.
  • Once you choose a topic, begin the process of stringing your thoughts together in a methodical way.
  • A good essay should always have an interesting introduction, a simple but coherent body and a conclusive ending.
  • Avoid being biased towards/against a point of view. Always create a balance.
  • Even if you feel a certain of point of view to be true – try explaining the strengths of your argument rather than the weaknesses of the other side.
  • Give headings. It helps in creating a methodical essay.
  • Avoid too may idealistic quotes. How about creating your own relevant to the topic.
  • Have an intriguing beginning and be spot on – to the point. For instance , an essay on ‘Demonetization’ should not begin on the lines of , “Since times immemorial, Indian economy has…….” Instead, start with something like , “Demonetization is one of the most powerful measures against black money …”
  • Never have an open ended conclusion. It’s not a movie by Christoper Nolan.
  • Stay original at all times.

If you want to master the craft of essay writing, you have got to have an excellent grip over two things –

  1. Language
  2. Subject Matter

The best possible content expressed in the simplest words will fetch you excellent marks in the Essay Paper.

Essay writing isn’t about mugging up facts and then spouting them out on your answer sheet. It’s about making the best use of your knowledge and writing it creatively.

For having a good grip over language, here is what you need to do –

  • Become a voracious reader of books, magazines, newspapers, research papers, websites
  • Converse in the language more often. Until you master speaking fluently , you’ll not be able to write well
  • Keep a Dictionary in hand and refer to it as many times you feel the need. Once you’re able to make proper sentences (at least 3) , you’ll remember the word and it’s meaning.

For having a good grip over the subject matter, you’ll have to pursue the following things

  • Daily reading of  Newspapers (especially extra features and editorials)
  • Weekly reading of Yojana and Kurukshetra
  • Remaining aware of the latest news stories via social media.
  • Having a damn good grip over the general studies syllabus (it’ll be easier to relate)

Now there are certain things you should absolutely avoid –

  • Rote Learning of Essays from books
  • Mugging up quotations and using them randomly in your essay
  • Digressing from the core topic.

Reading the ‘Hindu’ Effectively for Civil Services !!

The Hindu is a CSE aspirant’s most genuine source for current affairs. Nobody can possibly crack Civil Services without reading the Hindu regularly. Most of the aspirants realize it’s importance but feel perplexed when they first start reading it.

In the current post, I’ll elucidate the importance of the Hindu and define ways of reading it so as to gain maximum benefit.

How is the Hindu Different from other Indian Newspapers ?

  1. The Hindu covers ‘news’ and not ‘paparazzi’
  2. Some of the finest individuals publish their editorials in the Hindu.
  3. The English Language and syntax used in the Hindu are genuine and not mixed with Hinglish.
  4. The coverage of Current Affairs across disciplines is quite good.

How to Gain the most out of Reading the Hindu ?


Reading Hindu should be a daily activity. Invest around 1.5 hours on it daily (at least). Fix daily time for it. You can either read it in the morning or during mid day or even night. (I used to read the Hindu during evenings)


UPSC will test you on your knowledge of current affairs in relation with the world around and not in isolation. You will have to master the craft of relating news items to your General Studies (GS) syllabus.

For instance, if there is a coverage on , let’s say – drought in South India. Relate it to Geography and Environmentboth focusing on an aspect like El Nino.


If there is news about “Wanna Cry” malware, relate it to technology. Focus on hacking, cyber attacks, cyber crimes, cyber laws.


No matter how boring you find the editorials (you will at first), don’t avoid them. You will be interested over a matter of time. Nobel Laureates like Paul Krugman contribute to the Hindu weekly. Follow their posts and derive benefit out of them


The Hindu comes up with unique editions. One day of the week is fixed for the Environment and Wildlife, another for Technology so on and so forth. Make sure your read them well. In the past few years, UPSC has picked up questions from there directly. Also, buy the special editions that the Hindu publishes yearly – Hindu’s Survey on Indian Agriculture, Hindu’s Survey on Indian Industries so on and so forth


Lastly, and most importantly – make notes from the Hindu. What you read today will be forgotten by you in three days time if you don’t revise. Notes will serve the purpose of a good compilation especially when the exam gets closer. I had maintained a note book (discipline wise). You can do the same. These notes will be useful for Prelims and Mains both. In fact for Mains, they will one of your most handy resource.

Most Important Aspects to Cover while reading the Hindu

  • Polity
  • International Relations
  • World Economy
  • Agriculture
  • Environment
  • Wildlife
  • Technology
  • Research

What to Skip while reading the Hindu ?

  • Bollywood Snippets
  • Articles on Philosophy
  • Rowdy political statements

Start reading the Hindu effectively from today itself and help scale up your preparation.

All the very best.


Cracking Civil Services Along With a Full Time Job

Each year lakhs of aspirants think of preparing for Civil Services examination and each year aspirants get perplexed thinking about the following carefully worded line –

“Job ke sath kaha hopaega IAS ka exam. Samaj nahi araha ki exam du ya naukri karu.”

At the outset, let me tell you that Civil Services can be cracked along with a full time job. Sure, you’ll have to be more disciplined, more focused and definitely more determined. But it is possible. 

