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UPSC CSE 2019 Ranker from CivilsDaily | 15 in top 100 | 50+ selection

UPSC has just now declared the final result for CSE 2019. You can check out the result here.

From Civilsdaily we have 15 in the top 100. Overall 50+ (still counting).

Pradeep Singh has scored the AIR 1. Pratibha Verma is the topper among women candidates.

A total of 829 candidates have been selected to various Civil Services through the 2019 edition of the exam.

Congratulations to all those who have cleared this exam.

Some of our rankers in UPSC 2019

Name Rank
Abhishek Saraf 8
Nupur Goel 11
Raunak Aggarwal 13
Neha Bhonsle 15
Gunjan Singh 16
Swati Sharma 17
Pari Bishnoi 30
Dr. Pankaj 56
Priyank kishore 61
Yogesh Patil 63
Navneet Mittal 69
Roma Srivastava 70
Chandrima Atri 72
Anil Kumar Rathore 81
Manoj Madhav 105
Nabal Kumar Jain 125
Kunal Aggarwal 130
Tanya Singhal 159
Nishant Saurabh 178
Annapurna Singh 194
Raspreet Singh 196
Rahul Mishra 202
Ayush Khare 267
Ashish Joon 271
Nihal Randhawa 273
Gorijala Mohana Krishna 283
Amit Kumar Chaturvedi 295
Abhinav Gopal 305
Rajnish Patidar 307
Ayush Vikram Singh 341
Aditya Pareek 355
Singh Prabhat Gyanendra 377
Jubin Mohapatra 379
Mridul Singh 401
Ankush Kothari 429
Shubham Jaiswal 482
Varun K Gowda 528
Suhas R 583
Rehan Khatri 596
R Aishwarya 608
Abhishek Saini 627
Polumati Sharanya 653
Amit Gemawat 672
Arun Singh Tomar 723
Tapendra Meena 725
K Prathima 757
Prateek Singotiya 760
Amit Dutt 761
Kumud Ranjan 763
Ravi Kumar 770
Sanjeev Mandia 795
Sahil Bansal 808

Want to see your name in this list in the next mains. Fill this Samanvaya form. We’ll call you to discuss how to go forward from here.
and still counting.

Click to fill the form: Samanvaya for IAS 2022

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AIR 350, AIR 358, AIR 361 – Thanking emails from all !

Nothing beats the feeling of receiving emails from our students. They will be sharing their strategy and notes very soon. If you have any specific question, please mention them in the comments and those will be specifically answered.

AIR 361 Abhaysinha Deshmukh

AIR 350 – Nabal Kumar Jain 


AIR 358 – Surabhi Agarwal


We at Civilsdaily are committed to helping you in the process of figuring out your learning personalities and creating the best time table and suggesting most relevant strategies for your IAS Prep. Please take 5 minutes to fill up this Samanvaya Form. We will arrange a mentor call for you once this is done.

IAS Rankers Motivation Bytes

Motivation – Jishnu J Raju, AIR 132 – strategy for the last few days of prelims

Jishnu has had an exceptional journey. His last minute tips are a gold mine. He has been a regular follower of Civilsdaily and has penned down these tips for aspirants. 


Dear All

Given that the prelims exam is due in a fortnight, one of the most frequent queries I am getting is how to go about the remaining days before the Prelims.

So I thought I would place myself as a candidate writing this year’s prelims and write down what I would have down!

I had taken prelims 5 times, and I didn’t fail a single time. I was a ‘good boy’ till maybe my 2nd attempt, wherein I would have made a plan for Prelims 2 months back and by now I would have somehow finished revising that at least once. But then I didn’t get a Rank in those attempts.

After those 2 attempts, given my strong foundation, I didn’t care much to read those books again and again, but focused on Current Affairs and Test Series, a lot of them! So any veteran out there, who feel like he hasn’t done enough, don’t worry guys! If you had done well in the past, you would continue to do well. I wouldn’t dare to give any tips to them!

My focus is on the first and second attempters, whom I believe, would have done one (or more) revisions and may be prepared a plan for the 14 odd days to come. Don’t worry. I don’t wish to alter that plan but would like to suggest some things which worked for me.

For the Next 10 Days

Don’t stop READING: follow your plan, but make sure you give a quick read of Modern India, Polity, Current Affairs, and Environment.

Give more time to test series: do more tests and do it quickly. As in, finish a test and its review in one hour! Keep doing more and more tests.

Go through some fact-based current affairs compilations: like GkToday quiz or Bankers’ Adda compilations. Leave questions like appointments, film/sports awards, etc, but study Summits, exam relevant awards, new discoveries (especially butterfly, bananas and the like!).

Compilations for last 4-5 months should do.

Last 4 days

  • Just revise the areas you might keep forgetting like the Part B of Spectrum covering many commissions, press, leaders, etc., National Parks and its specialties, the appendix of Lakshmikanth, etc.
  • Do Map work, especially the places in the news. The neighborhood (Myanmar, Pakistan), Middle East, etc.
  • Do some easy tests like first 7-8 tests of any test series or maybe retake some currents affairs test, so that your mind is conditioned to approach the actual prelims with a positive outlook rather than being doubtful.

I imagine some of you might be down, without confidence. I also had such phases before prelims. Even when I scored 176 in prelims 2016, sitting before the actual question paper, I was a doubting Thomas. But just consider this: If you are one to weighed down by just an exam, how will you manage a district in its crisis. You are really better than what you imagine you are.

Trust me, if you have been genuine with yourself, you would clear the prelims. Prelims is just a phase to weed out the non-serious candidates. You are definitely not one of them! All the Best.


We at Civilsdaily are committed to helping you in the process of figuring out your learning personalities and creating the best time table and suggesting most relevant strategies for your IAS Prep. Please take 5 minutes to fill up this Samanvaya Form. We will arrange a mentor call for you once this is done.


IAS Rankers

Topper Testimonial: Jishnu, AIR – 132 CSE 2018, Working Professional

Jisnu has been a regular student at Civilsdaily. He’s used the stories feature to prepare comprehensive notes on various topics. 

We have raised the bar high. Check out our foundation 2020 program.

Foundation 2020: Take a Big Step Towards Comprehensive & Personalised Learning for IAS 2020


Note from CD:

We at Civilsdaily are committed to helping you in the process of figuring out your learning personalities and creating the best time table and suggesting most relevant strategies for your IAS Prep. Please take 5 minutes to fill up this Samanvaya Form. We will arrange a mentor call for you once this is done.

IAS Rankers

Topper Testimonial: Saurabh Bhuwania, AIR – 113, CSE 2018

Saurabh was one of our early adopters. We take great pride in his success.

He praises us in more ways than one.

We have raised the bar high. Check out our foundation 2020 program.

