• IASbaba
  • July 2, 2017
  • 8
IASbaba's Toppers
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About myself

Graduation – Electronics and Communication Engineer from College of Technology, Pantnagar completed in 2013.

  • I started my preparation from June 2013 from scratch. So the article is especially for the students who want to start preparation from nil.One thing for such students that the key to crack this exam is ‘ya to tumhe padhai ki aadat ho ya fir yaha aakar daal lo’.
  • Secondly, one should accept that this exam is a long journey. So patience is a very important factor.

Thirdly, this exam can be cracked in an easier way with proper planning.

For example, if someone pursues his optional subject in graduation this is an added advantage and will reduce her duration for getting selected.

Fourth, regarding whether to go for coaching or not. Today the online platform has ended the guidance gap that was earlier prevalent due to coaching institutes. So, if you are planning for self study then go for it.

This was my third attempt .1st attempt cleared pre but missed mains by 12 marks
2nd attempt cleared mains but missed final list by 10 marks. 3rd attempt – 52nd Rank.


General Guidelines for UPSC- All the three phases

The thing to learn from this is that the exam is an integrated process. Prelims, mains and interview shall not be seen separately. Preparation should be comprehensive. Don’t leave preparation after any stage . Preparation for interview should begin within one or two weeks of mains.

We often think whether to write current affairs in optional or not, content of one paper in other or not. In my opinion don’t think too much. You have absolute freedom to write anything. Your over thinking can sometimes lead to curbing of your creativity. I wrote very cautiously in my 2nd attempt and I think that was the reason why my marks did not improve as per expectation.

The people who check your sheets are intelligent and knowledgeable enough to understand. So be free to write and if you are writing something different then explain it.

One question you should ask yourself before reading any book – if I don’t read this book will I get selected or not ?? If the answer is No then read that book. Eg. – Lakshmikant  or Basu – it is very difficult to clear without reading anyone of them .

Prelims- this paper has become much more tough because csat paper has become qualifying. So the luck plays a major role.


  • Polity – laxmikant
  • History- spectrum modern India
  • Economics – sriram notes or ramesh singh
  • Geo – gc leong or ncert for physical India ncert for physical and resources.
  • Environment- shankar ias
  • Current- newspaper and IASbaba’s/vision current affair
  1. Revise at least three times before entering the examination hall.
  2. Try to solve as many mock tests as possible. This will help in getting in depth knowledge and ensuring better memory.
  3. Go through previous year papers. Examine whether you know the answers or not. This will help in changing the way you read to the way that UPSC exam requires.
  4. Like initially we focus more on facts. But gradually we have to change our pattern as per the UPSC’s requirement.
  5. Mindset – imbibe it in your mind that upsc is making question paper to make you solve it . This will help you dominate the question papers during examination hours, and will remove the fear ‘ki ias ka paper to bohot tough hota hai.’

One thing you can try is getting the pattern of the papers by going through previous year question papers.

For instance, mostly the options that end with ONLY are wrong. Likewise, often they make factual change like the altitude of geostationary satellite (so the error was in the height in 2013 or 14 paper)
Similar thing was repeated in 2016 paper. So try to get the pattern to make intelligent guesses.

It is very difficult to get exact answers for more than 40 questions. In rest of the questions, try to make as intelligent guesses as possible.

Try to solve as many as mocks before Prelims examination. You can also refer to IASbaba’s 60 Days for Prelims and test series that has been very effective in this regard.


In my opinion, mains require art of writing answers to articulate your knowledge. This is difficult for an engineering student in particular whose mind is trained to think objectively and get answers in numbers.

The solution to this problem according to me is writing answers on a daily basis through any of the available websites. Don’t think that first you will gather knowledge and then write answers. Answer writing in itself is a process of accumulation of knowledge as when you compare your answers with the model answers, you will get one or two new points. And thus it will add up to your knowledge. By this process a large number of topics will get prepared.

The other thing is how to make ur sheet different from others. I used to draw as many diagrams as possible. I am attaching my mains test series sheet. Hope this helps.