The fact that Civil Services preparation  is strenuous, makes a lot of aspirants opt out of jobs to invest time on CSE 100%. Now that is ok but for aspirants who don’t want to leave their secure jobs, there is nothing to worry. All you need to do is stay methodical and have a damn good strategy.

3 Important Points to Consider for Working CSE Aspirants


You have got to prepare a plan (a time table/schedule) and stick to it. This way you’ll save precious time and will get the work done at the earliest. Without a plan, not only frustration get the better of you but also you’ll exhaust yourself.


Being a working professional, your time during week days will be limited. Nevertheless you still have to devote 4 hours daily – 2 before office in the morning and 2 after office during evenings. On weekends and holidays, you will have to invest maximum time.


Compile all the resources before hand and then begin preparation. If you don’t have good resources in your city, ask a good book seller to get them for you from Delhi. They do that easily. Personally, I will not suggest coaching to working professionals. Study by yourself. That is what I did. It saved my time and I had a much better grip of the Syllabus .Do enroll in test series but that can wait for later.

10 Tasks Expected Out of Working CSE Aspirants 

  1. Read the Hindu daily and make notes so as to have a ready in hand repository once the exam draws closer.
  2. Read and make notes on at least one important event daily – national or international. An event that you know will be important from CSE point of view.
  3. Relate the current affairs that you have been reading with your General Studies syllabus because that is exactly how UPSC frames questions.
  4. Alternate subjects from General Studies. For instance keep 2 days for Geography of India, 2 for history so on and so forth. This way you will be able to complete all the subjects within 2 weeks.
  5. Lay special emphasis on International Relations and Environment. Damn important seeing the recent trends.
  6. Once a week, read the India Year Book Make this book your bible.
  7. Once a week, read a magazine like Yojana and Kurukshetra. It’ll be very useful.
  8. Devote some time (even if its 1 hour) towards Mains preparation. This is very important.
  9. Devote time to optional preparation at least twice a week.
  10. Invest time on Sundays exclusively for revision. Weekly revisions of previously learnt aspects is essential.

Remember that Civil Services preparation is about hard work and smart work both. Avail the best of your time and make your attempt count. Best wishes.


Top 6 Do’s & Don’ts for Civil Services Prelims 2017

Hi CSE Aspirants, 

You are left with exactly 45 days before you attempt Civil Services Prelims this year. I know you must be under a lot of pressure and understandably so. But pressure won’t make things easier, reasonability will. 

I’ve prepared a list of Do’s and Don’ts that will help you stay focused on the aspects of the exam that matter. Wasting precious time overthinking about the worst will do you no good. Instead, stay calm and give CSE 2017 your best shot.

Here are the Do’s & Dont’s that I recommend for aspirants –



  1. Take revision seriously and go through all your notes (subject wise).
  2. Prioritize going through the topics from Current Affairs (that you must have compiled previously).
  3. Invest special time to ‘environment’ and ‘Science & Technology’ component of your syllabus.
  4. Attempt Mock Tests and time yourself. Assess your mistakes (even the minutest ones).
  5. Take a brisk walk daily and maintain a proper diet.
  6. Stay positive at all times.



  1. Do not read anything new. Invest your time revising your previous learning.
  2. Rote Learning of last moments concepts is a big no-no
  3. Do not go about reading randomly the archives of the Hindu newspaper.
  4. Avoid mugging and solving questions from previous year papers at all times
  5. Checking random websites for expected cutoffs is a big no-go
  6. Do not Panick . Else you’ll be under a lot stress.

I wish each one of you my very best. Make your attempt count.

For any queries on CSE, feel free to drop by at –



Civil Services Exam: Daily Doubt Solving Sessions

Mt. Sinai Academy (1)

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



Civil Services Mains: Answer Writing

Civil Services Mains

Civil Services Mains is one of the most challenging stages of the Civil Services exam.The syllabus is enormous, competition is cut throat and the time frame is a binding on the aspirants. Even the most hard working individuals tend to lose their peace of mind during the course of preparation. Yet, the best make it each year despite all odds and that is the category you should aspire for too.

One of the most effective hacks of cracking the IAS Mains examination is to practice writing answers. I say this with my own experience and insist on you trying out the same.

Practicing answer writing has 2 benefits –

  • Helps you with remembering concepts in the exam.
  • Helps you with Time management

An aspirant should develop the craft of writing good and crisp answers so that the examiner understands them clearly. Crisp and ‘to the point’ answers will make sure that you get awarded with the appropriate marks.

Here are 5 writing hacks that every Civil Services aspirant must do –

  1. Make notes and modify them regularly according to the word limit.This will not only help you gather useful content  but also help you save time in the exam.
  2. Use the content of the notes effectively in the exam as and when asked in the respective questions. Using your own content will help you gain confidence. Remember it is an exam and not an extempore competition where you need to express opinions on the spot.
  3. Always refer to multiple resources while crafting notes and hence answers.This way you will develop an excellent grasp on the subject matter.
  4. Each note should be an answer in itself. This will not be easy at first but eventually you’ll master the art.
  5. Lastly, revise notes daily, weekly, monthly and nobody can stop you from qualifying the exam

All the very best. Put in your hundred percent and make your attempt count 🙂

For any query on any aspect of the Civil Services Exam, feel free to post your comment on —> CIVIL SERVICES EXAM: DAILY DOUBT SOLVING SESSIONS