Foundation 2020: Take a Big Step Towards Comprehensive & Personalised Learning for IAS 2020

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Rishav Mandal, AIR 58 CSE 2018 | Pol Sc. Topper with 325 Marks


Dear students,

Very rarely we come across toppers who talk about their highs and lows.

In this candid video, Rishav Mandal (AIR 58, CSE 2018) shares his journey to the top. He identifies the fatal mistakes that cost his first attempt and parts with the strategies he adopted to overcome them. Overall, this short video summarises the years of toil that transformed this ordinary lad into a glittering star.

His marksheet is as follows –



IAS Rankers

Topper Testimonial: Ishwarya Ramanathan, AIR – 630

Dear Students,

Ishwarya has followed all our initiatives thoroughly and very carefully. Please make a note of the mention of Burning Issues.

Debraj (AIR 529) used our material to save time and crack the exam alongside a job. Read about his journey here – Topper Testimonial: Debraj Das, AIR – 529 CSE 2018, Working Professional, IIT KGP Graduate


We have raised the bar high. Check out our foundation 2020 program.

Foundation 2020: Take a Big Step Towards Comprehensive & Personalised Learning for IAS 2020


IAS Rankers

Topper Testimonial: Debraj Das, AIR – 529 CSE 2018, Working Professional, IIT KGP Graduate

Debraj, a working professional is an inspiration to everyone who has constraints and cannot leave their jobs but their heart lies in Civil Services.

Please go through what he has to say. Optimize your time. Be more effective.

If you are a working professional and want to give your best shot for IAS 2020, have a look at our latest programme offering:

Foundation 2020: Take a Big Step Towards Comprehensive & Personalised Learning for IAS 2020

Announcements IAS Rankers

Kamyaa (AIR 172) & Kunal (AIR 211): Strategies with Highest ROI | Student driven Q&A Session

Dear students,

This is a must watch! A student-driven Q&A session.

Presenting the most interesting and enriching discussion – Civilsdaily invited two toppers who represent the extremes of the CSE-prep spectrum.

Kunal gives the most practical tips. Debunks myths around the number of questions to attempt, whether to go for high-valued questions. His outlook on life remains admirable.

While Kamyaa (AIR 172) exemplifies the ‘happy-go-lucky attitude’ who cracked the exam with little planning; Kunal (AIR 211) personifies the ‘meticulous planner with never-say-die philosophy’.

It is difficult to find a video that combines such diverse wisdom so methodically.

For holistic guidance for IAS 2020, join Foundation 2020:

IAS Rankers

Topper Testimonial: Namita Sharma, AIR 145 | Working Professional

It’s a great validation for us when our innovations around news & editorial analysis are backed by our students in more ways than one.

Civilsdaily has always been a preferred choice of working professionals when it comes to preparing for UPSC in a smart and time-bound manner.

Students like Namita are a treat to have onboard.

If you are a working professional and want to give your best shot for IAS 2020, have a look at our latest programme offering: Foundation 2020: Take a Big Step Towards Comprehensive & Personalised Learning for IAS 2020

Announcements IAS Rankers

Topper Testimonial: Daljeet Kumar, AIR 660 | Sharp & Committed

Students like Daljeet are a pure delight.

He was extremely focused, sharp and committed to his goal.


Checkout:  Foundation 2020: Take a Big Step Towards Comprehensive & Personalised Learning for IAS 2020

IAS Rankers Motivation Bytes

5 ‘must-do’ things in the 60-day period before the prelims by Abhilash Baranwal, IAS, AIR 44

The 60-day period before the prelims is a nerve-wracking time for every aspirant. Whether one is appearing for one’s first prelims or one’s last; everyone is going through some kind of dilemma or struggling with nightmares like these:

  • Is my preparation up to the mark?
  • Have I completed all the important portions of the syllabus?
  • What if the question paper is vague?
  • Competition is so tough and the success ratio is so minuscule! Will I be able to make it?
  • How to overcome the silly mistakes I keep repeating?

If these thoughts are crossing your mind every now and then, don’t worry; you are not the only one. Almost everyone is in the same boat. The only thing you need to remember that ‘the last mile’ is always the toughest one. So keep calm, take a deep breath; and try to follow these 5 must-do things to make the most of this last window of preparation.

  1. Have a well planned Time-Table

Failing to plan is planning to fail. Keeping this in mind, ensure that you have planned your 60 Days in detail. Some inputs regarding this planning are:

1. Plan backward- Start planning from last week of May and plan backward. Eg; Revision of Test papers, maps, national Parks, your short notes in last week and so on.

Planning backwards help you in:

  • Prioritising syllabus according to the availability of time and urgency.
  • Ensuring that you do not study as per your whims and follow what is required.
  • Avoiding the frustration and panic associated with haphazard prep.

B. First plan your weeks, then break them into days. Finally, break your days into hours. You should behaving targets for each and every hour! Fix precise targets like ‘finish 40 pages of laxmikanth by 4.40 pm’ rather than vague objectives like ‘do 2 chapters of laxmikanth and 2 chapters of geography today’. Even if you set broad objectives for the day, you must set hourly-targets.

C. Follow the Pomodoro technique to utilise your time in a better manner. (Google Pomodoro.)

2. Solve and Revise UPSC Previous Years Papers and Test Series

A. It doesn’t matter how sharp your axe is if you don’t know how to use it. Solving previous year papers will help you in knowing:

  • Areas that need attention.
  • Your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Questions can and do get repeated.
  • ‘Revision’ cannot be substituted by any number of ‘Sources’. So instead of solving 100 test

papers, revise 3-4 times the ones you have already done. Accuracy comes from revision. Try to gradually increase the share of revision in your time table towards the end of your 60-day window. Keep last week solely for revision and avoid any new “yellow books” or any “indispensable free PDF”.

3. Do not ignore the Conventional Static Portion

Some difficult and obscure questions prompt students to focus on obscure architecture, minute details of technical inventions and so on. The input to output ratio is low in these areas. This also leads to a lack of revision in conventional and static parts such as geography, polity, history. Make sure that you don’t falter in questions like Fundamental duties, the age of contesting panchayat elections, cabinet mission etc. Everyone else will be getting these right. Your aim is to clear the cut off and not to get the highest marks in prelims. The conventional static part is of utmost importance. Do not ignore it for more difficult sections where after consuming loads of information you might only get one question correct.

4. Sleep, Exercise, Meditate, Healthy Diet, Study and repeat

Clocking many hours of studying at the cost of your sleep and other healthy activities won’t be much beneficial. A foggy mind is not productive. Hence have minimum 7-8 hours of sleep. If not much, allocate 15 minutes to exercise and 10 minutes to meditation in your schedule. Results will be exponentially better due to increased alertness of your mind. Also, the ‘night owls’ should try to correct their schedule so that they are at their peak on the D-day.

5. Confidence

Last but not the least, prelims is a game of confidence. Wear your confidence like armour in this battle and you will emerge victorious. Very few people will know the correct answers to more than 50 questions. People who clear prelims repeatedly are no wizards. They just believe in their ability to take calculated risks, have faith on what they have studied. They don’t doubt their preparation at the drop of a hat.