Topic How did you prepare?
culture  Nitin Singhania notes and 11th Fine arts book ncert
Indian history Spectrum or bipin chandra ncert
world history Ncerts by arjun dev and vajiram notes
post-independence India Take notes from any coaching.
Indian society 11th 12th sociology. Answers should be written in general perspective and taking current examples.
role of women, poverty etc. Do
globalization on Indian society -do-
communalism, regionalism, secularism -do-
world geo physical NCERT 11th 12th
resource distribution Mrunal’s articles for this are really very very good. And ncert
factors for industrial location Mrunal + Ncert
earthquake tsunami etc Already u prepare this for pre from gc leong or ncert
impact on flora-fauna


Topic How Did You Prepare?
Indian Constitution, devolution, dispute redressal etc. Laxmikanth
comparing Constitution with world No question in past so left the topic
parliament, state Legislatures Laxmi
executive-judiciary Laxmi
ministries departments Vajiram notes and newspaper .
Ask any of your pub ad friend to brief you about this
pressure group, informal asso. Do
Representation of people’s act Do
various bodies: Constitutional, statutory.. Do
NGO, SHG etc Do
welfare schemes, bodies Do
social sector, health, edu, HRD Do
governance, transparency, accountability Do
e-governance Do
role of civil service Do
India & neighbors Questions are mainly from current
So newspaper and IASbaba Magazine
bilateral/global grouping -do-
effect of foreign country policies on Indian interest -do-
diaspora -do-
international bodies- structure mandate -do-


Topic How Did You Prepare?
Indian economy, resource mobilization Sriram’s notes + Economic Survey + CA
inclusive growth Vajiram notes
Budgeting Do
major crops, irrigation Ncert
agro produce – storage, marketing Mrunal
e-technology for famers -do-
farm subsidies, MSP Vajiram notes
PDS, buffer, food security Vajiram notes
technology mission Vajiram notes
animal rearing economics Mrunal
food processing Mrunal
land reforms Vajiram notes
Liberalization 11th NCERT Eco
Infra CA
investment models Vajiram notes
science-tech day to day life Current affairs magazine by vision/IASbaba Magazine
Indian achievements in sci-tech Do
awareness in IT, space, biotech, nano, IPR Do
environmental impact assessment Vajiram notes
Disaster Management Shabbir sir’s notes
non state actors, internal security Vision material and IASbaba Magazine
internal security – role of media, social networking site Do
cyber security Do
money laundering -do-
border  Management -do-
organized crime, terrorism -do-
security agencies- structure mandate


Topic How Did You Prepare?
ethics and interface, family, society and all the hathodaatopics Have any notes or book and get the basics . I prepared this by mohanty sir’s notes .
Thenafter try to write answers and frame your mind to write case study .
In my opinion, this paper is not about right or wrong answer but about appropriate answer .
attitude, moral influence etc. Do
civil service: integrity, impartiality, tolerance to weak etc Do
emotional intelligence, its use in governance Do
moral thinkers of India and world Read only some of them .. socrates , gandhi, tagore, aristotle , vivekanadaetc
ethics in pub ad, accountability, laws, rules etc. Mohanty sirs notes
corporate governance Do
probity in governance, work culture Do
citizen charter, ethics code, work culture etc. Do
challenges of corruption Do
case studies on above topics It is about mindset and practice.
Try to write your complete analysis of case . Think that you are in that situation and how would an honest and compassionate officer react to that situation.

Optional Strategy- Sources and approach: Public administration – SCORE (150+162)


1) Paper 1 and paper 2 should be seen in an integrated form .

2) Go through previous year papers and write as many answers as possible.

3) Draw diagrams

4) Try to make notes of about 50 pages in short points. Your whole syllabus shall be covered in this. It will help you in revising whole subject in 1 day .

5) Write examples from current affairs . This reflects your understanding of subject.