When you have confidence you know that even after not knowing a single thing about a question; options, structuring of the question, and a little analysis might give you the right answer. This confidence comes from hard work and intense practice only. If you have revised static and current affairs religiously, solved 50 test papers, revised them 3-4 times, be confident that you will succeed. It doesn’t matter how tough and vague the paper is, you will succeed. So whenever you get anxious and your heart beats out of control, believe that “ All is well’. You are already doing everything that can possibly be done. Eventually, it will turn out good for you.

In the end ” Jao aur Jee bhar ke ye 60 din padh lo kyuki koi tumse ye 60 din nahi cheen Sakta.” (Study wholeheartedly for these 60 days; for no can snatch these from you). With all due credits to Coach Khan from Chak De India.

All the best,

Abhilash Baranwal, AIR 44 (CSE 2017)

Important announcements with links:

  1. Mission Prelims Nikalo for Prelim 2019: Free revision course | List of daily questions
  2. Foundation 2020: Flagship Course for your IAS 2020 preparation
Announcements IAS Rankers

Topper Testimonial: Kunal Aggarwal, AIR 211 | Epitome of Unyielding Dedication

Personifying a ‘never-say-die attitude’, Kunal is a charismatic young man whose passion for civil services is equated by his calm composure and humility. After his B.Tech (Computer Sc. and Engineering) from IIT, Hyderabad; Kunal had been working in a reputed MNC for 3 yrs until his decision to take on the UPSC.

We get emails thanking us all around the year. But Kunal happens to be very special. He is one of our first few students (among Anudeep AIR 1, Jitendra AIR 392, etc) who joined us when we were starting out to change the way students learn and prepare for exam.

His testimonial says it all.  


Checkout:  Foundation 2020: Take a Big Step Towards Comprehensive & Personalised Learning for IAS 2020

IAS Rankers Motivation Bytes

The Deep Work Hypothesis from Shreyansh Singh, AIR 357, IAAS

Needless to say, UPSC demands nothing less from the aspirants of Civil Services. UPSC checks on your ability to quickly master hard things and the ability to produce them at an elite level, in terms of both quality and speed.

Prelims, Mains, Interviews: All the three legs of the UPSC preparation test you around these two key elements.

Deep Work is the concept that interlinks these two skills. Hard things are complex and you need to give them all of your attention and focus (also called deliberate practice). Without Deep Work, these things will take time to learn, and mistakes will be made.

Let me be very straight here. There is no way other than ‘deep work’ for your UPSC preparation.

You will need to follow four principles:

  1. You must engage in deep work itself
  2. Learn how to embrace, rather than avoid “boredom”
  3. Have a plan to “quit social media”
  4. You should definitely have a plan to “drain the shallows”

#1. Work Deeply

Our willpower gets depleted as we use it. In an environment and culture that makes deep work difficult, we have to add smart routines and rituals to our working life.

You will have to design rituals/routines to minimize the amount of our limited willpower necessary in transitions and maintain unbroken concentration.

There are 4 strategies that introduce rituals and routines to enable us to do deep work on a sustained basis:

Monastic: isolate yourself for long periods of time without distractions; no shallow work allowed

Bimodal: reserve a few consecutive days when you will be working like a monastic. You need at least one day a week

Rhythmic: take three to four hours every day to perform deep work on your studies.

Journalistic: alternate your day between deep and shallow work and it fits your blocks of time. Not recommended to try out first

#2. Transition to Deep Work

Use rituals and set routines to minimize friction in your transition to depth:

“The key to developing a deep work habit is to move beyond good intentions and add routines and rituals to your working life designed to minimize the amount of your limited willpower necessary to transition into and maintain a state of unbroken concentration.”

You must ruthlessly commit to scheduling deep work blocks into your calendar and sticking to them. Scheduling a specific time of the day in advance takes away the need to use willpower.

#3 Embrace Boredom

Due to our fast-paced lives, our brains have been re-wired and expect and request distraction. As a result, we check our smartphones at any moment of “potential boredom”. Start scheduling breaks from focus, to give in to those distractions:

You should use a technique called productive meditation, which means using your “unproductive” time to do deep thinking:

“The goal of productive meditation is to take a period in which you’re occupied physically but not mentally – walking, jogging, driving, showering – and focus your attention on a single well-defined professional problem.”

The key to successful productive meditation is repeatedly returning your attention to the problem at hand and doing this whenever your mind wanders. You have to continually practice this in order to reap the benefits.

#4. Do not engage in shallow work

“Treat shallow work with suspicion because its damage is often vastly underestimated and its importance vastly overestimated. This type of work is inevitable, but you must keep it confined to a point where it doesn’t impede your ability to take full advantage of the deeper efforts that ultimately determine your impact.”

Finally, I would like to appreciate Civilsdaily’s efforts to help you develop these coming-of-age strategies to stay ahead of the competition.

In most cases, a simple thing like talking to a mentor and getting a clearer picture of what process fits you best can make all the difference.

In the end, I would like to assert that you should build habits that can not only help you ace the UPSC, but help bring out the best version of you! 🙂

Note from CD:

We at Civilsdaily are committed to helping you in the process of figuring out your learning personalities and creating the best time table and suggesting most relevant strategies for your IAS Prep. Please take 5 minutes to fill up this Samanvaya Form. We will arrange a mentor call for you once this is done.

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How to prepare for CSE? by Shreyash Pratap Singh, AIR 266 (CSE 2017)


When I was asked by the Civilsdaily team to write on the subject, it instantly reminded me of the cluelessness I faced as an aspirant deciding on what and how to study, combined with the mixed emotions attached to taking a shot at one of the most prestigious examinations in the country.

Like every aspirant, I was bothered by questions like coaching or no coaching, ideal timeline for preparation, which optional to choose and other stock queries. I am fully aware of the desperation and panic one faces while looking for answers to these basic questions. It would give me great satisfaction if this article can be a beacon of light in some manner or the other for any aspirant new or experienced. I would try to keep this article as scientific and objective as possible.

CSE 2017 was my second attempt at this examination. In my first attempt in CSE 2016, I reached the interview stage, but couldn’t gain a spot in the final list. Having started preparation as late as March 2016, I knew that there were a number of mistakes I had committed in my approach combined with a severe crunch of time. Rectifying those mistakes was my prime focus in this attempt, which enabled me to eventually realize the dream.

The question of “How to prepare for CSE?” is quite wide-ranging. Consequently, I have presented this article in the form of a stepwise process; which I as an aspirant would have liked to read to gauge the real depth of waters. I would like to remind you that this is a generic framework and different aspirants can work out the intricacies of each step in their own unique way, while the skeleton of the preparation remains the same.


First and the most crucial of all subsequent components, I am going to talk about. Your sources of motivation need to be multiple, so that if any one of the factors ceases to be your motivator temporarily during the course of this long preparation, you can fall back upon other factors and continue working relentlessly without long periods of break from preparation

Service to the nation, proving worthiness to oneself, fulfilling self and parents’ dreams, social prestige that comes with civil services, diversity of the job profile, etc. were some of my motivation sources. Different moods and days called for me to summon different motivational factors to keep me glued to the study table.


Approaching this examination in a logical manner with clarity in ideas and expectations about the work to be put in to get into the services and future prospects as a civil servant, is extremely important.

You should clearly know what you are getting into, what UPSC exactly wants from the candidate through testing at each stage of the examination, the slight element of luck that is involved and what all are the stakes that are going to be. Such objectivity is a pre-requisite for the so called “Smart Work” than endless “Hard Work”.

Clearing this examination is not an end in itself, but a means to an end, that is working for the society and the people. CSE is not the biggest challenge but only one of the challenges which needs a dedicated and project oriented approach. Keeping any exam on too high a pedestal as “toughest exam”, “mother of all exams” or clearing it as “ultimate achievement of life” only generates fear, exaggerated adulation and attachment which itself ultimately becomes the biggest roadblock in clearing it.

Even if one with such mentality enters the civil services, he or she would be a hindrance to the progress of our nation in the long run. My sincere advice to aspirants would be to refrain from such thoughts and thoroughly ignore the elements who perpetuate such thinking. Planning and execution that will emanate from such mindset would be realistic, clinical and result oriented.

Failure at any stage of this examination is in no way a measure of one’s capabilities. It just calls for correcting the mistakes committed with proper analysis of strengths and shortcomings. I personally feel that my biggest achievement in preparation for CSE has not been getting an All India Rank 266 but in realizing the importance of Nishkaam Karma, i.e., work to be done as a duty in best possible manner, without worrying for results.

Considering the unpredictable nature of the examination, I would advise aspirants to have a strong backup, if possible. Believe me, it gives huge confidence in desperate times during preparation and also invaluable experience to develop as a mature individual, who has a fair idea of different opportunities and perspectives life has to offer than just civil services. In my case, I joined my dream company Intel after my college graduation and left my job in exactly one year to develop a mentionable industry experience, so that I can come back to it if needed in future. My corporate experience in a way strengthened my resolve for civil services and the work culture there helped me develop a thoroughly planned and deadline focused studying approach. After my CSE 2017 Mains and before interview, I joined the industry back, which ultimately proved to be a crucial confidence enhancing factor in getting me a huge jump in my interview score in comparison to my first attempt.


As Abraham Lincoln said, “If I had six hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend the first four hours sharpening the axe”, the importance of planning cannot be overstated. Clear timelines need to be chalked out for completion of different parts of syllabus with quarterly, monthly, weekly and daily targets. At least 8 months of preparation before Prelims exam date is required to prepare holistically for all exam stages. Importantly, planning should be such that:

  • Daily study targets that are realistically achievable
  • Mix of subjects to keep interest alive
  • Prelims and Mains preparation goes on simultaneously
  • Syllabus is complete roughly 2 months prior, in case of Prelims
  • Answer writing practice with at least 5 questions every alternate day
  • Every weekend to be dedicated to attempting Pre or Mains test depending on phase of preparation and writing one essay. Studies to be aligned based on test syllabus to be taken on weekend.
  • Time between Pre and Mains is the most crucial part of CSE preparation and needs revision timelines to be drawn carefully.
  • Developing a routine, with fixed timetable for 6 days a week. Breaks at regular intervals for walk or exercise and meditation, interacting with friends and family, all in a disciplined and time bound manner
  • Keeping half a day on a weekend for relaxing, going out or pursuing one’s hobbies.

As cliché as it might sound, but I believe a routine is essential to bringing forth discipline in overall preparation, answer writing, attempting the papers well, developing self-satisfaction and ultimately clearing the exam.

I personally took coaching for my optional, as it required developing subject expertise. Choosing the right optional should depend on following factors:

  • Will the subject hold your interest for long periods, possibly next 2-3 years to come?
  • Amount of guidance, material, successful examples available pertaining to that optional
  • Narrow down to shortlisting two to three optionals to choose from. Study each of them an hour or two daily for about a week. Optional which kindles your interest longer would be your chosen one.

GS, in my opinion, can be done well through self-study itself, however, it again depends on the individual to what level he/she needs guidance in GS preparation.

I personally did not make notes for Prelims or Mains preparation and relied mostly on self-highlighted stuff in book sources and current affairs PDFs. I always felt note making to be a time taking exercise, whenever tried my hand at it, thus eventually giving up the idea in favour of completing the syllabus. I only made notes on important statistics, examples and quotes. Also, I did make extensive notes on my DAF related information and current affairs during interview preparation, that too only digitally on Evernote, as I had time and wanted a quick revision source till the last minute before interview. I will thus refrain from giving judgement on the utility of note-making and leave it to the individual aspirant to decide upon the style of study that suits him/her better.

Next, I would talk about the individual stages of the exam and how to best prepare for them based on my experiences.


People usually focus on the odds of getting selected in the Prelims, which are obviously highly skewed. However such thinking lowers confidence, prevents aspirants from attempting enough number of questions and even deviates them from making the right guesses, had they been attempting the question paper with a positive mental focus. More than 10,000 people getting selected at this stage is in itself a high number and a motivating factor. What is needed on aspirants’ part is right study, strategy and practice to maximize his/her marks in those 4 hours in the exam hall.

In the 3 attempts, I have taken at this exam, I have felt Prelims to be the most enjoyable and easiest stage and cleared each time comfortably. In my opinion, Prelims is not a test of knowledge, but a test of aptitude based on knowledge gained. This has become more relevant with the 2017 & 2018 CSE Prelims. It is not about knowing the right answer, but getting to it is what matters in Prelims. This ability needs to be developed through rigorous practice.

With below-mentioned strategy, I could prepare for Prelims in 2016 alongside my full-time job, quitting the job just one month before the exam date. In the 2017 & 2018 Prelims, I had a conventional amount of time to prepare.