Administrative Theory: Introduction: mohanty sir’s notes and mohit bhattacharya

This chapter is very important mainly because the concepts of this chapter can be used in other parts. This should be prepared with chapter 2

Administrative Thought: Prasad and prasad and mohanty sir notes . Use the concepts across the syllabus. Eg.- district administration needs to move towards system 4(likert)
Administrative Behaviour: Mohit bhattacharya and notes

Organisations: notes , rajni goyal and arora

Regulatory bodies – a question is asked almost every year. 2nd arc has 10-12 pages on this. Please go through that.

Accountability and control:
Concepts of accountability and control;

Notes and current affairs like take cases of civil societies etc

Administrative Law: Notes and fadia




Comparative Public Administration: Notes , mohit bhattacharya and prsad

Development Dynamics: Notes and mohit bhattacharya

Personnel Administration: Fadia and 2nd arc (10th report)

Public Policy: ignou notes , mohit bhattacharya and use as many examples from current as possible. Eg.- criticism of rational model – bihar prohibition law that was misused at ground level .

Techniques of Administrative Improvement: Read from internet

Financial Administration: this chapter should be read with financial management, 2nd arc , fadia

In this paper one thing to remember is that your answer should not look like GS answer. So the solution to this is to use concepts of paper 1 in this paper so that it seems that the answer is written by student f pub ad. 2nd arc, notes and rajni goyal are sufficient for this paper.

Indian Administration:

Evolution of Indian Administration: notes and rajni goyal

Philosophical and Constitutional framework of government: notes and rajni goyal

Public Sector Undertakings: Various reports and NITI AYOG measures.

Union Government and Administration: notes and rajni goyal

Plans and Priorities: Chapter is now almost obsolete. Prepare NITI AYOG nicely for this part.

State Government and Administration: notes and rajni goyal

District Administration since Independence: notes and rajni goyal

Civil services: notes and rajni goyal

Financial Management: chapter 12 paper 1

Administrative Reforms since Independence: 2nd arc is major focus

Rural Development: notes and rajni goyal for remaining topics .

I have attached my Public Administration Sheet for your referenceClick Here

Which is the most difficult stage of CSE? Prelims, Mains or Interview? Why?

I think mains is the toughest part because in prelims you have to choose the answer out of the four already given there but in mains you have to carve an answer out of the knowledge accumulated in your mind. Secondly the duration of 27 hours of writing is very tough.

What is your message for the future aspirants of civil services?

Work hard and have faith in Almighty. Ek exam kabhe ye decide nahe kar sakta ki aap life mai kya karoge, whether you get selected or not, it depends on a number of factors other than hard work. Be planned and execute your strategy.

What is the role of family and friends in one’s success in UPSC?

This exam is a big project. It requires support from many people. For me, my family played a major role in supporting me during my struggle. You will face a number of ups and downs during the preparation. You will feel demotivated and depressed but take it as natural. Fight it and try again. For this your family and friends can help to a large extent.

How did you tackle the stress of UPSC preparation?

You have the right to work, but never to the fruit of work – Geeta. Don’t take too much responsibility on yourself. Just keep on trying. During the low phases I looked up to my family and friends, and was fortunately encouraged by them all the way through.
This exam is a locker with double lock. Open your lock with the key called hard work.

Let God decide when he opens the other one. There are more than 10 thousand people every year sitting in this exam who can get under 100 Rank anytime. But people get rank because luck was on their side that day, and they had used their ‘key’ of hard work dedicatedly.

Earlier I used to read right to education and right to information during preparation. But recently I realised that you get right to pravachan when you succeed.

Finally, there is no ‘one best way’ to crack this exam. Take from my strategy as per your requirements and preparation status for which you are in a better situation to understand.

IASbaba has been very effectively guiding aspirants in this journey with their initiatives. I would particularly mention about TLP Mains Answer Writing where quality questions are put along with the Reviews on the answers and Synopsis and Best Answer are provided. This can be very effective for aspirants preparing for mains.

I recommend you all to follow TLP sincerely and seek maximum benefit out of it.

I think the online platform has changed the scenario drastically, especially for the guidance gap that existed because of the coaching institutes. It should be your choice to selectively follow them and extract maximum out of it.

Thank You

Shivam Pratap Singh

AIR 52 CSE 2016


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