My Booklist:

History 6th-12th Old and New NCERTs + India’s Struggle for Independence (Bipan Chandra) + A Brief History of Modern India (Spectrum) + Class 11 History Tamil Nadu Board Book
Geography 6th-12th NCERTs + Mrunal Lectures (by Ms. Rajtanil Solanki)
Art & Culture Select chapters from Class 11 & 12 Fine Arts NCERTs + Relevant NIOS Indian Culture & Heritage material + Mrunal Lectures (by Ms. Ishani Pandya) + Nitin Singhania’s Art & Culture Book
Polity Laxmikant + Current Affairs
Economics Select Chapters of Ramesh Singh (Economy) Class 11 & 12 NCERT + Mrunal Lectures and PPTs + Economic Survey and Budget + Current Affairs
Environment Shankar IAS environment material + NCERTs + Current Affairs
Science and Technology 6th to 10th NCERTs (cursory reading) + Current Affairs
Current Affairs The Hindu(only) + Civilsdaily Newscards App + Vision IAS current affairs booklets + Insights initiatives + Yojana


  • Finish the booklist stated above in a planned manner, with weekends dedicated to tests based on the syllabus completed.
  • Keep revising syllabus completed at the end of every 2 weeks. Finish at least 2 readings of the complete Prelims syllabus.
  • Finish two Prelims test series (approx. 6000 questions), with at least one revision before the exam date.
  • The examination is such that even after so much study you will need to develop the ability to get to the right answer. So practice hard. Try to attempt more than 90 questions in the test series and at least more than 85 questions in the Prelims Exam.
  • Rest well on the night before exam and be positive.


Do not waste precious time after Prelims and post rest of a day or two, immediately embark upon revision for Mains preparation. In my first attempt, I started optional preparation post Prelims, so had to complete GS & optional syllabus by highly optimizing available time and resources. At the same time this crunch helped me develop shortcuts for finishing the Mains syllabus, which I used extensively in my second attempt. I went through multiple toppers’ interviews and articles in first 3-4 days after Prelims to zero in upon a “common minimum programme” for completing the Mains syllabus.

I first picked up topics, I had skipped or read only once during Prelims preparation and particularly relevant for Mains like World History, Post-Independence India, Ethics, Sociology topics and static topics of GS-2 & GS-3.

In addition to the booklist stated above for Prelims, sources particularly relevant for Mains followed by me were:

General Studies–1 (GS-1):

World History 2 booklets of Vision IAS + Select Chapters of Mastering Modern World History (Norman Lowe) + CrashCourse World History videos on Youtube + Unacademy Videos
Post-Independence India Select Chapters of India Since Independence (Bipan Chandra) + Class 12 NCERT + Vision IAS booklet
Sociology Topics NCERTs Class 11 & 12 + Current Affairs (as stated for Prelims)

General Studies-2 (GS-2):

For Individual topics mentioned in the syllabus Vision IAS booklets for static topics + 2nd ARC + Current Affairs (as stated for Prelims)+ PIB + PRS + op-ed snap at Civilsdaily

General Studies-3 (GS-3):

For Individual topics mentioned in the syllabus Vision IAS booklets for static topics + Economic Survey & Budget + Current Affairs (as stated for Prelims)+ PIB + PRS + op-ed snap at Civilsdaily

General Studies-4 (GS-4):

For Individual topics mentioned in the syllabus Vision IAS booklets for static topics + Moral Lexicon by Chronicle + Mrunal Lectures + Google Search + ARC
  • Keep your sources to bare minimum and keep revising them multiple times.
  • Static topics of Mains to be read only once or twice maximum. Majority time should be dedicated to current affairs.
  • Subscribe to any test series, attempt tests in dedicated 3 hour time limit, and revise all the solutions multiple times.
  • Structure in answers should be simple and straightforward –> Introduction-Body-Conclusion. Underline keywords necessarily (need to practice it), it makes a huge difference to the overall appeal of the answer. Make extensive use of headings and sub-headings. I personally never used flowcharts in answers and drew diagrams only in Geography questions of GS-1 paper, simply because I found them to be time taking.
  • Take feedback on evaluation seriously only with regard to your answer structure and presentation. Your content will become richer towards the end of your preparation. Don’t get disheartened by low marks in test series. Remember that Mains too like Prelims is a game of confidence. Your effort should be completely towards giving your best and in completing the paper.
  • 60% of time to optional and 40% to GS.


  • Read some essays by toppers available online to get an idea about UPSC’s expectations
  • Weekend practice for writing essays
  • Brainstorm to narrow down on around 5-7 topics that might be asked in essay and prepare a framework for them
  • Keep some stock quotes on major topics like women empowerment, education, happiness, science, etc handy to begin or end your essays with
  • Be sure to do a thorough temporal, multi-sectoral (social, political, economic, environmental, family, etc), multi-segmental (individual, state, national, international, women, LGBT, children, etc) and perspective based (legal, constitutional, ethical, etc.) analysis of your essay topic. Choose your topic accordingly and give equal time to both essays.
  • Garnish your essay well with multiple examples and statistics to present an informed understanding to the examiner. Avoid any personal biases in views and opinions.
  • You can get your essays evaluated by your friends, seniors (given they have idea about UPSC’s requirements) or opt for a test series. Both methods are at par with each other in my opinion.


My optional was Political Science and International Relations. I will deal in detail with my preparation strategy for the subject in a subsequent article.


  • Remember it is a personality test, not knowledge test. Present your best self as a truthful, cheerful, motivated and diligent individual who has prepared hard for this exam, but at the same time does not get bogged down under criticism or due to lack of knowledge pertaining to a subject.
  • Be thorough with your DAF.
  • Develop your own balanced opinions on major topics in current affairs. Follow The Hindu and Times of India/Hindustan Times along with keeping slated time for debates on The Big Picture on RSTV. Morning News & Analysis on All India Radio too can be followed, it helps build articulation on topics in current affairs. I also followed Samachar Manthaninitiative from Civilsdaily during my interview preparation.
  • Practice speaking before the mirror, record your voice and listen to your own answers, make your own family members or friends as interview panelists and take advice on your articulation from seniors, who have scored well in the interview. The Samanvaya for Interview telegram group by Civilsdaily (mentored by Vipin Garg Sir and Virendra Pratap Singh Sir) was crucial for me to get a hang of the crispness, objectivity, balance and poise expected in our answers by UPSC board members.

Before we part ways, I would like to point out some of my learnings from this two year long process:

  • “Persistence with self-awareness on weaknesses and strengths”, is in my opinion the ultimate testing parameter of UPSC. All stages of this exam test this quality in a candidate. So keep digging smartly you never know how close you are to the goldmine.
  • I also believe and have experienced that hard work with sincerity always pays off at some or the other point in life.
  • Being realistic with the role luck plays in this exam will help one stay grounded. At the same time, as the old saying goes, the harder you work, the luckier you get.
  • Moods and situations will vary, what should remain constant is belief in one’s efforts and capabilities.
  • Parents are the only pillar of support who stay with you through your success as well as failures, no matter what.
  • One needs to have a balanced life during preparation with time for oneself, family and friends. New perspectives from them will enrich your answers greatly.
  • Lastly, this exam is such that there are more defeats than victories. While defeats will be temporary, be assured that victory will be permanent. To quote one of my favorite authors, Maya Angelou –

“You may encounter many defeats but you must not be defeated”

– Shreyash Pratap Singh, AIR 266, CSE 2017

Need more help in fine-tuning your strategy – 

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How to conquer GS in UPSC Mains, Explained by Anudeep Durishetty (AIR-1, UPSC 2017)

With 1000 marks spanning across four papers in Mains, GS feels like one giant, insurmountable mountain. The point of this article is to convince you that those fears are unfounded.

I’ve written this post assuming someone who had already read the foundational books for GS Prelims. If you haven’t read them as yet, you should first read my post on GS Prelims. At the end of this article, I embedded download links to my complete GS notes and answer copies. There I had marked two particular answer booklets that accurately represent my writing style in Mains. I hope aspirants who are struggling with answer writing find them useful. I had also written previously about how to prepare for the Essay in this post.


As you start reading the books I mention here for GS mains, please keep the following points in mind:

  1. Along with these books, get a printout of the syllabus and read it carefully. Your final aim must be: for each topic mentioned in the syllabus, you should have enough content to write a 250-word answer.
  2. Go through the past five years’ question papers to understand the breadth and depth of questions UPSC usually asks. It’ll give you a good perspective of what’s important and what’s not.
  3. Use the internet extensively, especially for topics like Science and Tech. Your target must be to gain knowledge, be it through books or through the internet.
  4. For all subjects, you have to superimpose current affairs over it, especially for GS-2 and GS-3. For both these papers, current affairs form the nucleus. You will inevitably do a lot of reading on the internet, so use Evernote to organise and highlight content like this.
  5. Give adequate time for revision. Without it, you will not be able to recollect whatever you may have read. So please dedicate enough time to it, whether you are giving a mock test or the actual exam.
  6. Many aspirants commit one fundamental mistake: they read and revise, over and over, but never practice. Remember that the examiner checking your copy will have no idea about the number of books you’ve read or the number of hours you’ve slogged. Your answers are all that he has to judge you. So it makes sense to learn it, practice it and perfect it.
  7. Mains exam demands not only our memory and intelligence but also endurance. If you lack prior practice, writing relentlessly for 6 hours a day and do this for 5 days will cause both mental and physical fatigue. The only way to overcome it is to practice enough before the final exam.
  8. General Studies demands only a peripheral understanding of an expansive set of topics. So it’s important that you try to gain minimum sufficient knowledge over a diverse set of subjects rather than obsessively focussing on one topic. For instance, it doesn’t make sense to read World History for three months at the expense of all other subjects. Always maintain that fine balance between all the topics and don’t get imprisoned in one.
  9. In GS, there will be very few questions where you will have absolutely no clue. Even if you only have a vague idea, write those generic points. For instance, in last year’s GS-1 paper, for the question on Malay peninsula, I knew no specific fact except a vague idea that Singapore had a partition story similar to India. So I just wrote a generic answer comprising of problems such as ethnic strife, insurgency, and economic collapse. The examiner checking my copy might have given 2-3 marks for it, which I am sure any aspirant would gladly take.
  10. You must develop the skill to speed read a committee or an organisation’s report on your computer (reading online saves you a lot of time) and highlight important lines as you read along. In the second reading, this highlighted portion is what you need to revise. It should look something like this.
  11. In GS papers, map of India is your most effective tool for illustration. For example, I drew India maps and labelled relevant parts for questions on river linkage (GS-3), North-East insurgency (GS-3), Inland navigation (GS-1), India’s 18th-century fragmented polity (GS-1) etc. Practise it enough so that you are able to draw and label it under 60 seconds.
  12. If you are taking a test series, please give those tests with all the seriousness of the final UPSC exam. In the mock test, if you take 10-15 additional minutes to finish the paper, you are cheating no one except yourself. Observe strict time limits.
  13. You will never feel content with your Mains preparation and there is always a nagging tendency to just keep reading and procrastinate writing answers or skip an upcoming test. You have to overcome this reluctance through conscious effort. Suppose before a mock test if you were unable to finish the syllabus, you can postpone your test by a day or two, but don’t skip it altogether.
  14. Perfectionism is your enemy. If you keep referring to countless sources to make that “perfect notes”, if you keep postponing your mock tests in order to write “perfect tests”, this mentality will bring you to ruin. Getting a good score in Mains is about attempting all questions to which some answers are excellent, some good and many above average. So instead of waiting for that elusive perfection, start imperfect and then keep improving.
  15. When you are buying coaching material, always ask yourself: “what new is this material adding to my preparation?” If you can’t answer that question convincingly, then the material probably isn’t really useful.
  16. Just because I am AIR-1, it does not mean that my notes are the best or that this book list is the last word. If you have been studying some other material, that’s fine, too. To succeed in this exam, the source of material is not important. What’s important is you to understand the concepts, memorise the facts well and have a firm grip over the entire syllabus.


Stiffer the climb, better the view.


The list of books for GS Mains:

GS 1

Indian Art and Culture

  1. An Introduction to Indian Art – Class XI NCERT
  2. Chapters related to culture in Ancient and Medieval India NCERTs
  3. Centre for Cultural Resource and Training (CCRT) material
  4. Heritage Crafts: Living Craft Traditions of India -NCERT
  • For someone who is starting just now, this topic can overwhelm them. So I suggest beginners read this section after they get acquainted with other GS topics.
  • In Art and Culture, questions asked by UPSC in recent years are more analytical— which requires both the factual content and good analysis to answer the why and how. You can answer such questions well only when you understand the historical background in which such art was produced. This is why it’s important that you read NCERT XI Ancient India for it gives you that historical context.
  • For instance, don’t just memorise features of say, Sangam literature or Chola architecture, but understand the social, political, religious and economic context in which such grand art was produced. They will form the analysis part and will help you write great answers.
  • Make good use of the internet to watch both visual and performing arts to understand how they actually look in real life. You will be able to recollect such visuals more easily. They will help you write a decent answer for questions which you only have a vague idea about.
  • Wherever relevant, draw diagrams to illustrate your answers. For instance, you can draw a rough sketch to show the features of a Stupa, Dravida, and Nagara style architecture, Paleolithic art, Folk arts such as Warli, Harappan pottery etc. You don’t need to be a Michelangelo for this, but you must ensure that the fundamentals are correct. For example, in Warli art, human bodies are represented by triangles, heads by circles and hands by simple lines. Just get these basics right. Link to download diagrams is given at the end of the article.
  • Art and Culture requires a ton of memorisation and there’s really no shortcut to mastering it except through multiple revisions.

Modern Indian History

  1. A Brief History of Modern India- Spectrum Publications
  2. India’s Struggle for Independence – Bipan Chandra (Read selectively for topics not covered in the Spectrum book)
  • Questions on Indian history are something that every serious aspirant will answer well, so you really cannot afford to let go of these questions. If you had done your prelims preparation for this topic well, that is good enough. You just need to practise answer writing.

India’s Post Independence History

  1. India Since Independence by Bipan Chandra
  2. For certain topics, I made notes from this book. Download link is given at the end.

World History

  • I prepared entirely for this topic from this outstanding book: Download
  • Since revising this big book before the exam was difficult, I prepared concise notes from it. I also practised maps to demonstrate major world historical events.
  • Link to download my notes and maps is given at the end of the article.


  • The study plan is the same as for prelims, which I’ve explained here.

Indian Society

  • This is a generic, nebulous topic with no style or structure. Questions are sometimes vague, philosophical and the challenge we face is not so much in lack of content as in presenting it concisely in 200 odd words. To understand the basics, read NCERT Sociology Std XI and XII. Make concise notes on each topic that includes: a crisp definition, latest statistics, govt schemes, criticism of these schemes; causes of issues such as communalism and regionalism, historical and current examples, their impact on our society, and your suggestions as the way ahead. (you can get these suggestions from the internet or ARC 2 or some committee report). In case if you find good coaching material for these topics, that’ll do as well.
  • For this topic, a generic answer with proper structure and subheadings that cover multiple dimensions is good enough to fetch you marks. You can find my notes at the end of the article.


GS 2

Polity, Governance and Social Justice

Static Portion:

  1. Laxmikanth
  2. Polity Notes (this will provide analytical content. Download link is given at the end of the article)
  3. ARC 2 (One of the best reports ever written for the government. It’s been more than ten years since the reports were published, but the content is still priceless. Read complete reports, memorise only recommendations)

Current Affairs:

  1. The Hindu
  2. The Big Picture on RSTV
  3. CivilsDaily current affairs material
  4. I also referred to Insights/ForumIAS current affairs material for topics not covered well by CivilsDaily
  5. PRS India for latest legislation
  6. All India Radio – Spotlight (used to listen during my commute to the office)
  • Open your answers with Constitutional articles. Question on Governor? Art 153 must be there in the first line. Question on Civil Services? Art 312 is where you begin. If there’s a technical term like ‘Parliamentary Sovereignty’, ‘Political democracy’ or ‘Social Audit’ — define them in your introduction telling the examiner what you understand by those terms.
  • Supreme Court judgements are very important. Make a list of important judgements (both historical and current) and quote them to substantiate your answer. For example, when you are answering a question on Free speech, quoting SC judgement in Shreya Singhal vs Union of India case will add tremendous value to your answers.
  • For a debatable topic, always write both sides of the issue even if not explicitly asked in the question. Example: A question might ask: Do you agree that Civil Services is in need of drastic reforms? For this, explain under a subheading why drastic reforms are needed. And in the next paragraph, counter by saying why drastic reforms are harmful. In the end, you can add the view of ARC 2/Hota/Surendranath committee to convey your view and end on a balanced note.
  • For miscellaneous topics like the comparison of Constitutions, RPA Act, SHG, e-Governance etc refer to any good coaching material to have 200-word worth content. Source latest examples and issues from newspapers and quote them in your answers.
  • Prepare thoroughly on Govt policies and bills. PRS India is an excellent resource for all the latest legislation in the offing and The Hindu for policy criticism. But the newspaper is patently leftist and they publish articles incessantly and nauseatingly ranting on policies they don’t like (Eg: Aadhar). But as someone aspiring to be a civil servant, you need to be more dispassionate. This is why you must actively pursue articles with a contrarian and balanced opinions like this and this.
  • Cram latest statistics pertaining to health, employment, education, poverty etc. Also apart from committees, you may quote authentic reports from reputed organisations such as Lancet, Transparency International, UNICEF, FAO etc to substantiate your point. I made notes on important statistics that can be used for all papers of GS and essay. Download link is given at the end of the article.
  • Conclusion: Wherever possible, end with a committee/ commission recommendation or observation. For instance, a question on Centre-State relations should invariably end with Punchhi Commission, a question on death penalty with Law Commission and a question on Indian Constitution with NCRWC. Referring to Sustainable Development Goals, Preamble, DPSP is also another good way to end your answers.

International Relations

  • Any good book that adequately covers the historical aspect of India’s bilateral relations.
  • Current affairs: The Hindu, India’s World on RSTV, CivilsDaily or Insights or ForumIAS depending upon the topic.
  • Questions on IR will be almost, always be about the current happenings in the world. But before you run after the Hindu or some other latest magazine for this section, it’s important that you understand the historical background of India’s relationship with other countries. This is indispensable because every bilateral issue that you see in the news can be traced back to history. Once you understand this historical context, this topic becomes uncomplicated.
  • For example, let’s take India China relations. Don’t merely focus on Doklam crisis and troop positioning, but understand the larger context of our border dispute with China, the agreements we had signed starting with the Simla Accord of 1914. For India-Sri Lanka, don’t just concentrate that India voted for or against Sri Lanka at the UN, but understand how India always championed peace between the Tamils and the Sinhalese, the 1987 accord, its fallout, Sri Lankan civil war and what India did during these times. When you have that bigger picture in mind, each part of the puzzle becomes easier to fit in.
  • For miscellaneous topics like diaspora and international institutions, refer to any good coaching material.
  • Draw map wherever relevant. Example: for India-Iran relations, you can draw a rough map to show how the Chabahar port helps us to bypass Pakistan and reach Afghanistan. Act East policy can be demonstrated with arrows pointing from India and showing our specific relationship with Vietnam, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Australia and ASEAN, MGC, BIMSTEC etc.,
  • Each bilateral relationship or a global grouping is multi-faceted. To make your answers comprehensive, always write a multidimensional perspective that includes: the strategic dimension, defence co-operation, technology, education, culture, diaspora, trade and investment, co-operation in global fora etc.

GS 3


Static part:

  1. Standard resources I already mentioned in my prelims post
  2. Budget (any coaching material compilation)
  3. Economic Survey (gist)
  4. Niti 3-year Action Plan report (a good resource for policy recommendations that come in handy while you write conclusion)

Current Affairs:

  1. The Hindu
  2. CivilsDaily
  3. I referred to Insights/ForumIAS current affairs material for topics not covered well by CivilsDaily

Indian Agriculture, Land reforms, PDS, Food Processing, LPG, Infrastructure

  2. Vision IAS
  3. The Hindu and CivilsDaily for current affairs
  • You need to remember that for GS-3, questions revolve around current affairs and there is no dearth of material. It may sound counter-intuitive, but the trick is to restrict yourself to material that’s good enough for you to write a 250-word answer for all topics. It’s very important that you don’t get sunk under the heap of current affairs and coaching material.
  • So for each topic mentioned in the syllabus, make concise notes from the resources mentioned above. I also found Niti Aayog’s 3-year Action Plan report really helpful for this paper. And just as I had mentioned for GS-2, statistics and committee reports are very important.


  • Vajiram and Vision IAS material
  • The Hindu and CivilsDaily for current affairs
  • Prepare crisp and clear definitions of technical terms such as cybersecurity, terrorism, organised crime, money laundering, left-wing extremism etc.
  • For questions on border security, draw India map to illustrate.

Disaster Management

  • Fundamental reading: CBSE book
  • Prepare concise notes on NDMA (structure, functions, rules etc), international agreements such as Sendai Framework, latest current affairs from newspapers, internet and coaching material.
  • Draw diagrams to illustrate concepts like river embankment, land zoning, watershed management etc.

Environment and Ecology

  • Shankar IAS book
  • The Hindu and CivilsDaily for current affairs
  • My handwritten notes (Download link given at the end)

Science & Tech

  1. The Hindu
  2. Vision IAS Mains 365
  3. YouTube
  • This topic terrifies many aspirants, and for good reason. There’s no single book or resource to help one navigate this section and it all feels like one big haze. But there’s good news: the questions asked in S&T are mostly from current affairs and you are expected to have only a general understanding of the topics.
  • During my preparation, I used to note down in my book whatever scientific term or technology that’s frequently talked about in news. For instance, these days we repeatedly encounter terms such as Artificial General Intelligence, Blockchain, Machine Learning, Cryptocurrency, CRISPR-CAS9 in news and on the internet.
  • Note down all such scientific concepts that are in news and then scour the internet (especially Youtube) to understand them. There are many explainer videos on Youtube that explain the concept so well that even a school student can understand it. For instance, take this excellent video on blockchain technology. Once you see it, it’s impossible for you to miss a question on blockchain and its practical applications.
  • Apart from the above, you need to learn fundamental terms and technologies used in Space (PSLV, GSLV, Cryo Engine etc), Nanotech, Nuclear Research (Fast breeder reactor, Uranium enrichment, Nuclear fission and fusion etc.), Defence (Cruise missile, Ballistic missile, Stealth Bomber etc), Biotech (Gene editing, Stem Cells, GM food etc), Communication (LIDAR, RADAR, LiFi, 5G etc). Any comprehensive material of a coaching institute will be sufficient for this (I referred to Vajiram printed notes).
  • Whatever S&T topic you are learning, always focus on the concept, why is it in news, practical applications, potential threats, benefits far into the future etc. Just do this and you will easily handle this topic in the final exam.

GS 4

  • 2nd ARC reports: Ethics in Governance, Promoting E-gov, RTI, Citizen-centric Administration, Personnel Administration. Read all ARC reports completely, memorise only recommendations.
  • For moral thinkers, Google them to read about their major contributions and for misc topics such as corporate governance, I referred to Vajiram printed material. I also prepared some notes for certain topics (download link at the end of the article)
  • I went through the syllabus and tried to define each term in clear words and simple sentences. I found this exercise very useful because these definitions inevitably formed the introduction to most of my answers. For all of ethics paper, the essence can be distilled as just this: a clear and simple definition of the term and a real-life example to illustrate the concept. You can draw flowcharts and schematics wherever apt.
  • It’s important to understand that each question is an opportunity to display your ethics. This will be best demonstrated by the actions you did or some other personalised/ real-life examples you quote. Reflect on your childhood, school life, college time, professional career etc and glean examples that are simple, unpretentious and at the same time bring out your ethical values clearly. For some questions, you can also quote historical examples from the lives of great leaders.
  • For case studies, my aim was not so much in writing ingenious, extraordinary solutions, but to write something that’s realistic and practicable and finish the paper no matter what.
  • I always started with Q1 and not with case studies because I could not see how one mark in Section B (case studies) is superior to one mark in Section A. I gave equal importance and dedicated equal time to both the sections.
  • Rest of the GS papers have 20 questions each, Ethics has only 14. But don’t let that number 14 fool you. I’ve always found GS-4 to be the lengthiest paper of all. Every question in Section A has many subparts that drain an inordinate amount of your time. In fact, if we go by the absolute numbers, we write more words in GS-4 than in other papers. So to manage your time well: Abide by the rule that you must complete at least 80 marks worth of questions in each hour, irrespective of whether you start with Section A or Section B.
  • Just before GS-4, you would have had written three stressful GS papers that would put your body condition under severe mental and physical strain. But it’s important to stay mentally tough during this crucial period and push your endurance limits so as to survive another 3 hours of relentless writing. Remember that it’s all in the mind— it can be your biggest enemy or your greatest strength.


My Notes

GS 1

GS 2

GS 3

GS 4



My GS Answer Copies

GS 2

GS 3

GS 4


GS may look insurmountable at first, but remember that it’s always the small steps towards the summit that count. Through effective planning and adequate practice, anyone can conquer it.

My best wishes.

Until next time,

Read the Blog here

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Anudeep Durishetty, AIR 1 followed CD and so should you

It is a matter of enormous pride for us that Anudeep Durishetty, AIR 1 (CSE 2017) has recommended Civilsdaily for current affairs, more specifically our schemes material, in his personal blog –

We are the only one among the major offline and online institutes whose name comes to his mind after The Hindu.



He has also commended our effort on quora –


Since recommendations on personal blogs and Quora profiles carry the highest authenticity and weight, this is a grand feat for us.


It is a recognition of our relentless efforts towards maintaining quality, relevance and student-centricity. Also, senior aspirants, who are able to differentiate between average and amazing content, have started voicing for us.


We have the most streamlined products, the perfect 1-1 mentorship and the most appropriate and filtered content.


Our programs are meticulously designed with the sole aim of ensuring success through minimum effort on part of the candidate


Our expertise in making study-plans, news selection & delivery, and mentorship takes away all the burdens of an aspirant other than just one – study, revise and practice.


We have successfully mentored many students who, without us, would have remained dejected souls.


We have successfully mentored many students who, without us, would have remained dejected souls


Current Affairs (CA) has always been our stronghold. We have further enhanced our CA-based programs. Have a look at the offerings:


Samachar Manthan

Prelims Test Series

It goes without saying that you can reach out to us at anytime for any of your doubts related to preparation or our offerings.
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Samanvaya with CD: Abhilash Baranwal, AIR 44 – CSE 2017

Breaching the top 50 requires a near-perfect strategy and flawless execution. The battle becomes all the more difficult when one is a full-time working candidate posted in the (relatively underdeveloped) northeast. AIR 44 (CSE 2017), Abhilash Baranwal, shares with us the magic formula that made this feat possible in his fourth attempt. The discussion, among other things, includes resolution of perennial doubts like ‘what constitutes a good answer?’, ‘the meanings of the various key terms’, and ‘what differentiates a good essay from an average one’. Over all, the interview is intellectually stimulating and aesthetically inspiring.

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Toppers Testimonial- AIR 44- Abhilash Baranwal

A full-time working candidate posted in the comparatively backward state of Assam, Abhilash Baranwal (AIR 44, CSE 2017) has got into the hallowed clique of the ‘Top 50’ in his 4th attempt.

A story of perseverance and determination Abhilash found CD, especially the Newscards and Tikdams, a potent weapon in this fight against time.

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Toppers Testimonial- AIR 278- Shiv Narayan Sharma